Podcast #5: For the Kids

What was your first game? Did you ever change the rules or even make up your own? Join game designers Tyler Bielman, Skaff Elias and Richard Garfield as they discuss their humble beginnings and what they have learned about games from watching their own children play and grow with games. The discussion touches on all the kids’ classics, like kickball, Candyland and of course, Schizoid. Tell us your, or your kids’, personal “first game” stories in the comment area below.

LINKS: Netrunner | Dungeons and Dragons | Dungeon (board game) | Monopoly | Parcheesi| Schizoid | The Great Dalmuti | Bartok | Candyland | Hangman | Civilization | Titan Quest

EMAIL: info@threedonkeys.com


8 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. MikeElliott,

    My son, Quinn, who is closing in on 6, came up with his own card game, which he calls Battle On. The name is oddly similar to one of my card games but the rules are completely different. The game has a unique feature that I may use later, where the cards have different abilities depending on who has them. When Quinn has the Robot Devastator, it always wins. When I have the Robot Devestator, it somehow loses to everything. He would have a future as a game designer, except for the following anecdote. A teacher at his daycare asked what his father did, and he told the teacher his father was a game designer. Quinn was then asked if he wanted to be a game designer when he grew up. Quinn replied, “I am already a game designer. When I grow up I want to do something interesting.” It’s my fault for not home schooling him.

    Heh – that is hilarious Mike!

  2. Binman,

    With regard to drinking games, my all time favourite is burp cricket. You would score runs based on the length and volume of your burps. Not very classy, but extremely amusing. This brings me to a question: With so many established sports played worldwide, what do you think the chances of a new sport being developed to rival the likes of football, or soccer as you call it in America (I’ve never understood why you called your version football when only two guys on each team kick the ball – and they’re specialists) in the global market? Do you think a sport with more complex rules, like those in cricket, or a more simple game would be more likely to be a success?

    A good question. If something big comes along I imagine it will be simpler than the more complex past sports, the only explanation I have for games as complex as baseball and cricket are local rules combining and evolving in a way that will be more difficult to come about in these global communication days. I also picture, for team sports, something with smaller teams since there is so much competition for player’s entertainment time that getting teams of 11 seems like it might be more difficult these days. As far as something new and big, I think there is every chance something will come along, but I have no clue and only a limited perspective.


  3. Mellowcow,

    Try letting people guess “hole” in 20 questions. ;)

  4. Xavier,

    On my childhood exposure to games.:

    I recall playing many childhood games at school such as tag, hide-n-seek and larger more active games. However I can recall my first exposure to a ‘real’ game being tic-tac-toe, which used an actual board and marbles, when I my parents visited a local friend.

    My first exposure to Dungeons and Dragons was actually through my cousin, Varsha, in Indianapolis, who played some sort of cleric, and one of my local friends who started playing as a ranger. I was in 4th grade at the time and still too young to play D&D myself but my mom knew that I was interested and she picked up some books at a local yard sale. My real introduction to Dungeons and Dragons was the “red books” along with an Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Module called Isle of the Ape (designed by Gary Gygax!) D&D back then was two separate products – the AD&D modules were much more complex while the Red, and later, Blue Books brought D&D back to it’s roots a bit with the original rules – classes were just fighter, rogue, wizard, cleric, elf, dwarf, and halfling (yes, “elf” was a class). The red book even contained it’s own module, sort of a choose your own adventure for 1 person that you could walk yourself through. I made my first fighter, mapped out a dungeon, and met my first Villain, the Wizard Bargle, as many children did before me.

    I devoured the books but I didn’t have anyone to play with – after several conflicts in class I eventually started homeschooling and didn’t have too many friends my own age.

    My first real session of play was at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum – a docent there about my own age was running a game and started my first regular character – a female Elven Cleric by the name of Brianna ip Avair. We played our hearts out and eventually I started running my own adventures. I drew pictures of all the characters and designed a castle, and set my first adventurers through it. My friends loved it.

    I continued to run games all that year at the museum. We would come in as volunteers and spend most of the day playing. It got to the point where we were playing more than working and so one day, when I got worried about it, I went to one of the managers and asked him if it was bothering him that we were using that room all day to play D&D. He looked at straight at me and put his hand on my shoulder and he said. “Xavier, if you weren’t here running these games every weekend, some of these children would be out on the street. They don’t have anywhere to go during the day, they would just get in trouble or be like their parents, – in prison for drugs. So what you’re doing.. it’s a good thing.”

    Reflecting back, I have heard many people make backhanded comments about my hobby and later, my profession but to this day I still remember that conversation and I’ve always felt at the core that what I was doing – gaming, designing, wasn’t really for me, it was for the benefit of others. And that’s why I do what I do.

  5. Thanks for the sharing. We were looking for this!

  6. Jon Williams,

    I guess I began designing in the 7th grade. I designed what I thought would be great video games. It wasn’t until college that I discovered D&D and it wasn’t until the age of 25 that my wife said: “If you love thinking about card games so much, then make one”. And so I am. I’m now thinking of joining a casual magic gaming group to try and find people who like designing too. So I have someone to bounce ideas off.

  7. Simon Woodward,

    Is this podcast still available for download? I can’t see the link.

  8. Zeus,


    Where can I download Podcast #5? It seems to have gone missing.

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