15 April 2013

M is for Miniatures

Early Grenadier miniatures for AD&D.
Miniatures. Little lumps of lead (or some sort of pewter or plastic these days). Some consider them essential. Other consider them the Antichrist. However, to those who say, "D20 ruined D&D and turned into a tactical minis games," I invoke the magic words "BALDERDASH!" and "POPPYCOCK!" These people are intellectually dishonest.
I say so because they have forgotten the history of the game. D&D's inspiration came from the fantasy chapter of the wargame Chainmail. It's very roots and conception arose from wargaming. What Gary and Dave came up was different from wargaming, but it is hard to picture D&D without miniature figures. I have always had the impression that one of the reason that high level play breaks down is that we're playing it incorrectly. . . .or at least not way the creators intended. while the dungeon crawl and the mega dungeon have their place and are fun, few people pay attention to the creation of the realm and military campaigns at name. Gary and Dave were both wargamers; Bob's Wilderlands campaign was also wargame-focused at times. could it be that the campaign events were used as a wargame scenario generator?

Judges Guild. Always good for fun.

Now admittedly, this is all speculation on my part. However, please also note that it was not until BECMI (1983-1986) that a comprehensive set of higher level rules  was published by TSR. And even then, there was a set of wargame rules available (the War Machine). What does surprise me it that the Battlesystem rules were not published for AD&D until 1985. It was never well-received. I know that I bought a copy at the time and no one else was interested in it in my circle of friends.

And now, 2013, it's a great time to be a miniature enthusiast! These are not little 20-25mm lumps of metal that have little detail. These "new" 28mm minis are awesome! There's Reaper with its multiple lines, all of which are excellent. I can only think of one or two "ugly" minis that they've done since expanding their production over 10 years ago. Does one want old school feel with modern production techniques? Otherworld is the way to go then; their pig-faced orcs are the best. Center Stage Miniatures is another company working from an old school paradigm as well; they've recently started working in resins. If one is interested in wargming, there's a whole plethora of companies offering 15mm fantasy lines that work nicely for that purpose.

Pig- Faced Orc Tribe by Otherworld

All-in-all, miniatures add much to the game. the problem most have is that they "slow" down combat. Personally, I feel the initiative system is what slows it down and turns it tactical. Using a a different initiative system has the effect of keeping all of the players involved and does not allow them time to study every move.

Until tomorrow, gentle readers!
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