Friday, 23 September 2016

[Actual play, sort-of] Adventures with a two-year-old

My son is now almost two and a half, which means he's started engaging in imaginative play. Playing with him increasingly feels like running a game of D&D with the most anarchic players in the world.

Imagine if, when you said to your players, 'OK, you get in the wagon. What do you do now?', there was a roughly 50% chance of them replying: 'I crash it into the nearest wall!' It's kinda like that.

(I mean, he doesn't actually say that. He just grabs the vehicle and rams it into a wall while shouting: 'CRASH! Oh no! Help me, guys!' But the message is pretty clear.)

Here's an after-the-fact 'actual play' report of a fairly representative 20-minute slice of play. Its similarity with a lot of real RPGs I've played in over the years makes me wonder just how much of gaming is really about reconnecting with your inner two-year-old...

Our intrepid heroes: Lars (left) and Xuli (right). 

Lars and Xuli are drowning in paper! 'OH NO! HELP ME, GUYS!'

Lars and Xuli are rescued by a friendly car.

They meet a lizard monster who lives in a castle on wheels.

Lars and Xuli steal the castle and crash it into a wall.

A dragon knocks the castle over and chases everyone away. 'Imma get you! OH NO! GRR!'

Xuli attacks the dragon with a giant drill.

Having defeated the dragon, Xuli flies off in an aeroplane.
Lars makes friends with the lizard-monster and lives happily ever after.


  1. How does what he's been being read or watching on youtube influence his play? Is a video of cars more likely to be followed by a game about cars?

    1. Well, Lars and Xuli are characters from a cartoon show he watches, so when he's playing with them he's influenced by his idea of them as characters. (The same with his moomin toys: Moominmama will give people food, Snufkin will go fishing, and so on.) The cars and planes and monsters and random acts of destruction are more of a universal constant, though.