November 1, 2010

Minis Giveaway Contest

Arcane Heroes minis

Enter minis tips for a chance to win a pack of D&D Heroes minis

Time for a new Roleplaying Tips contest. Gator Games has kindly offered an amazing 12 packs of D&D Heroes minis as prizes. There will be four winners in all, each will receive two or more packs of minis. Thanks very much, Jean!

How to enter

To enter, email me a tip related to minis or battlemats, or comment below with a tip or piece of advice about them.

  • Do you have a cool minis storage idea?
  • A neat way you use minis in game?
  • A great way to organize minis?
  • Ideas on how to use minis for better storytelling or faster combats?
  • Pointers on keeping battlemats clean?

You can enter as many times as you like. Each entry gives you a chance to win a pack of D&D Heroes minis by Wizards of the Coast.

Even if you do not play Dungeons & Dragons, you can still use minis you win for your game. Or maybe you just want to put them around your monitor at work to wage mock battles with when the boss isn’t looking? I got your back.

How to win

Winners will be selected at random. So do not worry if you can write well or not – it’s the idea and tip that counts.

Due to shipping restrictions, minis can only be sent residents of Canada and United States. However, if you do not live in those countries and win, I’ll hook you up with a cool RPG PDF.

Contest ends November 30. Minis will be shipped in late December, when the final packs are released.

I’ll assemble and edit entries, and give them away to Roleplaying Tips subscribers. So your tips will be helping game masters have more fun at every game, too.

About contest sponsor Gator Games

Martial Heroes minis

Krog must have minis! Enter to win today.

Gator Games is an FLGS (Friendly Local Gaming Store) operating in San Mateo, CA. If you’re close enough to make them your Friendly Local Gaming Store, please go check them out in person.

If you’re clear across the country, Gator Games has an online store full of used games, minis, and all sorts of goodies for ultra savings. Use coupon code rpgsrule for additional savings on non-discounted items.

You can also sign up for the weekly newsletter to get a quick review of all the new releases of the week.  Last, but not least, feel free to friend them on Facebook (Gator Games & Hobby), Myspace, or FriendFeed in addition to Twitter.

Gator Games & Hobby
4212 Olympic Ave
San Mateo CA 94403
650-571-PLAY(7529)

Enter now

Ok, it’s time to enter. Send in your tips.

Good luck in the contest! I look forward to reading everyone’s tips on minis and battlemats.

Palomon

Make your players paranoid by using miniatures to represent objects that are not really monsters. My personal favorite use of this tactic is using Infernal Armor (from the Demonweb expansion) as statues. Your players will spend time dancing around, trying to avoid waking what they assume to be their enemies.

Chronosome

Here’s my tip (and contest entry):
I discovered that at my local art store they sell large pads of gridded paper with blue-lined, 1-inch squares. The particular pad I bought is 11×17, big enough to pre-draw a substantial portion of a battlefield where a climactic fight I’d designed was to take place. At the game session, when the time came for action, I slapped the pad on to the table and we dived into the fight. Designing and delivering a battle like this was was easy to do, quick, and a big hit with my players. I like these pads because you can use colored pencils and the like to flesh out and add interesting details to maps. They’re also portable, great for visiting DMs (like myself) who don’t want to lug a battlemat to every session and would like a more varied and organic tactical experience than what dungeon-tiles offer.

So, there you go; there’s my tip. I hope it qualifies. Thanks for the contest, and thanks to Gator Games for supplying the shwag. :)

    Joe Rapoza

    That’s an awesome tip, Chronosome. I’m gonna head over to my local Michael’s Art Supply store and see if they carry these. BTW, what company makes them?

Johnn Four

Great tips. Thanks for the entries. Keep ‘em coming!

Manifold

I use the battle mat as a surface for tracking spell effects, conditions, etc., in Savage Worlds. Once the effect is “on” (spell is cast, character is shaken, etc.) I make a note of it right on the map. I use a line of circles to indicate rounds (most powers in SW are three-round duration) and mark them off at the beginning of each round. You can also mark bonuses and penalties right on the map, since characters don’t move around too much once they’ve engaged an enemy, and since most effects last a full round anyway. So, if a character uses a wild attack and is at -2 parry for one round, you mark that right on the map next to the character. Even if they move, writing it down where everyone can see makes it more likely that someone will remember!!

David Emmons

I like SlyFlourish’s tip on using the little rings on plastic bottles to hang off your mini’s to indicate status…you can use red Coke ones for bloodied. White for stunned. etc

Palomon

Buy minis that are versatile and can be used for many concepts. Many Troglodyte minis look very much like Lizardfolk, so you can use those for both types of monsters. There are many different human minis, so have a few for fighters, casters, clerics, scouts and you’ll have all your roles covered for any fight using humans. Now you’re spending less money and saving space in your minis container!

Ronin_Randy

Two tips for you:

1) When you’re using a lot of the same prepainted minis and you don’t like to paint, colored nail polish comes in a lot of varieties; is cheaper than “official” paint; and a quick dab on the base or the weapon does a great job of distinguishing Shadar Kai Warrior #1 from Shadar Kai Warrior #2. Be warned, you’ll occasionally hear “I attack the pink sword guy!” As a bonus, nail polish remover will take off the polish without messing up the miniature.

2) Chlorox Ready-Wipes tear vis-a-vis off a battlemat like you wouldn’t believe. The lemon-scented ones also keep your mat from smelling like a gym sock.

TwoScoops

I bought some 1″ plastic chips online that work great as condition markers. They were reasonably priced. Pipe cleaners work great for marking zones and terrain.

Erik

If you have a permanent/semi-permanent place to game, instead of a battlemap (or in addition) overlay it with a sheet of clear, hard plastic. This allows you to save your battlemap in pristine condition and also to put special maps under the plastic when needed. A bit of windex or water and a paper towel, and your sheet is clean.

AlioTheFool

This tip is only really helpful if you use official D&D Miniatures from Wizards of the Coast, but I use BiFur to track my rather large collection of minis. It was orignally created for the old D&D Miniatures game, but it really handles collection tracking well. Just this past weekend Lords of Madness minis were entered.

You can get BiFur at http://bifur.dapperdevil.com

Palomon

If you use magnetic condition markers at your table, you can cut up old refrigerator magnets and adhere them to the bottom of your minis so the markers will stay with them.

RedMage

I bought a cheap 6′ tall , 1′ wide black shelf, from walmart for 20$ the kind that has shelves you can easily move around. and sorted my most used mini’s on their own shelves in sets. (PC models got a shelf, goblins and kobolds etc, got a shelf) the shelf case has a very small foot print, and can sit near the table and within reach. it keeps them all visable for quick access without having to maticulously go through your minis every night before game, or worse, digging for mini’s every battle.

Nullzone

A great way to protect (but still use) those nice, high-gloss, full-color encounter maps that come with a lot of modules is to buy a 2×2′ sheet of plexiglass; costs about $15 and is completely wet-erase friendly. Put the map under the glass and you have a combat ready surface without destroying your original maps! Helps push out wrinkles and curls in folded or rolled maps, as well.

Seamus

For zones or spell effects, I like to make custom templates from paint swatches that are available for free from the hardware store. For walls, I take a pipe cleaner, and attach 1″ squares along them to mark out the shape. After that, I make a 1×2 stand-up card to represent the effect (fire, ice, smoke, whatever). I’ll be writing a post on how to do this on rpgmusings.com, where I’ve also explained how to make zone effects under the title “DIY Templates”.

Hope this tip works out for someone out there.

Nullzone

I thought of another one!

Try to be as “tactile” as possible with your maps and minis; get/make/use props that provide an accurate representation of what’s going on in both form and scale. It really helps draw players into the immersion of the story, especially if they’re perhaps not particularly imaginative with their character actions in the first place. You may even foster some of their desire to start making their own games (it’s what happened to me)!

(Not sure if these are supposed to be one post/person only or what, please modify as needed to avoid breaking rules :D)

SFGiantsFinallyWonTheWorldSeries!!!

The prepainted DnD halfling miniatures make great stand ins for children.

Johnn Four

I just added a clarification to the intro paragraph. There will be four winners in all, each randomly picked. Winners will receive themed groups:

* Winner #1: Primal Heroes 1-2
* Winner #2: Divine Heroes 1-2-3
* Winner #3: Arcane Heroes 1-2-3
* Winner #4: Martial Heroes 1-2-3-4

If you have any questions about this, please comment or email me.

Cheers.

Palomon

If you use Dungeon Tiles, grab a piece of foam-core board that are available in most retail and crafting stores. Cut the board down to manageable size, then either use double-sided tape or poster-tac (also available right next to foam-core boards in most retail stores) to adhere the tiles right to the board. This way, you won’t bump the tiles out of place while moving the minis around. Plus, you can stash these boards right next to the table and you won’t waste time looking for the right tiles and arranging them.

Ronin_Randy

This weekend I found myself in need of a wagon that the party could rescue a prisoner from. I used a Magic: The Gathering demo deck box with a Zhent Cavalry miniature in front of it and moved the two pieces together. Worked like a charm.

Kelsey

Wine corks work great for pillars and pedestals and work great with Dungeon Tiles as well.

Palomon

You can use grip shelf liners (found at many retail stores) underneath your maps, battle maps, tiles, etc. to keep them from moving around during play. They are cheap and easy to transport to your game.

Ameron

A few tips I’ve found useful.

1) When monsters are killed don’t remove the mini from play, just lay them on their side. Players will remain weary, unsecure if they opponent is prone, unconscious or dead.
2) A fishing tackle box is a great way to keep minis organized. It’s portable and it’s compartmentalized.
3) As a guy with very few minis, I often reuse the same minis over and over again. My players have come to hate the fighter with the blue cloak (whom they have dubbed Captain Blue Cape) and will attack him no matter what he represents. I often place this mini in the most strategically advantageous location on the battle map. If the PCs want to kill him they have to do it on his terms.
4) I bought a box of stickers from my local arts & crafts store for about $5. There are literally thousands of different coloured stickers in there. They come in squares, triangles and circles and hearts. They are 1-inch and smaller. I managed to dig out about 300 1-inch circles which fit perfectly under the standard minis. The real trick is to keep using the same colours for the same effects. This makes it clear to everyone. We use green for hunters quarry and fighter marks, yellow for dazed or immobilized, blue for cold or slow, orange for fire and so on.

Ronin_Randy

Most DDM figures are soft enough that you can stick a push-pin into the fig itself without mangling the mini. Using the pin as a post, you can lace different colored beads (which come in cheap tumbler/organizers at craft stores) to represent different effects. It’s addictive – you’ll eventually find heart beads for dominate effects, skull beads for dying folks, and elemental-colored beads for ongoing damage (one bead per 5 points).

Mike

The poor man’s Gaming Paper:
Plain Hallmark wrapping paper is $3 per roll, and has 1″ dotted gridlines on the inside. I like them because they’re lighter than the default blue on Gaming Paper, so they don’t really get in the way of your drawing, but they’re visible enough to be able to see them when you’re moving your mini or drawing the map in the first place.

Scott

We use the plastic rings found arond soda bottles.
Getting different colors from various sodas.
The rings get plopped on the minis and represent different conditions.
We use pipe cleaners to mark out effect area’s.

    Rodney

    I use the plastic rings too, they generally fit around medium sized mini bases nicely. I use red one to show bloodied creatures and characters. Also, they make a great toy for visiting toddlers and keep them away from the precious mini’s.

Palomon

If you have characters or monster that fly, you can easily keep track of their height with your dice. Just place a die next to the mini to indicate how many squares they are in the air. If the blue dragon is flying at 30 feet, place a die with the 6 facing up next to it.

Brandon

I don’t have a whole lot of miniatures, so frequently I’ll be using the wrong thing for the wrong person. But what my players care most about is having that one miniature that looks like their character. Sure, you can burn piles of money hoping you get something close, but it’s probably easier to drop 7 bucks online and get 5 or 6 minis that look similar to what the people you know like to play. If they change, drop another 75 cents and you’ve got their old mini as an NPC and the new mini for them. Unfortunately, this means you’ll end up with a lot of ‘hero’ type minis.

Tony Brotherton

Use deoderant caps to mount flying characters

Use business cards with the character/monster names on them to make an initiative stack. Sort each card into initiative order and then cycle through them to keep track of who goes when, you can also scribble notes on them such as hit points as you go through the rounds.

Use file boxes to make cheap mini storage cases see my flickr set to see my heroclix cases –

Mike Monaco

It can be useful to keep track of where characters and monsters fall, but leaving a whole figure on its side can clutter the battle field. Of course you can just draw the bodies on the map, but another option that looks pretty good is to create black counters with “chalk outlines” on them (there are a couple of examples here on my blog:
http://mikemonaco.wordpress.com/2010/01/10/bring-out-your-dead/

The same post has some examples of casualty figures made from old or broken minis and also some examples of quicky treasures (glitter and bits glued to a counter).

Mike Monaco

For scenery, keep some rocks and pebbles, and some lichen and large chips of bark in a shoe box or similar. You can really increase the atmosphere with very simple terrain.

Swarley

I found that after a month in storage, all my minis had bent arms, weapons and worse. To get them back to their former glory, run them under some hot water, and gently push back into position. Once they cool, they’ll hold their fantastic pose once again.

Syrsuro

I’ve taken to using a sheet of clear vinyl over my map or battle mat. I originally bought one marked out in squares from Chessex last GenCon but I’ve since discovered that the fabric store (JoAnns) in our area sells clear vinyl in a range of thicknesses by the yard (and it’s cheap, running around $5.00 to $8.00 a yard depending on the thickness).

Unlike a sheet of hard plastic/ acrylic it can be rolled up for ready transport, you can use any kind of marker over it and its easy to put maps (whether drawn, printed or poster or even tiles) underneath and it holds them nicely in place.

Carl

Kelsey

I picked up a bag of assorted glass vase gems from my local craft store (about $2). They work great to mark out a zone, or just as a reminder of a condition or mark. They could also work as treasure props.

michelle haugen

I use 3*5 card holders to store my minis. Each mini type has a different box. each box has a pictured on the top to show what’s inside. So, all my undead go in one box, all my heroes another and so on. this makes it easy when i need to grab just a certain kind. Also, each box has 3*5 cards with the monsters stats and treasure. So, grab monster, grab card and away you go. My boys love being able to tell what they will be fighting by seeing what boxes are on the table.

Philo Pharynx

>
I use freezer baggies for the soft plastic D&D minis. They have a convienient place to label them so you can grab the bag and sort through a smaller group of minis without the added bulk of more organization. My current groups are:

PC’s – Player characters and recurring NPC’s
Light fighters – thieves, monks, leather armor folks
Heavy fighters – metal armor folks
Spellslingers – spellcasters
Common humanoids – orcs, goblins, gnolls, kobolds
Odd humanoids – mind flayers, lizardfolk, yuan-ti, etc.
Big things – large figures
Dead things – undead
Beasties – animals and unintelligent creatures
Dragons and wierdos – dragons and anything that doesn’t fit in the others – elementals, oozes, etc.

>
When they players defeat a monster, I knock down the mini and keep it there. It represnts difficult terrain (you try fighting while standing on a dead ogre!). This is also helpful for bad guys who can heal their allies or raise them as undead. It also allows a clever creature to play possum and get a surprise on the PC’s. (Or just try to escape later).

>
Laser pointers. We usually game in places where everybody isn’t always sitting at the map. Using a laser pointer allows you to specify your action from a distance. I once bought a bunch of cheap laser pointers from a 99 cent store. You know you’re living in the future when you can buy a freakin’ laser for buck!

>
I usually use dice to represent objects and mcguffins in the room. (when I don’t have a figure for the appropriate item) This allows me to see when they get caught in area effects and such. If they are trying to retrieve the crystal unicorn of truth and love, then they’d better watch what they do with burst effects. This is a good time to use minions. Of course, if you don’t do it on a regular basis, then the players will know the important objects from the mundane one.

docarchilles

Go to a hobby shop and get different colored square or hex pieces of glass (they fit perfectly for the map) and use the different colors to represent effects, ie marked, prone, ongoing damage, etc. MUCH cheaper than a similar product out there but not neccesarily magnet.

deadorcs

Here’s a tip to add some 3D relief to your battlemats. Cut out sections of Gaming Paper (or other 1″ gridded paper), and glue it to different sized cardboard boxes.

Thanks for hosting this contest. Looks like a great prize!

MaxKaladin

One tip is to use Legos. You can snap them together to make the outlines of walls or room, or to make bits of furniture or terrain.

Another tip is to use the clear cases some dice come in as stands to put minis that are “flying” on. Some, but not all, minis will actually fit inside some of them and we use them to represent invisibility.

A third tip is that you can use that putty “tack” stuff for putting posters on the wall to help mark minis. Prepainted minis typically have a flat plastic base you can stick a bit on the top of. Then you can make little “flags” out of toothpicks and sticky labels (like mailing labels) to represent numbers, conditions or whatever you want. If you want to mark one, just stick the toothpick in the putty.

Palomon

To store miniatures, I use craft storage boxes. You can find these at any crafting store, usually in the jewelry-making section for less than a dollar. The boxes have different sized sections, and for a little more money you can get a set in a carrying case. I label the different sections for what type of miniatures go in them (so I have two sections for skeletons, a section for goblins, etc.). These are cheap and make finding and transporting your minis easy.

Vance

To track successes and failures during skill challenges, I use a couple of minis in combination with the battlemap (or a simple piece of paper if I’m using fancier terrain at that moment).

If they need 6 successes before 3 failures, I’ll draw 6 circles in one row, and 3 circles in another. I have a “good” mini in the top row, and at every success, I simply move him over one circle. (I usually draw a happy face as the final circle in that row). Then I stick an “evil” mini on the failure row, and move him for every failure (a frowny face is the last circle in that row).

That provides all of us with a simple visual of how well the challenge is going. It’s quite helpful if the challenge is spread out over a long time.

Vance

I tend to use paper minis quite often (since I don’t have enough real minis), especially for minions. When one of these bad guys goes down, I remove the base and lay the paper figure on the board where they fell. They are now considered difficult terrain. Bodies just don’t disappear from my encounters.

For undead who have a tendency to raise their fallen comrades, this also helps me remember where they are if it’s been a few rounds since they’ve fallen.

Mike

I admit that I haven’t read all the previous comments, so I’m likely repeating something that’s already been said.

Our group plays Warhammer fantasy, and among the 5 of us we have access to lots of assorted figures (High, Wood, and Dark Elves, Dwarves, Orcs & Goblins, Warriors of Chaos, Empire, Ogres, Vampires). They make great minis for D&D purposes, though they’re more convenient to buy, assemble, and paint if you’re also into Warhammer. They’re obviously on the expensive side for just D&D.

We have a semi-permanent game space at my DM’s house. He’s got a big, sturdy table that we laid a big piece of plywood down on (around 8′x4′). We painted one side green to use as basic grassy terrain for Warhammer, and on the flip side we drew out a grid of 1″ squares to use for our D&D playmat, without having to worry too much about drawing out maps on graph paper, or using game mats and whatnot. We use some cardboard buildings and other Warhammer terrain to make our D&D board and go from there most of the time. When we’re not gaming and they need the table for some other purpose, we just move the plywood out into the garage.

Storing minis isn’t all that hard…A couple cheap 6′ bookcases from Wal-Mart tends to do the trick fairly nicely. For transporting from house to house, we typically store them in toolboxes, fishing tackle boxes, or a gun case with some foam inside to help hold more delicate models steady.

For condition tracking, we usually just set a d4 or d6 (or whatever is most appropriate) on the base of the model and rotate it to count down turns until it fades. Nothing too complicated.

Palomon

Sometimes, it’s hard to get all the wet-erase ink off of vinyl battlemats. When it gets too unbearable, try giving it a bath in diluted bleach. Typically, the grid lines will stay while the marker lines will easily come off, leaving your battlemat as clean as the day you bought it.

SFGiantsFinallyWonTheWorldSeries!!!

For flying creatures stands: Whenever we order a pizza for delivery, they come with a 1.5″ round 3 legged stand that prevents the pizza box from crushing during delivery. The stand is big enough to hold a fig and a tiny d6 to indicate # of squares high it is flying.

For invisable or hidden creatures: We use the clear plastic caps from drinkng water bottles and place them over the top of the figure.

B. Lynn

I patrol the clearance bids at the game shops, MageKnight figures work just fine even if the bases are a little too big, and I got 40 for 12 bucks, with a lot of variety. And as many have mentioned before the miniature is primarily for location and to give a general idea of size, so you do not need a lot of duplicates. Additionally we have found it is easier for the DM to track damage and special effects or statuses if the monsters each look different even if they are the same on paper.

Donovan McDonald

Sometimes it’s fun to have 3D terrain to show the players just how litter there characters can see (through the eyes of the minis) all they need to do is lower their heads and look over the minis shoulder…

Could they really see this troll in the bushes or that army behind those rocks…

What is in their line of sight, really?

Donovan McDonald

I as GM like to mess with my players heads and put a “large/powerful” mini on the side lines, Not to be used but just to see how long the players will hold out before using there dailies. Tehehe

Also like to use a particular mini that would be a minion and make it a powerful solo or have the powerful solo / controller masquerade as one of it’s lackeys…

Goal… to mess up the meta-gamers.

Donovan McDonald

Players shouldn’t be scared to make their own mini monsters…

Good times making -
Soap monsters,
Golem out of any material that will dry or stick together…
Cutting up farm animal or any other toys to make “giant abominations” or to adapt other duplicate minis…

Let your imagination run wild, in not, why not…

SFGiantsFinallyWonTheWorldSeries!!!

To represent carts while gaming, we have used packs of playing cards, Altoids mint tins, packs of cigs.

For horses, we take thicker paper like 3″x5″ cards or the cardboard backing from comic books and cut them down to 1″x2″ and hand draw a picture of a horse on it. Place your mini on the 1″x2″ and now he’s ready to ride! You don’t have to worry about the mounted figs falling over like when you use mounted metal miniatures.

Sean Holland

A fun thing we have done in the past when fighting large groups of monsters: As the monster were killed, we used gummy bears to represent the bodies. One color for each player. Then at the end of the battle you get to eat the “dead”!

Palomon

Want some cheap tokens? Grab circular stickers such as what you use to label stuff at a garage sale (1″ ones are available at any retail store), write the names of the monsters on them, and apply them to quarters. You may feel apprehensive about wasting perfectly good coins, but the stickers can be removed easily, and 25 cent miniatures are the cheapest ones you’ll find. Bonus: different colored stickers can make it easy to distinguish monsters. “I attack the orange kobold!”

darjr

use a sharpy ‘silver’ ink pen to mark your duplicate minis
office supply stores have star stickers and little quarter inch blank stickers for status and effects

Darth Vayne

I sort out my minis using small to large ziploc bags. Sorted by monster type, goblins, orcs, undead, npc types etc. this makes finding the specific minis you need much easier.

Ronin_Randy

Dreamblade minis and Yu-Gi-Oh Dungeons figs are tre cheap on eBay right now. You’ll have to re-base ‘em, but you can get an awful lot of them. They make pretty handy custom monsters and stand-ins.

Palomon

Re-paint parts of your minis to distinguish multiple copies of the same mini. It doesn’t take much skill to paint the hair of a mini a different color, and it will save time when the player can just say, “I attack the goblin with the black shield,” to clarify their attacks.

Deadsmurf

Keep play varied by using a variety of playing surfaces for your minis in the game – use dungeon tiles, preprinted maps, erasable battlemaps, prepared maps on gaming paper freeform estimation – heck sometimes even go for narration without minis if your players are into it. It gets you out of the same-old same-old feeling of doing the exact same thing you always do – even if you do do your tried and true 80-90% of the time.
Plus each of the methods will give you different ideas for how terrain will interact with the fight.

scott

Christmas time at the “dollar stores” is ideal for cheap minis terrain.
I’ve picked up packs of trees for a buck.
I even found some dungeon looking walls.
Some minor painting to get rid of the xmasy look on them, is all that’s required.

Palomon

Assign a player or players to handle all things mini-related at the table. You can dictate the movement of minis to them and have them place any markers that you need. Having this “Marker Monkey” makes combat go much fast since you don’t have to reach or move around the table to take care of these things yourself.

SFGiantsFinallyWonTheWorldSeries!!!

To make blast and burst templates: Use pliers to open up a metal coat hanger. Use the pliers to bend it into the appropriate sized square. Cut the ends with a cheap pair of wire cutters. Use a file to dull off the sharp wire. Now you can drop the template onto the map to see who gets affected and leave it on the map for ongoing effects.

Bonus step:
I use heat shrink (you can get this at Radio Shack) to close off the square to eliminate the sharp ends and help keep the square whole.

Soklemon

When A player rolls a crit, I take all of the minion and standard monster minis off the board and place them on my shuffleboard tabletop. Then, he gets to slide the d20 down the table, and out of all the minis he knocks off the board, one of his choice is down.

Pete

If using multiple of the same mini on battle map, I use tiny multi-colored stickers on the base of the various minis to tell the difference. That way your PCs can tell you I am targeting the red kobold or gren orc with my attack makes the process quick and simple for my players. Also I just leave the stickers on the minis for future use. The stickers pack cost be about $3 abnd I have not gotten close to using them up in years of play.

Palomon

If you like using vinyl battlemats, I suggest buying a plastic art storage-tube. These are available at most art supply stores. With one of these, you can draw out your maps before the game session, stack your battlemats together, roll them up, and throw them in the tube. A storage tube will keep the battlemats safe and will prevent you from smudging your drawings. Plus, most of these storage tubes come with a shoulder strap, making transportation easy.

    Rodney

    I use this method, but find that my laminated maps don’t sit flat easily. I’d recommend the flat art bags if you can afford them and really don’t want your maps to roll up.

    The storage tube is much easier to transport though, and you can get cardboard ones that are cheap and long lasting.

Joe Rapoza

No matter how organized your minis are, it takes time to find the right ones during a session. As a DM, make sure you gather and organize the minis you’ll need before the session starts. That way, when an encounter begins, you’re not wasting time looking for the right minis and you can get right to the action.

Matt

Entry, thanks!

SouthernOracle

My gaming group keeps our minis sorted by creature type in square plastic tubs labeled on the outside. Multiple minis of the same type are kept in plastic bags inside the tubs so we’re not pawing through the tub searching for the mini we want.

Roland

I picked up some 11 x 17 transparency film at one point for cheap, and I use an large-format printer at home. I print out hex- or square-grid sheets on it, then go to town with erasable markers. You can actually draw several different types of preplanned effects, and stack the sheets during combat as the effects occur. Make sure to use numbered hexes or put column/row headings on your square grid in order to make it easy to put things back where they were.

Rodney

I paint the rarity symbol white on all the DND mini’s I own or initial them with Games Workshop paint. It means I can help the GM out with mini’s and not worry about loosing mine.

I also recommend trying your hand at painting some of your mini’s, you can add a little extra detail or neaten up paint work with little paint, effort or experience.

My biggest tip thought would be to play with them. What’s the point of having mini’s if you don’t have a feel for how they work in a fight. The DDM Guild is one place you can get revised cards for the skirmish game, and it’s worth playing.

Lastly, some of the maps from the skirmish game fit side by side (Flooded Cavern and Dwarven Outpost as an example, as well as the lava maps from Hellspike Prison). The maps still maintain some balance when grouped together for the skirmish game and for the role-playing game give you some nice features to work with.

Rodney

One cool tip from our GM…
Clear Plastic Rectangular Dice Box = Gelatinous Cube.

Hit your players with that one when you have all your other mini’s nicely piled up to one side and they won’t expect it. (Our rogue still has nightmares from when he stepped around a corner and into the Cube.)

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