19 thoughts on “Anybody tried playing DW with miniatures ?”

  1. It works great if you use the miniatures as a way to clarify the shared fiction, to establish who’s adjacent to what and whether something might be in the way of your shot.  If you want to try to start measuring distances exactly and making characters give up attacks of opportunity and whatnot, then I don’t imagine it will work so well.

  2. I do, all the time.  Just as Colin says, I don’t uses hex or squares for distance, but I do draw out the location on a large battlemap for complex battles.  My players really appreciate it as a loose visual reference and in my experience it actually enhances the cinematic aspect of combat- players can come up with cooler moves sometimes when not trying to juggle the space, the cover, the 6 goblins and the tunnel off to the side all at the same time in their brain.

  3. what a different attitude from the D&D4e and Pathfinder chess players who think it’s “laziness” to not have a grid. /boggles me. I need to get the physical copy of DW, the PDF is ok but reference books like this are better as physical copy.

  4. Robert Reppert I usually play a game of MEGS or RIFTS with diehard grid fans to see it less as a requirement and more as a useful but limited tool.

    I have been thinking about just using 3:16’s little range chart to help folks with range traits.

  5. It feels wrong to me. The minis are going to sit there, static, in their squares/hexes and fixed poses, utterly divorced from the roiling turmoil I imagine; the turmoil that DW allows me to actually apply rather than the stifling gridded approach. The pictures are better in your head.

  6. Well, Adrian, you need not use the grid/hex at all, even just place them on the table itself.  In my experience my players are great with no minis for battles with only a handful of enemies, but when you get to a murder of goblins at say 10 strong coming from different sides, some with spears, some with bows shooting from range, it works for us as a map.  Definitely not selling it if it doesn’t work for your crew.  I’ve also done this using little marks on a whiteboard to equal effect, but minis can be fun.  Your mileage may vary.

  7. “in their squares?”  On my table, they’re clustered on pages torn out of a notebook that I’ve quickly scribbled some walls and an altar on, and often they’re standing on dice or a book or something for a better view, or knocked over on their sides with glass bead on top of them (currently representing an angry lion).   Definitely don’t use a grid.

  8. I borrow something from The Dresden Files (and Fate in general)- Zones.  I map out the major zones of action in a scene, merely to establish where things are in a 2-dimensional space.  More than detracting from the fiction, it helps all of us to have a shared reference without being too restrictive.

  9. I use a whiteboard without grid and we push our nicely painted miniatures as the action evolves without taking much care of details. It’s just to figure out where PCs an NPCs are.

  10. I have not used minis or any kind of positional aid while running DW, but as our scenes get more complex they might benefit from a maplike reference.

    In addition to FATE, Old School Crawl and Danger Patrol both have pretty good abstract mapping systems that are steal-able for this purpose.

    In Dungeon Crawl Classics, which is a very freewheeling game that’ll have dozens of PCs and monsters going at once, I find it super useful to have an abstract little collection of paper standies arranged to show relative distances of everyone involved in an encounter.  We don’t lay down a map, we only use the card tents.  Preempts a lot of confusion and really helps me as the DM track stuff.

  11. Glad to hear that minis are not verboten. I have a crapton of D&D minis from when I was running 4E, and hated the thought that they might never hit the table again.

  12. Doesn’t portraying some physical representation restrict the player’s imaginations? They’re not going to incorporate some cool stuff from their own imagination while pushing lumps of plastic and pewter over some scrappy ripped up notebook or loving printed battle-map.

    Brian Moroz “but when you get to a murder of goblins at say 10 strong coming from different sides, some with spears, some with bows shooting from range, it works for us as a map”

    Isn’t that precisely when it fails? My last DW fight had vague “Hundreds” of enemies, and worked entirely well;  what are you going to do then?

    I’ve got 30-odd goblin figures, and it’s never enough (my last DW fight had vague “Hundreds” of enemies); or they’re stand-ins for kobolds, or orcs, or lions, or animated glass beads, or something.

    (You may notice I’m playing Devil’s Advocate here. I’ve got all this stuff; but think we’re probably better off without it)

  13. Adrian Brooks When I do use a map in a game like DW, the map is used to track things that originate in the imagination of the players.  So ideas migrate from the imagination to the map into the imaginations of the other players.  It’s a detail-tracking and communication tool, not a comprehensive source of truth.

  14. Also: if the hundred of goblins are acting as a single mob entity, I probably don’t need a map to represent each one individually.

    However, if there are hundreds of goblins coming from one direction and an evil wizard flying above and a dude being sacrificed elsewhere and a lightning spell creeping around the battlefield and earthquake fissures spreading across the ground then some kind of physical representation of the shared imagined space could be handy. 

    Maps can also be used to express DW moves.  Slowly creeping that lightning spell token toward a PC’s figure is just another way to _announce future badness._

  15. Adrian Brooks – the devil’s in the details, as with a lot of things.  The use of a map can be restrictive if you make it so.  If someone comes up with a cool move, am I going to let the fact that their relative positions aren’t perfect for that move restrict them?  No.  But I might use that fact if they fail…

  16. If I don’t have a map of some kind, my players waste way too much time asking me things like “how far away is the bandit?  is there someone I can shoot at without risking hitting Fred?  can I charge the sorcerer?”  Pushing tokens (or figs, if you have them) around on a map is way faster than erasing and redrawing x’s, which is my alternate plan.

    Adrian Brooks, I think none of my players has even played 4e, and maybe not 3e, so I’m not sure what “bad” habits might be taught by those games.  It’s strange to me to think that having a map and figures would be somehow constraining, though.

    Personally, I feel like the difference between having a map and not having a map is the difference between a fancy movie fight where you can keep track of who’s where and who’s in danger and what’s going on, and one where it’s all a big explody mess.  YMMV, though.

  17. I like drawing the field on a whiteboard, and draw letters for the different monsters.  It does a pretty good job of making sure people remember how the battle is laid out without making things too well defined.  I bought a set of these for the players because they were cheap:  


    I love them.  They’re just specific enough that people want to pick out a particular one to use, but not so specific that they define what anyone actually looks like.  

    I’m thinking of making some colored wooden tokens to replace the marks for monsters, too.  

  18. I am using a loosely sketched map and loosely placed minis from time to time. Works good, had my awesome moments. Like when I hit a number of minis with a tennis ball to determine how many of them die under player-induced avalanche.

  19. My mapping usually works like this:

    Start with a large scale view of the adventuring area/dungeon, filled in as the players explore it.

    Detail views of locations where something that requires detail is happening, like a fight.

    A world map of the big picture.

    If I had miniatures on hand I’d gladly use them on any of those scales. As is, I end up making and crossing-out/erasing a lot of little marks for goblins or players or whatever. Using something mobile instead would make that easier.

    Unfortunately I don’t have any minis, and I’m trying to end up with less physical stuff these days, so I’m unlikely to pick them up. But if you’ve already got them, I don’t see how they could hurt.

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