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Hoplomachus: Origins» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Firstgradeicus Maximus (or playing Hoplo with a 6-year Old) rss

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Andrew Kluessendorf
United States
Waukesha
Wisconsin
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... that God loves us and wants us to be happy. -Benjamin Franklin-
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While I bought Hoplomachus to play with my friends, my 6-year old son Max saw it set up and us playing and expressed an interest in playing it – and even got the name “Hoplomachus” correct. We have a pretty big selection of kids’ games at home, yet I’m always excited to introduce him to some more grown-up games.

Hoplomachus is a surprisingly easy game to play with children. The symbols and colors on the chips for Health, Attack Range and Movement Range are very easy for most kids to understand. Plus it is easy for them to determine the basic attack dice to use – and as a bonus, it is really easy for them to determine that an “H” is a hit on the dice. The difficulty is of course using Tactics – since it requires a fair amount of reading to be able to understand what they do, let alone use them. So for our first game, I decided that we would skip the tactics and just focus on moving and fighting – and isn’t that what a 6-year old wants from a gladiatorial game anyway?

I own Hoplomachus: The Lost Cities, Rise of Rome and Origins – but for our introductory play, I decided Origins with its smaller maps was a good choice. Next was choosing units – but rather than drafting units, I decided we would have a fight between the basic 4 units of Pompeii vs the 4 basic units of Atlantis. The primary reason I choose these factions to fight each other was that they do not include a Tactician unit type (and I’ve already talked about why we were skipping tactics due to the whole “reading” thing at the moment). I chose the Xanadu map and we took turns deploying our four units to the four available staring spaces.

Let the Games Begin!

Max wanted my Atlantian forces to go first, so my spearmen closed the distance and attacked his Pompeii forces. He swiftly moved up his attackers and took the fight to my spearmen. He also made good use of his javelineer (archer) to stay out of combat but to attack my troops. The game swung back and forth and ended up with my Centurion and his Retainer (both defenders) battling it out in the middle of the arena. And in the end he was able to out-roll me for the win.

I thought the game was a great way to help teach about the variable attack ranges, movement and looking at the attack dice and the basic probability of hitting based on the dice. He might not understand probability, but he understands that the black die with 5 “H”s is better than the yellow die with 2 “H”s. In all our game took about 5 minutes to explain and about 10 minutes to play. And here’s a picture of the happy winner!



We switched sides and played again, but this time I rolled unbelievable well – including getting hits on all three dice rolled, twice. Needless to say there was more table pounding and not as happy a face as I defeated all four of his gladiators and only lost one in return. But I decided not to take a picture of that face!

In conclusion, not only is this a fun game to play with adults, or solo, but is also a fun game to play with kids – including the opportunity to expand the rules as they mature.

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Sakari Laiho
Finland
Tampere
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I've also played Hoplo with my 5 year old. He did not want to play big long playing time mats, but smaller were good. Also most fun was when we played with Cf-gladiators and I told every unit "skills". 5 units vs 5 units is maybe best.
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fortheloveofdice
Canada
Toronto
ON
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I should bookmark this to show my friends when I want to play with their kids in a few years - or to convince them to play with their kids!
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Andrew Kluessendorf
United States
Waukesha
Wisconsin
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A nice bonus is that the pieces are heavy-duty poker chips - so there isn't a lot that a kid can do to damage them. And even if a kid managed to chip one / break one or accidentally damage a label, Chip Theory Games has a pretty nice replacement policy in which they will replace up to 2 chips for $2.50. So no need to worry about the kids hurting the game!
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Josh Wielgus
United States
Wisconsin
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This is the BEST. Thank you for spreading Hoplo to the young masses!
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