D&D 4th Edition: Miniature Combat

This weekend when we played D&D fourth edition we used miniatures and a Chessex battlemat during the combat scenes. And I have to admit it makes things much easier. Although I still believe it is possible to play D&D 4th Edition without the use of any miniatures, especially the warlord class gains a lot by using the battlemat. Without miniatures it was often a bit fuzzy where the enemies are located and so the Warlord couldn’t make use of all his abilities.

BUT using a battlemat causes the combat scenes to feel a bit detached from the rest of the roleplaying game experience. But since it makes combat so much easier for players and the GM I am sure we can live with this. And I believe I can now understand where some of the critics of D&D 4th Edition are coming from. When you are not used to utilizing miniature combat in a roleplaying game, it feels like you pause the game to do something different.

The photo to the right shows a scene from our saturday evening game where our group of adventurers was ambushed by three wolves while we were sleeping around our campfire. And no, these wolves haven’t been touched by the far realm, it’s just that I didn’t have any wolf minatures handy. Said that I am really looking forward to the new D&D miniature line coming next year, so that I can get my hands on some not-so-random miniatures to add to my collection.

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

5 thoughts on “D&D 4th Edition: Miniature Combat”

  1. I guess I'm been gaming way to long. I've been using miniatures in RPG games since AD&D 1ed. I've played games with and without miniatures, but in the end I've always like the use miniatures to help resolve ambiguity of position. Plus it give the players something to help visualize the scene.

    On a side note, I've used all sort of miniatures for creatures I didn't have miniatures for. I've also used the plastic Card Board Hero Stands.

    <abbr><abbr>Bonemasters last blog post..Preliminary edition of Traveller5 to be shipped!</abbr></abbr>

  2. My gaming group hasn't used miniatures that often, but sometimes we have noted down positions on a piece of scrap paper.

    And using other miniatures for creatures you don't have is no biggie, but it's of course nicer to have fitting miniatures.

  3. I never found myself detached from the situation by using the battlemat. I always just extend the realm of my imagination unto the table. And I don't even play with official D&D minis or dungeon tiles with nifty terrain and all. So I never had the problem of breaking immersion.

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