How Old Do You Have To Be To Play Dungeons and Dragons? (20 Ages Ranked)

If you’re thinking of introducing your kids to Dungeons and Dragons (DND), you might be wondering what age is best.

How old do you have to be to play Dungeons and Dragons?

You can start playing Dungeons and Dragons with adult help as early as 5 or 6 years old. At this young age, a simple game style with a fun storyline and easy either-or-choices works well. At age 8-10, many kids can fully enjoy DND. At 12+ years old, young people can play DND as well as an adult.

Keep reading to find out the right age to start your kids on Dungeons and Dragons.

Is Dungeons and Dragons Kid Friendly?

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Kids in costumes - How Old Do You Have To Be To Play Dungeons and Dragons
Image by the author – Canva – How Old Do You Have To Be To Play Dungeons and Dragons?

Dungeons and Dragons has been around for nearly 50 years, and in that time, it has become one of the most popular role-playing games in the world for people of all ages.

Though it has a reputation for being complex, mature, and “nerdy,” Dungeons and Dragons is actually as kid-friendly as you want to make it.

The game is a great way for kids to:

  • Exercise their imagination and creativity
  • Socialize
  • Bond with friends and family
  • Learn math skills
  • Practice problem-solving

Of course, every family is different, and what may be appropriate for one child may not be suitable for another.

That’s why it’s important to talk to your kids about what they’re interested in before you start playing.

If they’re interested in fighting dragons and slaying monsters, then there are plenty of D&D adventures that will fit the bill.

However, if they’re more interested in exploring ancient ruins or solving puzzles, then there are also many D&D campaigns that can accommodate those interests.

Regardless of what your children are interested in, there’s a D&D campaign that can be tailored to their needs.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Play Dungeons and Dragons? (20 Ages Checked)

As a life-long lover of roleplaying games, people ask me all the time about what ages are appropriate (or not appropriate) for their children to start playing DND.

I also used to teach Child Developmentmental Needs on a national level.

Therefore, I put together a simple chart to explain what ages are appropriate for playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Here is the DND age chart:

AgeCan They Play DND?
0No
1No
2No
3No
4No
5Yes (with help)
6Yes (with help)
7Yes
8Yes
9Yes
10Yes
11Yes
12Yes
13Yes
14Yes
15Yes
16Yes
17Yes
18Yes
19Yes
20Yes (I would certainly hope so 🙂
Chart: How Old Do You Have To Be To Play Dungeons and Dragons?

Can a 5 Year Old Play D&D?

Yes, a 5 year old can play DND with a little help from an adult or older child.

With a little simplification and guidance, it is possible for them to enjoy the game. The first step is to reduce the number of rules and boil down the gameplay.

Hit points, armor class, and other basic mechanics should be enough for a young child to understand.

The next step is to create an adventure that is short and straightforward.

You may want to avoid anything too scary or complex, instead opting for a light-hearted quest such as chasing down a runaway chicken. Using a little patience and creativity, you can help your young child enjoy the world of D&D.

Can an 8 Year Old Play D&D?

Absolutely!

With a little bit of help from an adult or older child, your 8 year old can easily enjoy all that D&D has to offer.

They may not be ready to take on the role of Dungeon Master just yet, but with some assistance they could definitely co-DM.

At this age, your child should also be able to grasp some of the more complex mechanics of the game.

That might include topics like multi-classing characters, alignment, and spell slots.

And they are definitely ready for more complex adventures with puzzles and bigger battle scenes.

Can a 10 Year Old Play Dungeons and Dragons?

Yes, a 10 year old can probably play Dungeons and Dragons.

They might even be ready to run their own adventure as a DM (especially if they’ve been playing for a few months or years already).

A 10 year old can understand most of the game mechanics, build complex characters, and experience just about everything D&D has to offer.

Of course, every child is different and some may need a little help getting started.

But with some guidance, even the youngest players can soon be rolling dice and slaying dragons alongside their friends.

Can a 12 Year Old Play Dungeons and Dragons?

Most 12-year-olds can play and enjoy D&D as much as any adult.

This is around the time I started playing and fell in love with the game right away. My same-age friends and I played all through Middle school and continued into high school.

What kid wouldn’t want to fight make-believe dragons and rescue damsels in distress (or in our case, sometimes we switched it up and the damsel rescued us)?

We even had neighborhood kids who were a few years younger than us who would listen in on our adventures, eagerly awaiting their time to sit at the table and roll some dice.

A great resource for introducing young players to DND is the Young Adventurers Collection.

What Age Do People Play Dungeons and Dragons?

People start playing Dungeons and Dragons at almost any age.

The vast majority of DND players are under the age of 40 years old and most began playing as young children.

Many people experience DND for the first time between the ages of 8-13 years old.

At this age, the monsters, character-building, imagination, and group-activity aspects of DND attract a lot of young players.

Odds are very good that there are several D&D groups running in your community right now.

What’s the Best Age To Start Playing DND?

It’s hard to pin down the perfect age to start playing D&D.

Every child matures at a different pace, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. However, I personally think 12 years old might be a great age to start.

Here’s why.

Between the ages of 12 and 14, your brain is going through rapid development.

Your imagination is off the charts, and you’re able to tackle complex problems and social interactions. All of which makes for an unforgettable D&D experience.

Additionally, at this age you’re old enough to understand the rules of the game and follow along with the story, but you’re still young enough to have a blast with all the imaginative elements.

If you’re thinking about starting your kids on their D&D journey, 12 years old might be the perfect time to do it.

How To Know If Your Child Is Ready for DND?

You know best when your child is ready to play Dungeons and Dragons.

However, there are a few signs that can help you know your child’s level of readiness. Your child doesn’t need to show all the signs but the more they show, the more ready they might be.

Here’s how to know if your child is ready for DND:

  • Your child can understand and follow a simple story
  • They can communicate
  • Your child gets along with other children
  • They can roll dice
  • Your child can make simple, either-or choices
  • They can remain focused on a task for at least 30 minutes to an hour
  • Your child understands the basic mechanics of DND
  • They show interest in Dungeons and Dragons
  • Your child handles losing well
  • They can deal with and follow sometimes complex rules
  • Your child can take turns with other players

It’s fair to say that some teenagers and adults struggle with cooperation, attention, and complexity.

Therefore, if a young person can tackle these challenges, they can play DND.

Create a DND Character With Jasper ...
Create a DND Character With Jasper Art
Everything Your Child Needs To Play DND (All in One Place)

As your child gets older, he or she will need a basic grasp of certain things about DND.

They will also need a few resources and materials to play DND. In this section, I’m going to give you everything your child needs to play DND – all in one helpful place.

What your child needs to know:

  • DND or D&D stands for Dungeons and Dragons
  • DND is a roleplaying game (make-believe or pretending)
  • What a DND Session means
  • What a DND Character is
  • DND One-Shots are short DND adventures that you can play in one day
  • DND dice are used to roll attacks, saves, and ability checks

Here is a good video that will help you explain DND to your child in simple terms:

YouTube Video by Dungeoncast – How Old Do You Have To Be To Play Dungeons and Dragons?

Here are some of the most important materials and resources your child needs to play DND:

Recommended D&D ResourcesPrice
D&D Core Rulebook SetCheck the latest price
D&D Rules Expansion SetCheck the latest price
D&D Dice SetCheck the latest price
D&D Accessories BagCheck the latest price
Recommended D&D Resources

In addition to those materials, as your child ages, he or she might enjoy:

Final Thoughts: How Old Do You Have To Be To Play Dungeons and Dragons?

The bottom line is that you should probably be old enough to understand visual images and communicate.

The ability to read isn’t necessary, as an adult or older friend can guide you verbally through the game.

As long as you can understand the story and make choices, you can play DND.

Sources

CDC – Research on Child Development