Saturday, February 28, 2015

Do you use minis with your GURPS games?

Pretty simple question - the single largest part of my mobile gaming kit are my minis cases. My game would be much more mobile without them. But I love painting and using minis, and I feel like they add a huge amount of color and fun and clarity to my games.

Even using a stripped-down combat system, I still have the minis deployed on the map for marching order and to keep everyone straight.

What about everyone else?

If you play GURPS, do you use minis, or their virtual equivalent?


  1. Definitely! It's one of the best ways to determine distance between players, enemies and items. It helps with storytelling as well, since PCs can get a better sense of where and when. And it keeps the more outrageous combat actions in check.

  2. Yes. I'm flirting with a way to do abstract combat a bit better in GURPS and other systems (but mostly GURPS), but until that time, tokens of some sort.

  3. A robust maps-n-minis combat system is one of the primary draws of GURPS as a system for me.

  4. My response started dragging ridiculously (the final tally is over six hundred words) so I answered on my own blog:
    Why and How I Came to Use Miniatures

  5. I generally use minis when I run tabletop. GURPS is good for that kind of stuff like Jason said, and it gives me an excuse to paint minis and make props and maps and stuff.

    For my online games, tokens and maps are mandatory. Online gaming often feels slower than tabletop already, and constantly answering questions about where people are would slow down the game way too much.

  6. Most of the time, yes. I play online, and it is simple enough to just throw down some tokens and draw a few bits of detail to have combat. Now in a few situations, I might not... like if a bar fight breaks out and everyone is standing near enough to attack and the fight is likely to end quickly.

  7. For my current DF game, we use a dry-erase hex mat and minis. My players are much happier when they can see exactly what's going on.

    Minis are kind of a money pit, though, especially if you want them to all be "correct" rather than having the same few figures serve as stand-ins for multiple monsters. And painting minis takes significant time. And drawing and erasing on the mat during play takes valuable play time and can break the mood.

    So I'm considering trying a virtual tabletop program for face-to-face play.


    1. Touch-screen table. $1450 shipped for a refurbished 40" one on eBay, and then I might find that existing virtual tabletop software doesn't really support a touch interface and I might have to sink many hours into enhancing MapTool for this. So not practical yet for me.

    2. Tablet. Biggest Android tablet I see on Amazon is 13.3". I haven't found any good virtual tabletop software for Android, but I could put Linux on it and run MapTool. The problem is that 13" is a pretty small play area. I don't think it would be very satisfying.

    2. Laptop plus big screen TV. The ideal setup would be the GM map on the laptop screen and the player map on the TV. Main drawback is that if the laptop is in front of the GM and the players are spread around the room, the players can't move their own tokens around on the screen. Though maybe it's possible to work around that with multiple wireless mice.

    3. Projector on the ceiling pointed down at the table. This allows a hybrid solution with the virtual tabletop program projecting the map but physical miniatures. Or a mix of physical miniatures for PCs and virtual miniatures for monsters. This is not currently very practical in my house because we play on the kitchen table and the ceiling above it is not a great place for a projector, but I know it's worked great for some groups.

  8. I have played all of four sessions of GURPS and we never used maps or miniatures. When I was helping my GM make the maps for the various locations, we used a square grid with one space = 5 feet.

    I have played probably fewer than 100 sessions of d20 and we -usually- used a map. The same default dungeon layout map from the 3rd Edition player's handbook, but with the doors and monsters being different from dungeon to dungeon and the town/wilderness always being mapless. We would use a mix of plastic MageKnight figures and unpainted metal miniatures with whatever other toys fit with the theme/fit on the table.

    If I ever get around to running my game through IRC, I won't be using minis. If I ever get a group together for playing face to face, I will be using Lego stuff for a rough approximation "you guys are here with this marching order, you have about this much space in the room, here's some monsters and some treasure chests" kind of thing (I'd be using Heroica microfigures for player-sized things and the normal scale minifigures for giants).

  9. I use pennies and polyhedral dice. I don't have the spare cash for minis or I'd use them. The bag of pennies I've been using is twenty years old now. Sheesh.

  10. Now that I think about it, I used to use (wrapped) candies for monster minis with an "Eat What You Kill" house rule. It was fun because it encouraged kill-stealing and some folks would focus on the monsters represented by their favorite candy.

    Now most of my players would decline for various health and dietary reasons. "Eat What Rice Cakes You Kill" is just not the same. :(

    1. Just tell them that rice cakes pretty much hit the bloodstream and spike insulin as fast as candy anyway. So it's all the same. :)


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