If you just googled: ‘Easy D&D puzzles’ or: ‘D&D puzzles for toddlers’ chances are you are looking for some super easy and quick puzzles to drop into your game. After all, you don’t want your players getting stuck on a puzzle. And they should be able to solve a puzzle designed for toddlers, right…?
In this article I will give you my best tips on creating puzzles for your toddlers, (ahum, players) that flow easily. These puzzles will seem challenging to your players, while they are actually not that difficult to solve.
(If you are looking for the free puzzles, just scroll down to the bottom of this article).
Creating Easy D&D Puzzles a Toddler Could Solve
As a puzzle designer for RPGs, I know the value of presenting players with a puzzle that is easy enough to solve. The frustration of an entire party being stuck on a puzzle doesn’t add to the joy of playing a Dungeons & Dragons. And players will soon be giving you dirty looks or grumbling under their breath. Getting stuck on a D&D puzzle makes players feel like they are stupid. They came to your table to feel like heroes, not toddlers.
To avoid being pummelled with dice – as my players sometimes do to express their dissatisfaction – try to create puzzles that take a party about five to ten minutes to solve. For most players that is long enough to feel a sense of accomplishment at solving the puzzle without getting too frustrated. Because, even with easy puzzles your toddlers will still want to feel like they’ve been challenged.
A lot of puzzles have just one step to solving them. That is a mistake. Even if your toddlers only stare for five minutes at a D&D puzzle without any progress, and then suddenly solve it, most will find it a frustrating experience. Instead, you want to create the feeling of flow.
Easy Flowing D&D Puzzles for Your Toddlers
The concept of flow was first introduced by the famous psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Yes, that is a cool last name. And even cooler once you realize it’s derived from a village in Transylvania. But I digress). So what is flow exactly?
Flow is a state where your players are completely absorbed by a challenge – the D&D puzzle – while also experiencing progress and a constant feeling of success and mastery. So how do you create flow?
For your toddlers, creating flow means puzzles need to include a lot of small steps they can solve. Each step is so easy that players will never get stuck. But every time they do solve a step, they get that small feeling of being successful which launches them right into the next easy step of the puzzle. The rhythm of solving one step right after the other creates a feeling of flow. It’s that feeling of things moving along; the opposite of being stuck.
Surprisingly, after solving a lot of super easy steps, your players will still feel like they’ve accomplished a very difficult puzzle. Even though none of the steps were actually very hard. That is the genius of these types of puzzles. They look hard and make your toddlers feel like heroes.
Designing Easy D&D Puzzles for Toddlers
Unfortunately, designing these types of puzzles is not easy. Each step needs to provide at least a bit of a challenge, and you need to create a lot of challenges in a single puzzle to finally solve the whole thing. Creating an easy puzzle for your D&D game that flows well can be a lot of work.
Luckily, I’ve created a ton of easy flowing puzzles for RPGs that you can drop into your game. The first one I’d like to show you, is Dungeon Puzzles.
With Dungeon Puzzles your entire dungeon is transformed into a puzzle. Players have to rotate puzzle pieces in their place so that all pieces connect and there are no loose ends. It is an easy puzzle that involves a lot of steps to solve. Usually players will start at the edges because where the orientation of the pieces can only be in one direction. Next, they connect other pieces to the outer layer until they’ve solved the puzzle.
The cool thing about this puzzle is that players can immediately use the puzzle for a dungeon map once they’ve solved it. So your game naturally flows from solving the puzzle into exploring the dungeon. I’ve play-tested this extensively and have never met a party that got stuck. This pack comes with 25 puzzles.
The second puzzle I’d like to show you is Wilderness Puzzles.
With Wilderness Puzzles, instead of laying out a dungeon, players must lay out a piece of wilderness. It is a very different puzzle system, but it still involves a lot of easy steps to get right. And once the puzzle is completed, you can use it as terrain for a combat encounter. Your toddlers will love it. This pack comes with 30 puzzles.
The third really easy puzzle with a lot of steps is Laser Puzzles.
With Laser Puzzles players encounter a lot of four-headed lion statues. They must connect lasers between the statues in a way that properly connects all the statues. Again, each step is not very hard, but it takes a lot of steps to solve the entire puzzle. This pack comes with 30 puzzles.
Free Puzzles For Toddlers
And finally, get your free puzzles to keep your toddlers from breaking down your gaming table. Just right-click on the image and download it for your personal use.
The players start out by locating the two letters T on the door puzzle. Next, they draw a straight line between the T’s. The character that sits exactly between the letters, is the next letter in the word. From there the heroes must find its twin character and find which letter is exactly halfway in between those, and so on.
If players find the first step to this puzzle too difficult, allow each player to roll an intelligence check. One of them usually succeeds and you can get them started. The answer to this puzzle is THRESHOLD.
The answer to the puzzles below is FIRSTBORN. This time players have to figure out themselves which letter comes first.
If you like puzzles, please check out the Vault Bundle. It contains over 200 illustrated puzzles. More than enough to keep your toddlers occupied until they level up!
By: Paul Camp
Banner image credit: WotC