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D&D 3E
Minis In Game 
12th-Dec-2003 05:04 am
I recently got into a game about 2 months back and when we got into our first battle the DM used metal minis and a mat. Now since then I am collecting the new minis for use in my own game and can't wait to play. But I am curious who all here uses them and a mat in there game. Please give me details, do you players like to use the mat? Do you do it but dont like it as much? Anything on the subject would be appreciated.

12th-Dec-2003 02:25 am (UTC)
The mat is convenient- it establishes a playing surface. I never used one until I got one by accident a few Gen Cons ago.

This is the real secret to using miniatures effectively: scenery. Get some wooden blocks, plastic train-model trees, and look for whatever decorative bits you can find (wedding cake pillars are great). The more 3-dimensional the battles become (with overhanging ledges and places for guys to take cover and so on) the more interesting battles become.

The other secret is to clear the field between battles, so when it's time to roleplay, people aren't distracted and staring at the mat.

12th-Dec-2003 04:22 am (UTC)
I don't have the time, money (or talent) to bother with metal minis. I'm also more the "arty farty" gamer than one who tries to build the combat character.

However, I do like a bit of strategy and tactics! There are combat scenes, high points of action, where minis really do help. I've found that paper minis are really handy for this. I've recently reviewed Disposable Heroes, which are nice and cheap.
12th-Dec-2003 04:46 am (UTC)
I snagged a 18" X 24" tacky post-it memo board from work, used a black sharpe to draw in a 1" grid on it and we use that as a mat. I printed and laminated a bunch of top down trees, walls and misc other things and i'll toss them onto the map so we have appropriate rooms or areas. and the sticky substance helps keep the mini's from flying around because of sloppy rollers.

12th-Dec-2003 05:45 am (UTC)
We've used the mat, but not always minis. Usually dice are used instead.
12th-Dec-2003 05:53 am (UTC)
I never used any minis of any sort until about 2 years ago (and I have bene playing since 1993). We always used our imagination and description to base how battles went.

Although minis help, they drag out battle so much. Dice work better as a comprimise without a mat just so epople get a general idea.
12th-Dec-2003 06:17 am (UTC)
We tend to use the details of the combat rules that require information on exact positions, so a mat (or something equivalent) is a must.
12th-Dec-2003 12:13 pm (UTC)
...........I hate those rules. or at ,least the excatn ess of them. Like flanking and stuff if it makes sense then we allpy it.

Rule 0 is the best.
12th-Dec-2003 12:17 pm (UTC)
We like 'em. I don't think all of them work very well (like flanking, for example - you're flanked if two guys are on opposite sides, but not if you face three guys evenly spaced around you?), but I enjoy the tactical aspect of combat from time to time.
12th-Dec-2003 12:51 pm (UTC)
*nods* definatly understood......ever play warhammer?
12th-Dec-2003 01:16 pm (UTC)
Fantasy Battle? Once or twice. Don't like it.

I've played a bit more Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and there we didn't use minis.
12th-Dec-2003 06:13 am (UTC) - Been Using Minis since 1978!
I have been using metal minis since 1978. When I became a serious DM in '82 I started getting minis for my players as well. When the 3rd edition rules came out, I bought a very large 1" grid mat that would just about cover my dining room table. (I think that it is 6'x4'.) In a dungeon crawl, I will layout the basic outline of the walls and doors so that the players can put their characters minis in marching order. That way when I put out the "monsters" everyone has a spacial grasp of the situation. For outside encounters I will draw a rough sketch of the terain. Again, when using the 3rd editon rules it is really useful to have a mat.

I love this game. I have collected about a 100 metal minis and about 80 plastic ones. I have painted most of my metal ones myself.

Minis and a mat just make sense to me. I would not DM without them.
12th-Dec-2003 06:22 am (UTC)
I use minis and a mat (although if the combat is fairly minor, I might not bother). It helps the players (and me) see who is where, judge distances accurately, etc. It helps prevent disputes and keeps everybody honest - and since one party in which I'm a player has seven PCs, it actually speeds up combat to a certain extent. It seems to help keep people focused, and there's no asking, "where are you again?"
12th-Dec-2003 07:00 am (UTC) - Started using them recently...
I've "just" gotten into 3E a few months ago, and decided to get a battlemat. It worked out much better than the dry-erase board I had used previously, so I've decided to stick with it.

While the PCs have minis, I made counters for the various monsters. I bought some flat glass beads, marked them for various monster sizes (1 bead for 5x5 creatures, 2 beads for 5x10, etc), and used those in place of monster minis. You can get them in different colors from the dollar store, so they're a lot cheaper than minis, too. :)

I bought some clear page covers (for use in 3-ring binders), and marked them with monster sizes and threat ranges, as well as the various spell effects (cones, bursts, etc) and sizes. It took me a while to do it properly (with permanent markers and a ruler), but it's saved hours of gametime disagreements.

One thing to watch out for with battlemats is what kind of markers to use. Dry-erase markers may permanently stain some battlemats.
12th-Dec-2003 11:18 am (UTC)
Well, from the opposite side of the issue...

I hate minis, counters, battle mats, the whole works. I've played Basic D&D, 1st edition, 2nd edition, and both versions of 3E. And I've tried using minis, both running games and playing in them.

And I hate them. In my experience--and I'm sure it's different for many people--they destroy everything I like about roleplaying. They make people think in terms of tactics and "squares" first, and in character second (if at all). They slow combat down. They lead to square counting and rules lawyering. Frankly, one of the few things I don't like about the new edition is that the rules are written to increase reliance on miniatures. I don't mind them being an option, as they've been in all previous editions, but I strongly object to rules that assume they're being used.

I've actually written up a few house rules (mostly to do with Attacks of Opportunity) to make it easier to play without them, but even in games with no house rules, I prefer not to use them. And I refuse to use them in my own campaigns, unless I'm running a fight with too may combatants to keep track of in any other way.
12th-Dec-2003 11:13 pm (UTC) - Minis In Game Part 2
Thanks to all for the opinions weither for or against. Now I have a question for those who do use a mat. For those that bought a mat any paticular preference on which companies mat to use. Just curious if one company stands out above the rest.
For the mat users what do you do when the map is all revealed and you have no more room. I mean what do you do with your players at the table wanting more. I have a bunch of friends that smoke so I am okay, they go take a smoke break and I change the map. But does map edititng really become a problem, more thoughts and comments as you see fit.

15th-Dec-2003 07:25 am (UTC) - Re: Minis In Game Part 2
IMHO - Chessex is the best. Here is their link:

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