Review of Dino Riderz, a roaringly fun tabletop RPG for kids
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Dino Riderz’ stepped difficulty for kids of all ages
Just like with Fairies of the Mistglade, Dino Riderz has tiers of play that are built into the game, so difficulty increases as your kids become more comfortable with tabletop RPGs. This tiered system gives an awesome way to introduce tabletop RPG’s (including D&D) to young kids or new players of any age without it becoming overwhelming.
Tier 1 is aimed at children ages 3-5 and focuses on the story-telling and problem solving aspects of tabletop RPGs with a few special skills per character. Conflict resolution follows a peaceful track and encourages constructive role-playing. This was the level that I played at with my kid (who, at the time, was almost 3 years old), and he was able to clearly understand and use the mechanics to participate in the story.
Tier 2 is aimed at children ages 5-8 and adds a few extra skills and advanced mechanics to the tier 1 foundation. It also gives an option for combat if the players and game leaders choose to starting introducing combat into your tabletop RPGs.
Tier 3 is aimed at players ages 8+ and adds the full set of the game’s abilities along with a d20 dice system. This last tier is closely approaching the D&D 5e rules, and it gives a good transition step before jumping into more complicated tabletop RPG mechanics.
These tiers can be mixed in your game (i.e. someone at tier 2 and someone at tier 3 can play in the same game) and are all D&D 5e compatible if you wanted to use this mechanic to introduce your children into your regular D&D sessions.
Dino Riderz roars into its prehistoric setting
Dino Riderz takes place in a prehistoric setting! There’s cave-kids and dinosaurs and tons of cool places to explore. The first game takes place mostly in Skullrock Village where you are assisting a lone T-Rex who needs your help with a quest! The map below gives a bunch of different locations for future games or for homebrewing adventures as your kids explore further.
One thing I really love about the Family Fantasy game settings, and that I definitely want to note here, is that you get to build parts of the map too. So, while the game provides the story and overall layout of the village, there’s also setting elements that your children get to create as well. You can draw in parts of the playground that are relevant to the story, and this is an awesome engagement tool for kids to feel invested in the game.
Play as your dinosaur riding kid character
In Dino Riderz, your character is a prehistoric adventurer with a dinosaur companion!! So, not only do you pick your character, but you also get to pick your dinosaur to go with you and help out on the adventure! This tabletop RPG was such a big hit with my kid because of the dinosaur part – as soon as he saw this, he immediately dashed to grab his stegosaurus stuff, which he cuddled or pretended to ride throughout the game (despite it being hilariously small for him).
From a character build standpoint, again, like Fairies of the Mistglade, there are tiers of creation in Dino Riderz depending on what your child is comfortable with, which is awesome for gradually stepping your kids into more and more complex tabletop RPG mechanics. As the tiers increase, players can add to their core and class abilities; there’s a bit more detail in the mechanics section below to go over this too.
Unique mechanics in the Family Fantasy tabletop RPG series
Dino Riderz‘ dinosaur themed puzzles and mini-games:
In Dino Riderz, there are little mini-games and puzzles to complete as you play! This is tremendously helpful for breaking the game up a bit to give fidget breaks and let kids have really clear opportunities to participate in game events.
There’s both a maze and a logic puzzle that I had a lot of fun running with my kid, and both activities got him to to have fun with some gamified learning. The logic puzzle, we even were able to do a demonstration of the puzzle in-real-life pretty easily to make it into a hands-on experience, and it doubled as some very active play time.
Unique abilities to each Dino Riderz character:
Core abilities align with the primary D&D 5e stats and are: strength, dexterity, wisdom, intelligence, and charisma. For the Family Fantasy tabletop RPGs, instead of assigning numbers to each core ability, you pick two that you are proficient in and are able to use a list of skills based on the abilities chosen. The rest of the skills are unused for that character (and make it way easier for kids to track).
This helps children not get overwhelmed with a big sheet full of numbers and allows them to focus on the storytelling aspects. It also encourages teamwork since everyone has different abilities that need to be tapped.
Class abilities are special abilities unique to the type of character you choose. These can be used to help solve role-play puzzles or unleash special abilities during combat. This also helps encourage teamwork to tap into everyone’s class abilities to solve puzzles, and it gives each player a sense of having something very special that only they can do.
Tier differences letting you adjust the game to your kid’s skills:
Tier 1 is the foundation for your character and gives you a list of 6 skills (based on your core abilities) and 2 class abilities (based on the class you choose). There is a list to mark everything on, making it easier for kids to track as well.
Tier 2 adds a little more complexity. You now have an additional 4 skills and an additional class ability that does damage, facilitating combat introduction. You would introduce this step to kids once you’re sure they can handle the number of abilities used in teir 1.
Tier 3 gets closer to typical D&D layout. You still have only 2 core abilities in order to keep things easy for kids to track, but you now also have spell dice, ability checks (i.e. arcana, history, perception), and a list of 5 spells to tap into. Once your kids master this level, they should have the background to tackle other tabletop RPGs as well.
What did my kid think about Dino Riderz?
My kid had SO MUCH FUN with this game!! My 3yo loves dinosaurs (rightfully so because they are awesome), so Dino Riderz‘ theme alone pulled him right into the game and kept engagement from start to finish.
The activities were a lot of fun too – my kid really enjoyed getting to map out the playground and was very proud for having finished the logic puzzle at the end of the game. We got a victory dance and several follow up dinosaur stories from the young one out of that one!
My overall thoughts on Dino Riderz as a tabletop RPG for kids:
I continue to be impressed by the Family Fantasy RPG games as they bring new colorful settings that connect with kids, include great educational activities, and do all this in rhyme like a bedtime story. It’s a great way to gradually introduce more complex tabletop RPG mechanics to your kids in a low pressure setting, and these games are just fun! We loved playing Dino Riderz, and I hope you do too!
Find a copy of Dino Riderz!
You can find a copy of Dino Riderz on DriveThruRPG!
And check out my previous review of Fairies of the Mistglade, also by Family Fantasy RPG!
This game was a lot of fun, and I hope you get the chance to check it out! If you do, please let me know in the comments below what your thoughts are!
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