It takes certain kind of gamer to play with minis. Nothing wrong with minis, though. They are awesome for adding a more strategic element to the game for positioning and movement. Many games like D&D and Savage Worlds thrive under this kind of gameplay, making combat a really great experience. There is one problem with minis in general, however… they turn a roleplaying game into a board game.
Let me reiterate that there’s nothing wrong with that if it’s your kind of game, but picture this:
You wander are travel along a trail, scouring for traps but not finding any. The group argues about the motivations of the big bad guy they are looking for and what he may want with the item they are carrying/person he has captive/etc. You lay down camp for the night, each of you settling your differences and even sharing stories about your lives. You wake in the morning to find you’re not that far from the gates, but then you are attacked.
What happens now is you grab a mini from the box of mini holding and place it on the most strategic spot possible. Then you check to make sure how many squares your enemy is away from you. You work with your group to make sure that they are within a number of squares of area effects. Then you move your piece, roll some dice and the turn passes to the next person.
While there’s not that much different between this game and other RPGs where combat plays a larger role, there is one thing that differs when using minis… the game is no longer in your head. The idea of your character, all their wants and dreams, all their motivations, are replaced with a little plastic (or metal if you’re made of money) figure. All the jumping and flipping and twirling of weapons, blood flying and visual elements leave your imagination and transfer to moving pieces on a board. It’s kind of like how cool Battle Chess was to me as a kid. Sure, we understand your knight took my rook, but then I saw it happen it’s different than just pieces on a board.
What do you guys think?