Age target: all ages (requires counting to 6)
Felt, Friendship, and Feelings is definitely designed for all ages. The character creation and suggested stories line up with similar all-ages appropriate media, and the mechanics were both easy to pick up and fostered social-emotional connections.
My child can’t read yet, so I helped with going through the options on the character sheet when we needed to make a skill roll, but other than that, kiddo was able to handle dice rolls, judging success/troubles from the numbers rolled, and driving the story when it was kiddo’s turn to be the story lead.
Felt, Friendship, and Feelings is set within the frame of a puppet or felt-friend world that can be anything that you want.
I have a 3yo, so Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock come up during our allotted educational screen time quite a bit, and this game definitely had that vibe. The activities, the pacing, and the characters themselves all fit that familiar setting.
During one of our sessions, kiddo even asked if Elmo could be our special guest to the play our characters were putting on, so I know kiddo clicked on that concept as well.
Your character is a felt or puppet-friend, complete with core personality traits and a catchphrase!
Character creation starts with who your character is and what makes them special – what are they known for (think Cookie Monster wants cookies, Grouch is a grump, and Gobo is an explorer). For our game, my kid wanted the puppy puppet we were using to be known for giving hugs and duck puppet to be known for quacking weird (I am pretty sure this last one was kiddo just trying to make me do funny sounds).
After that, I loved the catchphrase part! You pick something that your character is known for saying, and it is used later in the game mechanics to get a bonus. This was a lot of fun and super cute, especially when kiddo picked, “I love you!” as the puppy’s catchphrase and eagerly used it to cheer everyone up whenever possible.
Rolling for Skills
To determine what options your character has in any given scene, you put your dice into “slots” on the character sheet that you can use when rolling a skill check. You have a bunch of skills to choose from that range from being able to do things or to help others, so each character ends up with a little different set of skills at their disposal. Whenever you use your dice, you can also move them around to different skills after you make a roll – you aren’t locked into only one set of skills throughout the game.
When you are ready to roll, you choose how many dice you want to roll for that skill (if you’ve put two dice into those slots, you can roll both, if you only put one in there, you roll one), add any trademark dice you want to use, and add any helper dice from your fellow players. You roll all of them, and then the highest roll determines if you succeeded or not!
Each player also has a trademark dice poll! These are extra dice that you can add to your skill check to get a bigger dice pool and increase your chances of getting a high number. However, to use your trademark dice, you need to incorporate your character’s catchphrase or main traits!
This got pretty silly in a very good and cute way. Kiddo’s puppet was a puppy who liked to hug and say, “I LOVE YOU!” all the time, so… when the grumpy building inspector showed up and we had a hard time convincing them everything was OK, we dipped into the trademark dice, and it turned into a hug-fest pretty quickly.
Sharing Your Skills
Each character gets to choose how many dice they put towards which skills to determine what you get to do in each scene. These skills are separated into felt (stuff you can do), friendship (cooperative skills), and feelings (emotional skills).
In addition, your friendship and feelings skills both can be used to help your fellow players – by giving them some of your dice! I loved this so much. The first time we did this, kiddo was really confused why I was giving my dice over when I used my friendship and feeling skills to help. When I explained it again that I was giving help – kiddo sing-songed back, “Help is a present! It’s a dice present!” After that, kiddo started giving some of the dice “presents” back to help me and literally said, “Here’s a present so you don’t run out!”
This was fairly profound to me at the moment. I think there’s a tendency to want to keep our skills to ourselves so we don’t lose what we have, but when we give those skills (or dice) as a gift and make sure others aren’t totally running out, we don’t have to lock those skills down. We can feel comfortable sharing them freely. On the flip side, I imagine if a player only accepts dice and NEVER gives them back to others so they can build up their own skills, they would learn really quickly that others will probably stop giving them more dice, either because it isn’t fair or because they’ve just run out. This is an amazing mechanic for teaching cooperation and to look out for your other players and friends that really ended up being a teaching moment for both my kid and me.
Character and player roles
There’s two elements of the character roles that I really want to highlight here: the rotating leader and the special guests.
The first is that the storytelling leader position or main character shifts from player to player. This means that no single game leader is needed, so everyone gets to play. It also gives all the players more stake in the story and control over the story (which is very empowering for kids).
The second is the special guests. Just like in Sesame Street, special guests may show up! Now, without a GM, the responsibility of playing out the special guests falls on the players. This was REALLY cool because it kiddo really enjoyed playing out the special guest when, normally, this is something that I would do. It showed me that kiddo can do it, and we had a lot of fun messing around with this part – enough that I consider it a mechanic versus just a setting element.
What did my kid think?
This was a HUGE hit.
From the start, my kid already loved Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock, so when I asked about playing Felt, Friendship, and Feelings by showing some of the pictures in the file… we got a toddler happy dance.
Once we started playing, kiddo jumped right in and was excitedly telling the story with no issues. After the first game went for about an hour, we needed to stop to make dinner, but kiddo remembered it the next day and was enthusiastically asking to play again (which I happily obliged).
Felt, Friendship, and Feelings is super cute, super age appropriate, and a very fun teaching tool for covering social and emotional learning. My kid was engaged, and I also had fun (especially with all the cute stuff my kid was doing and the wacky stories kiddo came up with).
This is a pretty perfect game for small children, and it is also a great starter TTRPG for any parents thinking about where to begin.
Where to find a copy:
Felt, Friendship, and Feelings is currently on Kickstarter until Feb 17 and will be available on DriveThruRPG at a later date. Please check it out – this was A LOT of fun!
Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions or decide to try out this game because of this post!