How do I handle kids’ conflicting goals?


I’m playing Amazing Tales with my two daughters (an even simpler version, actually– we don’t really make characters with specific skills, I just let them be whoever and we make up a story while occasionally rolling dice). The problem is, they’re trying to go in conflicting directions. The "campaign" currently involves being on a pirate ship, and while my 3-year-old wants to rescue their space alien friend who’s been captured by the mean ol’ pirates, my 4-year-old wants to join the pirates and keep their friend prisoner.

I know the #1 rule when gaming with little kids is "always say yes," because the more they’re allowed to let their imaginations run wild the more they’ll love the game. But I don’t know how to do that with two kids who keep coming into conflict. (We’ve been with the pirates for several sessions now, and this is not a new problem.) It’s not that my 4-year-old likes being mean– I’ve tried to explain how badly their alien friend wants to be free, and how sad her husband back home will be if they don’t free her– she just likes the idea of being one of the "bad pirates" and is willing to help them do whatever they’re trying to do. Last night I decided to let my 3-year-old have her way, and she rescued their friend over my 4-year-old’s objections. In a previous session when the girls themselves got captured, I let my 4-year-old talk her way into the crew and stand guard over her sister’s cage (I was hoping she would use the opportunity to free both of them, but she dutifully kept her sister locked up).

How can I let both of them have the story they want if their goals are mutually exclusive?