Playing with Youngers: Anachronism Stew

Honestly, Shipwright has SOOO many great pieces of art I could’ve chosen for this.

What genre tropes are there to break when your younger players have no sense of genre?

None. None tropes.

It’s like when you were young, playing with a Batman action figure and then some other kid brings a G.I. Joe. Or a Transformer.

What’re you gonna tell them? No?

Have fun playing alone.

YES! Bring your Hot Wheels and your dinosaurs! I’ll bring my Ninja Turtle! He’s the orange one with the nunchucks who makes all those jokes and eats all that pizza and…

I have a feeling that some *refined* gamers scoff at this idea.


This is my tone: ADVENTURE.

Kids want anything cool, neat, or interesting that gets the blood pumping. It all fits.

Anachronism Stew (warning: TVTropes!): combining elements from genres or time-periods in ways that warrant no justification apart from “it’s awesome!”

So many great kids shows and movies do it. Here’s a roster:

Characters of The LEGO® Movie 2 star in new DFS Winter Sale campaign -
Unikitty, Superman, Pirate Robot, Construction Worker, Cool Girl, Spaceman
Adventure Time (2010) — Art of the Title
TVs, Penguins, Wizards, Candypeople, Vampires with Bass Guitars, Treehouses, Sleeping Bags, Swords
Shrek Character Blitz Quiz - By Thebiguglyalien
All sorts of fairy tales that are virtually incompatible…

The RPG that gets this right and does it VERY WELL? Electric Bastionland, of course.

“Everything is here.” That means everything has a place.

  • Any “civilized” inhabitant? The city of Bastion.
  • Creepy dwellers below the earth? The Underground.
  • Anything from fantasy or the past? Deep Country.
  • Anything from sci-fi or the future? The Living Stars.

But also, there’s bleed-over. People, Mockeries, Aliens, Machines, Monstrosities can be found all over the place and in any place.

Any good idea can be placed in Bastionland. Batman? G.I. Joe? Transformers?

You’re thinking about it, aren’t you?

Samurai Warrior Batman | Fan art batman, Arte batman, Super heroi
This is how I’d do it.

Game Masters should be all over this. If you’re having problems coming up with material for your game, the solution is simple: Watch a movie. Read a book. Browse TVTropes. Learn more about characters and worlds that do or do not exist. Then bend it to give it place in Fantasyland (the proverbial “non-setting” of all games of imagination). Pursue adventure!

Make it awesome, not accurate.

Drawing dinosaurs - Nosy Crow
“Tyrannosaurs in F-14s!” I love Calvin.

And the scoffers? The loners on the forums? Without a regular game? “Haven’t got the right group together?” Give them an action figure.

‘Tis the season, after all.

“This one is named Chewbacca. He can’t really talk, but he’s got a cool blaster. His best friend is Han Solo! He can drive Millenium Falcon and he’s super strong and…”

7 thoughts on “Playing with Youngers: Anachronism Stew

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