Remember how, the other week, I was talking about cool Kickstarters delivering shiny things? One more arrived that I haven’t nattered about yet, and today seems like a lovely day to do so. Every young child learns the alphabet at some point, and starts to make sense of their world by assigning things to letters, and thenceforth shaping their imaginations and perceptions. As tabletop gamers, our imaginations play a huge part in who we are and what we enjoy about our hobbies. This could be because we found an author we liked in our nascent years who whisked us away to worlds of wonder and fantasy. Now time has passed and many of us have our own little sprog, and as parents we have an opportunity to give them a leg up into the world of RPGs, especially now that such things are becoming less and less taboo as we push through the board game renaissance. Enter The ABCs of RPGs and its activity book… oh, and some pretty freakin’ boss bookmarks too.
The Kickstarter caught my eye about the same time the Baby Bestiary did, and I knew immediately I was going to back it. Van Norman and Cleveland have made a beautiful hardbound book (currently available through ThinkGeek) with art that depicts not elves and knights and the like, but kids playing as such. The “Elven maid” is a little girl with paper points on her ears. The archer has suction cup arrows. The knight’s sword is wood and his shield a garbage can lid. Not “Look at these amazing fantastic heroes”, but rather “Look at these kids… like you, dear reader…”
Each letter presents a concept – A for Adventure, H for Heroes, M for Mystery – keeping it wide open to encourage the young reader to expand the words and worlds in their own minds. I love it. The only exception – the *only* letter that got something specific – is…
What an excellent name for an Owlbear.
This book is sweet, charming, and a freaking delight to have in the Gdaycave. Next time there’s a young one entrusted to my care (yes, people have been foolish enough to do so…) I know what’s being read.
…. but what about those times when a little activity is in order?
Enter the Activity Book! Currently available from Hunters Books, the Activity Book is ever bit as charming as the ABCs book, but delves deeper in the fantasy tropes that we’re all familiar with.
Each letter has its own Fantasy monster, many in the most innocuous of situations, such as the adorable young Mind Flayer debating whether or not he should trade lunches. Probably shouldn’t, he might be allergic to peanut butter. Swollen tentacles!
Add in awesome activities like the traditional word search and maze, drawing tattoos on Grog the Barbarian, trying to figure out what’s grossed out the Neo-Otyugh (is that even possible??) and then there’s this…
Cos you just KNOW your kobold needs to be James Bond with a bazooka.
The creativity shown by Van Norman and Cleveland in creating these books is outstanding. If you have potential little gamers in your house, you could do far worse than to bring these books into their lives and get them started on the road to discovering role playing games, keeping their imaginations brimming, and teaching them that though there are monsters out there, they can be defeated, and sometimes they drop epic loot.
Get that Lich some ice cream. Liches love ice cream.