An adventuresome TTRPG for kids that centers social-emotional learning & wellness.
For some time now, we've been hard at work on a game aimed at kids who want to get into the TTRPG action. Originally named Venture Village, this project focuses on building social and emotional wellness, encouraging kids to problem-solve together and avoid initiating combat in order to solve problems. Earlier this month, just as we were preparing to go live with this project on Kickstarter, our amazing team of game designers and therapists had a creative breakthrough about the kind of story this game was telling, and we couldn't be more excited to now be bringing this project to gamers and storytellers of all ages in Fall of 2022.
Head down to Venture Village. Here, you are an animal in a world of animals. Go to school, help around town, and have fun adventures with your friends, embarking on adventures that encourage you to hone social-emotional skills such as problem-solving, flexibility, cooperation, and communication.
Social-Emotional Learning is a significant area of focus for this game. Defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), social-emotional learning is the acquisition and application of knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to develop healthy inter- and intra-personal identities. Within SEL, there are four large areas we have chosen to focus on in our approach to connect game play to therapeutic and educational practices, explained briefly below:
Communication – effectively providing and understanding language in order to understand and be understood.
Emotional Wellness – identifying and managing emotions in order to successfully and healthfully cope, cooperate, and communicate.
Social Awareness – acknowledging the presence and role of teamwork and collaboration, knowing how your decisions impact others and acting/ reacting accordingly.
Personal Strengths – acknowledging and celebrating the traits, skills, and abilities you possess and using them to contribute to situations.
Venture Society development got underway at the beginning of the COVID lockdown in March 2020. It uses 9th Level's polymorph system which is great for simple narrative gameplay. Since the polymorph system focuses on HOW you solve your problems we felt it was the perfect system to address HOW children deal with stressful, social or emotional issues. The boxed game will come with a guidebook for educators, therapists and parents to run the game for their groups. One of the foundations of the game is that each adventure will be less than 45 minutes and there will be at least one non-dice rolling encounter: a physical jigsaw puzzle, a maze, a coloring page, co-operative word search, etc. This will bring the players back to the table and allow educators, therapists and parents to insert specific lesson plans or activities of their own.
Meet the team!
Dr. Brian Quinones, EdD, is a licensed professional counselor who received his doctorate in Counseling Psychology and Argosy University. He uses an integrative gameplay approach to help individuals find healthier ways to think, feel, and behave in their daily life. Owner of Gaming Approaches Towards Education, LLC, Brian developed our approach to Venture Village and is working on the Therapist's Guide for the game.
Timothy Grant is a consultant at Gaming Approaches Towards Education (GATE) focusing on games, their mechanics, and how to use them in therapy. Timothy helps run groups in a two-facilitator model with a licensed professional, using games as a tool for therapeutic change. Timothy is heading up the design team to ensure the game flows well, is easy for inexperienced game masters and is overall fun for the players involved.
Erin Gilbert teaches 4th Grade in Connecticut. She is also a Co-Director and the Teacher Consultant for Youth Programs for the Central CT Writing Project, through which she has presented both nationally and internationally on the importance of creativity, choice, and permission in writing instruction. Erin is serving as the Education Consultant for Venture Village and also jumping into some of the writing elements, as well.
Heather O'Neill is the CEO of 9th Level Games, Managing Director of UNPUB (The Unpublished Games Network) and a game designer. As part of this design team, Heather is also acting as the project manager and offering insights on production, marketing, theme and ensuring this game is fun for all who play.
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