Story cont'd from Experiment in Parenting pt 1
It was early Saturday morning as I pack my gear and get things ready to go. I fully recognize that I may have to throw in the towel at some point because my Daughter just isn't having a great time; there is really no telling how this day is going to go. We pack into the car and I get to start off by telling her that our day starts and ends with a nice hour long drive to the venue. I make sure to give her the last chance to back out and not give up one of her school free days watching grown men shout “pew pew” instead of playing with her friends. She declines and is still up for the day with Dad. So I plug the address into the GPS and hand it to her. I inform her that she is in charge of the crazy talking box with a woman trapped inside and they are team responsible for directions like a Comic book Team up. She gives me the “Dad, I haven't a clue what you’re talking about” look or “My Dad is kind of crazy” look; you can pick (I get them both often.) Then she happily starts playing with the GPS checking the directions. I throw her a breakfast bar, turn up the radio and we start putting some miles behind us driving to the event. Now, normally I spend the drive time listening to a 40k podcast, or even going over my new list or the event missions in my head to get into the right mind set of the game. I don’t get to play as often as I would like so it’s nice to go over the rules and game plan prior to getting there. Today though, we laugh, blast music while singing along, and I figure I’ll just wing it.
We arrive at the location and go through the normal routine; I sign in and find someplace to set up my tiny army of heresy killing destruction. Right away it’s interesting that I have a little helper to carry things and set up models; so honestly setting up takes about half the time it normally does. Then we proceed to walk around the store while she looks at the other armies and points to different models while asking me questions. She also inquires about who I know before she wonders off to explore the game store shelves for things that she could possibly convince Dad to buy for her. I watch her run around and, I won’t lie, I am slightly jealous at the wonder of exploring shelves upon shelves of toy like things and games that she has never seen before. The store might as well be a treasure shop to her, and I wonder when the last time I had a similar experience was. I also wonder for a moment if she realizes she has decided to spend the day with a bunch of adults in a toy store playing army men.
Round one Pairings are announced and we do the tourney shuffle. I meet my first round opponent who has Crons and admits to being out the game for a while. I then realize that it’s possible I would run into someone that would protest my Daughter being present for a tourney game. I hadn't really considered that until this moment. I explained she was hanging out with Dad and if that become a problem at any point during the game to please speak up. She then organized and counted out dice and got the play aides all ready to go while I rolled off and deployed. We shook hands and went under way. Not only was it time to play, but it was time to see how this was going to work out with my daughter. Was she going to quickly get bored? Would she ask questions to the point that my opponents complained about the game slowing down? Would they get mad if I had her randomly roll some dice for me? Would this be a day her DS battery died from overuse? By the end of the day, would they ban people under the age of 12 from events?
What actually happened was my daughter had a fantastic day. To my surprise she was interested in every game we played, paying attention to tactics and how some units reacted to others. She grew fond of the Leman Russ battle tank I was testing for the event and would get excited every time it had a chance to shoot and wreak havoc on a squad. I would let her make some dice rolls randomly throughout the day, depending on what was going on. She would roll the wound rolls from the tank, and some saves every now and then for me. At one point, a Dread Knight Deep Str uck in the back field and dropped a flame template on a five man warrior squad, 2’s to wound and she rolled 5 one’s it was pretty funny. It would be a couple turns before she would get a chance to redeem herself since the Dread Knight got tied up in combat. She watched all the games, and between games would talk with me and look at stuff in the store. None of my opponents ever had an issue with her watching or throwing some dice for me from time to time or her being around.
I had planned on throwing in the towel part way through the third round to bounce out early and take my daughter out to a nice sit down place to eat. That wasn't in the cards though. After two rounds I went into round 3 playing for first place, so I would have felt bad walking out on the game and just handing the other guy 1st place. So we played it out and while we lost the final round it was a fun close game. She didn't understand why I wasn't angry that I lost first place, so I suppose it turned into a life lesson of sorts. We packed up and I left without visiting too much with any of the guys since it was getting late. I had the perfect excuse to leave right away in search of some food; plus, to get a head start on the drive home. At this point I had pretty much lost my voice. I spent the day explaining things to my daughter between explaining things to my opponent while playing and it had taken its toll. So we grabbed a burger on the way home while she talked with me about the games and what a great day she had.
I suppose you could say the experiment was a success. However I will most likely have to explain to her why she can't go to Adepticon with me this year. >_<
Results may vary of course, but would love to here the thoughts or any stories from my fellow gaming parents out there or even thoughts from the non parents about spawn tagging along to events or for games.