Tuesday 15 March 2016

Gaming with the Kids 1: Goblin Quest

My oldest son is turning five this summer and lately we've been talking a lot about gaming with "daddy's toys". He's been wanting to play on a "real table" with terrain and everything, so this past Saturday we went down to the club for our first proper miniatures game together.

I had found some very simple rules, that still looked like a lot of fun, devised by a dad in a similar situation as myself. They're called Goblin Quest, and it seems they've since developed into something a bit more involved. However, the basic rules were more than enough for my needs at this point.

The game is played on grids, such as you get on dungeon floor plans, but as he wanted to play with regular terrain I substituted the random, grid-based movement with measuring sticks for movement and shooting. I also decided to move the setting from a dungeon to a mystical forest.

I had some Foundry knights in my lead pile, originally released by Citadel in the 80s, that I painted up to use as the heroes. I don't want to sound like a nostalgic old grognard, but these are really nice Perry sculpts that have stood the test of time admirably.

For the enemies, I wanted some classic but not too scary monsters and goblins fit the bill perfectly. Luckily, I had some extra goblin minis from the Dungeon Saga kickstarter that were pressed into service. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to paint these up but they worked fine unpainted (gasp!). I knocked their strength down from 1D6 to 1D4 to speed things up a bit.

I started the game by telling him he was a knight in service of the king, and now the king had asked him to go to the mystical forest and collect some magical crystals. However, he'd better beware as the crystals were guarded by some evil goblins. He then got to chose which of the knight models to use in the game and he chose the red one.

The table set up.

As this was his introduction to gaming, I thought it was important that the objectives were very clear and all treasures and enemies visible from the start. The table was set up with paths/corridors leading to clearings/rooms where the crystals were placed (I used some red playing gems to represent these) together with the goblins. In the final room I placed the "boss" – the goblin chief in the form of the first mini my son has painted all by himself, a Reaper Bones bugbear. He was incredibly proud of this contribution to the game, and it made this feel more like a joint project between us.

Another foe defeated.

The brave knight faces off against the brutal goblin chief.

The game was a big hit, and he proceeded through the forest, the knight knocking down goblins and collecting crystals, all the while cheering when he won and taking his (few) setbacks in stride. In the end, the knight faced off against the huge goblin chief, which he managed to defeat and thus collecting the final crystal for the king. Victory for the hero!

The game was pretty much perfectly timed in terms of length: collecting four crystals took about 15–20 minutes, which was about as much time as he could concentrate for.

With the goblins all defeated, the knight
can collect the final crystal. Victory for our hero!

We've already talked about playing again. While I'm keeping the general setup, this time I'm thinking about using some other monsters like skeletons, just to make it a bit more interesting. I'm also looking to substitute the Mantic goblins with some Citadel ones, as I'm not a fan of the formers aesthetics.

Thanks for reading!


  1. A colored and beautiful test!

  2. That looks like a great idea! I just might have to copy that concept. My five year old is expressing the same interest over daddys toys. Really beautiful knights too./Mattias

  3. That's the start of years of great gaming - and some very cool parenting :0)

  4. Sounds like he's off to a good start.

  5. A great initiation to the hobby for your son.Great table layout too. I never managed to get my 3 daughters into wargaming but they enjoy board games and are still keen to play regularly.

  6. Excellent all round and hope you can carry on gaming together:)

  7. That is really cool! Very happy for you both.

  8. That's excellent Jonas, start them off young!

  9. My four kids think I am mad for wargaming although one of them is married to a re enactor who is a US Marine slaughtering Charlie in Leicestershire. Now that is weird!
    Excellent post

  10. What a nice read Jonas!

    I can only congratulate you on this double victory - being an awesome dad AND a successful recruiter of new wargaming recruits at the same time. :D

    Best of luck with your future endeavors.

  11. A great way to spend the day with the kids!


  12. Thank you very much everyone! Hopefully there'll be more reports from our coming adventures. :)

  13. Great job snaring that son of yours. I see that the Reaper Bones monster got a great new home and a loving owner.
    Makes my heart warm