BFF! is recommended for 8+ but is great for younger kids too
BFF! focuses on tween characters who are going on adventures aligned with what a lot of tweens do and where they would hang out, however, I played it with my 5yo who also LOVED it, and I enjoyed it as well.
My kid was able to follow along with all the mechanics, had a great time with the prompts (especially some of the more silly ones), and loved picking out charms from the charm box. Everything was very kid-accessible and still worked even though kiddo is younger than the characters being played.
There is a little bit of reading required to play, but it’s very easy for an older player to read or help sound out the few words on the prompt cards to assist young readers, and there’s only one six sided die used in the game, with no modifiers, so the biggest numeracy barrier would be sometimes needing to recognize numbers 1-6. The focus of the game is on social elements and the locations, prompts, and activities through the whole TTRPG were VERY all-ages appropriate.
BFF! is set in a modern day world full of adventures for tweens
BFF! takes place all in a small city that has adventure locations ranging from school to summer camp to a friend’s basement to the Internet (and SO many more). They’re all set in modern day and have AMAZING maps to use while your characters hangout and come up with general mischief and fun.
Each hangout location has slightly different rules from each other (i.e. you might have to watch out for the tide changing each turn at the beach, but you’ll need to keep the noise down when at a sleepover) along with a lot of little details that make the art come to life and spark ideas for what to engage in.
Player characters in BFF!
Your character in BFF! is one of 17 different friends who each have their own character standee (and a lot of personality). You don’t have stats to track for your character; instead, you’ll be collecting charms for your bracelet as you go on hangouts and receive gifts from friends or pick up a post-event souvenir. These charms represent how your character changes over time as you swap them out and find meaning in which ones you give to others.
Another note here is that BFF! is GM-less, so everyone playing will have a friend character to pick from! The maps, guide, and cards generate everything that a GM would, so there’s no prep needed and the facilitator can play alongside the other players (which is great for modeling what to do and being able to participate on the same level).
Mechanics in BFF!
The overall mechanic in BFF! is in how you’re encouraged to engage with other players. Each time you start a new hangout in a new location, players get a set of prompt cards that will have objectives on them like “find a treasure together” or “make up a new rule” or “ask for a hug”. Players take turns using their prompt cards to kick off part of the story to see what the characters can get up to together.
That’s the overarching mechanic, but now, I want to look back again to the setting because every single location has a slightly different hangout mechanic associated with it too. All those prompts are getting fulfilled alongside other challenges or progression in the story. In one scene, you may be exploring a backyard that you aren’t supposed to be in and will need to roll to see if you get caught. Other times, you might be on a sliding scale for that location for how cool or uncool you’re being as a group, or you might only be able to access certain club rooms when staying after school for an extracurricular activity.
The combination of the prompt cards and the variation in the locations make it so, without having complex mechanics to track, you get a ton of different ways to drive the story forward but are still working within a clear set of bounds for that hangout and can see the impact of your choices during each scene as your meters, rolls, or time progressions represents the life of the location you’re at.
Overall thoughts on BFF!
I thought BFF! was a fun, low pressure, and engaging TTRPG with awesome artwork and a concept that is really easy for players to understand and connect to. My kid, despite being younger than the target audience, had a ton of fun with it and we were definitely able to connect over it and have a good time playing together (I love that it was built to be GM-less). We tried out three locations, and they were all super different from each other, so we were able to see how the location mechanics made a significant difference in how we interacted with the environment and with each other’s characters during each hangout. I could see this being an introductory TTRPG at a library RPG club, played with kids at camp, or used for home games with friends and family. BFF! is easy to jump into and understand for new players and veterans alike and a wonderful game to try with all-ages groups.
Find a copy of BFF!
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