Argyle & Crew – the sock puppet revolution

Two bits of Argyle & Crew news this morning! First, I was able to run a quick A&C scenario at my youngest daughter’s birthday party. It was a blast! I ran a slightly modified version of the scavenger hunt I do at conventions, but scaled down for a mostly 7-year-old crowd. Soppets were created, kids ran streaming around my house collecting pink sticky notes, and eventually found out that the pinata for the party had been hidden. They then found enough clues to determine it was in the closet, and after rescuing it, beat it to death to collect its innards for later consumption. It was awesome.

There’s nothing quite like watching 9 kids become totally enraptured in a task. After the first hunt for sticky notes, everyone got it, even the  younger crowd (two 5-6 year old boys). By the second round, the cats had sought shelter and the kids were fully engaged. Plus it killed 45 minutes between making Soppets and finding clues. For those who haven’t experienced a small mob of kids, 45 minutes is a long time to keep 9 kids fully engaged. My plan is working! I’ve still yet to meet a child who doesn’t like sock puppets.

Next, I was absolutely surprised and a bit floored when I stumbled on Lonedog’s reddit posting about his Argyle & Crew experience with his daughter. I enjoy hearing about play experiences in general, and this specifically made me feel like I did something right with A&C. Here’s the  full text from Reddit, or hit up the link just above and read it in its natural state. I was privileged to receive a copy of the Argyle and Crew guide in my email a few weeks back. I had heard about the sock puppet RPG for all ages, and was very excited to read through the guide. My wife had originally planned on having to work today (the Friday after Thursday) so I told my 7 year old that we were going to play a game about sock puppets and adventuring.She was stoked.To give you a small background on her playing habits. She loves her dolls, babies, littlest pet shop figures, and these animal toys called Calico Corner. She also loves computer games (mainly online games found on Disney Jr) and can play on Minecraft for hours. She has also watched me play some table top games such as Mechwarrior and D&D on a few occasions. However, I was not expecting anything that occurred today.She found a single sock, and we started with that. I had opted to draw my poppet (the name given to sock puppets in Argyle and Crew) because of physical limitations of my hands. After adding eyes and a mouth and hair to her poppet, her hand had gotten really read, so she asked if she could draw her poppet too (later she told my wife she wanted to draw one so I didn’t feel left out for not being able to have an actual sock puppet – mind blown).If you’re unfamiliar with Argyle and Crew, the basis is simple: poppets use “Extras” (items that give the poppet abilities) to go on adventures. She decided her poppet, Jinxie, would have magic boots that let her walk on lava, and a magical shield that would keep her from getting hurt (it would deflect one hit but she had to activate it as a turn). My poppet, Little Block, would have a magical hat he could pull food from and heal others and himself with, and a pair of magic boots that allowed him to take two turns per round.I set the stage: we were in a small town surrounded by trees of all colors that bloomed a berry. She named the berry the Ficklefuss Berry, and the town named after the berry: Ficklefuss. Our first adventure had us helping a Ficklefuss Juice maker, Mrs. Squirrel, to find her box of missing ficklefuss berries.She did two things that really took me by surprise. The first was while we were investigating goblins in the forest, my plan (in my head) was to have us find a goblin camp, but instead, we found what she wanted us to find: a goblin spawner. I literally had to stop and smiled, for a full five minutes. She gave the spawner five hit points and off we went. The second thing, was we found a two zombies scratching at a door in a cave. We were trying to sneak by when she goes “Daddy, lil rock has xray vision, look and see whats behind the door” so I did and it was barrels of cheeseburgers. Without missing a beat “They’re just hungry, they’re not going to hurt us! Give them some food!” Such a proud moment! She wanted to sneak by them, and then when she found out they were hungry, she wanted to help them. I was beeming.We played two sessions today for a total of three hours, and all I did was say a few words and my daughter ran with the story. The only reason we stopped was because she was going to my in-laws for the night.

This game gave me one of the greatest bonding moment in years with my daughter. We play games all the time, but never before had she been so involved in leading the flow of the game, and we still both had a blast. She’s excited to come home so we can pick up where we left off: bringing a magical emerald to King Graham.

If you want to get your kids into role playing without bogging them down with a ton of rules and just let the narration run things, this is a low cost and great way for parents to get into RPGs with their kids of any age.

I wish I had some sort of marketing department or a better grasp on getting the word out. I think A&C is not only fun, but it could be an important tool for a variety of uses – parenting, counseling, therapy and education. Plus it finally gave me a chance to put my MEd to good use! As always, if you are a teacher or educator, or work in the fields of child psychology or counseling, let me know and I’m happy to give you a free PDF of Argyle & Crew. You can also grab the PDF and softcover from DriveThruRPG or get the softcover directly from Amazon.com (prime eligible!)

About Argyle & Crew

It’s a collaborative storytelling adventure for kids. It’s a great pick up game for adults. It’s the sock puppet RPG!

The land of Skcos is inhabited by all manner of things, but primarily its inhabitants belong to a race of ever-changing, always interesting creatures called Soppets. Soppets are a magical breed of intelligent, funny, thrill-seeking socks.

Yes, you read that correctly, Socks.

Argyle & Crew is a free-wheeling system powered by imagination. Rather than a character sheet like a traditional RPG, your character and its attributes are all based on a sock puppet, or in Skcos lingo, a Soppet. Each Soppet has several unique qualities which allow it to do extraordinary things!

Argyle & Crew is great game for children as young as 4 years old. Short scenarios and active participation keep things lively! Useful as a learning tool not just for gaming, but for life lessons, Argyle & Crew can easily be used in a classroom setting. Professionals working on counseling children can find this game equally useful for indirectly or directly exploring past experiences and future anxieties. Use the additional rules for older children or adults and expand the game from a fun, play-driven activity to a fully-developed RPG, using a simple and fun set of mechanics.

Artwork by the amazing Khairul Hisham.

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