Review of What’s Popping Fellow Kids, a cringy game about fitting in

What’s Popping Fellow Kids is a TTRPG that puts the kid in the GM seat as the adult, playing a cryptid, tries to fit in at school!  It’s a great way to learn about your kid’s day and have some fun giving your child a chance to run the scene!

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What’s Popping Fellow Kids is great for any kid going to school

What’s Popping Fellow Kids works for any kid who’s going to school and can give a little bit of an explanation about their day.  The scenes all fit with what they should be experiencing in real life (just with your twist from your goofy shenanigans that you can moderate through your own descriptions), so it’s VERY kid-friendly and should naturally adjust to your child’s experiences. 

The mechanics also follow a very easy tracking method that doesn’t involve any math, so that won’t be a barrier for even young kids, and the steps to play are pretty easy to follow as well, so they can be explained and remembered if your kid can’t read yet.  It’s extremely kid-friendly and can work with young children and tweens/teens since the scenes and complications will scale with them.

What’s Popping Fellow Kids is set at your kid’s school (in your imagination, not in the actual school)

What’s Popping Fellow Kids is meant to play out as if the cryptid, played by the adult, is trying to blend in at your kid’s actual school.  Your kid describes their real life teachers, classmates, classes, lunch period, and more just as it could happen at school… except of course there’s maybe also a 7ft tall sasquatch in a raincoat and baseball hat trying to steal all the paints from the art room or an alien wearing roller shoes and carrying around a My Little Pony lunchbox trying to discover the secrets of human education!

Your character in What’s Popping Fellow Kids

In What’s Popping Fellow Kids, your kid plays the narrator – their character is the storyteller who sets each scene.  Your character, however, is a cryptid on a secret mission that wanders about in your kid’s story!

To make your character, you’ll choose what kind of cryptid they are, what their secret mission is, some funny traits, and the disguise props that they’re using to fit in.  

For my character, I had a vampire that emitted static electricity when stressed and would stick to things when they touched them, so we played it up as if they were a literal energy vampire who lived on soaking up electricity!  His mission was to see what human food tasted like… even if it didn’t agree with his normal dietary need for those tasty electrons.  His disguise was picked with help from my kid, so he had a t-shirt with a turkey on it, light up Spiderman boots, and a sequin backpack that changes colors when you run your hand over it.  He was decked out in the latest kindergarten fashion for sure!

Mechanics in What’s Popping Fellow Kids

Wagering props for your shenanigans

Whenever your cryptid character tries to do something in the game, they need to wager one of the three props that they’re using for their disguise to see if they succeed!  So, when an attempt at fitting in or reacting to a prompt from your kid is made, you’ll need to flip a coin to see if you were successful or not.  On a success, you pass on to the next scene and have managed to fit in!  On a failure, you lose the prop, your disguise starts to slip, and everyone starts getting a little bit suspicious.  If you lose all your props, well… then you just get caught!

This is a really easy to follow mechanic that kids can understand and follow along during the game without math skills since it’s a binary coin flip, and it provides enough stakes to make the risk of performing an action dramatic and fun.  Plus, with it always being a 50/50 chance of the disguise starting to slip, it’s a great opportunity for some trouble to happen and make the story interesting.

The kid as the GM

This is a great first GM’ing roll for young kids to start taking the reins with the story and getting to practice world-building and dealing with players messing with the environment before they try to GM for a more mechanics-heavy game.  There’s low pressure since kids are GM’ing for a trusted grown up, and the grown up can pretty easily moderate how much wackiness they throw into their actions.  With my kid, he got some practice with answering questions, playing multiple characters, and reacting to someone else’s story as we played, and he had a lot of fun with it!  

Overall thoughts on What’s Popping Fellow Kids

What’s Popping Fellow Kids is a short and quick to pick up TTRPG that has great potential for letting kids practice making and controlling the story, plus it really was a fantastic way for me to find out a little more about my kid’s average day at school.  We had a lot of fun playing this, and it was a great activity for transitioning between coming home from school and starting our evening routine with a nice 15 minute role-playing game that we both enjoyed.

Find a copy of What’s Popping Fellow Kids

You can find a copy of What’s Popping Fellow Kids on the Sticky Doodler itchio page here!

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