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YOUNGSTERS IN PBM

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WHO PLAYS OUR GAMES?

For the most part our games are aimed at grown-ups. Surveys have generally shown our players to be mostly clerical and professional workkers, and students. The age range has gone up over the years (we've got some games that have been in continuous play for nearly twenty years, so some of us aren't as young as we were).

That doesn't mean they can't be played by youngsters. We aren't addressing adult themes that make them unsuitable for kids: it's just that our games are usually too challenging for most grown-ups, let alone youngsters.

WHAT AGE DO YOU NEED TO BE?

We've had players as young as eleven or twelve play our games successfully. In most cases we think the younger players have been getting plenty of support (or supervision) from parents or older siblings. And they're probably not paying their own turnfees. It's more usual that our players start to arrive in their later teens, or later.

Then again, if youngsters are interested in this sort of game then here's something that's good as a shared activity. We can't claim our games are educational, but they do involve a fair amount of thought and effort, learning to plan, think ahead and make decisions. Some involve negotiating with other players. In almost all you'll need to be able to look at situations from someone else's point of view.

Players in postal games do not usually meet each other. Games are structured so that you don't need to get together. The only problem we've ever heard of in PBM games is people behaving badly when they lose, and that's rare. People like that usually prefer computer games where winning is easier.

GAMES FOR KIDS

There are other companies that have football games (in particular) designed specifically for youngster players. These games usually have lost of detail but not much strategy or skill. They're genuine "kids games" that are about imagination rather than tactics (they're about stimulating imaginations and dreaming about being a football manager, not about understanding what football managers actually do and why they make the decisions they do).

Our games are suitable when they're ready to move beyond that.

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