The OSR, miniatures, and virtual play

Over at the Greyhawk Grognard, Joseph Bloch responds to a post made by Chirine regarding miniatures and the OSR, refuting that the original argument the OSR is anti-miniature. While these are really two arguments being made based on two people’s person experience, Joseph makes some excellent points regarding the fact there there are products being made today that are OSR specific. In fact, there are multiple companies now generating miniatures to service the OSR market such as Otherworld Miniatures, Center Stage Miniatures, and Reaper Miniatures to name a few. Notwithstanding that Wizards of the Coast are releasing a slew of their own miniatures for the latest edition of Dungeons &  Dragons, albeit pre-painted, just like they did for the previous two editions.

The original post by Chirine is centered on club rules regarding miniatures and the responses people had regarding their use of them, particularly the use of unpainted minis at the table and there are some links out to some other blog posts regarding this. One of those posts touches on one of the main issues that affects the hobby and has the knock-on effect that seems to have made this such an issue that is exploding across some blogs: time. It’s hard enough today in our busy lives to get 4-7 people together on a regular basis to play a game for a few hours on a regular basis, never mind actually paint miniatures that may or may not be used in play. There’s also the cost issue involved in it, as the cost of miniatures and paint can be quite high and if you’re not going to use them the time and money investment in them is something that is hard to justify for many.

This is also part of the reason why VTT play has become so popular today as it enables a large number of people to play around their schedules and finances, as well as their geographic limits. Of course, there are many who play VTT who still collect and use miniatures, painted or unpainted, at home games or otherwise. Almost all of the miniatures I have in the house right now are either pre-painted, or unpainted; I haven’t had the time, patience, inclination, nor need to sit down and paint them for play. Not even the Whisper & Venom boxed sets that Lesser Gnome released that came complete with miniatures for play. In fact, I can guarantee that when I do get around to running that campaign in person rather than online I’ll probably be using unpainted miniatures. I tend to play most of my games online these days because of scheduling issues with groups and family life as well as time constraints, but I also still enjoy using miniatures at the table, even if I don’t have time or the inclination to paint them. As far as I see it, miniatures are an optional component of play for most games, designed to enhance play, and there are also alternatives to using them at the table. Who remembers using chess pieces, dice, and pieces from other games as stand-ins for goblins, dragons, or monsters during games because there wasn’t a miniature owned to represent a creature exactly? THAT’s old school miniature play…

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  1. guest September 21, 2014
  2. Joe Bloch September 21, 2014