In Equipping Young Kids (Part 1), I discussed a couple of ways to get kids involved in learning Redemption before they are able to read as well as a unique way to use half of a starter deck to get early readers started.  I also discussed using the other half of the same starter deck to play against them to help with card familiarity.  Whatever method you use, I cannot stress enough how important it is for the kids to get very familiar with their cards, and the game rules before making any changes to their decks.  I have seen too many kids wanting to make changes to their decks immediately, only to add enhancements that they don’t have any characters to play them on.  I firmly believe this will be less likely if you spend more time helping them to learn the basics in a way similar to the recommendations in Part 1.

Once they are comfortable with card types, general game play, and the objectives, it is time to upgrade…but still take it slow.  Here are a couple of options to consider for upgrading their deck when they’re ready.

Have Them Use a Full Starter Deck

While this seems like a simple and obvious option, it can really ease the learning curve for some kids if they just start using the full starter deck, especially if they are struggling with their reading.  If you have practiced with them by using the second half of that same starter deck, they will already be familiar with most all of the cards and not have to rely as heavily on reading than if they were unfamiliar with the cards.

For this method, I still recommend leaving out the starter deck enhancements that do not have a special ability.  This is an opportunity to add a couple of cards that they are not familiar with, which will challenge their reading skills enough, but not too much.  When selecting replacement cards for the no special ability enhancements, be sure to use abilities they are already familiar with to start.  Introducing new abilities is discussed below.

Expand on Their Brigades

For this option, you would keep whatever half of the starter deck used for their initial deck and add cards of the same brigade to the offense and defense for the player.  Be sure to discuss the reasons why you are adding those cards so they can start developing an understanding of deck building.  This method is recommended for more advanced readers who are not relying as much on familiarity of the cards to know what they do.  It’s okay to wait for kids to read their cards to gain an understanding of them.

Just as important as upgrading the decks they are playing, it is equally important to upgrade the decks that they are playing against…again, take it slow.

Use the Other Starter Deck

Again, using the other starter deck is pretty simple and obvious.  However, keeping it simple can go a really long way.  Remember, this article is pointed toward teaching very young kids to play Redemption.  These decisions are very intentional so that kids don’t only learn the game, but so they will also become competitive players.  While a “starter deck vs starter deck” is the place most players start when they can read, your kids and/or students will have a much better understanding of the game and be able to play on a higher competitive level by the time they get here.

Expand on Their Deck

Another option to really be able to help advance your young learner(s) into competitive play is to use the exact same deck as them, with 5-6 upgraded cards.  This could be stronger versions of the same character, more complex interactions, and cards with new game mechanics.  Using these cards in your deck rather than theirs will create opportunities for them to see how those cards work within the game and to ask questions without being confused about how they need to operate their decks.

If they get to the place of using a full starter deck and they are ready to move on, then build it into one solid offensive brigade and one solid defensive brigade.  Let them make some small changes, but talk with them about what the cards are going to do.  As we all know, sometimes cards seem like they are going to be a lot more awesome than they are.

If they have gotten to the place of expanding their single brigade offense and defense, playing against a slightly more advance deck, swap decks.  Work with them to slowly make their decks increasingly better.  Start introducing other deck styles at this time.

Every kid has different strengths and weaknesses, and they all learn differently.  Be patient.  Play Redemption.  Have fun.

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