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Age range: 3-5, 5-8, 8+
Just like with Fairies of the Mistglade, tiers of play are built into the game, so difficulty increases as your kids become more comfortable with TTRPG’s.
Tier 1 is for ages 3-5 and focuses on the story-telling and problem solving aspects 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 son (almost 3yo), and he was able to clearly understand and use the mechanics to participate in the story.
Tier 2 is for 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 choose to go that route.
Tier 3 is for ages 8+ and adds the fulles set of abilities along with a d20 dice system, approaching the D&D 5e rules.
These tiers can be mixed in game play (i.e. someone at tier 2 and someone at tier 3 can play in the same game) and are D&D 5e compatible if you wanted to use this mechanic to introduce your children into your regular D&D sessions – I plan on doing this once we can get back to doing in-person sessions.
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.
In this setting, 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 was such a big hit – as soon as kiddo saw this… it immediately lead to a dash to the stuffie pile to find the stegosaurus, which kiddo cuddled or pretended to ride throughout the game.
From a character build standpoint, again, like Fairies of the Mistglade, there are tiers of creation depending on what your child is comfortable with, which is awesome for gradually stepping into TTRPG 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.
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 kiddo, and they got my child 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, which was a lot of fun.
Core abilities align with the primary D&D 5e stats and are: strength, dexterity, wisdom, intelligence, and charisma. For the Family Fantasy RPG games, 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.
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 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).
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.
Tier 3 gets closer to typical D&D layout. You still have only 2 core abilities in order to keep things easy 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.
What did my kid think?
Kiddo had SO MUCH FUN!! My 3yo loves dinosaurs (rightfully so because they are awesome), so the theme alone pulled kiddo right into the game and kept engagement from start to finish.
The activities were a lot of fun too – my child 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 out of that one!
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 TTRPG mechanics to your kids in a low pressure setting, and these games are just fun!
Find a copy!
Find Family Fantasy RPG at: https://familyfantasyrpg.com/
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!
Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions, tried the game because of this post, or have played this game before!