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Minis or Theatre of the Mind? (Survey)

For combat with more than 5 I will pull out minis. Exploration going into towns 99% theater of the mind

Ed Laprade

First Post
Minis. I've always disliked TotM because its way too easy for confusion to set in, especially if the DM forgets to mention something. I don't know how many times I've heard "Well, if I'd known that, I'd have..." when TotM is in effect. But it rarely happens when the minis are out for all to see. IMO, YMMV, etc.

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First Post
I'm such a visual person, minis are a must for me. I also tend to play in larger groups, so it is helpful to lay everyone out where everyone can see. My current group has 9 players (and a ranger pet) so 10 pcs plus enemies is a LOT to keep track of mentally.


I prefer Theatre of the Mind, but my online group prefers using minis (technically images on a computer screen, but you get the point). My players enjoy it because it gives them some visual reference, but I find for myself it's actually a little distracting. It's harder for me to acknowledge that there's more to a place than just a giant white vinyl Grid, or that there's supposed to be a ceiling in this cavern, while going TotM allows me to more vividly imagine what's going on, I find.


Demon Lord
We throw out minis for marching order and sometimes I use them just to mess with players to show them what they see, but that's about it. Theatre of the mind for 30+ years now.


I voted minis. I prefer minis on a hex versus a square grid, and have used minis since 1994 1e AD&D. We played theater of the mind before that for a few years, and it works. Our use of minis now is different than it used to be and seems to be much more 'tactical'.

I do like that things seemed more, well different when we did TotM back in the day....not sure how to explain it. The feel at the table was also different when we used minis more loosely and less like a mini wargame like we do now.

I will admit though, a couple of years before 3.0 came out our mini use at the table did get more realistic with facing and stuff.


For any combat that is more significant than a casual skirmish, miniatures are a must AFAIC. What's worse is that most DM's who insist on TotM are also terrible at remembering positions, judging distances, description and answering any of those questions, so any sort of tactical or strategic gameplay becomes impossible.

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