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Subject: Kids and BGG.CON rss

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Rob
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Can someone give me an estimate of how many kids attended (12 - 18YO)? And was it a "kid-friendly" con?
 
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Chaddyboy
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I'd say I saw 5 to maybe 10 kids at the con, so there aren't a whole lot of them there. It's pretty kid friendly, but of course it depends on the group and what's being played (1000 blank white cards was not kid friendly).
 
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james napoli
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i think i saw 3. One who was likely 13 or so and seemed like a good gamer(i played a game or two he was involved in). The other i would guess to be a bit younger and seemed to have a good time, but also didnt seem to be fitting in as much.

I would say if you have a teenager that's somewhat outgoing and mature they would have no problem fitting in. There wasn't much profanity or really adult 'themes' that would be bad for the youngin's, if that's ur concern.

 
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CHAPEL
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I have to say, I cuss like an old sailor( cause i am one ) When I game, it tends to slip out. So i'm not sure how your sensibilities would take that for your children. If not, everyone was friendly, and not out of control. I would take my older children if i had them.
 
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Jon
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I wouldn't take my kids to a non-family-centric gaming con. Not only because of the adult humor/language, but also because I wouldn't want other gamers to be uncomfortable. Regardless of how smart or mature your kid is, when you sit down to play a game with a bunch of strangers, one of them will be thinking, "oh, great, a kid in the game." They may be uncomfortably censoring themselves, or expecting the kid's gameply to be sub-par. And I wouldn't want to take away any enjoyment for anyone else at the con.

Kids also have difficulty understanding that grown-ups don't see them as peers. It might be entertaining when a respected adult stands up, screams at everyone in the room, or makes a joke taunting someone. However, a kid (and by kid, I include pretty much anyone under age ... oh, I dunno, 20?) doing so is usually embarrassing (for everyone) and inappropriate. There's a level of maturity and degree of social grace necessary to do something like that, and kids usually don't understand that. They see Mr. Comedian Popular Gamer Guy pull it off, get a big laugh, and they think if they do it, they'll be cool, too. And they're not.

The bottom line is kids aren't expected to be at adult-oriented gatherings, and they can bring down the fun level for everyone, even those they don't play games with. I'm not going to take the chance that my kid will be the one to even slightly diminish the good times anyone else would have at a game con.

But that's just my take on it. If I were to take my kids to a game gathering, Rule #1 would be they go back to their hotel rooms at 6pm, and let the adults have their time in the evenings.
 
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John Lopez
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AnakinOU wrote:
I wouldn't take my kids to a non-family-centric gaming con. Not only because of the adult humor/language, but also because I wouldn't want other gamers to be uncomfortable. Regardless of how smart or mature your kid is, when you sit down to play a game with a bunch of strangers, one of them will be thinking, "oh, great, a kid in the game." They may be uncomfortably censoring themselves, or expecting the kid's gameply to be sub-par. And I wouldn't want to take away any enjoyment for anyone else at the con.

Kids also have difficulty understanding that grown-ups don't see them as peers. It might be entertaining when a respected adult stands up, screams at everyone in the room, or makes a joke taunting someone. However, a kid (and by kid, I include pretty much anyone under age ... oh, I dunno, 20?) doing so is usually embarrassing (for everyone) and inappropriate. There's a level of maturity and degree of social grace necessary to do something like that, and kids usually don't understand that. They see Mr. Comedian Popular Gamer Guy pull it off, get a big laugh, and they think if they do it, they'll be cool, too. And they're not.

The bottom line is kids aren't expected to be at adult-oriented gatherings, and they can bring down the fun level for everyone, even those they don't play games with. I'm not going to take the chance that my kid will be the one to even slightly diminish the good times anyone else would have at a game con.

But that's just my take on it. If I were to take my kids to a game gathering, Rule #1 would be they go back to their hotel rooms at 6pm, and let the adults have their time in the evenings.


Were you at the con? If so, this is your chance to bring your complain to me directly. I brought my son, who is 13 in a few days. This was his second year at BGG. Last year he got "rave reviews" from those who played so we let the rope out a bit more and allowed him more freedom. At the CON itself the only comments I got was "your kid is sharp" and similar. The closest to a complaint I got was a player of Shadows over Camelot who apparently was on the losing side of his traitor skills... and that was more a ribbing than anything.

He sure wasn't back at the room by six though: he played a 1AM Werewolf game and we played Descent until 4AM the next night. He did get today off from school to recover

As far as language and such goes, even when Kevin wasn't in the room I never found it to be a problem. And when he was in the room, I didn't notice any self censoring (i.e., the same amount of exclamations of bad luck or poor tactics were heard.) Considering what he hears on the playground at school, BGG was a church event. As far as Dirk goes, he thought he was pretty cool. Something tells me the random explosions of amusing expletives didn't bother him at all.

 
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Darlene Lopez
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There were only really 3 kids that I know of during the con. Our son was there, he's nearly 13. There was a young lady probably around 14 or 15 who played a lot of 2 player games with her dad. One young man probably around 15 or 16 who came in place of someone else (we crossed out the first name on his badge and library card to match his). Other than that, there were a few of the 17 and 18 year olds on Saturday that I saw, but I'm not sure that they classify as kids anymore.

The age limit is 12 at the con, and I think that is reasonable given that most kids (not all mind you) are not prepared for that amount of people in one location and that amount of game play. Overall I don't believe that most kids would enjoy the con. It is all game play all the time.

Last year, my son was the only kid and I stayed on top of him like a hawk, but he was well behaved so we gave him more freedom this year. He played many games without us and appeared to do very well. He loves games and stayed up both Friday and Saturday night until way past midnight playing games (he of course slept 14 hours last night after we got home). I wouldn't have been able to do the same thing with any of his cousins, including the ones that are 15 and 16. They would just have been bored, or annoying to others.

Our son knows that any bad report he gets pulled from the con and has to spend his time in the hotel room with me doing schoolwork, so he has a really good motivation to be good. But I'm not sure that would work for all kids.

As for the swearing like a sailor, our son didn't seem to encounter too much of that, his only complaint (and it was a mild one) was that he was teased for being bisexual when he ended up playing a female character in a game (it's a touchy issue for him, due to several friends he has). But I was thrilled that was his only complaint and it gave us a chance to talk about teasing.
 
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Darlene Lopez
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Melissa
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I'm interested in the other kind of kids at BGG.con - the ones that didn't attend.

We're hoping to make it in 2 years' time, which will mean we have a 5 and a 10 year old with us. Now, I understand that they won't be allowed to attend the con, and I don't have a problem with that (Biggie might, but that's her problem devil ). That means that my husband and I will have to tag team through the day, or (and I would seriously consider this, although it would add another couple of thousand bucks to the not inconsiderable cost of attending) fly my sister-in-law over with us to mind the girls.

Did many (any?) people have partners and children in tow? Were there any unofficial kiddie outings for the non-gamers (or the parents who drew the non-gaming short straw)?

I realise I am being a bit pre-emptive, but I thought I should ask now, while people remember
 
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Melissa, it would be extremely hard to tag team the con. Believe me, when you're there your every waking thought is consumed with playing games, finding people to play games, talking to people about playing games, and talking to people about people who play games.

Unless it is to go find food it is nearly impossible to drag yourself out of the con while you have an ounce of stamina left. Some people left the site to eat dinner, I don't know how they did it. On Saturday I had a philly cheese steak sandwich for breakfast, lunch, and dinner merely because it was quick, palatable, and open late. I begrudged every second I spent chewing. I swallowed my last bite on the escalator on the way back up to the con.

Time has very little meaning in the con except that there is less of it than you think there is. At the conclusion of one werewolf game somebody asked "what time is it?" somebody answered "It can't be past 12:30" I looked at my cell phone, it was 2:01 AM.

And if you think we'd let you come all the way from Australia without playing werewolf with us into the wee hours you're sadly mistaken.
 
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mdp4828 wrote:
Time has very little meaning in the con except that there is less of it than you think there is.


this is so true. and sleep is the enemy, the vile slave master of the soul....
 
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Jon
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Godeke wrote:
Were you at the con? If so, this is your chance to bring your complain to me directly. I brought my son, who is 13 in a few days.


Yeah, I was there, and I didn't have any complaints at all. I even played games with a couple under-18-year-olds. I just understand that some people (especially those gamers who don't have kids and don't know how to interact with them) might be uncomfortable with children around. I want everyone to enjoy themselves. I know how great a family-centric game gathering can be for everyone, so if I'm taking my kids to a game con, it will be one of those.

But my kids at 4 and 1, so it'll be a while.

I didn't mean to sound critical of anyone who took their children to the con. I'm sorry if it came across that way.
 
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I had this big ole reply typed out, trying to be respectful of all parties involved, and then about three paragraphs in I said, "Ah, screw it," and deleted the whole thing.

If you want to bring your kid, bring 'em. People will deal with it. If your kid won't be insanely bored playing a bunch of board games with people much older than him or her, then go for it. And of course you know your own child - if he needs to take a dose of Ritalin that made the doctor say, "Wow, I've never seen anyone take that much... and live!" just to make it through a school day, then please don't bring him. An organized game convention is probably not his cup of tea.

But before you do, I'd simply ask one question: How would you like it to be handled if your son/daughter is not welcome in a particular group? If you, the parent, are in a group where you're not welcome or liked, there are certain body language and social cues that you can (hopefully) pick up on that will make you either change your behavior, or move to another table. I am pretty sure that most kids (by this, I mean those under the age of 16-17 - it has to do with the development of abstract thinking skills that simply does not occur until that age) will NOT pick up on this social undertone. So if it happens, and your kid is driving some group of Eurogamers nuts, how should the adults handle it? Just deal with it? Ask him to leave? Find you and tattle? If you can comfortably answer this question, and you know that you can deal with it if it occurs, then I think your child should come.

And if there's any question that your child might be making a nuisance of him/herself, please, find him and deal with it. Don't leave it to the rest of us adults to do it for you.

I am speaking here from experience at other Cons, not at BGG.Con, where I don't think there was any problem at all. So Mr., Mrs., and Youthful Goedeke, don't come find me and Tee-Pee my house.

Now see, I went and typed out a big ole long reply anyway. It's an illness I think.
 
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John Lopez
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MUKid wrote:
If your kid won't be insanely bored playing a bunch of board games with people much older than him or her, then go for it.


I would say that he is a bit of an exception compared to most kids. He gets along better with adults than kids his own age. He has most of the popular Euros under his belt with descent strategy. He withstood the rules explanation of Magic Realm at the con and then played along with the other crazies willing to commit the necessary hours, and then stayed up till 4 AM playing Descent.

I suspect there aren't a lot of kids like him though.

 
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CHAPEL
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Some kids are great. Some kids are fun to play games with. Some are very mature for their age.

I still vote NO KIDS at BGG.CON.
 
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mdp4828 wrote:
Melissa, it would be extremely hard to tag team the con. Believe me, when you're there your every waking thought is consumed with playing games...

I would have said the same thing back in the day (when I came to cons without kids), but having done a con with kids in tow (but not allowed into the main ballroom), I found out that it worked just fine.

At the last Gathering, we did the tag team parenting thing and it worked like a charm. Breakfast as a family, then I took the kids off for a few hours while my wife gamed. Then we switched for the afternoon. Dinner as a family. A little swimming. Bed. And I went down for the late-night rounds.

I think that the first two, three, or four years of my convention life I might not have been able to manage that (had to game all the time). But nowadays, with a different mindset, it's no big deal to miss 75% of what's going on. After all, 25% of a gaming con is still thousands and thousands of times more gaming than I get the rest of the year.
 
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Ed Rozmiarek
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MWChapel wrote:
I still vote NO KIDS at BGG.CON.


Thanks for trying to keep Susan and me at home again next year Mike.
 
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Ed Rozmiarek
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Wife_of_Godeke wrote:
Last year, my son was the only kid


Not true. There were others, including our eldest who was 12 at the time. Given that he was about 5'8" at the time (and pushing 6 foot now at 13), he looks older than he is.
 
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Not all kids are made equal, and some of them can be a real nuisance. Fortunately, most parents that came to BGG.con had taught their kids how to act around adults, and were not an issue at all. Godeke's kid seemed as mature as most adults.

Thus, I'm all for allowing relatively grown up kids in, as long as they play with, or very near, their parents.

 
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Lynette
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I had a great time this year.

Speaking as a childless gamer... The kids I saw at BBG this time were fine. The kid with the cat was very cute and well mannered. There were even younger kids at GameStorm and that was also fine, but did pose a few problems for those impaitent with teaching a ~10 or 11 year old the rules to "Shadows over Camelot"... however she played it well after she learned it, and played the game several more times that weekend and I heard she got fairly good at it.

As for some of the objections posted already...The occasional explicitive is fine, I toss out a sh*t or two myself every so often. However if having kids around keeps adults from feeling free to throw temper tantums and cuss a blue streak at the top of their lungs... that is fine with me. As an adult I may be able to handle grown ups acting like spoiled kids, but trust me that dimishes my enjoyment of an event far more than dealing with actual children. There was a bad tempered jerk at Gamestorm who really did detract from the event with his childish behavior several times. Even from across the room he managed to spoil parts of the day for many people.

So my 2 cents is that for this type of event, 12 yrs old and up is a fine rule.

But for those of you objecting to even 15-18 year olds I have a question, how are we supposed to intice the next generation into gaming if we ban them from events like this until they are drinking age???

As for the people with little children, I have a suggestion, for Sci-Fi Cons my friends with small children often "pool" kids and money to hire a local accredited nanny for 8-10 hours/day. She can usually handle 3-6 kids at a time in the room. I have with this in the past by getting an adjoing room with my friends so the "Kids" room would be large enough for two groups of play. They bring DVD players and videos and toys etc. and get a room with a fridge so they can keep lots of snacks on hand.

Plus you then have 4-6 adults to tag team the late nights and early morning hours.

This has worked wonderfully well for Sci-Fi Cons. Which are just as packed with stuff to do and also have room parties and Werewolf until the wee hours.
 
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Randy Cox wrote:
I think that the first two, three, or four years of my convention life I might not have been able to manage that (had to game all the time). But nowadays, with a different mindset, it's no big deal to miss 75% of what's going on. After all, 25% of a gaming con is still thousands and thousands of times more gaming than I get the rest of the year.


I laughed out loud when I read that Randy.

I think Jay's completely right, which is why it's so hard for us, the organizers to make policy.
 
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Making a policy must be really hard, and I empathize. I think you've done quite well so far.

Jay is very right, and his question is an important one for any parent to answer that's considering bringing their child to this con (and hopefully any other one). But I think that's not the complete picture either. The reality is that most of us socially polite people probably would NOT attempt to discourage a kid from playing even if we'd really rather they not, nor would we "tattle" on a kid that was being a nuisance unless it was pretty extreme. I know it's not in my nature to be That Guy(tm). But at the same time, I can't pretend that it wouldn't significantly and negatively affect my enjoyment of the con.

Of course this is my own personal opinion and bias, although it seems evident that I'm not alone. Ultimately it's up to the people running the con to decide what kind of con they want to run. Opening it up to more and younger children would radically change the feel of the con, and to me at least, that would be a sad loss since the current feel is so nearly perfect. Some parents feel left out of the wonderfulness of BGG.con because they can't bring their younger children - but they need to realize that it is impossible for them to experience BGG.con, as it currently stands, with their children because being able to bring them would fundamentally change what the BGG.con experience is.

For what it's worth, I think that the current policy is pretty sound. By not making it overtly "child-friendly" and having a reasonable age limit, it helps ensure that any younger attendees are gamers first and kids second. For this con, associated as it is with the premiere gaming community in the world, it seems to me that this is the right balance to strike.
 
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I love my kids. I love playing games with my kids.

But playing games with mine or anyone else's kids is not why I spend a third to half a $K to attend a con.
 
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Hello, I'm 17 years old and I attended the convention both years, just incase you needed to clarify. I have alot of fun at this particular convention, and I got to know some people. laugh
 
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