I recently made up an outdoor kids adventure game that is really fun for most, but could use help with making the game more fun for ALL the kids. I conducted an anonymous survey afterwards and some kids were sad that they didn't get to find the batteries (explained below). My question relates to this. I'm asking it on this site because I couldn't find another more suitable one and it makes me think of the "spot light focus" in D&D where everyone (hopefully) gets a chance to shine.

The game is called Jurassic Spark. I've written up the details with lots of pictures on the Instructable for the game, but I'll summarize here:

Target kid age: 4 to 7 years old.

Scenario: The Jurassic Spark electrified fence has lost power and many dangerous dinosaurs are on the loose. Can our brave explorers (kids) find the high power batteries to energize the fence before it's too late? Watch out for the T-Rex!

There are 3 main roles involved in the game: explorers (kids), small dinosaurs (adults), and the terrifying T-Rex (adult)!

To win: the explorers need to find and return the 6 high power Batteries back to the Power Station to energize the electric fence before the dinosaurs tag all the explorers. Because the kids are young, the dinosaurs (adults) aren't playing to win, just to make it an exciting challenge. The game lasts around 15 to 20 minutes.

Getting tagged: When a dinosaur tags an explorer, the explorer has to freeze and put their arms out like in freeze tag. Frozen explorers are encouraged to yell for assistance "Help! Help! A dino chomped me!" and can be unfrozen by being touched by another free explorer.

Tail stealing: The explorers are not completely defenseless, however. The small dinosaurs have tails that can be stolen and they hate that! "Roar! Who stole my tail!?" Tail lacking dinosaurs must return to the dinosaur pen before they can regrow their tail and return to hunting. I feel that this is a very important part of the game as it brings balance and a whole lot of fun. It also encourages lots of exciting team building as kids will often gang up on a dino to take it down or distract it. Once the electric fence is powered up, dinos that have their tails stolen are trapped in the pen until the game ends (usually only a minute or two).

T-REX: To up the level of excitement, we add a T-Rex wild card into the mix! The T-Rex cannot be stopped and loves chomping on explorers! There's nothing quite like seeing a giant roaring T-Rex head chase or stalk their cute tiny prey :)

We played the game with 20 kids, 6 small dinosaurs, and 1 T-Rex.

Question: How can I make the game more fun for the kids that feel left out because they didn't find a battery? We made a rule that a kid can only return one battery per game, but there are 6 batteries and 20 kids. The older kids tended to find the batteries each game. My gut is telling me that I wouldn't be able to handle a game with 20 batteries.

The part that makes this extra challenging is that the kids are young and I can't make too many complicated rules. We'll add complexity as they grow older with tranquizer guns and stuff like that :)

If you are interested in reading all the survey feedback, it is near the bottom of the instructable.


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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about a 'playground' game (similar to 'Tag' etc) not an RPG or LARP as defined in our help center. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Jun 3 '19 at 19:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ You could certainly call this a rudimentary LARP. More problematic is that it's an "ask for ideas/suggestions" question, which carries with it its own problems in this format. Is there any better place to take this? \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Jun 3 '19 at 19:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden - Not really, but afk now has enough reputation to come chat about it. \$\endgroup\$ – JohnP Jun 3 '19 at 19:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 3 '19 at 20:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @afk Chat is open all the time. You can ping people and they will reply when they get a chance. You can also ask whoever is in the room at the time. This is a cool idea and congrats on making a fun game. But it is really outside our scope unfortunately. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Jun 4 '19 at 4:21

Responding to this in its most general sense, the trick to sharing spotlight well is having a number of players, each who has their own roles. If you have multiple players with the same role, and some are better than others, the ones who are not as good will obviously suffer as far as spotlight is concerned.

For the simplest application to your case, you could split your kid-players up into groups. One group might be the engineers (one per battery, each engineer can bring in one battery), one group could be the hunters (can steal tails) and one might be the medics (can unfreeze other kids by tagging them) or something similar. Then you can tweak as necessary so that no role is getting too much of the spotlight.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you used similar strategies in other similar games? Remember, we don't do idea generation here and answers that aren't supported shouldn't be upvoted. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jun 3 '19 at 20:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ While a good suggestion, I don't think this answers the base need of the youngers to be the ones that find the battery. Kids that age won't see the support roles as a spotlight, they know that batteries = winning, so they all want to be the batteries. The older kids might understand the support roles, but not the 4ish ones. \$\endgroup\$ – JohnP Jun 3 '19 at 20:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JohnP Speaking for myself, when I was a kid I would have wanted to be a hunter more than an engineer, so I don't think your comment applies to everyone. But that just highlights why we like our answers backed up with experience. \$\endgroup\$ – GreySage Jun 3 '19 at 20:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GreySage - My observation comes from teaching tiny tigers in martial arts and watching my 3 and 4.5 year olds play. Now that my appeal to authority is done, I agree, all kids are different in their pursuits (Pun intended). \$\endgroup\$ – JohnP Jun 3 '19 at 20:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch This is mostly tryign to answer this as a "how do I handle spotlight issues at my (expanded) RPG table, where some of my players are more effective than other players?" "Make sure people have their own distinct roles that aren't being stepped on by other people's roles" is pretty much a generally accepted technique for that one at this point, in the same way that Session 0 and the Same Page tool are. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Jun 3 '19 at 20:41

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