Short anecdote: today I spoke to several of the students who had taken home rules to read and digest. The most confident of those was one of the older boys who had claimed the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and DM’s Screen. I asked him how it was going:
“There’s a lot of words in those books and I think I’d like to find something with less words.”
This made me smile. I did mention that I would soon have another Starter Set if that would be more useful, a comment that was met with a nod and smile. But the key reflection we shared was how much the book had grown since 1981. This was a reference to the Basic D&D (1981) book I have been running at the school club.
On reflection, it’s curious to note that most teens seem to cherish the large colourful D&D rulebooks and pore over them. I’ve tended to assume this was a sign that Wizards had designed a game that teens can access. That’s certainly the case via the Starter Sets. But it was curious to remember that not all teens (much as with adults) have the same needs or interests. Like me, this lad seems to prefer brevity.
More than that, however, I noted that page count notwithstanding, this chap wants to learn to play on his own terms. Like me at that age, he doesn’t want help to learn the game. He wants a different means of access. It reinforces my view that the best way to introduce young people is to demo them a session or two, give them a product they are interested in playing, and then getting out of their way.
Anyway, I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds modern D&D too wordy.