Critical Core Kickstarter ~ Gaming with Autism


I’m hopeful for this. The fact that it’s been funded to the level it has makes me smile.

Publisher: Game to Grow

Kickstarter Campaign

Critical Core Kickstarter ~ Gaming with Autism 1

Theme and What is it?

Critical Core is a RPG developed to be used as a therapeutic role-play and educational tool for people found on the Autism Spectrum. The team working on this has brought experience, education, and drive to this project.

Distilled from 8 years of experience in using tabletop RPGs as a therapeutic tool, Critical Core is a collaboration between Game to Grow, a 501(c) not-for-profit organization, and Virginia Spielmann, expert practitioner of the DIR/Floortime autism intervention framework, and Executive Director of the STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder, and mcgarrybowen Greater China, a creative agency.

The game teaches valuable social skills that will help players connect with friends, family, and society in general. Using the structure of a traditional RPG to help guide players through different situations and challenges.

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Gameplay Mechanics

Critical Core uses a modified Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition. Adventures are built around certain lessons that help focus different social cues, team work, and grey area thinking. It encourages problem solving and figuring out problems as a group. There is still some combat to keep things interesting. Adventures are designed to last around 30 minutes to help with players with focus issues.

The tools within are designed so new game masters and players can jump in with limited experience and get playing. The game includes pre-generated characters, four sets of dice, and maps and tokens.

One of the things I feel are important here are something that someone like me can use. Critical Core comes with guidelines for experienced players to run a game with people on the Autism Spectrum.

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As I’m writing this the game is 300% funded on Kickstarter and growing with over a week left. There’s a lot of great things on the page and stretch goals show additional classes and adventures coming down the line.

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Why Critical Core is Important

I am a huge believer in being inclusive in gaming. I didn’t have a lot of friends growing up and gaming let me meet people I’ve now had in my life for decades. My best friends are all people I’ve met through gaming. Anything that makes gaming more available to people is something we need in this world.

The fact that Critical Core is designed to help people with Autism develop social skills and learn to interact with others is an amazing thing. My sister and one of my cousins are Special Needs teachers. I’ve known people with various stages of different conditions.

The challenges my family, their students, and coworkers have face can be soul crushing. Something like Critical Core can help alleviate some of these things. Helping anyone with the educational tools and necessary ideas that come from a program like this is amazing.

I’ve ran a D&D Adventures League for several years. I always pitch in at my local game store when they need help with demos and for Free RPG Day. Knowing that gaming has become more mainstream I have in the past been asked if I would be comfortable with someone sitting at my table who has a condition.

My honest answer has always been, I think so. I’ve never had anyone sit at my table with Autism, Down Syndrome, or any number of other things but it has been a thought on my mind. I worry about how I’ll run the game. Will I go easy on them and undermine the experience? Will I over compensate for fear of this and brutally murder an entire party?

The Critical Core has tools in it that I can use to make my table more inclusive when running a public game is one of the most uplifting things I’ve seen in a while.

I am thrilled this project exists. If you get a chance and have any interest in it, please head over to the Kickstarter and see what they have to offer.

I’m hopeful for this. The fact that it’s been funded to the level it has makes me smile.


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