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Age range?

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Noobienoob
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Hallo!
I would like to ask about the recommended age range for games. Is there any legislation about ranges? For example, how can I decide if my game is for 15+ or 17+ or 18+?

Thank you!

-Eberhardt-
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Great Question

I am unsure, but if you get a answer I'd love to know.

For one of my concepts (Splat) I used play-testing with various ages. I found that those under 8 years old had a harder time understanding the game, even though they enjoy playing it, then children that were 8 years old or older.

I am trying to refine the game now to make it more pictorial in nature to bring the 6 & 7 year-old children back into the game.

IcePeddlerGames
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I found nothing specifically

I found nothing specifically for tabletop games in the USA. There are a couple of rating systems you could use as guides, however. Hope this helps!

http://www.esrb.org/ratings/ratings_guide.jsp

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board breaks it down this way (My comments in parenthesis):

Rating Categories
EC games EARLY CHILDHOOD
Content is intended for young children.
(The games I've seen with this rating are usually developmental games - learning colors, counting, etc. Very early fundamentals)

E-rated games EVERYONE
Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
(When they say minimal they mean it, as in non-existent from what I've seen. These games focus a lot more on entertainment than education)

esrb ratings symbol for e10 games EVERYONE 10+
Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.

T-rated games TEEN
Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.

MATURE
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

ADULTS ONLY
Content suitable only for adults ages 18 and up. May include prolonged scenes of intense violence, graphic sexual content and/or gambling with real currency. (I've never seen a game get this rating for violence, unless it was some sort of sexual violence)

Then we have Motion Picture Ratings:

http://www.mpaa.org/film-ratings/

G - Nothing that would offend Parents or Viewing Children

PG - Parents use guidance may contain some material parents may not like for viewing children

PG-13 - Parents use caution; may be inappropriate for anyone under 13

R - Contains adult material; parents need to learn about the film before taking their children with them

NC-17 - Adults Only

South Korea has this guide in place:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_Rating_Board

All: Games that everyone can play.
The content of the game offers educational, or cultivating moral character and sentiments for children
The content of the game has no representation of anti-societal idea distortion or profanity of religion and public morals that harm children emotionally and physically
The content and motif of the game have no representation of obscenity, violence, or reproduction of gambling spirit that harms children at all

12-year +: Games that children under the age of 12 cannot play unless accompanied by an adult.
The content of the game has no representation of anti-societal idea, distortion or profanity of religion and public morals that would be harmful to children under 12 emotionally and physically
The content and motif of the game has no representation of obscenity, violence, reproduction of gambling spirit that would be harmful to children under 12 (slight level of sexuality, violence, improper language(expletives), etc.)

15-year +: Games that children and teenagers under the age of 15 cannot play unless accompanied by an adult.
The content of the game has no representation of anti-societal idea, distortion or profanity of religion and public morals that would be harmful to children under 15 emotionally and physically
The content and motif of the game have no representation of obscenity, violence, speculation, etc. that would be harmful to children under 15(indirect and restricted representation of sexuality, violence, improper language(expletives) and low level of reproduction of gambling spirit (arousing of passion for excessive use of gaming money, or dependence on one's luck)

Teenager and children restricted: Games that teenagers and children (under 18) cannot play.
The content of the game has representations of anti-societal idea, religion and public morals that would be harmful to children under 18 emotionally and physically.
The content and motif of the game have representations of obscenity, violence, speculation, etc. that would be harmful to children under 18 (direct and concrete graphical representation of sexuality, violence, improper language(expletives), reproduction of gambling spirit (existence of arousing of passion of excessive use of gaming money, or dependence on one's luck, but no real gaining or loss of one's asset).

DifferentName
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Anecdotes

I think the rating on board games is generally just the age that you expect kids to be capable of playing the game. I've got some relatively simple family games that are 8+, like King of Tokyo, and Escape. This seems to be an age where kids are better at following directions. (I played Escape with a 6 or 7 year old that fully understood the rules, but we had to watch him like a hawk to stop him from cheating).

As games rise in complexity, the recommended age works it's way up to 14+. I don't see anything past that unless it has adult content, like cards against humanity at 17+ (maybe to match an R rating?). I don't think I've noticed any games with a 15+ or 16+.

anonymousmagic
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https://www.thegamecrafter.co

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/help/can-i-make-games-for-kids-

Games for children below 12 in the USA need expensive testing.
Don't list any ages below twelve unless you've had those tests done.

Some games might be eligible for a waiver, but you'll have to read the rules in detail to figure it all out.

Soulfinger
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anonymousmagic wrote:Games

anonymousmagic wrote:
Games for children below 12 in the USA need expensive testing. Don't list any ages below twelve unless you've had those tests done.

Really good to know. Looks like this legislation was introduced in 2012, so I'm unfamiliar with it and the links for third party testing on Game Caster's site and the CPSC don't work. Here is a link to the CPSC's FAQ though: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Business--Manufacturing/Business-Education/Toy-Sa... Also, it is technically under 14, but product testing isn't required for 13 (it is for 12 though).

If the third-party testing absolves you from certain liabilities then the cost is totally worth it. You weren't required to do this sort of testing prior to 2012, but you were still liable for damages in court if your components contained excess lead or cadmium, if they posed a choking hazard, and so on. Many years ago, I prototyped a game with stacking pieces for ages 8+, which I abandoned because it was almost as though the pieces were designed to choke children. Moral implications aside (for all I know, everyone here has the ethics of a Batman villain), having some sort of certification for your product to demonstrate due diligence gives you a leg to stand on in court should such a worst case scenario happen.

That said, determining an age range for young children requires some understanding of developmental milestones. Consider whether your game encourage emerging skills or if the concepts require mastery. If your game is playable by children 4 and under then you'll want to consider whether it has potential as a developmental tool, which opens up new market potential and retail venues.

Past that, creating an age range is a social marketing tool called "segmenting the market," which you do to better reach a targeted population. It is all part of identifying your target market and ties in to your pricing policies and distribution outlets. The age segmentation will be printed on the box, but you will likely have further refinements in your private records, such as what gender and socio-economic group you are targeting. For example, if I make a 70's style wargame, then I know that my target audience will be white males with disposable income who are retired or semi-retired (many will have beards). Likewise, my price point will be higher for a game targeting suburban teens than one themed for urban teens with less disposable income.

14+ is an excellent range for everyman products, and I expect it will be the new default from what anonymousmagic pointed out. For example, Super Dungeon Explore was issued in 2011 for ages 10+. It is grandfathered, so all future production runs can be for 10+. However, the new edition, Forgotten King, is 14+ with it being subject to this new legislation. Kids under 14 will still play it, but (thankfully) parents will be expected to take a greater role in what their kids are doing. Kids at 14 can handle the vast majority of game concepts and themes.

Now, if your game is about killing hookers then you'll want to increase it to 18+. Pretty much any adult-themed game needs to be clearly labeled as such. However, there is a leniency on themes that is probably owed to the video game industry and mainstream acceptance of media demonized back in the 1980s. Mansions of Madness has occult themes (and fairly complex game play) and a suggested age of 13+, Arkham Horror is 12+, so content isn't much of a factor.

questccg
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Don't worry - be happy!

Noobienoob wrote:
...For example, how can I decide if my game is for 15+ or 17+ or 18+?

My answer to you is simple: determine what YOUR target audience is for your game and let the Publisher of your game worry about the rest. If you say 18+ and the publisher tells you it's 13+ don't worry... Let them determine which age is the most appropriate.

Your problem should be to design a game that appeals to a specific age group. Or even to a specific type of gamer: party, casual or hardcore. As another example...

-Eberhardt-
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@ Anonymousmagic

This is a GREAT Catch Anonymousmagic... I will just push this up to 12+ to keep with the "law" of the USA.

LOL...

Wonder if I can mention that children as young as 7 & 8 were able to play the game without issue? Do you know about that?

questccg
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Just GOOGLE!

-Eberhardt- wrote:
...Wonder if I can mention that children as young as 7 & 8 were able to play the game without issue? Do you know about that?

Yes you can - some publishers deal STRICTLY on matters such as games geared for children 5-9 (for example). Each Publisher is different but I can give you an example:

Take Family Games America (http://www.familygamesamerica.com). They deal mostly with Puzzles & Abstract games. Why I mention them, well here is a sample: http://www.familygamesamerica.com/mainsite/consumers/productview.php?pro...

This is geared towards ages 5 to 9.

I wish I had a list of more Publishers for children, unfortunately I don't. You'd need to Google and search around. But don't worry, I know a designer that was designing a card game for kids and there are plenty of them around...

-Eberhardt-
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@QuestCCG

I'll have to look around more to see what I can find. I may come back to you as I don't want to spend a few thousand on the game to get it certified if I can convince a publisher of it's worth.

Thanks again QuestCCG

Soulfinger
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-Eberhardt- wrote:This is a

-Eberhardt- wrote:
This is a GREAT Catch Anonymousmagic... I will just push this up to 12+ to keep with the "law" of the USA.

You mean 14+

DifferentName
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Soulfinger wrote:-Eberhardt-

Soulfinger wrote:
-Eberhardt- wrote:
This is a GREAT Catch Anonymousmagic... I will just push this up to 12+ to keep with the "law" of the USA.

You mean 14+

That's odd. So if the game is made for 13 and under, it has to meet certain guidelines, but you only need to pay to prove it if it's for 12 and under? Why the 1 year middle ground? So weird.

Soulfinger
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DifferentName wrote:That's

DifferentName wrote:
That's odd. So if the game is made for 13 and under, it has to meet certain guidelines, but you only need to pay to prove it if it's for 12 and under? Why the 1 year middle ground? So weird.

I see you haven't met my good friend, Bureaucracy.

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