D&D General How much crunch do you want in combat?

How much combat crunch?

  • More than 5E (4E and similar)

    Votes: 11 28.9%
  • About the same as 5E

    Votes: 15 39.5%
  • Less than 5E (AD&D and similar)

    Votes: 6 15.8%
  • A lot less than 5E (a few rounds of rolls)

    Votes: 4 10.5%
  • Significantly less (a few rolls)

    Votes: 2 5.3%
  • Dramatically less (one roll)

    Votes: 0 0.0%


B/X Known World
Fairly straightforward poll.

What level of crunch is your preference in D&D? And why?

Most of the upper end of the spectrum should be self-explanatory. For the lower end of the spectrum, I’m talking about literally just making some rolls. No grid, no minis, no dedicated combat rules. Only using skill checks, group checks, or similar to resolve the whole combat.

Don’t forget to discuss the why below.
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Magic Wordsmith
I take it as it comes, and play the game that suits my needs in the moment. When I want something very much tactically oriented, then I play D&D 4e. When I want something somewhat less so, I play D&D 5e. Whatever matches best what I'm going for in the table experience. I tend to run games with more crunch, but can play anything and have no particular preference as long as it is fun and productive.

For fantasy games, I like mine more like AD&D 2nd Edition. Minis for getting a feel of the area fighting are fine, but nothing more than that for me. I like letting loose with my creativity in combat and thinking of how to use the environment to my advantage. That takes flexibility in the rules and with the DM. When I DM, I give my players the chance to do what I love, too.


I like crunch in having things like combat manoeuvres, but I prefer regions (near, medium, far) and theatre of the mind style combat, 13th Age style (e.g. Lightning Bolt hits "1d3 + 1 nearby enemies in a group or in a (rough) line"), over a detailled grid. I am ok with using a map, I just do not care so much about whether someone moves 30 feet or 35.

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
  • Theater of the mind
  • 1 Action/Activity per round per character
  • A few rounds max (3-4) and fast resolution. Team works makes you win in a few rounds. Bad coordination results in devastating defeat in the same time.
  • All roles necessary: no single character has an ''I win'' button.
  • One resolution method, no ''to-hit'' and ''saves'' in the same game.


I'm generally quite happy with how combat works in 5e. Many combats are quick and dirty and can be run in the theater of the mind easily enough. Others can be a little more fiddly and might require a map and/or minis.

I think the only minor complaint I have is that there isn't enough incentive in 5e combat to do something other than attack. I'd love to see more swashbuckling action - swinging on chandeliers, pushing people off ledges, tipping over burning braziers, etc. Since the focus is frequently on dealing hit point damage, though, I find players often don't bother to do cool, cinematic things. They just run up and hit the thing with their weapon (or hang back and shoot spells or arrows at it). As a DM, you have to really work at making combats more dynamic.

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