Adding minigames to your campaigns can be very beneficial. It removes stress from the players and can generate very fun and creative moments everyone will remember.
This, fellow RPG-lovers, is the story of how I started including minigames in my campaigns…
It all started when I was reading the whole Player’s Handbook and I noticed a section called Tools. The PHB showed some kind of “Gaming set” and that intrigued me.
I loved the fact that D&D was an open/sandbox game, but at that time I was still learning and didn’t know exactly how 5e worked so I kept reading and quickly forgot about it.
Later, I had my Players ask me a lot of questions like: “How can I use Weaver’s Tools? can I craft Leather Armor if I buy it?” or “How can I use my playing card set?” and, most of the times, I had to evade the question because I didn’t know the answer.
After reading many blog posts, watching youtube videos and rolling high on my Intelligence checks (to decipher), I finally understood how tools really worked.
And it sucked.
Turns out that tools are just “extra stuff” used to get proficiency bonus when trying to do something related to what the tools are for.
I love to add more creative solutions and different uses for those things.
Some sessions are so fun and memorable that my Players still remember them and keep talking about them when we go out for a meal or something because they all had so much fun (some sessions even happened like 3-5 years ago).
The point of D&D is NOT to follow rules but to HAVE FUN (after all, it’s a roleplaying GAME, right?)
Great Minigames You Can Add
There are many minigames I’ve included in my campaigns. Playtesting is super important, as not everything results as planned.
Some of the minigames I’ve tried are:
- Love Letter
- Three-Dragon Ante
- Rock, Paper, Wizard
- Arm Wrestling
- Chilli-eating contest (insanely fun)
Feel free to add any minigame or “event” to your campaigns, make it fun!
Today, we’ll talk about the first one: Love Letter. In other articles, I’ll be explaining more other mini-games.
Easy, quick & fun!
Love Letter is a very easy & short game, that’s why I love using it in my campaigns. It’s made by AEG (Alderac Entertainment Group) and was designed by Seiji Kanai.
You draw some cards, then you drop one each turn, activating the effect on that card. The point of the game is to have the card with the highest point value at the end of the game in your hand or be the last man standing (cards with higher point value have better effects, so you’re tempted to use them and not save them)
This is a game of risk, deduction, and luck for 2-5 players.
You want to add MINIgames, not games that will take 20 mins to learn and 30 more to play.
Remember you’re playing D&D, you want something fast (we already have to deal with long combats, please no more long and complex mini-games).
As a general rule: if it involves cards and betting, it’s probably a good idea.
There are many editions of this game. The gameplay and rules are the same, they just change the theme:
- Original Edition (fits D&D/Pathfinder perfectly)
- The Hobbit Edition (my personal favorite since I’m running a Middle Earth campaign)
- Lovecraft Edition (spooky!)
- Adventure Time Edition (excellent if you’re playing with kids or like the TV show)
- Archer Edition
- Legend of the Five Rings Edition
- Batman Edition (excellent if you’re playing with kids or love Batman)
The box contains game cards (high-quality cardstock), game rules, reference cards and tokens.
How To Actually Include Them?
As I’ve been saying: make it fun and keep it simple.
Remember you’re still playing D&D. Players (and NPCs) will try to do stuff they wouldn’t normally do, to alter the results. Some examples are:
- The Rogue might try to roll Sleight of Hand to trade cards with another player and cheat (or steal money from the table)
- A Wizard could be using Detect Thoughts spell to know what the other players are going to do in their turn (or know which cards they have)
- Of course, the Barbarian WILL smash the table if he loses (or gets drunk) and start a fight.
Personally, I love to include it after they’ve had a “big fight” or they need money and are in town. The party usually needs money (and for some reason) likes to go to the bar and buy drinks.
That’s the perfect place to set up a minigame! Let the games begin.
Forget about what the PHB says about the Gaming Set
Gaming Set. This item encompasses a wide range of game pieces, including dice and decks of cards (for games such as Three-Dragon Ante). A few common examples appear on the Tools table, but other kinds of gaming sets exist. If you are proficient with a gaming set, you can add your proficiency bonus to ability checks you make to play a game with that set. Each type of gaming set requires a separate proficiency.
If any of your players own a gaming set, let them “duel” another player or NPC to a card game and win money that way. Just be creative and let your PCs try out new things. They will (usually) come out with random but cool ideas you’d never thought of.
Love Letter is a cheap and fast alternative for every DM who wants to try adding minigames. Besides from using it as a minigame for RPG campaigns, you can always play whenever you want to! After all, it’s a board game.
Adding minigames to your campaign will make you shine as a DM. It’s a very unique way to engage with your players, forget 10 minutes about D&D and have awesome and fun moments everybody will remember.