View Full Version : Teaching the game to people in their late fifties and early sixties

2019-06-02, 11:50 PM
Interesting. More fumbling with rules. Less immediate violence. Much confusion over what to do with goblin prisoners. And one person was motivated to learn the game to keep her mind sharp!

2019-06-03, 02:01 AM
Interesting point!
Older newbies are often very different - their increased life experience tends to mean the game can play out quite surprisingly if you've only ever played with people who took it up in their teens.
I introduced my other half to D&D in her twenties: she had some of the usual murderhobo traits from her PC gaming habits, but was a little more likely to try to engage in dialogue with the enemy / NPCs.
Again, later I introduced some other players in their early 30s to D&D, and the levels of diplomacy and trickery instead of violence were striking.

It's almost as if people who have some life experience don't actually like to resort to killing!

I think the d20 system has a little to answer for here: hit points mean that we generally have only one outcome in combat - death. Someone gets killed, NPC or PC, and that's how the confrontation is resolved. It's not that the game doesn't allow other types of play, it just that the majority of the rules steer you towards combat.
Imagine if someone sat down to play a game of chess with you, and their opening move was to engage in negotiations.
Of course, RPGs are played with a GM, so there's an improvisational adaptive element inherent in the game, but I hope you understand my analogy: when you present lots of rules for fighting, you'll tend to get lots of fighting in your game.

2019-06-03, 06:24 AM
I was surprised to find that my tween niece and her mother/my sister were so bloodthirsty in their first game. My father was hamming it up as a wandering minstrel, and I had to keep him from stealing all the spotlight a few times. My mother was terribly worried about doing something 'wrong', which might hurt the team or the game. My brother-in-law was very focused on the mechanics and gaming out the most effective ways to go about things. And my other niece was very shy (and a little unlucky, sadly), and I'm still not entirely certain how I'm going to get her to come out of her shell. Maybe a cute dog...

2019-06-03, 06:37 AM
Having taught D&D to a lot of people across the age spectrum, I find little correlation between age and propensity to violence. My most bloodthirsty player has been a 17-yo girl. My LEAST bloodthirsty player has been a 16-yo male (playing a fighter who would do anything but hit people with his sword).

I do find that my older players tend to be more genre savvy--didn't have to remind them to look for traps or any such thing. In fact, maybe a bit too genre savvy in some places.

I'm curious to see the difference between playing with my siblings (all above 30 years old) and their children (mostly under 12). I'll be running two games at my upcoming family reunion. It turns out someone in every family has been learning to play, something I never thought was likely.

2019-06-03, 09:34 AM
Oh one other thing: we played outdoors in the sunny backyard. No basements here!

2019-06-03, 09:41 AM
Interesting. More fumbling with rules. Less immediate violence. Much confusion over what to do with goblin prisoners. And one person was motivated to learn the game to keep her mind sharp!

Some of the folks I play with are close enough to that. As I get older sometimes I'm a bit grouchier and more particular to.

To ad in suggestions:

Everyone can have this problem but its more likely as we age. Sometimes these character sheets can be a bit crowded for my tastes. If yours is difficult to read when you're in poor light, tired or have some sinus issues, its probably difficult to read if you need glasses.

Make sure to find a good balance between the "rule of cool" and being particular with the rules. As I 'mature' I'm more and more sure I'm right or things should be a certain way.

On the positive side, when medical situations or real life responsibilities don't intervene my older friends are more reliable. Sure us responsible folks may have to miss when we have to bail our grandkid out of jail or have our prostate examined but we also are better at making schedules and getting to bingo night or the game.