I’ve just switched from 5e D&D to DW for the kids’ game I run at a local comic shop.

I’ve just switched from 5e D&D to DW for the kids’ game I run at a local comic shop.

I’ve just switched from 5e D&D to DW for the kids’ game I run at a local comic shop. So far, I’m loving it — and I think the kids are really beginning to grasp it, while they were never really able to wrap their heads around 5e.

Some of the kids, though, have expressed a desire to do more miniature battles as part of the game (as we used to do more with 5e). I’ve never done miniatures with DW; so, do you have any resources for how to incorporate miniatures into DW?

8 thoughts on “I’ve just switched from 5e D&D to DW for the kids’ game I run at a local comic shop.”

  1. I concur with Peter Cobcroft .  I tried using tokens in Roll20 with a DW game, and found it both interrupted narrative flow, and started putting us (or at least ME) back into a mindset of focusing on the ‘math’ instead of the fiction.

    Encourage the kids to pick their models up and march em around.  Let em engage in a little playful behavior.  but don’t turn it into a miniatures game.

    One thing that pops into mind, is disassociate the minis from a map.  Put out the enemies and players on the table.  When they’re engaged with someone (combat or not), let them move all the pieces around to describe the narrative flow.

    When somebody else jumps in, they add their mini to the fray, and drag in others as needed.

    And keep in mind that DW doesn’t shift into and out of “combat encounters”.  Have the minis in play during dialogues too.

    Hell.. i’m starting to like the idea enough, i may bust out some models for my next meat-space session.

  2. What Peter Cobcroft said.  I ran a ton of 4e and built up a ridiculous mini’s collection. So when I run DW, I try to use them as much as I can.  

    The key things, IMO, are: 

    – Think of them more like action figures than boardgame pieces, to help visualize the awesomeness going on in your heads rather than limit/define what’s possible

    – If you’ve got a big assortment of minis, use the minis to describe the fiction. Like, does that bugbear mini have a severed hand spiked to its shield? Work that into the fiction, ask questions about it, make it something that matters.

    – Move the minis around constantly.  In a real fight (or at least a heavily cinematic one), combatants are driving each other back, closing and retreating, hunkering down under cover, falling over, dropping things, etc.  Reflect that in the minis. (3e-5e rules really hinder this sort of constant, narrative change to the battlemap. Don’t fall into that trap!)

    – Don’t remove minis from the map when someone drops. Knock them over or, if you have them, replace them with a skull & crossbones or similar token.  Mark the fallen.  Weave their corpses into your GM moves and descriptions. Let PCs see where the dead orc is so they can use his remains as a shield or pick up his dropped ax.

    – Fog of war is harder to pull off on the map.  I use “?” tokens to indicate “you think you hear something over from this way.”

    – For the love of all that is holy, don’t count squares.

  3. I think that if you were to use minis in Dungeon World, you should treat them as props as opposed to game pieces.

    In other words, go ahead and play with them and use them to help express the unfolding fiction, but don’t let youself get sucked into using them as tokens for tracking movement, determining cover and line of sight, or for tactical positioning.

    Save that for the tabletop skirmish games.

  4. I agree with the above. I feel like they tend to slow down the game a bit if you have to dig through a pile of them going “I know I have a giant spider in here…” But once you have them out it can be a cool tactile representation of what the monsters look like.

    Also, it can be fun to use the minis to just show the players where the monsters compared to where they are, and it’s a good way to remember it during an encounter. I mean, we use dungeon maps anyway, and sometimes I’ll draw little Xes to show the players where they are in the room. Being able to move those markers would be helpful.

    But overall, yeah, certainly not necessary and should not be the focus of the encounters (like they are in 4e).

    Frankly, I often don’t even bother drawing a map for a small cave or something. People’s imaginations are rich and combat placement is kinda irrelevant in DW. But I will nonetheless end up saying “okay so this d4 is you and this d12 is the orc, and this pencil is the log. So minis could be fun 😉

  5. In one our early games, the artificer caused the death of the party’s hired porter. So for the rest of that campaign, I made sure to put the porter’s mini at that player’s spot every time I set up the table.  He cringed. Every time.

  6. I think the you can see the use of minis as an application of the principle “draw maps but leave blanks”. The minis are a map of the battlefield, and you use them to establish fictional positioning– which means prompts for your moves.

    “Sure, you can rush the caster, but you’ll be crossing this open ground and these archers are going to get some shots in at you.” (Offer an opportunity with a cost, tell them the consequences and ask.) The minis shape the kind of obstacles you present.

    Leaving blanks, in this context, would mean never assuming something’s not there because it’s not on the map yet. So if they want to climb something or hide under something or take cover or whatever, figure out an option for that and add it to the map.

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