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Pawns vs miniatures vs TotM

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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:
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.

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:
I think pawns and somesort of quick modular terrain is good.

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 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.


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