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Subject: The Thomson Boys - Dark Days rss

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Playing Catch-up

For those that followed the flow of earlier Session Reports, I apologise for the 5 month delay. This 6th adventure did indeed take place just prior to Easter. However the events that unfolded here combined with the near death of my mother over Easter (she's on the mend now ), conspired to put Hero Quest on the back foot for some time.

In that time Isaac turned 9, Alex 6 and Riley turns 5 next month.

I hope I am able to recapture the flow of those earlier reports...

*******

If you've missed the boy’s earlier adventures through the world of HeroQuest, you can find links to them at the end of this report.

Preparations

Isaac was only 15gp off the Battle Axe, he could almost feel the handle. Alex upgraded his Staff to a Spear (he liked the idea that he could throw it if desperate) and Riley stockpiled his gold.

Isaac (8) - Barbarian (DJ) [Shield]

Alex (6) - Elf (A.K.T - Alex's initials) [Helmet + Spear + Talisman of Lore]

Patty + Riley (4) - Dwarf (Gimli) [Broadsword + Chain Mail]

Alex chose the Earth Spells this time round as he wanted a healing spell and liked the thought of having Rock Skin!

Scenario Background

Legacy of the Orc Warlord - Ulag's foul offspring, Grak, has sworn revenge on those who killed his father. Although it has taken him several months, he has finally tracked you down and captured you in an ambush. Now you are held prisoner in his dungeons while he racks his brains to devise a terrible punishment for you. While the guard sleeps, however, you manage to pick the lock of your cell with an old rat bone. You must find your equipment and escape.

The Timeless Art of Goading

Having been toweled by the boys in the first 5 missions, I was desperate for some carnage. So after reading the above text to set the scene, I conjured my best 'Golem-esque' voice and pretended to be Grak.

"Kills my father wills you...you disgusting little heroes. Now I haves ewes locked up in my magnificents dungeon! I'm going to stick you with rusty spikes I am and cook you over a toasty little fires I am. Time for shish-kababs boys!"

I'm not sure if it was my witty banter or the fact that this was indeed adventure 6, but they were as cocky as heck, sending back witty retorts like, "We're gonna smash you Dad."

All was going well. devil

So you can imagine my disappointment when Isaac (the tank) DJ dispatched the Goblin guard and all 3 boys decided to stick together and head left down the passage...away from danger and towards their equipment! They really were feeling like a Prom Queen without her Prom Dress...semi naked and vulnerable.

As they reached the T-junction they could see a door at either end of the passageway. As luck would have it they chose to go right and in a matter of minutes they were all strapping on their gear and insulting me from across the table.

Divide and Conquer

But there was a change in the wind that day my evil friends. It was almost as if Grak himself had cast a 'magic spell of overconfidence' on the heroes gear.

Alex and Riley went charging back down the passage to investigate the other door. Isaac however, could see that the passageway was a little crowded and decided to head toward the centre of the board...towards Grak's own personal army. He was clever enough to realise that the central room often had huge amounts of treasure, unfortunately he hadn't factored in the risk.

Alex decided to look down the long passage before opening the door and fell into a Pit Trap, he he. Riley opened the door and decided his sword needed to feel some Orcish hide, dispatching it efficiently.

Meanwhile Isaac had reached the door of the central room and made a monumental mistake. Not only had he left his companions some distance away...he had also opened the door with only 2 movement points left!

What greeted him was a room with 4 Orcs, a Fimir and Grak (no ordinary Orc) himself. With a flex of his bicep and a steady stream of trash talking (the boy was learning) DJ entered the fray and proceeded to miss the Fimir completely.


Image Courtesy of ronster0

15 Minutes of Mayhem

Before DJ knew what had happened, my Fimir had inflicted 2 points of damage and one of the Orcs had decided to gently lean on the doorframe blocking any exit.

Isaac soon made the desperate pleas of, 'Hey guys come and help me', and I had to work hard to keep the smirk from my face. Isaac now realised the seriousness of the situation and was able to dispatch the 'door blocking Orc' and get himself outside. He decided to take up a position just beyond the T-Junction, which would allow for his companions to attack at least one of the minions.

Decent movement rolls meant Alex reached the fray in good time but Riley was moving like a true Dwarf. Of course I took this time to pursue Isaac with the Fimir and had another Orc block the central passage. Isaac was cut off and he knew it. The rest of my minions, including Grak, were cued up like consumers at a delicatessen, but all they could do for now was take a number and wait inline.

Isaac found himself down to 4 health before my Fimir was destroyed and Alex found himself with a 2nd Orc on his hands, still blocking his way. Isaac was getting desperate as he knew Grak was ready to enter the battle. He decided to take a risk and lead-foot it around the corner...only to come face to face with another Fimir - this one blocking any exit. Again he swung his sword but only found fresh air (karma was finally coming back to repay me) and Grak sauntered up to the plate with his 4 Attack Dice.

By the end of that attack Isaac's Barbarian was down to 2 health with both the Fimir and Grak still alive. Alex was trying in vein to reach him to use his Healing Spell, but I had back filled the corridor so Isaac was 3 deep in danger.

Life's Lessons

It was at this point that the tears started to well up in Isaac's eyes and suddenly the game became something else. Seeing his brother's emotions, Riley started to call out in a panicked voice, "I'm coming Isaccy, I'm coming".

Like a well worn Hollywood Script, it was Grak that landed the fatal blow. The bone dice showed 3 Skulls and as Isaac's dice rolled over to reveal only 2 Shields, the tears turned to sobs and I had to look away.

Riley reacted instantly with gritted teeth before his tears flowed too he yelled at me, "Hey Dad!"

Isaac was totally distraught and at this point I began to question my 'Dadly' abilities....well for a moment at least.

Alex of course found it all rather amusing I think but had the common sense to be quiet and not say too much.

The game required a slight pause as I went to console Isaac on the couch. He really did love that character and it was showing. I also suspect that this was Isaac feeling his first ever real sense of lose (our family has been lucky in this respect and the boys fairly sheltered).

The game soon continued and Riley put all his anger for his brother's plight into his dice rolls and quickly dispatched of Grak and co with Alex's help.

Shaken though, the boys were in no mood to hang around and they soon found the exit point and fought their way through the guards.

The Highlights

d10-1 Golem Voice - The boys really laughed at my stupid Golem voice and tried a few goes of their own. Isaac was quite good actually.

d10-2 The Emotion - I knew this moment would come but I wasn't quite expecting the depth of feeling Isaac would have. His distress easily lasted 3 hours and I distinctly remember trying to have a joke with him about having better luck next time (this was 2 hours after the game when he seemed more stable) and the tears started all over again.

We had the Dad to Son talk about how sometimes in life things don't go our way. But I was also keen to discuss with him the reasons for his character's demise. I raised the points that he was isolated and overconfident and hopefully he took in those game teaching tips. Time will tell.

To the Gift Shop

As Riley looked through the Item Deck, he came across a certain Battle Axe. He promptly bought it and Isaac soon came rushing out of the lounge room (remember he had been saving for this item for a few Quests).

"Oh no not my Battle Axe," he moaned. He was truly having a bad day.

Alex bought nothing.

The Kill Count

The following numbers denote kills for this scenario. The numbers in brackets are their character's total overall for scenarios so far.

Isaac (DJ - Barbarian)

1 Orc (13)
1 Firmir (5)
1 Goblin (5)
0 Gargoyles (1 including Verag)
0 Chaos Warriors (2 including Gulthor)
0 Skeletons (5)
0 Zombies (4)

Total = 35

Alex (A.K.T. - Elf)

2 Goblins (7)
3 Orcs (10 including Grak)
0 Chaos Warriors (2)
3 Fimirs (5)
0 Mummies (2)
0 Gargoyle (1)

Total = 27

Riley + Patty (Gimli - Dwarf)

3 Orcs (15 including Ulag)
3 Goblins (9)
0 Chaos Warriors (3)
0 Fimirs (4)
0 Mummies (2)
0 Skeleton (3)
0 Zombie (2)

Total = 38

The Fallout

The result of this adventure was that when next I asked if the boys wanted to play, Isaac said no. He held that stance for over 3 months so I stopped asking. It obviously cut him deep (bad father bad father) and I firmly believe in not pushing my boys into anything.

The Present

A few weeks ago Isaac came to me and asked if we could play HeroQuest again. Surprised, I said yeah sure and promised him we'd play in my mid year holidays. With this report finally written up, we are ready to continue the journey...

The Quest Rolls On

Make sure to join the Thomson Boy's next adventure, real soon, as they prepare to take on the Undead in - The Stone Hunter.

Links

Adventure #1 - Blooding a New Generation of AT Gamers

Adventure #2 - The Thomson Boys Save Sir Ragnar

Adventure #3 - The Thomson Boys - Gimli's Comedic Sense of Timing

Adventure #4 - The Thomson Boys Learn HeroQuest Strategy

Adventure #5 - The Thomson Boys - When Heroes Turn to Cowards

Adventure #7 The Thomson Boys - Tanks for the Memories

Adventure #8 - The Thomson Boys - Tricks and Traps

Adventure #9 - The Thomson Boys - A Dwarf goes Mining

Adventure #10 - The Thomson Boys - A Dwarf, an Elf and a Barbarian walk into a Magic Castle...

Adventure #11 - The Thomson Boys - A Dwarven King Departs...

Adventure #12 - The Thomson Boys - Tombstones and Trinkets

Adventure #13 - The Thomson Boys - A Sword to Far?

Adventure #14 - The Thomson Boys - A Light at the End of the Tunnel...(Staaay awaaay from the Liiight)

Links

I have now added all of these sessions to a Geeklist to have them in one place. You can find these and many other Session Reports here :-

Narrative Tales - Legacies and Other Campaigns
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Bill Allen
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Thanks Neil,

It's been a long time between quests! So sorry to here about the demise of DJ, but we know that Isaac's next hero will be even better.

And to the boys, crush your dad next time for DJ! It's what we would have wanted.

Bill
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GeminiWeb wrote:
Thanks Neil,

It's been a long time between quests! So sorry to here about the demise of DJ, but we know that Isaac's next hero will be even better.

And to the boys, crush your dad next time for DJ! It's what we would have wanted.

Bill


Thanks Bill, I hope I'll kill him this time!

Isaac

(Isaac requested the exclamation mark - who said State Education was dead).

Neil
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John N.
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It is so hard to deal with this kind of thing growing up. I know my dad refused to let me win anything. Once I was old enough to start beating him at games (and for him to stop wanting to play against my brother and I as much and just let us kick lumps out of each other at HeroQuest and Buck Rogers: Battle for the 25th Century Game) I really felt that this was my own personal accomplishment. As my 3 year old and 1 year old get older I want to start playing these kind of games against them. I want them to enjoy it, but I hope I never hold back when they rush in to a situation like that. I hope they learn from these inevitable mistakes.

And anyway I think that DJ went the way he would have have wanted to go, in the middle of some serious action, kicking tail and taking names! No other way to go! (I personally love exclamation points way too much!!!)
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Great report, Neil. Reminds me of the days playing HeroQuest as a kid with my sister and father and me as the heroes and my Mum as Morcar.

Hopefully Isaac will learn from his mistakes. Your monsters are going to pay...
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bigfluffylemon wrote:
Great report, Neil. Reminds me of the days playing HeroQuest as a kid with my sister and father and me as the heroes and my Mum as Morcar.

Hopefully Isaac will learn from his mistakes. Your monsters are going to pay...


If playing HQ with your family helped you find your way to BGG well...I'm happy with my parenting. thumbsup

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Sure did

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/29352/item/612906#item...
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Rob
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Good report, Neil. It captures the same emotions my son and his friend were having as I DM'd their quests. This particular quest is probably the nastiest overall. The heroes start out essentially naked, and if they make one wrong turn, and don't stick together, it could be disastrous. In our recent run of it that I DM'd, the heroes took the wrong hallway. They would have been wiped out if I hadn't dropped some hints for them.
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Mark
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Really enjoyed the latest session report, Neil! You do a great job of capturing what it's like to game with kids. Lessons abound!! Your report reminded me of a DnD session I had with my oldest daughter (13) a few days ago. Let me tell you, girls play these things differently than boys, but they still invest EVERYTHING with pieces of themselves. Anyway, her character burst into a crypt and was set upon by two ghouls that I described in as gruesome a way possible. In the course of the fight one ghoul went down. Here's how it went:

Me: The ghoul collapses to the ground with the arrow embedded in its rotten flesh. The other ghoul falls back and crouches down beside it...
Her: Awww. He misses his friend. I go up and give it a hug.
Me (thinking fast): ...crouches down beside it and begins eating its flesh!
Her: Gross!
Me: Still want to give it that hug?


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tim Tim TIm TIM TIMMY!!
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Thanks Neil,

I have been missing my weekly does of adventure reports from the hardy Trio for way to long - thanks for returning to the BGG and making it a much cooler place.

Boys,

Great job, learn from it, stick together when adventuring - everything is easier to kill when your in a group ( like a pack of wild dogs - or a well trained group of elite soldiers ! ).

Issaac - as the oldest you need to be the leader, that means wanting to share the treasure and dividing it up amongst the group by who can make the best use of it in the group ( at least in my opinion ). Remember you new character will be a little weaker then your brothers so you really want to stay together to finish the dungeon and get the most loot as a group. You can always make your new Character DJ's younger brother who wants to avenge his death and the loss to the family.

Thanks guys

Game On'
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John W
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Oh, man what an excellent session report - you really capture the gameplay and player's feelings more than any other writer here.
And your links to the other session reports are a masterstroke.
thumbsup

But about your son's heartbroken reaction to the loss of his character - so much so that he didn't want to play with you for over 3 months....?

I just can't dismiss that as "hardening your child" or "teaching him the tough lessons in life".

He's 8.

I applaud your desire to teach him life lessons - I just can't shake the guess that this may not have been the time or place.

You, of course, are the best judge of that, but at ages 8, 6, and 4, playing a fantasy adventure game, I'd guess that their innocence, imagination, and freespirits should have survived until the oldest was 10 at the earliest....?

I had a thread about this exact subject you may be interested in, if you agonize over your decision, as it sounds like you did.
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/188584
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Noogs wrote:
Really enjoyed the latest session report, Neil! You do a great job of capturing what it's like to game with kids. Lessons abound!! Your report reminded me of a DnD session I had with my oldest daughter (13) a few days ago. Let me tell you, girls play these things differently than boys, but they still invest EVERYTHING with pieces of themselves. Anyway, her character burst into a crypt and was set upon by two ghouls that I described in as gruesome a way possible. In the course of the fight one ghoul went down. Here's how it went:

Me: The ghoul collapses to the ground with the arrow embedded in its rotten flesh. The other ghoul falls back and crouches down beside it...
Her: Awww. He misses his friend. I go up and give it a hug.
Me (thinking fast): ...crouches down beside it and begins eating its flesh!
Her: Gross!
Me: Still want to give it that hug?


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Hendal wrote:
Thanks Neil,

I have been missing my weekly does of adventure reports from the hardy Trio for way to long - thanks for returning to the BGG and making it a much cooler place.

Boys,

Great job, learn from it, stick together when adventuring - everything is easier to kill when your in a group ( like a pack of wild dogs - or a well trained group of elite soldiers ! ).

Issaac - as the oldest you need to be the leader, that means wanting to share the treasure and dividing it up amongst the group by who can make the best use of it in the group ( at least in my opinion ). Remember you new character will be a little weaker then your brothers so you really want to stay together to finish the dungeon and get the most loot as a group. You can always make your new Character DJ's younger brother who wants to avenge his death and the loss to the family.

Thanks guys

Game On'


Dad scrambles for the delete button before Isaac sees it...argh! No freakin' delete button!
 
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reapersaurus wrote:
Oh, man what an excellent session report - you really capture the gameplay and player's feelings more than any other writer here.
And your links to the other session reports are a masterstroke.
thumbsup

But about your son's heartbroken reaction to the loss of his character - so much so that he didn't want to play with you for over 3 months....?

I just can't dismiss that as "hardening your child" or "teaching him the tough lessons in life".

He's 8.


Thanks for the kind words John.

Interesting thread too with many good points. I think I'd counter (not get defensive - things are all very calm on this side of the screen), that my motivation wasn't trying to harden Isaac or teach them life lessons.

I just wanted to play a game as a family and given this was the 6th adventure, I figured I'd take advantage of his overconfidence and position in the game. When he failed though I guess I did try to teach him game lessons and as the upset increased I kicked into 'full parent mode' and used the experience as a lesson in learning to get over loss. But I do think there is a distinction there if that is a consequence, rather than the aim.

reapersaurus wrote:
I applaud your desire to teach him life lessons - I just can't shake the guess that this may not have been the time or place.

You, of course, are the best judge of that, but at ages 8, 6, and 4, playing a fantasy adventure game, I'd guess that their innocence, imagination, and freespirits should have survived until the oldest was 10 at the earliest....?

I had a thread about this exact subject you may be interested in, if you agonize over your decision, as it sounds like you did.
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/188584


You have me a little worried about the innocence thing lasting till 10, but as you say I am the best judge. Isaac can be fragile (emotional) on occasion and he isn't afraid to show that, which is great. But he has a strong bedrock of resilience too. He internalises things deeply and ponders them for some time, which I think is the key reason for the 3 months. I told him 3 days ago we were playing tonight and he's been counting down since. Are you right? - heck maybe you're right.

All I can do is take in your thoughts and process them over time. Parenting is about learning too I guess. I think I have 'good parenting sense' so I'll just keep plodding along until I sense things aren't right.

Time will of course tell, but hopefully I will be able to look back on my family reports on the Geek in 10 years time with fondness.

Please feel free to discuss further if you'd like.
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tim Tim TIm TIM TIMMY!!
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It sounds like you have played games with the boys for a while and you have played them in the last 3 months, just not Heroquest. To me it is about gaming and life in reality. You don't let your son win every game, so why would you let him never die in Heroquest?
Games are about fun, interacting with others, but hopefully also learning things - and I don't feel you learn as much when people shelter you from everything. If he is old enough to play I would think he is old enough to be able to lose a game. It is a game and he has learned that and it took a while to get over it, but that is part of growing up. Sheltering him isn't doing him any good, IMO. I think you did a good thing. Now killing off the 4 year old's hero would be tough one that I would forgo myself. But the younger boys did see their older brothers character killed so they now know it is possible for their to go down the same way, which is them learning about the game and who knows maybe a life's lesson ( in the future they may stick together in real life some time in stead of splitting up when out exploring ). You sat him down and did the fatherly thing and explained it is a game to him, that is all part of parenting and I feel you did a great job. It sounds like you are raising some great kids who will grow up to love games and be able to whoop on their old man in most games - some day .

Great reporting, thanks for sharing, and as always

Game ON'
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Hendal wrote:
Now killing off the 4 year old's hero would be tough one that I would forgo myself. Great reporting, thanks for sharing, and as always

Game ON'


Cheers Tom.

Even if I wanted to I'd have trouble taking on Riley. The dude's got 4 attack and 3 armour - the Dude's a TANK!
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