Sunday, June 23, 2013

Superhero Gaming with My Kids

Another old project. Late last year, my sons started taking an interest in my painting and modelling, and wanted to know if they could play a game with me and my figures. At their ages (5 and 3), I felt my games would be a bit complex for them, and I was a little worried about broken gun barrels, so I wanted to come up with something else for them.  Both are big superhero fans, especially for Superhero Squad, so I thought that would be a good avenue to go down.  

Heroclix would be the obvious choice, but I don't like the random nature of the figures in most boxes, and I'm not generally a fan of the sculpts.  Plus, my kids were interested in trying to paint and I wanted to encourage making your own toys.  So it was off to the FLGS to pick up a few Reaper figures to get us started, along with using some Urban Mammoth figures I had purchased a while back.

I knocked out a quick set of simple home brew rules to use for the game.  They don't cover everything, so I fill in gaps as things come up.  For each character, I generated a stat card listing their abilities and wounds.  Needless to say, the rules weigh heavily in favor of the heroes.  I didn't want characters like the Hulk and Superman to dominate the game, so I assigned a cost in pennies for each power (the stronger the power, the higher the cost).  Each of my sons gets a tub of pennies to spend, with a set number of new pennies received each round.  Spend all your money, and your characters are too tired to do anything that round.   This helps them practice their counting and in learning to plan and prioritize (with coaching on their options from dad).

Single page rules to cover the basics.  I add details on the fly if needed.

Stat cards for the characters, which team affiliations noted.  The targets denote the number of wounds before being knocked out, and the pennies denote the cost to use a power.

Kiyoto (age 5) and Masato (age 3) sit down for a game. Kiyoto made the Fantastic Four building, and Masato the Avenger's headquarters (with scissor help from dad).

Spending pennies to attack

My sons always play the heroes (of course), so I run the the villains for them.  Generally the most they can handle is 2-3 characters, and I try to keep the games under 20 minutes or their attention wanders.

The first game went well (though my 3-year old sulked off when the Angel was knocked out of play by Doctor Doom), so for Christmas we ordered some new figures from Reaper, Crossover, and Old Glory.
We still have more to go, but here's what the boys and I have painted so far.
Spider Woman, Hulk, Iron Man

Cyclops, Angel, Firestar

Flash, Superman

Kiyoto's Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Human Torch, Thing.  I painted the eyes on the torch for him.
Masato's Green Lantern Boy (he likes sidekicks), Green Lantern, Ant Man, Ice Man, Spiderman.  I again helped with eyes.

Doctor Doom and Deadpool

Hydra Troopers

The boy's Lizard, Spaceman Red Skull, Green Goblin Girl

It's been really fun to have a project to work on with my sons, and I hope this will start an interest in miniatures for them.


  1. Wow, I just stumbled upon this, and I have to say this is a great Idea! I have a 1 year old boy, and a 3 year old boy myself, and I have been plotting on how to introduce them to miniature gaming.
    My 3 year old is already keenly interested in "daddy's guys"

    Consider some of these Ideas stolen! :D

  2. Really wonderful my boys are 4 and 2 so the same age difference! I've done fantasy gaming with my eldest lad, both battles and dungeon crawls, won't spam my blog here but if your interested I'll let you know where to find it.

    I also tried Super hero squad gaming using the super hero squad figures which are about 5" tall so I had to make new terrain. The issues I had were rules went out the window because the good guys have to win. Fair enough I thought but maybe time to try again.

  3. With your rules how easy is it to customise up some heroes or Villains? I have my own Demonic gang I want to use and the son wants to make a robot gang any chance your rules could be used to make these gangs work?

    1. Hi Alan,

      My rules are pretty much just a single page of tables for combat and other events. I made up stat cards for each character and their powers based on info from things like wikipedia, etc. and then just assigned values based on what seemed would give a reasonable game. So there are no point systems, power tables etc., as I though it would be too much for my kids at their ages.

  4. Just came across this myself. Phenomenal ideas! I'm going to borrow some of your homebrew rules to use with my sons (ages 9, 7, and 5). We have played Heroclix together a few times, but I find the game to be a tad complicated for me, much less for my 5 year old. Thanks!!