Episode 554 – on models, part 1

* (0:29) Models, minis, figs, and toy soldiers. Brodeur proposes Frostgrave. Why Chad is wrong about the Enclave being fully defeated.

* (4:02) Minis in an RPG. Enriching or distracting? Brodeur’s blog post on the matter.

* (15:36) What miniatures bring to and take away from the typical roleplaying game. Distaste for collectibles and blind box purchases.

* (25:22) The added work surrounding minis. The need for more minis than you originally thought you’d need.

* (30:34) The separate hobby—and required skills—for building and painting minis.

* (36:55) The value in the mere presence of minis. Keeping things consistent.

Hosts: Brodeur, Chad, Dan, Wayne

Comments (1)

Douglas SundsethOctober 25th, 2020 at 11:04 pm

There are at least four completely separate questions that are being conflated here and that’s harming the discussion.

1) Do you want to use counters and some sort of map in your game? Some games require it, some are made better for it, and for some they are essentially irrelevant. If you’re playing Amber Diceless, the only real reason to have a counter is because you want a character portrait. If you’re playing HERO system, they’re extremely useful, because it’s a very tactical game.

2) Is it important that the counters be representational? For game play, there’s no difference between a poker chip with “Troll” (or the letter “A”) written on it and a troll mini. This is almost purely aesthetic, though the a representational mini can be shown to the players to give a bit more fog of war.

3) Do you want a 3D miniature as the representation? They’re certainly pretty, but they’re really not much better than a 2D standee for game play purposes.

4) Are you interested in the craft of miniatures painting? This is a non-trivial investment of effort, that is really fun for some and unbelievably tedious for others.

There’s no right answer to any of the questions above. Different people want different things from gaming. But “I don’t want to use counters” is a completely different discussion than “I don’t want to paint a hundred miniatures”, and this discussion mixed those up throughout.

FWIW, I have painted miniatures since the mid-70s, have taught miniatures painting at multiple conventions, and have played several miniatures games very competitively, so it’s pretty obvious where my interests lie.

That said, for a miniatures game like Frostgrave miniatures and terrain make for a much better gaming experience.

As to blind boxes: If you need 7 miniatures, they’re worse than useless. You can’t get the few miniatures you want easily or cheaply. If you need all the miniatures for a generic fantasy campaign, they’re a great deal – buy a bunch of boxes and you’ll end up with a miniature for nearly any occasion, prepainted (badly, it must be said), for around $1/figure, which is a far better price than buying and painting metal figures. And if you’re willing to go to the secondary market, you can get commons (which is most of the usual-suspect miniatures) dirt cheap, because they’re being subsidized by the collectors who absolutely must have that one rare. I have dozens of skeletons, and orcs, and goblins, and all of the common critters, because I was fine with a random selection of minis. I loved blind boxes.

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