*As a note, the intro for this was written by Steph from TTRPGkids, and the below description was written by the game’s creator
A trio of enterprising Brooklyn nerd dads have devised a game system for families who want to start playing Role-Playing Games (RPGs). Their flagship products, Ampersand ScreenBoxes, are each a standalone product — there are no separate rulebooks to buy. Everything you need to play is included in the ingeniously crafted box which folds out to form the GameMaster’s Screen. Ampersand has made the entry into the world of RPG effortless for both kids (the players) and the GameMaster (the parent). The simplified rules are inspired by traditional RPGs, so experienced players will find it easy to get up and running with just 10 minutes of prep.
The story is clearly written in a color notation system, making it straightforward to know what to read to players, what story tidbits to keep secret, and when to reveal game items to the players (such as Monster and Puzzle Cards, Figurines, Map Pieces and Loot Tokens). The complete Adventure is designed for four to five hours of gameplay, depending on the players’ game style, but the story is segmented into Acts, making it easy to stop and resume over multiple sessions. It’s a perfect format for kids aged six and up. Especially noteworthy is the Loot Token system which takes what would be abstract asset ideas from traditional RPGs (like a Magic Lightning Sword) into physical game pieces, forming a collect-and-trade economy that has proven to be compelling for young players.
In February 2023, Ampersand RPG launched a Kickstarter campaign to publish their next two Adventures, plus a series of smaller products: a “Mini-Adventure” and a zine called “Loadout.” The kids who played Mages & Macrophages came back to us clamoring for more content,” said Chung, one of the creators. “So we designed Mini-Adventures that they could continue playing with their beloved, carefully-created avatars, and it just fits in the box and extends everything that’s in there.”
Despite the constant distractions of work and parenthood, the three creators of this series remain committed to their mission: getting kids off their screens and gathering families around the dinner table to laugh, tell stories, and discover the fun of all playing together, their shared nostalgic memories of playing games in the basement as kids successfully passed down to their children.
Check out the latest Ampersand RPG Kickstarter here! And also, check out the TTRPGkids review of Mages and Macrophages for a walkthrough of all that makes these 1-box games amazing to play with kids!
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