Thursday, July 24, 2008

Miscellany: D&D Miniatures Starter Set

There's a lot of criticism of D&D 4th Edition on the Web, and one of the main ones I have to agree with is the game's reliance on miniatures. You pretty much need a gridded battle space and a bunch of tokens if you want to run combat now. This is simple enough to replicate using graph paper and glass fishtank beads, but it can get hairy when people and monsters start sliding around and swapping positions. That's when it's time to get some miniatures.

Actually, Wizards of the Coast markets a whole D&D Miniatures game, which I believe sells better than the actual D&D RPG. The gameplay is D&D minus all that pesky roleplaying, character development, and exploration - it's just tactical combat using 4E rules, essentially. I picked up the starter set (it contains four regular size figures and one awesome-looking green dragon, all unique to the starter set) and found it to be a decent value. It's probably a good way to introduce people to the D&D RPG, since newbies tend to get hung up on combat more than anything else.

The newer D&D Miniatures sets (Dungeons of Dread, Against the Giants) also have a handy feature - each figure's stat card has D&D 4E monster stats right on the back. This an extremely handy way to keep track of your monster stats (it sure beats flipping through the Monster Manual and/or copying down stat blocks into your DM notes). Even better, with figures that aren't already in the Monster Manual, you're effectively getting a new monster that has seen at least some rudimentary playtesting.


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