TTRPGkids recap from Origins 2024

Check out here for what was up with youth and education/therapeutic focused TTRPGs at Origins Game Fair 2024!

My time at Origins Game Fair 2024

This year, I went to Origins primarily with a group of educators and clinical professionals, organized by Maryanne Cullinan, to give talks on the many applied benefits of using TTRPGs with young players! In addition, I also could be found running games and hanging out at the booth for 9th Level Games or checking out work from other awesome creators throughout the game hall.

While I was “working” through most of the convention, I still had a wonderful time and had a lot of impactful conversations with people (both from the groups I was involved with and from other convention-goers) that made this a truly inspiring weekend.

Applied TTRPG talks at Origins 2024

The speaker group that I was with gave nine total talks, and I had the opportunity to be part of four of them. Speakers included published educators, educational researchers, therapists, and applied gaming experts who spoke on topics ranging from using TTRPGs to teach ASL to why kids tend to be murderhobos to designing an educational TTRPG within the span of the workshop.

Photo taken by Maryanne Cullinan; speakers from left to right: Katie, Xan, Grant, Dr. Connell, Dr. Quinones, and Liv

For the talks I was on, it was amazing getting to sit down with other educators and help walk them through the game design process, generating ideas for math lessons, SEL curriculums, and more while finding ways to keep the focus on the learning objectives and not the mechanics.

And we even had some folks recognize us from last year!! It was great getting to reconnect and see where they had gone with their work since last we spoke.

Here’s a summary of the talks, and I’ll add audio links if/when it circulates through our group:

  • Can a Role Playing Game Really Teach Hearing Children ASL?
  • Don’t Split the Party: Creating Community With Diversity
  • Roleplaying Simulations for Young Learners
  • Why are Kids Such Bloodthirsty Gamers and Does it Matter?
  • Gaming the Systems: How to Evaluate RPGs for Classroom Use
  • Improv Games for Increasing Student Self-Confidence
  • Let it Go, Let it Go! How to Channel Your Inner Elsa
  • SEL Benefits of Tabletop Role Playing Games (TTRPGs)
  • Design a Quick PG Activity for a Classroom in 90 Minutes!

Awesome times with 9th Level Games at Origins

I also had the opportunity to GM four games with 9th Level Games and helped out at the booth since I’d played several of their all-aged friendly projects. I GM’d two games of Kobolds Ate My Baby, including a session with a family of 5 who enjoyed the absolute chaos together, Nancy Druid, which involved a mystery around a salty cheetah and a kleptomaniac bat who didn’t know the difference between stealing and borrowing, and Venture Society, which was adorable and such a pleasure to get to run.

For Venture Society, it isn’t released yet, but we ran games using the prototype boxed set, and I cannot wait for this be out for everyone to use. The game I ran was with a young kiddo (about 3-4 years old), and it was just beautiful. We had a conversation entirely through him talking to the characters on the display card (i.e. making eye contact with the penguins on the card while I voiced them) and we made it to the end of the quest! He seemed to really enjoy using the dry erase markers on his character card, and it was very fun seeing him and his family interacting with the game together.

Spending time at the booth was wonderful too. The folks at 9th Level are some of the most wholesome and helpful and welcoming people I’ve met, and it was a please to get to be around them and chat with convention-goers about their many awesome games.

Checking out the general Origins convention – kid’s room, games books, and hellos

There was SO MUCH going on at Origins! I tried to connect with as many people as I could, and here’s a snapshot of some of the folks I got to say hi to and cool projects that I was able to see!

Trying out Branch Riders by The Bodhana Group

Saying hello to folks from Hectic Electron (Raccoon Sky Pirates), Wet Ink Games (Heckin Good Doggos), and Snowbright Studio (so many games!!)

Visiting the Motley Kids family room

Collecting samples from free RPG day (including the Level 1 anthology where you can find a TTRPGkids spot!)

Hanging out with Jaclyn, author of Rolling With the Youth

Seeing Bakers, Charge! and Making a Tabletop RPG for YOUR Particular Kid at the Indie Press Revolution booth alongside Rolling With the Youth, The Librarian’s Apprentice, and Wyrmlings!!

Overall from Origins 2024

I had a fantastic time at Origins, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to go again! The convention size, the vibe from everyone there, and opportunities to both meet people and have a fun time gaming were just right for what I’m looking for in a convention, and I hope to go back in 2025!

Where to find TTRPGkids next

I’m taking a break from conventions while I’m on summer vacation parenting duty for the next couple months. I’ll give an update in the fall when I have my late 2024 schedule, and I hope to see you around then!

In the meantime, I have plenty of articles to check out throughout the site, podcast and guest streams in the works, and a crowdfunding campaign for a new game that I hope you’ll enjoy. As always… until next time… HAPPY GAMING!

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