Is the use of miniatures slows the speed of the combat?


Advice


I want to know what people think.


kaymanklynman wrote:

I want to know what people think.

Not for me. I have a huge collection of old Mage Knight minis. I find questions regarding position without minis takes longer.


Miniatures speed up combat. Even a 2d representation of the battlefield allows players to determine distance between friends/enemies as well as determine travel path, flanking, line of sight, and concealment.

Without the use of a map/miniatures, you have to ask many, MANY more questions to determine what you can do.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Using a combat grid slows things down. Measuring distance and movement slows the game. No grid with gm calls on AoO and if you can move somewhere can be faster. You can still use minis and a map as reference points.

Dark Archive

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Generally speeds it; in the old days we'd argue locations and how many things could be caught in an effect; and we'd have to guesstimate everything and would change our strategies if we didn't like how things were set. In 3.0 / 3.5 many feat trees are made inoperable by a lack of a fight, especially AOO based. So no, it is a good tool and combats now flow a lot more smoothly.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It depends entirely on how you use them and how the group behaves. If you play with the same style that you would without a combat grid/miniatures, then this will speed up combat dramitcally. But if you let the presense of the battle map and miniatures draw you into treating it like a tactical miniature game then you will slow down combat.

Basically when I (and I imagine most people) first started. I would say 'I rush and attack the orc on the left'. Or 'I cast fireball on those goblins over there'. And then we'd work it out with the dm as quickly as possible.

With miniatures, if i declare that and start moving the mini immediately then it will speed things up (less questions about distance and positioning and such).

BUT, if I start carefully considering every square of movement, and spend 5 minutes trying to aim the fireball JUST right, then it will slow things down.


Kolokotroni wrote:

It depends entirely on how you use them and how the group behaves. If you play with the same style that you would without a combat grid/miniatures, then this will speed up combat dramitcally. But if you let the presense of the battle map and miniatures draw you into treating it like a tactical miniature game then you will slow down combat.

Basically when I (and I imagine most people) first started. I would say 'I rush and attack the orc on the left'. Or 'I cast fireball on those goblins over there'. And then we'd work it out with the dm as quickly as possible.

With miniatures, if i declare that and start moving the mini immediately then it will speed things up (less questions about distance and positioning and such).

BUT, if I start carefully considering every square of movement, and spend 5 minutes trying to aim the fireball JUST right, then it will slow things down.

I share your opinion , i think your view is correct.

I will start Kingmaker in the next month , i think i will try to use the maps for visualization without the grid and the minis.

thanks for all the replies.


Do minis slow the game down?

Yes and no in my games.

Yes, in games in which there are many things a player has to consider before moving plus the course of action said player decides to take. But this doesn't apply to ranged combat, spell casters and the like much. I find that attacks of opportunity rules are what really slow down combat. Axe those and it even runs a might too fast. Those darn teamwork feats tend to slow down combat too, because players need to be in proximity/flanking/what have you and they deliberate for a bit on how best to move.

In other games, d20 modern in particular, we don't use minis at all and it seems to speed the pace of the game - but its a bit easier to decide what your character is going to do in a setting that is familiar.


It's much slower from my experience. The killer is the setup, drawing the map or getting the flipmat out and setting it up. So I only use the grid for important encounters.

Dark Archive

I use mostly dwarvenforge terrain, and other 3d combat terrain, and when I use minis I get the terrain set up ahead of time so combat is much quicker.


kaymanklynman wrote:

I want to know what people think.

I think it speeds things up. You don't have to worry about people asking a lot of questions on what is in the room, and you have to keep passing out information over and over again.


voska66 wrote:
It's much slower from my experience. The killer is the setup, drawing the map or getting the flipmat out and setting it up. So I only use the grid for important encounters.

I am using pre-printed (at home) cardstock room-by-room maps, and that concern is gone. When the PCs open a door, I lay down the next room on the table. It's so fast, there is no delay for drawing at all.


If there's good trust, and a non-adversarial relationship between the players and GM, combat without miniatures can be a LOT faster:

Player: "I swing by the chandelier past Rim, to attack the goblin about to kill Cadogan. I get a 15 to attack, 7 damage if I hit."
GM: "The goblin drops, and Cadogan grins his thanks."

(vs.)

Player: "Uh, is there a chandelier?"
GM: "No, there's not one on the map, I'm ruling there isn't one in the room."
Player: "Lemme see, if I walk 15 ft. this way, then move diagonally 5..."
GM: "Your speed is only 20 ft., and a diagonal move counts as two..."

On the flip side, if players are too diffident, and/or if the GM is too obstructive, abandoning miniatures will probably slow down play instead:

Player: "How far away am I?"
GM: "20 feet."
Player: "Is Rim in the way?"
GM: "Probably... yes, ok? He is."
Player: "Can I get past?"
GM: "How?"
(etc.)

So, really, it can go either way.

Sovereign Court

If it does slow things down it doesn't slow things down anywhere close to as much as people who don't pay attention and think about what they are going to do while it isn't their turn.

Especially when they need to have it summed up again and again.

Shadow Lodge

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The single biggest slowdown of combat is players not knowing what they can do, and how the mechanics allow them to do it. Miniatures are an incredibly minor issue compared to that.


It does slow down combat. The players do spend a lot of time considering their movements on the grid, and then the GM does it as well. It is a challange to determine area of affect, hard and soft cover, etc.

It adds a level of detail to combat that does slow things down.

But I think it is worth the sacrifice. I don't miss our pre-miniature, pre-grid days. Too often I find that players (and GM's) are focused on speeding things up.

If I only get to run one combat during a game session, that's is OK if it was a good, challenging fight.


I like mini's. I believe in flexibility though.

Being capable of running a combat without a battlemat if its appropriate (spontaneous, one sided fights where it'd be a waste of time, for example) is great for when mini's aren't appropriate.

Most encounters, though, I find it saves time in the long run to have the map laid out with mini's so everyone knows whats going on.


I despise and loathe the use of mini's in combat. They slow down an aspect of the game that is already too slow. Combat should be fluid, fast-paced, not a lot of time THINK about what you're going to do - just act, particularly when you are in the middle of a fight. We run by the addage that in 6 seconds things are happening too fast to be able to determine how far you can move, if you can center a fireball perfectly to get the absolute perfect effect and so on. My group's motto, has always been "Story not Detail"...or in regard to the use of mini's "Action not a chess game". If a true duel is being played out, then yeah, mini's are used, but if it's any other combat, you get a description and then fight. It works for our group. I've left groups that relied too heavily on mini's. Been playing this way since 1989 and don't see a reason to change. The use of mini's leaves the bad taste of an MMO being played rather than a table-top RPG. MMO's aren't bad, they're fun for a huge group of people, just not me and thankfully the other members of my group.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gendo wrote:
I despise and loathe the use of mini's in combat. They slow down an aspect of the game that is already too slow. Combat should be fluid, fast-paced, not a lot of time THINK about what you're going to do - just act, particularly when you are in the middle of a fight. We run by the addage that in 6 seconds things are happening too fast to be able to determine how far you can move, if you can center a fireball perfectly to get the absolute perfect effect and so on. My group's motto, has always been "Story not Detail"...or in regard to the use of mini's "Action not a chess game". If a true duel is being played out, then yeah, mini's are used, but if it's any other combat, you get a description and then fight. It works for our group. I've left groups that relied too heavily on mini's. Been playing this way since 1989 and don't see a reason to change. The use of mini's leaves the bad taste of an MMO being played rather than a table-top RPG. MMO's aren't bad, they're fun for a huge group of people, just not me and thankfully the other members of my group.

I think again its all about how you use them. I have seen situations on both sides (with or without minis) where the action drags. It is very possible to use minis without starting to play chess. For instance in my game you have a few seconds to declare what you are doing or you delay and then the thing is resolved. If you start counting squares or trying to think fo the best tactical move, you delay your turn and the next person goes. That way thinks keep moving and you dont have the chess style analysis paralysis, but you still get the benefit of everyone visualizing the same scene without confusion on positioning and other things.

Sovereign Court

You know I kind of disagree that combat should be fluid, face paced and not give you time to think. That doesn't really sound like fun.

I hate the RPGs should equal Movies style of gameplay personally though to be fair. If everyone is paying attention and takes actions in a reasonable amount of time then things are moving along as they're supposed to be.


I have found the use of Miniatures and a Battle-grid tend to bring people into the game and realize alot more of what's going on. My group has been RPing together for the past 10 years and only recently we started using Miniatures and a Grid (1-inch squares printed on paper or most recently Gaming Paper), and instead of the random question of how many enemies are still alive and which direction, we have a more visual idea of where things are. Also we used to be pretty spread out having everyone in various spots in the living room and side room, and as such we've also tended to sit there doing our own thing (one guy reads a book while playing or fiddles with his tablet pc). But having the table and grid has brought us closer and has sped things up a bit. However I can see how it could cause some people to over-analyze things. Also the type of mini used could cause confusion or bring a sense of personalization to the game (the others did play around with Warhammer and 40k for a while and we also have 20 year old Pewter Minis, which clash in size with eachother). All in all you just have to do test runs and decide if it fits the play-style of your group.


Quicker, and allows people to visualize more. Especially after I spend 6 evenings a week for 2 weeks making World Works Games terrain.


Gendo wrote:
I despise and loathe the use of mini's in combat. They slow down an aspect of the game that is already too slow. Combat should be fluid, fast-paced, not a lot of time THINK about what you're going to do - just act, particularly when you are in the middle of a fight. We run by the addage that in 6 seconds things are happening too fast to be able to determine how far you can move, if you can center a fireball perfectly to get the absolute perfect effect and so on. My group's motto, has always been "Story not Detail"...or in regard to the use of mini's "Action not a chess game". If a true duel is being played out, then yeah, mini's are used, but if it's any other combat, you get a description and then fight. It works for our group. I've left groups that relied too heavily on mini's. Been playing this way since 1989 and don't see a reason to change. The use of mini's leaves the bad taste of an MMO being played rather than a table-top RPG. MMO's aren't bad, they're fun for a huge group of people, just not me and thankfully the other members of my group.

Considering the fact that tabletop RPGs sprang from tabletop miniature wargaming in an age long before the personal computer, much less the internet or MMORPGs, I find this claim hillarious.


Morgen wrote:

You know I kind of disagree that combat should be fluid, face paced and not give you time to think. That doesn't really sound like fun.

I hate the RPGs should equal Movies style of gameplay personally though to be fair. If everyone is paying attention and takes actions in a reasonable amount of time then things are moving along as they're supposed to be.

I'd say there is a balance. I've played with both extremes and must say I had more fun with the DM that went too far on the speed side (If you hadn't started telling what you were going to do within 10 seconds he just called on the next person, no warnings just moved on). Then I had another DM who literally took at least 5 minutes, per NPC himself (and this was running red hand of doom... IE lots of large battles, sometimes it was 30-45 minutes between rounds for a player). Now that I'm a DM myself I can say I far preferred the first one's style over the 2nd, though I don't go to that extreme, I give about 30 seconds for them to start explaining (no stopwatch or anything, just a ballpark estimate), and then another 30 for them to fine tune it. (IE within 30 seconds I expect to hear "I'm casting fireball, or I'm moving in to attack X").

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