This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
NOTICE: Some online security services are reporting that information for a limited number of users from this site is for sale on the "dark web." As of right now, there is no direct evidence of this, but change your password just to be safe.

Author Topic: Pawns vs miniatures vs TotM  (Read 1181 times)

Thornhammer

  • Seen Your Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • T
  • Posts: 653
Pawns vs miniatures vs TotM
« on: January 16, 2022, 11:40:14 PM »
Alright, so what do you use and why?

I’m a huge fan of miniatures, but I hate playing unpainted and I’m a slow-ass painter. I don’t foresee that changing any time soon without a major financial windfall.

Pawns (the 2D stand ups) look great but tend to come in huge quantities that can be difficult to organize properly.

Tokens don’t have that same effect and tend to be more DIY. Which is fine.

Theater of the Mind is just not my bag. I have a shitton of battle maps and some of those nice Loke Battlemat books and by gaw I wanna use them.

Leaning towards pawns at the moment, maybe some of those Pathfinder boxes just for the sheer cardboard power.

David Johansen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • D
  • Posts: 5680
Re: Pawns vs miniatures vs TotM
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2022, 12:20:28 AM »
The thing about painting is you can always pay a painter.

Even so, as a guy with a 800 sqft gaming space, thousands of miniatures, and shelves full of hand made scenery.

Playing with miniatures or even pogs is largely a pipe dream.
Fantasy Adventure Comic, games, and more http://www.uncouthsavage.com

jmarso

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • j
  • Posts: 59
Re: Pawns vs miniatures vs TotM
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2022, 12:47:39 AM »
We did TotM as teenagers- worked great back then.

These days, in the game I play in, the DM sets up the session's dungeon or town or whatever using his extensive collection of terrains, tilesets, buildings, and zillions of minis. It works, especially for the way he runs his sessions, but I always see it as a bit limiting because in a way, I feel we are sort of railroaded by the setup.

When I run a game, I use a generic grid-square, laminated battle map and wet erase markers. When necessary, I'll draw a rough layout of the room on the map in front of everyone, and we'll use minis, or tokens, or dice, or what the hell ever to show placement of players, foes, and stuff. It's fairly quick, easy, and when an encounter ends we can just erase the lines and we have a blank battle map for the next go-round. Is it as pretty as a box full of painted minis and hundreds (thousands?) of bucks worth of terrain tiles? No. But it is faster, more expedient, and it doesn't tie a session down to a set area. Doing it this way allows me to keep the game moving, without set boundaries. I supposed you can always change tiles and such during a game, but it's time consuming when you could just be playing, and TotM works for everything except tactical (combat) situations, AFAIC.

Shrieking Banshee

  • Narcissist Undead
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2168
Re: Pawns vs miniatures vs TotM
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2022, 01:02:08 AM »
I think pawns and somesort of quick modular terrain is good.

Ratman_tf

  • Alt-Reich Shitlord
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7293
Re: Pawns vs miniatures vs TotM
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2022, 01:48:54 AM »
All of the above.

I played ToTM almost exclusively for RPGs until 4th edition D&D. Now, I use minis for most games. The clarity of knowing where all the characters and opponents are makes the combat that much more interesting to me.

I made a conversion for my Vesk Soldier for Starfinder to tide me over until the official releases. I've painted some monsters and characters. Most of my general use RPG minis are the prepaints for the colletible battle games, sold as individual minis from miniaturemarket.com. We have a decent collection of Star Wars, Sci Fi and Fantasy that will fit most encounters with a bit of proxying.
I've printed out cardstock disks, cardstock foldups, have quite a few pawns. etc.

At the height of my 4th edition gaming, I was making papercraft terrain. But making terrain every week or so burned me out hard. I tend to use an erasable grid with dry erase markers nowadays.

« Last Edit: January 17, 2022, 01:52:24 AM by Ratman_tf »
The notion of an exclusionary and hostile RPG community is a fever dream of zealots who view all social dynamics through a narrow keyhole of structural oppression.
-Haffrung

S'mon

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12290
Re: Pawns vs miniatures vs TotM
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2022, 02:32:39 AM »
For live play I use miniatures and battlemats or (my mate's) Dwarven Forge. If I'm running a 4e D&D adventure there is typically an expectation the players will play 'my precious encounter', but for other games (usually 5e D&D) I can improvise the terrain ok.

I have a lot of generic terrain battlemats from Paizo & WoTC. For a dungeon I traditionally drew it on dry erase, but nowadays I have a colour laser printer & a laminator, I typically print out at least parts of the dungeon map from a pdf map, laminate them and tape together A4 sections to make a large colour map. Players tend to love the Dwarven Forge best though, even if it can't be totally accurate to the map. It's particularly good if I need to depict interior walls.

Re painting miniatures & the problem of unpainted minis, I generally start by undercoating them white then apply a strongtone wash to bring out the detail, at that point IMO they're useable on the table alongside painted minis - they don't offend the eye like a completely raw mini does.

Omega

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • O
  • Posts: 16019
Re: Pawns vs miniatures vs TotM
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2022, 11:01:19 AM »
Alright, so what do you use and why?

A little of everything as the need or mood arises. I usually only bring out some minis to better show facing and position.

But personal fave are trifold standups. TSR introduced me to these with their MSH RPG. They were about the size of a mini and usually had a back facing then a right side and a left side that were not mirrors.




The Spaniard

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 178
Re: Pawns vs miniatures vs TotM
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2022, 11:22:30 AM »
We use Legos for everything.  My kids still have a shit ton left over from when they were younger. 

Crusader X

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 137
    • Blade Crusade
Re: Pawns vs miniatures vs TotM
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2022, 11:34:41 AM »
We've always used theater of the mind.  Sometimes we'd use minis of the PCs but only for marching order.

I may try using cheap plastic gaming pawns on a dry erase battle mat for an upcoming game.  Colored pawns for the PCs, and a bag of grey pawns for the monsters.  I have no desire to use expensive minis or terrain.  I'll have to see if my table likes this, or if we'll just continue to use theater of the mind.

Book & Blade – my Knave hack


Svenhelgrim

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 266
Re: Pawns vs miniatures vs TotM
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2022, 12:11:45 PM »
My ideal setup is a battlemap where I can draw the map with a marker, and use miniatures to represent the pc’s and monsters.  Failing that, preprinted map tiles, with whatever minis I can find, failing that, tokens, checkers, pogs, or whatever.

I don’t use minis for close combat, like in a bar room or belowdecks on a ship.  You can fit several “man-sized” creatures in a 5’x5’ square, so it’s theater of the mind for those gritty messy fights.

S'mon

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12290
Re: Pawns vs miniatures vs TotM
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2022, 01:02:55 PM »
I don’t use minis for close combat, like in a bar room or belowdecks on a ship.  You can fit several “man-sized” creatures in a 5’x5’ square, so it’s theater of the mind for those gritty messy fights.

The commercial bar and ship battle mats are generally unrealistically large to deal with this issue. Generally I think of the 5' squares there as 'really' more like 2.5'. :)


An inn right before the orcs attack.  ;D

Dropbear

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 170
Re: Pawns vs miniatures vs TotM
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2022, 02:04:35 PM »
I end up using TotM more often than not. Not really out of habit, but because I don’t have the space for battle maps and minis anymore. I used to use tokens a lot with battle maps, back when I did have the space. I can’t paint minis worth a crap and I’m not about to spend money to pay someone else to do it for me.

For most of my gaming up until D&D 3E came out, TotM was more common among my groups. We got more into tokens and battle maps then, and used them through to our short-lived 4E campaign that killed our interest in 4E. After that we continued to use tokens and maps with PF1. But somehow with the advent of 5E, the long-running group has pretty much avoided such due to life and living space changes.

I’d love to give the tokens and maps a shot again sometime, but since we play where I live that is doubtless going to be impossible to manage with no place to store and set them up, and three cats and five dogs roaming freely through the living room area where we play at any given moment.

I can at least put images up on a 72” internet-capable TV monitor to show my players the battle scenes, though.

jmarso

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • j
  • Posts: 59
Re: Pawns vs miniatures vs TotM
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2022, 02:36:04 PM »
I can at least put images up on a 72” internet-capable TV monitor to show my players the battle scenes, though.

Something I've been toying with but haven't bit off on is a bluetooth overhead projector, which which I could project illustrations, maps, and battle maps on a screen (or the wall) for ease of play. I'm not totally sold on the idea, however, and the projectors themselves are a wee bit spendy for something like tabletop gaming.

tenbones

  • Poobah of the D.O.N.G.
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5455
Re: Pawns vs miniatures vs TotM
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2022, 05:23:57 PM »
I just got back into minis.

So far I'm using battlemat, and a TON of Dwarven Forge I recently picked up. I'm planning on getting a couple of 3d Printers to print my own minis and terrain (both SLA and FDM). So I'm diving deep.

As it stands right now - I'm painting a LOT - committed myself to paining all my unpainted minis, most of which are Reaper, and Rackham Confrontation minis. But I've started picking up resin minis that frankly are ball's out awesome.

I had to re-supply myself with paints, and gear etc. but that's moving along quickly. For anyone that thinks painting is hard - it's really not. There are so many ways to get good solid painted minis using some basic techniques and some of the newer gear - like Speed Paints, and Contrast paints that will vastly speed up your painting process.

The moment I got back on the Battlemat (we use it only for big fights - otherwise we're still ToTM) I knew I could use just markers or figure-flats. I gotta go all-in. But that's just me.

I've re-found a singular joy in painting minis that I haven't had in YEARS. My thread on Dwarven Forge and all the fine glorious bastards here on this forum ignited my DIY gene and now all this shit is going super-nova as a renewed hobby. The 3d Printing thing was inevitable for me.