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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


I prefer minis - or at least tactical representations everyone can see - for combat and dungeon exploration. But I'm happy enough to play without, as long as everyone around the table is sensible about it.

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The most memorable combat encounters over the years for me have been with Theater of the Mind. Those with miniatures, while visually appealing at the time, are somewhat forgettable. The focus tends to me on the minis, and not the narrative.

Don't mind minis at all for marching order.

I use roll20.net for our sessions, which gives me the advantage of doing both. Most combat is using maps I have made, while any RP moments is theater of the mind, using sound FX form battle bards, or any of the other music/ambiant sounds form ROll20

Both, depending on the circumstances. Tend to favor some sort of battlefield diagram - from a Dwarven Forge complex to a battlemat to a small drawn map we can use for reference, for most set piece battles, especially those involving several opponents. Theater of the mind works well for some combats, too. Things like simple beast encounters, strange terrain that is hard to translate to the tabletop, etc.

I spent nearly 20 years roleplaying without a mat (1980 til 3E) and while there were many great stories in that time, I found the clarity a mat to be help reduce confusion in battle ("But I teleported behind the necromancer!") for both player and DM. It was definitely an improvement in play.
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Blistering Barnacles!
Generally minis, although I don't spend $ on them. I bought the Pathfinder Beginner Box a while back and use the same pawns and flip mat over and over and over. Some players use cardboard pawn, some buy their own.
With a big group I feel I pretty much have to otherwise big 'ole soup sandwich!


A mix is my technical answer, but at a push, I choose mini's. Whatever you lose in imagineering, you gain in tactical and strategic options. I *love* playing D&D with mini's.


We play TotM most of the time. For complex encounters, we sometimes put out markers of some kind on a quick sketch of the encounter area, but we don't draw to scale or use a grid of any sort; the markers are just general indications of where people are (e.g., "I'm up in the front rank" or "I'm hiding behind the door"), rather than representing exact locations or distances.

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