Monday, February 27, 2012

Question - Should I Bring Minis To Entice the Youngsters?

God, that really could be taken the wrong way. What I mean is this: the younger players in yesterday afternoon's game (the one I wasn't there for) apparently really enjoyed looking and playing with the miniatures that that game's DM brought with him.

I have a bunch of HeroClix and such that I bought off Ebay a while back, to use as miniatures if needed. Should I drag a few along for the next attempt, whenever that might be?

I generally don't use them for anything more than marching order when I DM - I have a battle mat somewhere, but I've never used it. Still, if visuals help the players immerse themselves, I'll add it.


  1. Do you mean Mage Knight? (Hero Clix wouldn't be my first choice). I'd take minis and a battlemat just because they are cool.

    With a battlemat no need to call out room dimensions. Draw what they see, let them map it if the want and erase it when they've left.

  2. One of the reasons Games Workshop has so many demo tables with fully painted miniatures is that the visual appeal is high. It gives the person something to hold, something concreate, something to relate to. Sometimes the fact that a lot of the game is in your head can be a difficult one to pass on. the miniatures and maps can make it more 'real' if you will.

  3. I'd only bring them if you plan on playing that type of game, the kind where you put a lot on the table. I found as soon as the minis came out my kids zeroed in on playing more boardgame style and used their imaginations less. They were less likely to listen the room descriptions and more likely to focus on those things on the table.

    They did like really like the minis however and ask for them often.

  4. jason - the could be mage knight - i was buyng someone's castaways in bulk ;)

  5. This adult really digs on minis. I wouldn't go whole hog 3E/4E style, though. Use them for marching order, as you suggested, and maybe if there's a big melee you could draw the room roughly on a small portable white board or something WITHOUT a grid.

    That would be my suggestion to get the best of the visual/tactile appeal of minis, but to try to keep the action in the players' heads as much as possible.

  6. The kids definitely loved the minis in yesterday's Silver Princess game, and it helped them decide their marching order much more quickly than just talking about it. Before Jeff broke them out, they were changing their minds from one second to another. I'm about to punch out my Essentials character tokens for next time.


  7. Also, I sketched rooms out on lined scratch paper and that worked just fine. I think the kids had a good time with a looser style of play, one in which they didn't have to count squares or think about Action Points.


  8. I hope this isn't overkill, but I had a few more thoughts you might find helpful in running D&D for the young 'uns.

    1. I think having them roll individual initiative for encounters ensures that the less assertive get a fair shot at taking the lead.

    2. I decided after the first encounter took out two characters that 0 HP = unconscious, and true death wouldn't occur until their maximum HP as a negative number was reached. At their suggestion, I allowed them to use wine (!) in place of healing potions. There are probably better solutions, but these worked as patch rules.

    3. I think the funhouse approach provided a satisfying series of interesting problems, encounters and things to explore. Complex backstory, ecology or politics probably wouldn't have paid off.

    4. I allowed players to drop in and out without sweating how it played with the in-game reality. One player had his character enter play by dropping from the ceiling like a ninja, which still makes me grin.

    5. In hindsight, I should have dropped more hints about the benefits of searching rooms. The players missed substantial loot and a healing resource because meticulous searching wasn't second nature to them.



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