Do You Use Miniatures in Your RPG Games?

Miniatures and Dungeons and Dragons have gone hand in hand since the beginning. After all the game was created by a group of historical war gamers that were bored with the current game selection. So right from the beginning Miniatures were there, and there are even rules for using them written into the 1st Ed. AD&D rules (all of your spell distances are given in tabletop inches, etc.).

Here at JADE, we like to leave it up to the GM hosting the game to decide whether we use minis or not. And while yes all of our campaign game write ups on the blog have miniatures scenes in them (confession time) occasionally those scenes are staged afterwards. It all depends on who was hosting.

This one we did actually use minis for... And then staged it after so it looked better.
Jeff will use minis if he thinks the event is important enough (like a boss fight) or if he has an idea for an interesting mechanic. One time he set-up up an entire street scene, where we had to avoid clumsy NPCs and suspicious guards, all while we guided our miniatures to the other side of the board. It was awesome, but Jeff doesn't use them all the time.

I like to use miniatures in combat, but beyond that I find that they get in the way of role playing. They make people focus on the table rather than on the story. In combat that table focus and positioning can be important to getting out alive so I like everyone to be on the same page. But beyond that I find it too distracting.

Dave on the other had likes to go all out. He loves creating scene and using miniatures in every situation. It is much as I imagine Gary Gygax would have done. The first image above there is using the 4th edition map tiles he purchased to use in his Conquest of Frey Game. And he pulls them out whenever he can.

Elijah is the opposite of Dave. He doesn't like to use miniatures at all. He finds that they get in way, and are simply unnecessary to hosting a game. He does tolerate Dave and I setting up the battle scenes in his Maze of the Minotaur campaign... but that is mostly because of his awesomely painted Minotaur. Usually however, he prefers that we that roleplay as best we can in every situation and not rely on the minis.

With so much diversity in our own four man group we started to wonder how many people out there use minis in their games? So we did a pole on twitter and came up with some interesting results; The gaming world seems equally divided on this issue.

We asked the simple question:

Our first comment was from @TeatimeDragons

It is a good point. Long hours have I spent trying to find miniatures only to have to settle on something that is not quite right. And it is true the game is supposed to be about the advenutre and the interactions with the world the GM has created, not the mechanics of the table top infront of you.

Soon @sjamb7 agreed, adding:

Ah yes. The endless amount of orc, goblin or undead minis. Every game group has a plethora of one of those monster types, and have to use them as substitutes for every single monster in the game! Who has the time to prepare that many minis and the money to keep your collection up to snuff? Maybe in the care free days of youth but certainly not now.

It seemed minis were losing the fight until @Gorfordel stepped up to champion the cause:

It something I have also experienced myself. A good set of miniatures can make an RPG a great experience! The battle will look amazing, and for some one who prefers the mechanics of a board game or tabletop miniatures game it will capture their interest with greater ease. Perhaps using miniatures is a good way to introduce unfamiliar players to the game until they can truly roleplay through each scenario.

@Grimmshade  later concurred, saying that his group loved miniatures:

His group was even willing to put their money where their mouth is a support an great kickstarter project! Way to support the community guys! That is awesome!

It was an even tie. But I think the final comment summed everything up best. It was from @Dungeon_Crafter.

It is true. If no one in your group is very good at painting miniatures, then the minis can become a bit of drag. And I very much agree with @Dungeon_Crafter. about using them in general.  For any sort of battle game like DnD, Traveller, etc. Minis make combat run a lot smoother. But something narrative driven, like Call of Cthulhu they seem to get in the way. 

I prefer using them in moderation, but it really is a matter of style.

What do you think? Do you use Miniatures in your campaigns?

Written by: Andrew Gregory

Do You Use Miniatures in Your RPG Games? Do You Use Miniatures in Your RPG Games? Reviewed by JADE Gaming on 9/11/2015 02:03:00 pm Rating: 5

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