Review of Venture Society by 9th Level Games

Venture Society is a TTRPG designed for young players that teaches about empathy and social skills while on a fun non-violent adventure! I had the opportunity to GM the pre-release demo at Origins Game Fair with an awesome little adventurer and his family, and I got to speak with the game’s creators about their goals with the game. Here’s my take, and I hope you enjoy this preview!

Note: this review is based off of a demo copy for a project that is releasing soon. Some of the final game may have differences from the content and images shown in the review.

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  • age target
  • setting
  • your character
  • mechanics
  • overall
  • find a copy

Venture Society is geared towards kids ages 5-12

Venture Society was made to be used with young players, ages 5-12, to hone in on skills that they’re developing during that time period. However, as I saw when GM’ing at Origins, it is quite possible to use with younger! The player at my table was about 3 years old, and, while he, like most 3 years olds, bring a particular brand of wonderful chaos to the game, he was still able to participate in the story and mechanics, and he had a lot of fun doing so.

The adventures in Venture Society are all non-violent, and, from what I saw, would align with a pretty “G” rating if going by TV shows. The tone of the challenges were along the lines of Octonauts, Daniel Tiger, and Dora the Explorer, to give a few references.

Venture Society is set in a world of critters in need of help!

Venture Society is set in an explorable modern-esque world that feels a bit like the vibe from Animal Crossing or some of the classic Pokemon games. It’s populated by anthropomorphic characters who have lots of quests and challenges for our group of adventurers to assist with, like delivering a letter to the next town over, fixing a bridge, or qualming a dispute between siblings who are their way to a music competition!

Your character in Venture Society is an adventurer out to help others!

Like the other characters in Venture Society, your character is also an anthropomorphic denizen of the world, and your goal is to go out and help others who are in need with your Venture Society team! You’ve all joined the Venture Society in order to have a positive difference with those around you, and you take on jobs or missions when necessary.

When it gets down to tracking your character, this is also VERY easy. The game comes with dry erase character cards that contain all the information that you need to know about your character on one card (like your name, your job, and the one die that you’ll be tracking). There’s not an overload of information, so, even for kids who are still learning to read, they can find the details that they need or it’s easy for adult facilitators to help multiple kids at the same time.

Mechanics in Venture Society

In Venture Society, you have two core mechanics to track: rolling your dice and helper tokens.

When you want to do something, you need to state what it is (like FOCUSing on a task or using WORDS to talk to someone), then you roll your die and see if you got the outcome you were hoping for. Instead of trying to get above a certain number or needing to add modifiers, you just need to match the number that you rolled to the chart and see if it lines up, making it really easy for kids to follow.

In addition, you only have one die to track! With the Polymorph system, each player selects one die for their character (in this case, a 1d6, 1d8, or 1d10). Choosing a 1d6 means that you might not be as strong with WORDS and HEART, but you have a much higher probability of rolling FOCUS. Choosing a 1d10 means that you are really good with HEART (50%), but your odds of rolling successfully on a FOCUS move are about 20%. This differentiates characters easily without having to assign stats AND really requires everyone to work together to be able to roll what’s needed in a particular situation.

Now, if you roll a 1 though, you land on HELP, which leans even further into the teamwork element. This gives you a helper token that you can trade in to assist another player in their roll. You give them a little bonus, solidfying the group as a team, and it helps kids to see that sometimes when you don’t get what you want right away, you can learn from it and have an unexpected benefit later.

Overall thoughts on Venture Society

I thought Venture Society was a great game, and I am REALLY excited to see more TTRPGs specifically designed for younger kids coming out. This one was less like an all-ages TTRPG that happens to be OK for kids and more like a TTRPG that is made for young players to connect with and use. The creating team included therapists who use TTRPGs in their practice, and I could tell that the whole game was made with a lot of care and attention to keeping it accessible to kids.

Find a copy of Venture Society

Venture Society finished crowdfunding in 2023 and should be released soon in 2024 by 9th Level Games! I’ll update here when it’s out so you can easily find it when it goes on sale again.

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