After years debating miniatures vs not, my conclusion is that simply different methods work for different people. That the best approach is to use a variety of techniques tailored for the situation, yourself, and the group at hand.
The method that doesn't work is blindly assume that your "way" is the
way that going to work all the time. It simply not going to too. You
need to pay attention to the players and learn what works best for that
I use generally miniatures because they allow me to effectively describe
scenes in the shortest amount of time. The key trick I found is describe things as you placing stuff on the map. This minimize the time needed for any verbal followup. If a group likes detailed
tactical combat I will accommodate them and take a little longer in
setting up. If the group is more verbal oriented I will set up just what
I think I need get the description across and just estimate range and
movement. For wandering through towns I just use a large player map and
counters and verbally describe things as they walk through.
I judge each of the technique simply whether it is effective in
conveying needed information for the players to roleplay their
characters as if they were there. If it doesn't, then I change it.
Sometime I have an idea that doesn't work. Or I need to change because
it a different approach works better for that group.
So I view this niniatures versus not miniatures as silly. Both sides are too dogmatic. The fact is BOTH work.
Instead develop the wisdom to see which methods work and when they don't. Also remember what works best with your skills as a referee is important.
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