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Psychopomp

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For some reason the wargame companies don't seem to view rpgers as a viable market.

I'm not sure I understand what more they would need to do for rpgers other than putting out boxes of 20 modular plastic mercenaries or 30 modular plastic orcs like they do already.

I'd say it's more an issue of rpgers not really knowing about other sources of miniatures. Which is weird, because it's "miniatures wargaming". No one's hiding it. And you can't really accuse them of not making themselves known - there's crap-tons of Youtube videos on all sorts of miniatures gaming and painting circulating in the same categories as RPG reviews. Lots of games stores have shelves of wargaming miniatures not far from the roleplaying shelves. Hell, I got my first Games Workshop catalog by calling a number in the back of Dragon magazine back in 1994!
 

AsenRG

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For some reason the wargame companies don't seem to view rpgers as a viable market.
Why not:shock:?
I mean, I'm not in the market at the moment, but as my kids are growing up, I might well get to it, too. They like their visuals, and all of them are already playing...even if they don't really know or care about the rules yet:thumbsup:.
Which, to be honest, is how I prefer my players, lately, unless I'm planning to run one of the 3 or less systems that I like, where the system is part of the show:shade:!
 

DeadBob

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For some reason the wargame companies don't seem to view rpgers as a viable market.
Perhaps the gummy bear companies will!
I'm not sure I understand what more they would need to do for rpgers other than putting out boxes of 20 modular plastic mercenaries or 30 modular plastic orcs like they do already.

I'd say it's more an issue of rpgers not really knowing about other sources of miniatures. Which is weird, because it's "miniatures wargaming". No one's hiding it. And you can't really accuse them of not making themselves known - there's crap-tons of Youtube videos on all sorts of miniatures gaming and painting circulating in the same categories as RPG reviews. Lots of games stores have shelves of wargaming miniatures not far from the roleplaying shelves. Hell, I got my first Games Workshop catalog by calling a number in the back of Dragon magazine back in 1994!
I tend to agree with you on this first part. A bit of it really needs to come from the RPG end, not the WG end of things (although, if it was economically viable, I'd love to see those war game minis makers start selling RPGer "skirmish packs", a bit like what was suggested by David upthread. Essentially, rather than a 30 pack of orcs or whatever, the maker threw say, six sprues from different kits in a box. A similar number of miniatures as those boxes but geared more towards the small number of miniatures that an RPGer would tend to want, and general kit bashing potential).

What could come from the RPG end?

Solid advice for GMs on how to build their early miniatures collection to a setting.

Setting design emphasizing humans/humanoids as the major source of conflict/tension (because humanoid to humanoid substitution is the easiest to accept when WYSIWYG isn't viable) in the setting

Settings where cheap toys can be used for a number of monsters (Giant bugs, dinosaurs, easily kit-bashed non-human robots)

Rules that make solo monsters dangerous even for groups, and at various PC power levels. This is especially important for miniature models that classically cost a fair amount of real-world money.

Rules for upgrading humanoid foes to continue to provide interesting challenge for PCs as the grow in power.

Rules that understand most RPGs have significantly less table space to play on than wargamers use. Write your rules as if there was about 24" x 24" maximum available, and probably more like a rectangle 20" x 30" or so. That can mean that simplification of ranged combat, a good look at speed of movement, and rules that abstract movement and ranged combat that goes outside of the bounds of that limited play space.

Make that last stuff base line assumption. You can always produce future supplements for bigger battles with more space and more miniatures. Or just let fans figure it out.

Create setting reasons why things keep turning up. Is it Super VIllian Death tropes for major monsters? Is this critter fairly common the way enemy soldiers are in a wargame, so it's really just a different one of the same species/type you're encountering? Are there social conventions in-setting around surrender/ransom/geas/parole/prisoner exchange?

In relation to the small play space and re-use, write in example rules or scenarios for the re-use of baddies during a scenario/encounter. Wargamers who play different sorts of Small Elite Group vs Endless Horde survival scenarios have been doing it for ages.

Similarly, teach the common Front Rank is WYSIWIG, The Rest are Placeholders We Remove First technique that wargamers have also used for ages. Put that in the damn book as an example!

As a designer, put real thought into what is going into that 20" x 30" space and help your poor beginners out FFS. Go look at what TSR did for their Marvel Superheroes FASERIP game in terms of maps. Look at what came with the core, and how they used that repeatedly, but also added maps with pretty much every adventure module. Usually, an adventure used part of a core set map for many different kinds of scenes and then a few specific maps for specific chapters in the module. It was great example of re-use of core stuff with per-adventure additions. Make them a bunch of stuff for the core game that is easily re-used. Give it to them, or make it inexpensive, or partner with someone who makes maps and try to partner with them. Don't leave them hanging at the get-go. They will figure out how to get more 3D and DIY down the line.

Along with that, give them a bunch of downloadable counters or cut'n'fold standees. They aren't as cool as minis, but they will get them through the initial stages of playing with minis. If you can't afford to that, give them links to online freebies.

The other reason you want them to have that core stuff out of the gate? So they can change scenes quickly. Yes, more quickly than some dry erase mat or small tiles allows for (and frankly prettier than dry erase generally allows for, as at eats part of the fun of miniatures is the beauty). In RPGs, we all tend to change location more often than in WGs.

Take a tip from some of the WotC editions of D&D and make tabletop movement more dynamic with different sorts of forced movement and occasional weirdo terrain effects.

Consider moment options that are neither hex, grid, nor measuring stick. Area/Zone movement is one. Big Grid is another. Different sorts of measured or non-measured straight-line-with-obstacle-effects are another.

Consider giving PCs minions/henchies/best buds/whatever as a core part of play. Ars Magica might be a good template. You can make them few in number (3-4), but it opens up a ton of possibilities. It also potentially encourages players to buy slightly more miniatures than they need at one time, which helps the GM out with their mook-budget-in-real-money and lets them concentrate on buying the monsters.

So that's what I've got for now.
 

DeadBob

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"Say "hi" to the Slimebear!"
"Not slimebears again!"
"Shut up, Arnold. If we kill them, we can eat them!"
Someone suggested using candy as markers and eating as they were killed in a thread years back about using minis n gaming.

The drift annoyed me, but I had to admit it really was an amazingly clever idea.
 

DeadBob

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You should absolutely make some sort of "What Advice Can Wargamers Give to RPG Mini Collectors?" thread in the Board and Miniature Games subforum.

I know that I myself, as a rank n' flank fantasy wargamer and theater of the mind GM, see the WizKids and WotC blisters of skeletons and orcs, and I'm like, "Why not just find someone else interested, and buy a box of Oathmark Skeletons and Orcs between you and swap halvsies? You'd each have 15 orcs and 15 skeletons for the price of about 5 D&D blisters of 2-3 minis each."
I really just need to write up my thoughts somewhere like google-docs and post a link.

Also, your swap suggestion? You're basically nailing a big part of what I would suggest as well.

With how I'd envision workable minis+RPG, you probably wouldn't need more than 15 of any one humanoid group/character baseline character type for anything to start anyway, and even less for monster/special opposition types.

Some of the issues I have with making minis use in RPGs basically disappear if 3D printing becomes even more refined and more commonly available, either at home or at the equivalent of a Kinkos style printshop, and relative prices stay low. At that point, most of my frustrations really fall more on the mechanical/playstyle part of things and that becomes much cheaper to resolve.
 
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David Johansen

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I'm not sure I understand what more they would need to do for rpgers other than putting out boxes of 20 modular plastic mercenaries or 30 modular plastic orcs like they do already.

I'd say it's more an issue of rpgers not really knowing about other sources of miniatures. Which is weird, because it's "miniatures wargaming". No one's hiding it. And you can't really accuse them of not making themselves known - there's crap-tons of Youtube videos on all sorts of miniatures gaming and painting circulating in the same categories as RPG reviews. Lots of games stores have shelves of wargaming miniatures not far from the roleplaying shelves. Hell, I got my first Games Workshop catalog by calling a number in the back of Dragon magazine back in 1994!
People in general seem to have this fixation with brand names. "Can I use this figure for D&D? It doesn't match the art!" I think roleplayers tend to be a little on the cheap side when it comes to miniatures. Possibly because they need a wide variety rather than large numbers. And producing variety tends to be better served by the types of moulds used for metal figures. I suppose another issue might be the difficulties of doing packaging in China.

At any rate, yeah, I'm wondering why Northstar doesn't have a variety box with a sprue of Frostgrave mercenaries, Oathmark orcs, and so forth. Mantic could do it, Wargames Atlantic very likely will do it eventualy.
 

DeadBob

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People in general seem to have this fixation with brand names. "Can I use this figure for D&D? It doesn't match the art!" I think roleplayers tend to be a little on the cheap side when it comes to miniatures. Possibly because they need a wide variety rather than large numbers. And producing variety tends to be better served by the types of moulds used for metal figures. I suppose another issue might be the difficulties of doing packaging in China.

At any rate, yeah, I'm wondering why Northstar doesn't have a variety box with a sprue of Frostgrave mercenaries, Oathmark orcs, and so forth. Mantic could do it, Wargames Atlantic very likely will do it eventualy.
The brand name thing is usually an indication that you're relatively new and haven't yet come into contact with stuff from sources other than the single Big Name or close competitor.

If a smaller, independent game company was trying to encourage minis use, the best thing they could probably do is to talk very generally for about a page (could be online as opposed to taking up physical page) about all of the freebie online sites for stuff, including advice. Also maybe mention a few key ways to save money, same as for other hobbies, like swapping/trading, buying used, buying from discount sellers, splitting costs, making your own stuff, and making a buying/budgeting plan as opposed to always going with impulse purchases.

As for the mixed box, some companies are tepidly doing that.

With Stargrave expansions, Northstar has been offering package deals, usually the new book+ a new boxed set+ a sprue for some special scenario kitbash ( + optionally some scenario specific metal minis). The idea is there.

Mantic occasionally has some really good combos. For a while they had a dungeon starter, a SciFi starer of some sort, with both GM type minis and some terrain for under $100 USD. They've also had a seperate Undead pack that was popular for a while to pick up for either Frostgrave or Ranges of Shadow Deep. They also recently released a multipart kit containing 10 halflings and 5 halfling mounted on war dogs for cavalry for about $19 UD. I picked that up for a one-off scenario I'm calling Darby O'Kill and the Kingdom of the the Lepre-Cannibals ( Leprechaunibbals?).

And of course, a fair number of online sprues sellers, although sadly none that seem to carry all of the sprues I want in one place.
 

DeadBob

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BTW, if you are starting out and are going to need to begin with/stick with printables, these two look awesome. I love the artwork.

For the map/tile terrain, this just came across my FB feed. Oh, so beautiful. Reminds me of those European comics that I could never afford.
Mostly PWYW/ Inexpensive, and an ongoing growing collection. Also geared for VTT as well as physical print.
https://2minutetabletop.com/

Sometimes in a similar vein, but with a huge number of standees for a variety of genres (and sometimes print and fold as well), all free:
One Monk Miniatures
 

Psychopomp

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People in general seem to have this fixation with brand names. "Can I use this figure for D&D? It doesn't match the art!"
I don't know how a wargaming company could cater for that thinking, then. If you have to have a specific look of orc that matches the 5e Monster Manual, you're a lost cause for them.
I think roleplayers tend to be a little on the cheap side when it comes to miniatures.
Not if they're willing to pay $5 for two PVC Nolzur's skeletons. If they're too cheap for $35 for a box of 30 modular skeletons that can be assembled with bows, spears, or sword and shield, there's figure flats or theater of the mind. Northstar, Wargames Atlantic, Mantic, and Fireforge are doing amazing work making modular plastic fantasy, scifi, and medieval miniatures really affordable.

Possibly because they need a wide variety rather than large numbers. And producing variety tends to be better served by the types of moulds used for metal figures. I suppose another issue might be the difficulties of doing packaging in China.
The plastic wargaming minis I mentioned above come with 5-10 unique bodies per sprue, with a mix of modular heads and weapons allowing you to equip the subject of the box set as you need, within the supplied parameters. In wargaming, multipart plastic kits have been the gold standard for unit variety since at least the late 90's, when GW introduced them for Warhammer Fantasy. Metal miniatures tend to come in a limited number of sculpts per unit type, and are much harder to re-equip to suit a specific purpose. Also, the materials cost for metals has seen their cost jump in the last few years - leading to the same issue as Nolzur's, WizKids, or Reaper - paying a third of the cost of a 20-30 model plastic box set for 2-3 miniatures.

The main concern that you list here is the quanity, as plastics are cheap because they're produced for quantity. So they're sold like that for wargaming, even skirmish wargaming. However, there do exist workarounds, as I'll discuss for your last point...

At any rate, yeah, I'm wondering why Northstar doesn't have a variety box with a sprue of Frostgrave mercenaries, Oathmark orcs, and so forth. Mantic could do it, Wargames Atlantic very likely will do it eventualy.
I think it's because the boxes are usually packed from the factory shipment of a sprue run. Some companies will sell individual sprues, but at a higher cost than the equivalent proportion of a boxed set's cost, due to the extra effort in retaining unpacked sprues for individual sale. Northstar did produce an "Undead Encounters" sampler of Mantic's undead sprues early in Frostgrave's run, but I'm not sure it's still available. There are ebay sellers and a few merchants that will sell individual sprues - but again, with a higher cost than that fraction of a box's cost due to the additional effort on their end.

Honestly, if you ONLY want 5 skeletons with swords and 5 with bows and can't stand the thought of paying to have more than that, your best, cheapest bet is to find some other folks who want a quick core selection of minis and split some box sets as I mentioned above. It's not an ideal solution, as it relies on having or being able to find other people willing to go in with you on it, and not everyone will be able to do that. Otherwise, you can find retailers who will sell you the two sprues of Northstar skeletons that would represent, but for more than 1/3 the cost of the box of 30 - just like any other retail transaction where you're paying to break up a standard unit.

The upside to dropping $35 for a box of 30 skeletons is that, while you may have paid for more than you need, you've paid FAR less than you would have for 30 Nolzur's skeletons AND you have a fine core force if you want to dabble in some skirmish wargaming with cheap, light rulesets (some cheap as free) online!

But don't get me started on the startup and ongoing costs for paints and tools. Hoo boy, is that a rabbit hole.

(And for the same reasons x 100, we won't bring up the 3D printing option here. It's a wonderous vista of new miniature possibilities, but at the cost of picking up a brand new hobby involving some hazardous materials.)

The post is too long. We really should have done a side thread.
 

David Johansen

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I like to steal napkins from restaurants and copy out my friend's rulebooks by hand on them.

But you're right, I tend to digress into miniatures.

My dream project is multipart plastic action figures for GURPS in 1/36 :grin:

The vehicles kit is a box of sheet metal and some tin snips.
 

Rob Necronomicon

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Over the last few years, I've been buying expensive audio equipment so everything else is on the back burner. So I'd like to cut corners for RPGs and other hobbies where possible.

But I've already been only buying pdfs for about 10 years. For a couple of different reasons (in no particular order).
1) The waiting time for stuff to arrive (or the books were not even in stock).
2) PDFs are cheaper (although on that front things are changing rapidly).
3) Space, I literally had an entire wall covered with RPG books (that I didn't use).
4) Books decay, get damaged, and fall apart.
5) Postage is really expensive nowadays.
6) you can carry most of your vast collection with you. :smile:

Beyond the cost of the games themselves, I don't really have any other costs associated with RPGs (VTT or the probably 5e subscription model).

I'd never sub to stuff like a VTT or some virtual online thing. Not my cuppa so that potentially saves me some cost and I've been playing online for years and we never needed them.

One way to avoid cost I would think would be not get involved with the bigger companies like WoTC. As they only want to get you to spend more on new editions, splat books, doodads, etc. Stuff you don't really need. I'm immune to that because I don't play D&D or 5e. I'm now trying to be satisfied with editions I like and won't allow myself to buy a new edition unless it's really good. I totally didn't pick up A/State, CoC 7e or Sla Industries 2e for example (YMMV).

I have noticed that some pdfs on DT are getting pretty pricy. Now, I have a price that I just won't allow myself to go over for a digital product.

I'm an RPG collector (or was). But I've decided I'm not going to impulse buy stuff on DT that sounds cool but turns out to be okay in the end. That's probably the biggest way I can save money.

PS - I don't go near minis. I love the look and artistry. I just never liked to game with them as I'm a theatre of the mind guy. But I'd go for flats as that would save a lot of cash if I was interested in that end. Or just some meeples or sumat'
 

opaopajr

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Someone suggested using candy as markers and eating as they were killed in a thread years back about using minis n gaming.

The drift annoyed me, but I had to admit it really was an amazingly clever idea.

That might've been me. I've been saying this for years now to the absolute revulsion of mini fans. :cry: They also did not like my Slime Army idea -- use glass beads for infantry, marbles for cavalry, paper weights as heavy solos, candy dishes as vehicles, etc. :grin: Grandmas could start with a 5000 point army straight outta the gate!

:quiet: Or maybe part of enjoying miniature wargames is the miniatures and the painting of them. They rather took offense at my love of DiscWars as unworthy of wargaming, too... :cry:
 

AsenRG

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Someone suggested using candy as markers and eating as they were killed in a thread years back about using minis n gaming.

The drift annoyed me, but I had to admit it really was an amazingly clever idea.
I have read it as well, I remember. Never said it's my idea, right:grin:?

People in general seem to have this fixation with brand names. "Can I use this figure for D&D? It doesn't match the art!"
Yeah, that and not playing a game because of the art is the kind of logic I've never been able to get:thumbsup:!

I think the big turnoff for RPG gamers using wargame minis is the need to assemble and paint them.
Word. If I knew a local wargamer that finds the painting fun, I'd probably be having a modest collection by now...:shade:
 

DeadBob

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:quiet: Or maybe part of enjoying miniature wargames is the miniatures and the painting of them. They rather took offense at my love of DiscWars as unworthy of wargaming, too... :cry:
Yes, part of the joy of using miniatures is the using miniatures.

It is an aspect somewhat seperate from the tactical positioning/maneuver aspect. If you only care about the tactical positioning/maneuver aspect there are far less expensive and time occupying ways of getting it.

OTOH, personally, when someone drops by a discussion of minis use in gaming to drop a comment similar to yours, no matter how funny or how much I like the person, I kinda feel like I do when someone is discussing how to grill a steak just right and someone pops up and suggests eating instant oatmeal instead, since it's all cheaper, faster, and easier, and after all, eating is really just about getting calories into your system anyway. :tongue::hehe:
 

DeadBob

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You can play with an unpainted mini. All you can do with an unassembled one is throw it down as a dismembered corpse.
One thing that would be nice is to see the companies that make miniatures filled boardgames at notably RPG/Wargaming scales (usually 25mm scale, sometimes slightly larger) just offer that stuff at a reasonable price seperate from the boardgame. There are tons of those out there at this point and I'm pretty sure the makers are aware that a significant part of their customer base is using them exactly for tabletop gaming outside of their original purpose.

It would make for more durable minis that need little to no assembly, even if they were unpainted.

On a different note, people rarely discuss where adventures are taking place and how that impacts the ease of using miniatures.

In wargaming, most of the combat takes place outdoors or in ruins of habitation in later eras. When getting a terrain collection together, it's mostly getting an appropriately colored cloth base or mat, then some hills and vegetation, and slowly working to more expensive or intricate pieces (usually something man-made or man-altered). Using all that in play is mostly just re-arranging it before play begins, and then leaving it be until the game-play ends (for that scenario).

RPGs...don't tend to work with all of that well.

With minis use in RPGs, some part of that set up needs to be altered, although the alteration could feasibly come from either end, the RPG expectations or the Wargame play standards and expectations, or both.
 
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David Johansen

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The problem with doing the board game as miniatures set thing is that most of those are entirely produced and packaged in China.
 

David Johansen

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The components are all ordered to spec. If the extra figures and packaging aren't part of the kickstarter in the first place it's hard to go back and do more.
 

DeadBob

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The components are all ordered to spec. If the extra figures and packaging aren't part of the kickstarter in the first place it's hard to go back and do more.
But wouldn't the moulds for the figures still exist? Or are you talking about financing the sperate run? (And potentially packaging involved?)
 

Brock Savage

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Wizkids and Reaper Bones produce tons of inexpensive fantasy RPG minis that require zero assembly. Plastic wargame miniatures are even cheaper but require assembly. It's never been easier to bring minis to the table. I legit don't understand the problem.
 

AsenRG

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Yes, part of the joy of using miniatures is the using miniatures.
Actually using miniatures is something that I kinda like ("hey, toy soldiers!":evil:). It's the preparation of miniatures that makes me give up on the whole endeavor, and switch to cardboard figures...:shade:

But wouldn't the moulds for the figures still exist? Or are you talking about financing the sperate run? (And potentially packaging involved?)
I suspect that the molds wouldn't exist for long after the successful completion of the order:thumbsup:.
 

DeadBob

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Actually using miniatures is something that I kinda like ("hey, toy soldiers!":evil:). It's the preparation of miniatures that makes me give up on the whole endeavor, and switch to cardboard figures...:shade:
I get that. There are many times I wish my collection of miniatures had come painted. And among minis gamers there are old, old gags about leaving behind and unpainted mountain of minis when you leave this world.

As for the moulds, is that standard procedure to specifically destroy them? I really have no idea, although I could see them simply chucked in the trash.

OTOH, I fairly regularly see E-Bay sellers dumping what appears to be boardgame miniatures lots for a song. I suspect those are recovered pieces from mis-casts, leftovers, or test runs from the production run.
 

DeadBob

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Wizkids and Reaper Bones produce tons of inexpensive fantasy RPG minis that require zero assembly. Plastic wargame miniatures are even cheaper but require assembly. It's never been easier to bring minis to the table. I legit don't understand the problem.
I think that, once you're aware of those options, you realize it isn't that big of a deal.

There are still other issues IMO, but where to get minis and on a budget is about 1/3-1/2 the problems. Again, that's mostly an awareness issue.

I occasionally get the feeling there is an intimidation factor too for new people. Online or magazine pics tend to show off the pinnacle of hobby accomplishment, rather than the more common, everyday approaches and level of expertise.
 

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I actually really like using miniatures, and used to collect and use them semi-regularly. I was never a great painter, but had fun doing it anyway.

Nowadays, though, it's the storage space issue again, though I guess flats and paper minis would be a good alternative there.
 

Dyrnwyn

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I think that, once you're aware of those options, you realize it isn't that big of a deal.

There are still other issues IMO, but where to get minis and on a budget is about 1/3-1/2 the problems. Again, that's mostly an awareness issue.

I occasionally get the feeling there is an intimidation factor too for new people. Online or magazine pics tend to show off the pinnacle of hobby accomplishment, rather than the more common, everyday approaches and level of expertise.

Personally, I never encountered people using minis until 3E came along, despite having started gaming in the 80s. Most of the games that were released in the late 80s and 90s really weren't geared towards them. Plus I got my RPGs from bookstores or other places that didn't carry minis, paints, etc. So I think to a lot of people, they're just not something they've come to associate with RPGs.
 

DeadBob

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Personally, I never encountered people using minis until 3E came along, despite having started gaming in the 80s. Most of the games that were released in the late 80s and 90s really weren't geared towards them. Plus I got my RPGs from bookstores or other places that didn't carry minis, paints, etc. So I think to a lot of people, they're just not something they've come to associate with RPGs.
I played for many, many years without minis. We did use the cardboard counters and maps that came with stuff like the old TSR games of the early 80s, at least sometimes. Occasionally we used the standee style minis or trifold paper minis as well.

My personal opinion is that one reason RPGs are cool because you don't have to use minis with them.

However, I want to use minis with them, if you see the difference.

I think WotC really pushed minis use (and particularly encouraged the use of minis from their Collectible Minis Game based on D&D) hoping to create back and forth sales synergy between the CMG and the RPG.

I also think this caused some real pushback from folks who didn't want to use minis, and it has spread and transformed in some very unfortunate ways.
 

Brock Savage

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I think that, once you're aware of those options, you realize it isn't that big of a deal.

There are still other issues IMO, but where to get minis and on a budget is about 1/3-1/2 the problems. Again, that's mostly an awareness issue.

I occasionally get the feeling there is an intimidation factor too for new people. Online or magazine pics tend to show off the pinnacle of hobby accomplishment, rather than the more common, everyday approaches and level of expertise.
I think you are overstating the difficulty. This isn't buying a new car, it's $5 plastic doods. Sure, you need to take things like cost and storage into consideration when buying minis but most adults have already gone through a similar process with bigger stakes (e.g. buying furniture or clothing).
 

David Johansen

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People who copy the rules by hand onto napkins ain't buyin' no minis!

I think there's a number of issues when it comes to miniatures in rpgs. I've got millions of 'em but rarely get them out for roleplaying. It's just more clutter. I have this unfulfilled dream of running tactical dungeon crawls with GURPS using 1/32 scale figures.
 

DeadBob

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I think you are overstating the difficulty. This isn't buying a new car, it's $5 plastic doods. Sure, you need to take things like cost and storage into consideration when buying minis but most adults have already gone through a similar process with bigger stakes (e.g. buying furniture or clothing).
You would think so, wouldn't you? :hehe:

Personally, I try to take complaints at face value and offer solutions, even if I suspect there are unspoken issues at play.

Having said that, aside from acquisition of miniatures, I have seen other problems too, and I think those could be addressed.

Allow me to give what I'd consider an easy example.

Assume that the game in question is a D&Dish fantasy game (whatever that means), the group collectively is pro-minis use, and the majority of the players are going in on several sprues of minis to create their characters and any henchpersons (so there are going to be leftovers the GM can use for general purpose NPCs/humanoid mooks during play).

The Gm themself likes minis and is willing to spend some dough, but in reasonable chunks over time.

What would be the best method to build an initial GM-side collection (with maximum use potential)? What would be the best way to expand on it for the first two times?

Basically, any answer that gives that due consideration is a good enough answer. It doesn't need to be the most perfect answer ever. It's just there to lay down an example method for the GM and group to follow that leads to success rather than a half-hearted collection that's never quite up to the task.

With minis wargames, there's usually at least some sort of method for army building (usually by points value) to help you through that. But for RPGs, it isn't the same kind of competitive building that needs a blueprint. It's a type of co-operative challenge building blueprint that's needed.
 

Bunch

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One thing that would be nice is to see the companies that make miniatures filled boardgames at notably RPG/Wargaming scales (usually 25mm scale, sometimes slightly larger) just offer that stuff at a reasonable price seperate from the boardgame. There are tons of those out there at this point and I'm pretty sure the makers are aware that a significant part of their customer base is using them exactly for tabletop gaming outside of their original purpose.

It would make for more durable minis that need little to no assembly, even if they were unpainted.

On a different note, people rarely discuss where adventures are taking place and how that impacts the ease of using miniatures.

In wargaming, most of the combat takes place outdoors or in ruins of habitation in later eras. When getting a terrain collection together, it's mostly getting an appropriately colored cloth base or mat, then some hills and vegetation, and slowly working to more expensive or intricate pieces (usually something man-made or man-altered). Using all that in play is mostly just re-arranging it before play begins, and then leaving it be until the game-play ends (for that scenario).

RPGs...don't tend to work with all of that well.

With minis use in RPGs, some part of that set up needs to be altered, although the alteration could feasibly come from either end, the RPG expectations or the Wargame play standards and expectations, or both.
Hint hint look on aliexpress for miniatures shortly after a game is released. You'll often see the extras from a run put up for sale there.
 

DeadBob

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People who copy the rules by hand onto napkins ain't buyin' no minis!

I think there's a number of issues when it comes to miniatures in rpgs. I've got millions of 'em but rarely get them out for roleplaying. It's just more clutter. I have this unfulfilled dream of running tactical dungeon crawls with GURPS using 1/32 scale figures.
One possible method I've seen people coming from a more minis wargaming approach take is to treat a session like they were building a convention scenario but play it with more of an RPG scale of miniatures use.

Miniatures aren't in the way or clutter, because they're at the center of the spotlight that day.

OTOH, those people also don't tend to run their games on the same sort of schedule that non-minis gamers tend to shoot for ideally. They might be going for bi-weekly or monthly sessions (although with perhaps some planned/possible) location changes for that session.

I suspect that, optimally, in that situation that you're running a couple of campaigns (or adventures within a campaign) in parallel, alternating weeks.

Which ties a bit into what I was talking about earlier (although only alluding to it). It would probably help to come to something like a mid-ground between wargames style table space use and the more common RPG expectation of being able to make a location change at the drop of a hat.
 

Brock Savage

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You would think so, wouldn't you? :hehe:

Personally, I try to take complaints at face value and offer solutions, even if I suspect there are unspoken issues at play.

Having said that, aside from acquisition of miniatures, I have seen other problems too, and I think those could be addressed.

Allow me to give what I'd consider an easy example.

Assume that the game in question is a D&Dish fantasy game (whatever that means), the group collectively is pro-minis use, and the majority of the players are going in on several sprues of minis to create their characters and any henchpersons (so there are going to be leftovers the GM can use for general purpose NPCs/humanoid mooks during play).

The Gm themself likes minis and is willing to spend some dough, but in reasonable chunks over time.

What would be the best method to build an initial GM-side collection (with maximum use potential)? What would be the best way to expand on it for the first two times?

Basically, any answer that gives that due consideration is a good enough answer. It doesn't need to be the most perfect answer ever. It's just there to lay down an example method for the GM and group to follow that leads to success rather than a half-hearted collection that's never quite up to the task.

With minis wargames, there's usually at least some sort of method for army building (usually by points value) to help you through that. But for RPGs, it isn't the same kind of competitive building that needs a blueprint. It's a type of co-operative challenge building blueprint that's needed.
I feel like we've had this conversation before on another thread. If someone needs a detailed roadmap for buying $100 of minis there is tons of advice out there if you look for it.
 

DeadBob

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I feel like we've had this conversation before on another thread. If someone needs a detailed roadmap for buying $100 of minis there is tons of advice out there if you look for it.
We probably have at that ! :hehe:

I do agree with part of that list in the link, although in my scenario set up, a bunch of those would be covered by extras from what the players were purchasing. I'm thinking more about monsters ( although I don't exactly disagree with what DM David said broadly speaking).

OTOH. I also think the same thinking needs to be applied to the where part of using minis. IOW, what about the terrain/mats/etc.
 

DeadBob

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Dungeon Craft has solid videos describing how to produce attractive DIY dungeon terrain.
I like their videos. I have a few other regular YT posters I follow as well.

Truthfully, I was thinking less about how to make attractive terrain, and more about:
What gets used most often (versus what isn't all that important, even though it seems like it would be useful. Hint: You can skip the tavern at first. That one gets everybody! :tongue: )?

What makes something easier or harder to use in the context of an RPG? (Usually this means something like: How fast can I change scenes with this? That also makes a pricey, hi quality dry erase mat something to put on the list, but with a lower priority than people usually imagine. Also tends to make the tile sets like WotC sells for D&D a bit less useful as well, as they are nice, but can add time to scene changes).

To me personally, the thing that makes the most sense starting out are 3-5 areas, pre-printed on a useful size (and yes printed, not full wargame style 3D terraining) that have high re-use potential, perhaps with some slight modification (like spot terrain added).
  • These should be areas that are both going to be re-used and have a high chance of action/combat happening there.
  • They should be complete enough and ready enough for use that a location change and being ready for the next action sequence should be accomplishable in ten minutes and preferably less.

Then, as an "adventure" needs them, add 1-3 each major adventure. These may or may not have a high re-use potential (but at least one of them probably should have some re-use potential).

Somewhere early on, not absolutely first, but soon thereafter, consider expanding the collection to have some frequently visited areas that are not combat heavy. Incidentally, this is also the stage to start thinking about non-combatant NPC/ not-inherently-hostile character miniatures for the "GM collection".

If you aren't sure where to start, at all, make a top 12 list of locations, then go back, re-order in importance (as above), and analyze. Shoot for printing up and having ready the top 6 to begin with.

There, there's my blueprint.

And just like that, the blueprint for the fanciness of the stuff goes from simple to more complex and more expensive over time as your interest and skills increase.
 
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