An RPG for young children, inspired by Michael Rosen’s
“We’re Going On A Bear Hunt”
You can download a free PDF of this game here.
This game is designed for play with young children with an adult acting as the GM, or “Grrr Master”. When referencing what to read during an Encounter, including noises to make, please refer to Michael Rosen’s book ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’.
Whenever ‘The Hunt Verse’ is mentioned, this refers to:
We’re going on a bear hunt. / We’re going to catch a big one. / What a beautiful day! / We’re not scared.
Whenever ‘The Encounter Verse’ is mentioned, this refers to:
We can’t go over it. / We can’t go under it. / Oh no! / We’ve got to go through it!
This game can be played as part of a group, or with one child on their own. If running this game for a group of children, ask the children questions about what the Encounters look and feel like. Feel free to adapt the format to make this into more of an adventure. You can find more about We’re Going On A Bear Hunt at jointhebearhunt.com
How To Play
Your group of children is your group of heroes. Whenever a dice needs to be rolled, roll one on behalf of the entire group. The dice referred to is a d6.
Whenever you roll a dice, you are trying to roll BELOW the group’s current score in their skills.
The group have two skills, which both start at a 4, so the group will have to roll 3 or below to succeed to begin with. These skills are:
We’re Not Scared
When your group need to know where to go, roll under Bear Hunt. When they ‘Go Through It’, roll We’re Not Scared.
Whenever your group succeeds, add a point to the skill you were testing. If the group rolled Bear Hunt, add a point to Bear Hunt. If they rolled We’re Not Scared, add a point to We’re Not Scared. The maximum value a skill can have is 6.
When your group needs to know where to go, roll under Bear Hunt and ask them what they do and how they look for the Bear. Try to combine all of the group’s answers into how they look, so that it is not just one child at a time suggesting ideas. If they roll equal or above their skill, they do not succeed and they aren’t sure where to go.
When they do not succeed, recite ‘The Hunt Verse’ and then try again to find out where to go. For example, you may say “It’s a really good idea, but I can’t see any Bears here, can you? Maybe it was that bush? Oh, well, let’s try again! WE’RE GOING ON A BEAR HUNT…”
When they succeed, move on to the section titled ENCOUNTERS. Remember to add 1 to the group’s Bear Hunt skill, to a maximum of 6, whenever they succeed.
When your group find a direction by using their Bear Hunt skill, use ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’ to find what terrain they encounter. Roll 1d6 and compare the result below:
|1||Long Wavy Grass|
|2||A Deep Cold River|
|3||Thick Oozy Mud|
|4||A Big Dark Forest|
|5||A Swirling Whirling Snowstorm!|
|6||A Narrow Gloomy Cave|
For each encounter numbered 1-5, explain how the group’s actions in when rolling Bear Hunt led them this way, then read the appropriate introductory line from We’re Going On A Bear Hunt (e.g. ‘Uh-uh! Grass! Long Wavy Grass’). Finally, get your group to roll a d6 and compare the result to the table.
|1||They go UNDER it|
|2-5||They’ll have to ‘Go Through It’|
|6||They go OVER it|
When the group go UNDER or OVER something, then they pass by without issue. Ask them how they go OVER or UNDER – can they fly? Or burrow? There are no wrong answers.
When they have to ‘Go Through It’, get the group to roll We’re Not Scared. If they roll equal or above their skill, they do not succeed and they have to run home and start again. Use the format given at the end of We’re Going On A Bear Hunt to run back through all of the Encounters you’ve had already.
When they get home, remember to lock the front door and hide for a while. Maybe have some toast.
If they succeed, add 1 to the group’s We’re Not Scared skill, to a maximum of 6, then read ‘The Encounter Verse’ from We’re Going On A Bear Hunt for the appropriate terrain. After this, the group must roll Bear Hunt again to find out where to go.
When you roll a 6 on the first encounter table and your group reaches the Narrow Gloomy Cave, read from We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, starting at “Uh!-Uh! A Cave!”
Remember the order of your Encounters. When you get home for the final time, make sure you have some tasty treats to celebrate your adventure and calm down a little!
Artwork by Doug Crookston (@dougc_illustration)