Review of Rolling With the Youth

Rolling With the Youth by Jaclyn Lewis is a fantastic guide for anyone facilitating youth-focused TTRPGs.  Walking you through the steps of how to run a game while tackling the nuance of working with kids and teens, it is perfect for getting ready for after school programs, library sessions, or games with your kid’s friends.

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What is Rolling With the Youth

Rolling With the Youth (find on DTRPG and IPR) is a 63 page book that explains how to run TTRPGs with youth from elementary to college age, gives advice on what to include or watch out for based on the author’s experience, and provides several story blocks to help with creating some awesome adventures. 

It has everything from TTRPG basics and safety tools to fostering inclusion and seeing how the stories you make can impact your players.  It is packed with highly relevant knowledge so you can start your youth TTRPG groups with a solid foundation.

Who would Rolling With the Youth be great for?

Rolling With the Youth is great for anyone looking to run youth-focused TTRPGs, however, I think it’s particularly applicable for after school programs and library organized sessions. 

I ran a booth at U-CON with Jaclyn, author of the book, and hearing the conversations of everyone coming through, but particularly from all the library program leads, was absolutely wonderful, and they were very excited that there was a guide to help kick-off their programs. 

If you or someone you know is thinking about starting a TTRPG club for elementary through college age individuals, Rolling With the Youth is perfect.

How Rolling With the Youth tackles the nuance of working with young players

Rolling With the Youth pays a lot of care to details without doing too much – it’s just the right length to be manageable without cutting out anything critical, so the time you take reading it is well spent – everything in here is the important parts.

It teaches you how to approach youth work and what the thought process of different age groups are like so you can adjust your expectations and game to handle moral binary thinking from grade schoolers or a high schooler’s tendency towards listening to an inner critic.  

It goes into why agency and boundaries are SO important to young people whereas adults may take it for granted, so, we, as facilitators, need to know that going in and be able to give a space for kids to figure out what to do with these new-ish concepts that they might not get to practice elsewhere.  

Among other discussions and elements, there’s also a wonderful chart that shows how to shift stories that subtly or unintentionally reinforce negative behaviors, stereotypes, or prejudice into something that can be positive and help players grow with just a few tweaks.  

Jaclyn seriously brings their experience to the game here and shares advice on running tabletop RPGs with youth that you can only discover by doing it yourself or getting someone to coach you in the process (like this book does).   

My overall thoughts on Rolling With the Youth

Rolling With the Youth is an absolutely awesome guide that I am happy to recommend for teachers, librarians, families, and any other game facilitators that may want to start a youth-centered TTRPG group.  It’s got wonderful advice backed by years of work and XP, and it’s given in a tone that’s both informative and conversational, so it’s an easy read that has a lot of value.  I hope you get the chance to check it out, and I hope it helps with setting up your next TTRPG for kids, teens, and young adults!

Find a copy of Rolling With the Youth

You can find a copy of Rolling With the Youth on DriveThruRPG and Indie Press Revolution! If you liked this post, make sure to subscribe to the TTRPGkids monthly newsletter to stay up to date on the latest reviews, tips and tricks, game and podcast list updates, and more! Thank you for playing tabletop RPGs with your kids and sharing this awesome hobby with the next generation!

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