D&D 5E "Tactics are an Important Part of D&D" (a poll)

True or False: "Tactics are important part of D&D"

  • True.

    Votes: 70 72.9%
  • False.

    Votes: 26 27.1%

They CAN be, but it depends on the player and the table.

D&D combat tactics are fairly watered down, but that's not necessarily a bad thing either.

Also tactics can pertain to things outside of combat such as diplomacy, bartering, and politics so it really depends on how much effort the DM and players want to put into the actions they're doing.

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Follower of the Way
That is all any of these polls is asking about. ..
The answer to the question can be interpreted in two ways: "This is what I think should be true," and "This is what I think is true." My answers differ between those two questions (I think it should be true, but find that it usually is not true).


Registered Ninja
I answered yes with the caveat that I'm answering for my personal play style.

I agree that it depends on the table and the player.


Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I think “it depends on the group” is a given here, hence why there are multiple options in the poll. The question is, what’s important for you and your group?


B/X Known World
This poll is open to be looked at from the perspective of a DM or player, and has a very simple premise:

True or False: "Tactics are important part of D&D"

By tactics I mean things like cover, elevation, flanking, making use of the environment in other ways, and coming up with plans that are actually sound (and don't only succeed because of DM fiat), and so on.
For TSR-era editions of D&D, yes, tactics are vitally important as you’re all but guaranteed to get a pile of dead characters without them. Tactics are less and less important as WotC editions roll by. The game’s balance and design allow for PCs to blindly charge into combat, so they do.


CR 1/8
True. As long as players say they're running their PCs tactically, and making some effort to justify it mechanically, I'd call that playing tactics. And in my personal D&D experience, players do tend to lean into the swashbuckling, planning, and/or conniving, so exploiting the environment, coordinating actions, and so forth have always been part of the game. Whether that means pushing minis around on a gridded 3D model or narrating characters dashing around Theater of Mind doesn't really matter, imo.


Generally I'd say tactics are very important. As they usually are in combat, real or imagined. Now, the real question is do you need rules for tactics in the game? That is where there are a lot of discussions as it gets very subjective at that point.


True. As long as players say they're running their PCs tactically, and making some effort to justify it mechanically, I'd call that playing tactics.
This... puts many discussions I've seen here on enworld into a context I wasn't expecting. Thanks for that.

I'm realizing more and more that the vocabulary I assume that people share isn't actually a shared vocabulary. Because that isn't how I'd define tactics at all. So that's interesting.


No rule is inviolate
It should be, though rules-as-written it may not be apparent.

Tactics definition: per the OP and dictionary, I take this as the art of pre-combat awareness of how best to utilize terrain and positioning against an enemy.

While dice are used to create tension and drama, combat is a lot more exciting if players feel they are free to unleash creativity (even if it doesn't always work) rather than work in a +2 here or a 1d4 there. However, there isn't really a reason for PCs to do so thanks to encounter balance suggesting all fights are winnable. PCs don't have a default incentive under basic game design to not simply run in. @overgeeked chimed in as I was typing and nailed why players may unconsciously shy away from tactics thanks to a "charge in blindly" assurance due to the encounter calculator and, relative to prior editions, (1) harder-to-kill characters and (2) less instant death effects.

My solution is I don't always toss fair battles at the PCs. While there is the unspoken agreement between DM and Player the DM will use level-appropriate material, I don't believe it's realistic everything the PCs stumble across is magically tailored for their levels, and I don't plug everything into a CR Encounter Calculator. My players know this, and I know they in return work on more creative, tactical ways to approach conflict than the usual "we charge in because we know the fight is winnable."

It's a win-win cycle. Last session it was five 11th level PCs vs. 6 CR9 Ice Giants (frost giants with regen 10 using the A5E giant stat blocks which are more kickass) trashing one of their villages. A face-to-face battle, not a smart idea, but they couldn't run away from this one. So, they got creative, and not one PC went down.

The Book Way

Creative tactics may not be apparent in the books because (1) encounter balance suggests all fights are winnable, (2) it's often more effective to use character abilities to pummel the enemy down than use tactics, (3) many maps don't have terrain features worth interacting with, (4) players may not have awareness or care that they can get a +2 to AC with light cover, and (5) it's a lot of work for the DM to work in a scenario that requires a strategy MacGuffin (e.g. the dracolich uses its captives to empower itself and the PCs need to destroy the cages).

Thus, tactics can easily fall by the wayside absent specific incentive wherein if tactics are not used, loss is suffered.


I like the yes/no polls and not having a squishy middle out to take. It makes you think and boil things down to all or nothing.

My first thought was asking about the word important and compared to what other parts of the game. Then I thought about groups using tactics and making encounters easier and groups that use poor or no tactics make the encounters hard to end in a TPK. So, I answered yes they are important in that aspect.

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