Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Referee Rumblings: Miniatures

The use of miniatures is one area that gamers are divided about. For me I am a GM who loves using miniatures. But as the picture shows below those are those with a different opinion about the use of miniatures.

I have some tips and trick for using miniatures without bogging down your game. But first off yesterday Alex asks how I keep my tiles sorted. To the left of where I sit when refereeing is this bookshelf.

Yes I REALLY like GURPS. That beside point. The second shelf down is where I keep a lot of the tiles I use during the game.

I use mainly just the really big tiles and a selection of the smaller bits. I keep the big tiles stacked up on the ends of the shelf. The Wizard's Dungeon on the left and the Chaosium Path tiles on the Right. In the baggies on the right are the smaller Chaosium tiles along with the baggies with the dungeon tile bits I use.

To the right of bookshelf you can see the my miniature storage cases. Below is a closer view.

Over 30 years of gaming I collected quite a few. Recently Tim of Gothridge Manor gave me his sets doubling my collection. I must confess I don't really use every miniature there. The one on the left is monsters and humanoids while the one on the right is used for NPC and PCs.

Also I have to confess that I use the smaller dungeon tiles rarely. I have manage to collect a bunch of plastic, plaster, and resin pieces I use for dungeon dressing.

The plastic ones I keep in my Dice box.

They come from the various Mage Warrior Dungeon Sets. They were good prices too and I wish I had more of them. Note the empty compartment are storage for miniatures when I referee away from home.

This is the box of plaster and resin dungeon dressing I use.

The top two are pillar bases, bottom left are tents. The next one to the right is a stone fence and supply barrels. Then in the bottom middle are my tavern pieces, above that is a door and a fireplace. Then to the right are bedding both regular beds and floor mats. Upper right are fireplaces and the lower left are low stone walls.

I could have gotten all kinds of crazy stuff but I choose these items because they are used in 90% of the encounters I run in fantasy games.

And that key to using miniatures and dungeon dressing. It isn't a matter of having all your stuff sorted but having the stuff you use 90% of the time easily accessible. Out of all the miniature boxes the following four are what I use the most often

This is the box where I store large quantities of the same miniatures. I basically got most of these from sales on stuff for miniature wargames. Out of this box what I use the most is in the lower right corner, the peasant/normal folk area. Here are figures presenting well .. normal people. So when I need a mayor, a barmaid, or anything similar I pull it out of here.

Next are my Official Guard Figures

When you see these guys coming you know your characters are in trouble. The Red guys are my Official Guards and the Blue Guys were Tim's Official Guards.

Next is my Orc box. Nothing but Orcs. Circled are the miniatures I use the most often for Humanoids. I have goblins, bugbears, and kobolds but no where in the quantity of my orcs. So I throw the guys in the upper left in to flesh out the few I have.

In the monster box below I use the circled miniatures a lot. They are various four legged wolves, dogs, and great cats. Useful for any mundane four legged carnivore. As you saw previously I have the herbivores covered as well. Those were gotten from a model railroad shop.

As for the remaining miniatures I set some of those aside for important NPCs. If the next series of adventures involves say undead, or giants. I will pull those figures out so they are handy. The way my games goes usually I can prepare for a session or two ahead of time. Beyond that who knows where the PCs will end up. The players have the run of the PC boxes to find just the right figure for their character.

Next post putting it all together.


Gothridge Manor said...

Great article Rob. Even though I've seen them a ton of times it was still informative. And to let everyone know that's the neatest Rob's gaming stuff has ever been.

Aaron E. Steele said...

I'm not a big "All Miniatures Must Be Eaten" guy, but I like having them at the table. Sometimes you want to play out the fight using the minis, and its nice to have the minis and dungeon dressing available when the urge comes over you.

Anonymous said...

I cringe when I see two painted minis sharing a space, all bangin together all the time. For this reason and for the fact you don't have to paint them I think the prepainted rubbery-plastic minis are a godsend. Just toss em all in a big ziplock bag!

Nice article though.

Robert Conley said...

I use a clear finish that helps. I just can't afford a case that puts each mini in its own padded slot.

For what it worth I have empty cases use when I Dm away from home and I use the unpainted figures a lot.