So, I had a game last Monday.  I know that the game is not well suited to minis.  I had an old adventure that was…

So, I had a game last Monday.  I know that the game is not well suited to minis.  I had an old adventure that was…

So, I had a game last Monday.  I know that the game is not well suited to minis.  I had an old adventure that was created for D&D 3rd, so I had all the stuff for it in paper minis and Maps.  I discovered that you can use it as an aide for large combats.  Combats where the PCs are up against around double, maybe more, combatants.  It also helped some imagination in it.  A more timid Player was able to vividly describe an action of acrobatically leaping over a person to slice down on another enemy.  He was a halfling monk with an Acrobatics Move on his sheet.  So I had him roll that, then roll the Hack&Slash, but it allowed for a great description.  I used dice on a map to roughly describe where the bad guys were in relation to them.  No worrying about ranges or sizes or movement actions.  Just, “Hey, you are about  here and they are about here.  This will be moved around a lot and not in any sort of order, What do you do?”

The visual helped not only the combat but it helped me keep track of a lot of opponents.  Just wanted to Share.

13 thoughts on “So, I had a game last Monday.  I know that the game is not well suited to minis.  I had an old adventure that was…”

  1. In my experience, maps and minis (or counters) can be a big help in getting everyone to the same page.  But it can also limit thinking to 2 dimensional ground level.  The very quick skirmish I had last night took place in the palace wine cellar.  Rash, the PC, used his acrobatics to climb up the wine vats and flip over his assailant and then ran out the door.  Steve, the player, was thinking of the vertical nature of the battlefield.  A map of the cellar might have squashed that a bit.  

  2. Well, being a Narrative game, I find that describing the action is better than showing it on a map.  But when it came to a full table and lots of combatants, I found it easier to improvise.  Provided that I added description to what I put on the table.  Like, yes if in a wine cellar, describing the wine racks going up and towering.  And a crash of bottles if it tips over, ect…  But keeping the minis and maps as simple as possible did help imagination a bit better than a full map and minis.  I used dice.  The Players had a very clear image of being surrounded and being in a jam but keeping it more abstract and asking them for more detail on their action also helped encourage those shyer individuals.

  3. It helps my group as well. Some of them have trouble remembering where they are in the fiction, so those visual keys help the game flow a bit better. Plus I really like painting miniatures :)

  4. I don’t mind using minis to show marching order, or on rare occasion to show positioning if for some reason there is confusion, but that’s about it. The whole reason I quit playing 3x/PF/4e and started looking for another system was largely due to the dependence of those system on minis and the battle grid.

    For our groups, battle grids and minis make moving from standard role play and exploration to combat and then back again way too jarring. For us, it’s always been like we’re taking part in a great story or movie, then suddenly, it’s a board game. Then after the mini/battle grid combat, we have to try to get our heads back into the fiction.

    We’ve always been descriptive of actions in battle, even with minis and a grid. But despite that, we still found ourselves looking at a table top, counting squares, determining areas of effect, line of sight, etc. All those things can be done with common sense and good description in the imagination. We’ve very rarely had issues with it. And when we did, just sketching a quick room outline or a quick positioning of dice or minis to show position was all that was needed to clear the issue.

  5. I have used lots of minis, mostly cuz I have them, but nowadays I mostly save them for big complicated fights with lots of combatants and “zones.”

    One thing I like to use is “fog of war” tokens.  Like, they heard something moving in the shadows but can’t see it, I’ll drop a “?” token in that area. Then replace it with a fig when they actually see it.

  6. I really like the “Fog of War” token idea.  I may have to use that and make up some.  Hmm, some Poker Chips with a sticker of a ? on it should work fine.

    @Krynos Pentegarn: That is exactly what I did.  Just some dice, a quick outline, then lots of descriptions.  Some movement of the dice to show “Zones of Interest” and to tell me to keep switching up where the action is.  Sometimes I would go a few action sequences at a time them bounce back to the other “Zone” for effect.  Anything to keep the action going and prevent confusion.  It also gave the players something to move dice on and describe just how they are doing their attack, rather than doing damage they sometimes opted to throw someone into another conflict.  The old “Switch Up”.  Hmm, I may make a Move of “Switch Up” for larger combats.  I will have to think on it. 

  7. Matrix Forby For fog-of-war tokens, I printed these on an 8.5×11″ sheet of sticker paper, then used a I used a 1-inch circuluar punch-out (from a craft/scrapbooking store) to pop them out.  Stuck them on some 1-inch steel washers (box of 100 for a dollar or two from a hardware store).  Gives them a nice weight, and fits on a standard 1-inch mini square if you use that sort of thing.

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