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Miniatures Belong in Games

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07 Aug 2019 13:54 #300524 by oberael
Replied by oberael on topic Miniatures Belong in Games
Hey all. Just popped my head in to see if the article was up - we've been very busy with a newborn in the house.

Some really interesting responses. Thanks for keeping it civil.
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07 Aug 2019 15:36 #300531 by ubarose
Replied by ubarose on topic Miniatures Belong in Games
@obereal,

You missed the New Spawn of TWBG's Announcement. .

Photos of the Tadpole have been demanded. :)

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09 Aug 2019 07:53 #300597 by mads b.
Replied by mads b. on topic Miniatures Belong in Games
No, minis aren't a must have in games, but they do add something that mere cardboard tokens can't: an extra dimension. As in literally they are tall and make the board stand out. Yes, this can be a problem sometimes. While the minis for Space Hulk 3rd ed. are gorgeous, they were also a pain to play with because they couldn't quite fit on the board. But flat tokens simply don't make the board a tactile three dimensional experience in the same way.

Of course standees can do this as can meeples. But while I personally dig custom meeples, they tend to look a bit more "gamey" than minis or standees.

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10 Aug 2019 02:58 #300628 by thegiantbrain
My two cents is that I would much rather have a bunch of standees than a sea of grey plastic, I just don't have the time or funds to get minis painted. I have played tabletop wargames in the past and they are a different kettle of fish. I think minis are fine in a game where I can instantly make out information from them, like Kemet which is in my collection.

I think of recent there has been a tendency to include minis because it is somehow expected. I think Rising Sun is a good example of the disconnect between minis and what they actually do in the game. The monsters are huge and cool, their actual game impact is oddly muted.

I appreciate a nice miniature, I just don't think there are necessary for a lot of games.
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10 Aug 2019 14:55 #300639 by jason10mm
The problem with minis is that there is this expectation that you can paint them yourself however you want and that they usually come in one color from the publisher. So their ability to convey information is very limited. You COULD have minis with specific color weapons, bases, etc that could convey as much info as a chit but then the mini itself wouldn't or couldn't be painted to look like "the real thing". So we are stuck with monochromatic minis that do little more than indicate the unit it ought to be without showing how much hit dice it has, the damage it deals, or whatever.
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11 Aug 2019 21:24 - 11 Aug 2019 21:27 #300658 by Sevej
Replied by Sevej on topic Miniatures Belong in Games

jason10mm wrote: The problem with minis is that there is this expectation that you can paint them yourself however you want and that they usually come in one color from the publisher. So their ability to convey information is very limited. You COULD have minis with specific color weapons, bases, etc that could convey as much info as a chit but then the mini itself wouldn't or couldn't be painted to look like "the real thing". So we are stuck with monochromatic minis that do little more than indicate the unit it ought to be without showing how much hit dice it has, the damage it deals, or whatever.


If you use minis in game that requires such information, especially in board games, then that's the game designer's fault.

Take Battlelore, the first edition. All grey minis, with brightly colored flags, that convey information quickly. Or Memoir '44, with wildly different silhouette on minis that you can differentiate them in a glance. Both games have quick reference cards AND easy to memorize combat stats. For games that require a lot of different stats, I agree that counters or cards are superior (there's a reason I'm not playing 40k, only painting it).

Most of the early DoaM (-2010ish) games understand that minis silhouette is more important than its coolness. They don't require colored base rings to differentiate.

Then there's games like Talisman, where I love the presence of singular minis. Of course you can carry bunch of stuff, so having a counter printed with bunch of information there isn't really advantageous over minis. Also, back to Black Plague, awesome table presence, and the use of colored rings (which in this case is an acceptable compromise, they don't use it on *every* single minis). And they have superb character dashbaord.
Last edit: 11 Aug 2019 21:27 by Sevej.
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11 Aug 2019 23:02 #300662 by Jackwraith
I think CMON's colored snap-on base innovation was brilliant, quite honestly. It gives instant info about whose monster is on the map (Blood Rage) or which kind of hero/unit is on the board (The Others; Rising Sun.) I think that was a great idea that allows for elaborate minis if people want to use them/paint them, but still conveys necessary info about the game in an expedient manner.
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12 Aug 2019 01:25 #300663 by mtagge
Replied by mtagge on topic Miniatures Belong in Games

Frohike wrote: Dungeon crawls are kind of a free-for-all when it comes to props. 3D objects popping out of those dungeon maps just seems to work. The trickier ones are dudes on a map games. For example in War of the Ring, I do think most of the minis should have been tokens/counters (someone on BGG posted a beautiful shot of what the game would look like with wood disks... I’ll need to track it down), but some of the more dramatic tokens could have remained minis for impact, such as the Nazgul. On the other hand, some DoaM designs like Lords of Hellas or Kemet seem to be structured with minis in mind, with plenty of room for placement & grouping and enough visual distinctions to keep them functional. It just comes down to considered design vs throwing plastic dolls onto an abstracted map: does the end result look evocative and readable, or does it just become a pile of indistinguishable, chunky grey PVC sculpts?


Hmm, maybe I should go with the middle ground and use one figure each stacked on plastic disks for numbers. I went ahead and painted each unit a different color appropriate to the lore and dipped it in wood polish for shading and protection. Perfectly happy with that except the minis don't always fit.

So what I guess the gist of folks comments are, if the mini represents a single figure and is unique it is fine, if it is a unit bad. OK I can kinda see that even if I think Memoir 44 needs the minis. Not sure I agree 100%

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12 Aug 2019 21:43 #300688 by Sevej
Replied by Sevej on topic Miniatures Belong in Games

Jackwraith wrote: I think CMON's colored snap-on base innovation was brilliant, quite honestly. It gives instant info about whose monster is on the map (Blood Rage) or which kind of hero/unit is on the board (The Others; Rising Sun.) I think that was a great idea that allows for elaborate minis if people want to use them/paint them, but still conveys necessary info about the game in an expedient manner.


Oh, I agree from game play perspective! But we're talking about justification of minis in board games, and someone earlier spoke that they're hard to differentiate. For me the ideal solution is for minis to have recognizable silhouette, without the need of colored rings. But a lot of CMON minis (usually grunts/troops) have similar silhouette. They're improving detail-wise, but unless you're picking them up, without the colored rings, those details aren't helping you to differentiate units ownership. Of course, for monsters that any players can recruit, it's a brilliant solution.

So what I guess the gist of folks comments are, if the mini represents a single figure and is unique it is fine, if it is a unit bad. OK I can kinda see that even if I think Memoir 44 needs the minis. Not sure I agree 100%

For me, not really. Massed rank of troops ALWAYS look better than single minis or huge monsters.

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13 Aug 2019 08:52 #300693 by lj1983
Replied by lj1983 on topic Miniatures Belong in Games
the amount of information needed for the troops types is what drives it for me. with the above example of Memoir 44, it's worth comparing to C&C:Ancients. There aren't that many troop types in Memoir (especially to start, I know the expansions added some), so you can get away without a lot of differentiation in the pieces. but C&C:A has several troop types to start with (4 infantry, 2 cavalry IIRC). and miniatures would need some splash of color to avoid unnecessary confusion.

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