Recruiting New Generals: Getting Kids into Tabletop Wargames

Want your kids to experience the thrill of strategic battles with an enriching twist of history and tactics? Get them into tabletop wargaming. This unique hobby mixes learning with fun, making it ideal for curious, young minds. Once they get started and discover how exciting wargaming can be, they may not want to stop. Below are nine tips to get your children excited about commanding their own armies and conquering the living room battlefield

1. Use Books to Build Background Knowledge

Introduce the concept of wargaming with some engaging books. Choose ones filled with colorful pictures of battles, warriors, or fantastical scenes. Kids can flip through these and see all the amazing parts of wargaming. As they get familiar with the imagery and lore, their enthusiasm for creating and commanding their own miniature armies on the tabletop will naturally grow

2. Match the Game to Their Interests

Bring wargaming to life for kids by customizing it to their interests. If they're fans of space adventures, turn the game board into an intergalactic battlefield. Replace the usual soldiers with aliens or starship captains they admire. This shifts a typical game into an exciting saga where they're in charge. They'll eagerly engage with the strategy and storytelling aspects of the game, learning about history and tactics as they play

3. Choose Games With Shorter Playtimes

When introducing kids to wargaming, it's smart to choose games that aren't too complex and don't drag on. Historical wargame like Memoir '44 are straightforward and quick. Kids can command troops and tanks, learn about historical battles, and make strategic decisions, all in less time than it takes to watch a movie. And if you're pressed for time, you can even speed up the game‚ÄĒjust play with fewer units

4. Create a Distraction-Free Environment

For a successful wargaming session, eliminate distractions. Parents should lead by example. Put your phone aside and resist the urge to check messages or social media. Keeping your full attention on the game encourages kids to do the same. This no-distraction rule helps everyone stay engaged and makes the game more enjoyable

5. Organize a Themed Event

Make your next wargaming session a themed event to ramp up the fun. If you're playing a game set in ancient Rome, for example, get everyone to dress up like Romans. Decorate the room to look like a Roman battlefield and serve up some snacks that fit the theme. This turns the game into a full-on historic adventure. Kids will get a kick out of the costumes and setting. Plus, playing in a themed environment will make them even more interested in the hobby

6. Introduce Miniature Painting Early

Get kids into painting miniature early on. It's a great way to engage them in the hobby aspect of wargaming. Start with inexpensive models perfect for young painters. Show them the basics of painting - how to hold a brush, apply paint, and clean up afterward. This early introduction can spark a lifelong interest in both miniature painting and wargaming

7. Create a Reward System

To keep kids interested in tabletop wargaming, try setting up a reward system. Each time they learn a new rule or win a battle, give them a small reward. This could be a new miniature for their collection or the chance to pick the next game. It’s like getting a gold star for good work. This system motivates them to pay attention and try their best. Plus, it's a fun way for kids to see their progress and feel proud of their achievements

8. Use Tech to Enhance the Wargame Experience

Spice up miniature wargaming by leveraging modern technology. Use a tablet or smartphone to create sound effects for each battle sequence or to keep score. There are apps that simulate cannon fire, marching troops, or the clash of swords, adding an immersive layer to the gameplay. You could also use a simple photo editing app to let kids design their own flags or emblems for their armies. Print them out to use on the game board. These simple steps can make the experience more engaging for your kids

9. Add a Social Element to The Game

Turn tabletop wargaming into a social event for kids. Invite other families who love gaming over for a game night. It's a perfect chance for kids to meet and play together. You can also take your child to local game stores or conventions. These places are ideal for kids to meet fellow young gamers just starting their journey in miniature wargaming

Meet Them Where They Are

Ready to introduce tabletop wargaming to your kids? Use the above tips to make their experience enjoyable and enriching. Each tip is designed to spark curiosity and foster a love for strategic play. From customizing games to their interests to integrating storytelling, these strategies will help your children embrace miniature wargames with enthusiasm

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