Dungeon Squad is a short rules set describing itself as,
…a role-playing game designed expressly for young players with short attention spans who demand action and fun. There is a lot of die rolling and some amusing shopping and number-crunching. Characters can be generated in 3 seconds.
With Player 3 on the way, I pay more attention to these than I used to.
I like that Dungeon Squad is more than another “1-page RPG”. Every once in a while someone puts one of those up like s/he just discovered the moon. Developing a 1-page RPG isn’t cake, but it’s also not just super hard. Seeing someone go to the trouble of designing some monsters and equipment makes a lil’ game go a long way toward being something playable for more than just a couple of hours.
I’ve always liked the idea of kid-friendly RPGs, but the more you get into them, the less you need the game.
Kids can make up their own rules and have no fear of improv. It’s adults who need structures and reminders on how to play. Because the wider world constantly works to beat it out of us. Adults have to practice playing or we forget how.
And so I look at games like Dungeon Squad with some melancholy. On one hand, kids love them. But on the other hand, kids love playing with sticks. Kids can (literally) make games out of air. As long as kids can still roam the house pretending to be lions, I’m disinclined to teach them games that define structures allowing them to pretend to be lions.