Posted by Jawaballs at 9:00 AM
It turns out my psychology posts have done some good and people are asking me how to deal with younger kids and 40k! I received this email question:
You're a Middle School teacher and all, so i figured you'd know how to help me with this. My little brother is getting into warhammer and has chosen an orc army. Atm its close to 70 models strong and is his pride and joy(halfway painted decently too). The only thing is that he has something like ADD where he just can't sit still for awhile. We usually will play 2 turns then take an hour break, but even with that its hard for him to sit still during my turns and leads to him just getting bored and throwing his dice everywhere until i get fed up. Do you have any ideas on how to help keep him interested while i'm messing with my army?
I learned a lot about playing 40k with middle school age kids 10-14 while running my gaming club at school. First of all, kids and their ADD are fickle. I have seen countless kids with ADD sit and play video games for hours on end... Something has gathered their attention! The thing about most video games is this:
They are simple, and offer instant reward. Most xbox games you can pop in the disc, grab the controller, and have the hang of them within 10 minutes.
So, apply that to 40k. Simplify the game. Rules confuse them, and they get embarrassed because you make it look so easy, so they react poorly, throw dice, and walk away. Especially if they have a hard time reading, and/or processing math. Get rid of the calculation component. Using the ruler to check range is hard enough on them. Reduce it to just shooting and hitting. Dont worry about armor saves and wounds. That will make it much faster.
Kids hate to lose and will give up quick if they do, especially when trying something new.
"OK billy, Orks are not very good with their guns, but you have 40 of them, so it evens out. You need a 4 to hit my marines.... Oh no! You hit 9 of them... they die... Great Job!" As he gets the hang of it, and you have let him win a lot of games, start adding more. Don't pressure him, you will push him away, and no matter what, tell him he is awesome. :) Compliment him every chance you get. Make the rounds quick and fierce, like a round of Halo.
Remember, he looks up to you. Make it tough, but make sure he wins most of the time. Encourage him. Congratulate him. Create a gaming environment where it is super hard for you to become frustrated, and you wont! Hope that helps!