Informal poll: do you use miniatures or other tokens to represent characters in spatial/tactical situations in DW?

Informal poll: do you use miniatures or other tokens to represent characters in spatial/tactical situations in DW?

Informal poll: do you use miniatures or other tokens to represent characters in spatial/tactical situations in DW? I assume most people don’t, but I’m curious. I’m working on an adventure, and am wondering if there would be any point in including a page of paper figures of creatures that appear in the adventure.

29 thoughts on “Informal poll: do you use miniatures or other tokens to represent characters in spatial/tactical situations in DW?”

  1. I used minis my first couple of sessions, I enjoyed it but it did tend to make my players fall back to their mega-tactical days of DnD. Now I’m running a game online with the same guys and they tend to role play significantly better without the minis for some reason.

    Basically, I’ve done both and I believe both work. I just prefer the narrative power of the mind.

  2. I draw a lot of maps, but if my players insist on moving all over the map and can’t keep track of where they are, I pop out minis. 

    Edit: I don’t use precise tactical positioning, though. Just a vague “you’re here, the exit is here, and the rampaging minotaurs are here, here, and here.

  3. Nope, as we almost exclusively play online. I do use maps a lot (usually sketched out and held up to the camera… spare no expense!)

    That said, more fun and inspiring art in published adventures is always a good thing.

  4. No, definitely not. Miniatures interfere with the things I love best about combat, which is the uncertainty and fog of war. Miniatures lay bare the question of numbers, position, and so on.  “You’ve just about spanned your crossbow when you hear a gravelly scrape behind you,” just doesn’t play out the same way with miniatures.

  5. I wish I used miniatures, but we always get caught in the action and forget about them. Every time I see a post like this in the tavern, I tell myself “ok, next time we are going to use minis, I swear!”

    I always draw maps of every location we come by, and sometimes the players ask me “where am I?” My usual reply is “I don’t know, where are you?” then the player just leaves a small mark on the map.

  6. +Alex Ansaldo, Michael Prescott, those are great descriptions of the drawbacks of using minis. The fact that they’re concrete really does put an emphasis on the physical aspect of combat. I personally love the fluidity and adaptability that comes from playing without, and the way the DW rules encourage that, but I can also see their value as an organizational tool. Obviously, everyone has their own taste, and DW can easily accommodate the nitty-gritty of tactical positioning if that’s your style.

  7. Jason Lutes I can enjoy both ends of the spectrum; rigid-rules tactical wargaming: clever moves to avoid attacks of opportunity, neat formations that work beautifully with the rules.  But also free-form play that emphasizes the first-person perceptual aspects – especially the limit of what you know – is a new love of mine.

  8. I’m afraid that whipping out minis once opens a gate beyond which leads the slippery slope of using them entirely too often. One of the things I really appreciate about DW is how lightweight GM prep can be. I used to spend hours making sure that I had perfect maps and exactly the right minis for D&D battles (especially with 4e)… and of course, I would always wish I had some different minis once I actually got to the table, due to something a player did or said moments before combat started. With DW, I can just lazily daydream on my way to or from work or the game or whatever, what I think might be interesting in potential upcoming combats. And if I need a different monster or terrain element based on player input, I just say it, and it is so. For me, use of minis implies the kind of GM prep that flies in the face of “play to find out what happens”.

  9. Online usually, so no. Could see the general positioning argument, a la map sketches.

    I would totally hand out minis if I planned to run IRL, though, for exactly one reason: when a character loses an arm to a messy attack or hard choice, out come the wire cutters.

  10. I picked up Reaper’s Bones kickstarter, and signed up for their next one, so yeah I use minis.  In fact, I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet, but my players are going to have to pick minis for any named NPC — it’s a Planarch Codex game, so nothing’s off the table…  “Why, yes, the kindly old shop owner IS a beholder…”

    We’re also “from” D&D, if that’s a thing, and I like drawing maps, so we do use them for positioning.

  11. Uhm guys I think I misunderstood the topic. I mean, for me, using minis, always meant “use whatever small objects you come by (dice, beads, actual but random minis) to generally mark the characters’ position. If a cluster of monsters, like N goblins, are all together, just use a single die with their number on the upside face”.

  12. I haven’t thus far, but we will start with our next session. After two sessions where a point of confusion on relative positioning occurred, my players requested it. However, I threw in the caveat that distance and positioning must be considered an estimate, and they represent only what you sense. Thus, numbers appearing and all that jazz has nothing to do with it.

    I don’t personally believe that minis have any effect whatsoever on playing to see what happens. If you want to use them, great – just be laid back about it. If you don’t want to use them, great – they aren’t a matter of necessity.

  13. Alessandro Gianni and Chris McGee , I guess I’ve been burned by D&D, since when I now hear someone mention “minis”, I think tactical maps and actual tiny representations of the player characters and the specific monsters (or close approximations) which are in play. I used to use dice and rough maps prior to the introduction of the “square counting = roleplaying” thing that happened around D&D 3+, and it was sometimes helpful. I guess I should revise what I said to some degree, but ultimately, I still really feel that “tactical” maps, even when they are whipped up on the spot, direct the players’ attention away from the theater of the mind mode which this game excels at, and drives a more “flat” or 2-dimensional view of the situation. I’m trying to embrace the chaos which can potentially happen from everyone not having exactly the same “picture” of what’s going on during a combat, since combat is chaotic. I’m not saying tactical maps are “wrong” (or that not using them is “right”), but I definitely prefer not using them.

  14. Thanks for all the feedback everyone, this is all good stuff to know. I think I will leave minis out of the adventure booklet itself because their presence might detract from the core imaginative experience for some people. One of my goals is to keep it suggestive/evocative, leaving lots of room for the GM and players to fill things in, and minis that make the creatures more “concrete” —  pre-visualized and made into actual playthings — might detract from that goal.

    I’ll limit the art assets to a handful of old-school-style illustrations, maybe offer the minis separately if the artist is up for it.

  15. I’ve used cat toys and corn nuts to represent characters and a pile of socks (clean) for terrain. If the players can deal with that, I think the “theater of the mind” has been pretty well engaged. Still, different strokes for different folks. 🙂

  16. I’ve always used some for of minis in my game, even back before we could afford actual minis. In the early days it was bottle caps, dice pencils, soda cans, etc. whatever was laying around to show the basic layout of an encounter where we felt it was necessary. Especially useful for those instances of “confusion” as to where people and objects are and cases of “selective” memory. 🙂

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