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Abstract Measurements and Miniature Gamers


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#1 NezziR

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 04:51 PM

Our game group meets for our weekly game on Tuesday nights, the night the diaries are released. Tonight we read through the 'Adventure on the move' diary and discussed it as a group. We wanted to know how this would affect our weekly games.

We have a 600+ square foot game room. We have a specially designed 4x8 table, with shelves under it for books, and a large card table on the side. We have around 10k miniatures and 100s of pieces of terrain and buildings.

Each week I lay out the scenario and build a table. Tables can range from dungeons to towns to forest clearings, but each encounter is designed from a tactical standpoint. Our table and miniature collection has its roots in tabletop wargaming and so our RPG games generally have a heavy tactical element.

When I first read the diary I was a bit nervous. I was afraid the use of my miniature collection would be restricted at best. It seems that this new 'Abstract Measurement' system is designed for people with limited space and few or no miniatures. This game could easily be played on a kitchen table, covered with books, and still have plenty of room for elbows.

After discussing it for a while we found the benefits for people with large collections like us.

Initially I was a little reluctant to give up my beloved grid and measuring tape. Range, hard corners, and obstacles have become a staple in our games. We sat down and talked about how the new rules might affect our play style.

Our final conclusion was that we could use this new system to add some versatility to our game table.

For example, an encounter that takes place on an acre of land, a small village in a clearing. Now, I could build this on my table if wanted to. Clear away the books (banished to the shelf under the table) and lay out the terrain, trees, buildings and obstacles. With the new system all I would need to add would be some range bands. Place some markers on the table then count the number of markers between you and your target.

For closer environments, like a dungeon, same thing. Factors like light, atmosphere (dust, smoke, etc), ceiling height, and such would make this a much closer environment. Again, simply laying down counters for range bands would handle the situation fine without resorting to counting squares or measuring distances.

Alternately, we could resolve quick encounters on a small section of the table just by using the range counters as intended.

  • Engaged: Base to Base
  • Close: Occupying adjacent range bands (1 marker between you)
  • Medium: One range band (2 markers) between you

...and so on

It's taking me time to warm up to 'Abstract Measurement'. I need to do it myself, lay it out and get minis in my hand, but it looks workable and may even turn out to be a better way to do it. My game group, whom I thought would resist it, seems optimistic.



#2 Nova Nagilum

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 05:07 PM

I actually really like the new abstract measurement system. It seems ideal because I can use a range that seems appropriate for what I'm picturing without having to designate specific dimensions and ranges in numerical format whenever a fight or encounter breaks out. It seems much more simplified, and I absolutely adore simplification.

But I can totally see how your group, that originated in tabletop gaming, might appreciate more specific information. Maybe you could eventually delineate more specific guidelines (maybe even look up some statistics on sound clarity over distance if you really want to break it down to the exact foot), but yes, I think you already have a really good idea of it.

I think though that yes, the new abstract system can only be more versatile to give the GM more control, and keep the players a little more on their toes.



#3 NezziR

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 06:54 PM

Yeah, that's what I was trying to say. Table or not, you can set up the range that's appropriate for the encount - no matter how much space  you actually have. Simply designating range bands on the table should eliminate the need for other types of scaling or measuring. I might keep a measuring stick out for odd situations (just for estimation), but I'm looking forward to trying it out.

I like the idea that I can make 'medium range' two feet on the table for an outdoor encounter or 10 inches for a dungeon.

I don't think it's going to be a problem, but if it is, we have the ranges for pretty much everything memorized :)

Edit: The more I think about this, the more I think we're still going to need some form of distance measuring. Something will have to define the length of a 'range band'. For example, if the players are surrounded and the attackers are in different range bands, then there will have to be some sort of measurement to determine how close each is. It could be as simple as 'A range band is as long as this stick'... I'm not sure. I'll have to see it in action :(

That brings up other issues, like cover. If I have a fig behind a wall and I say a range band is 'as long as this stick', then does the target still get cover if the attacker is within the sticks lenth? Arg... This is giving me OCD. I can only hope there's a paragraph somewhere about minis.



#4 Ravenheart87

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 07:39 PM

NezziR said:

Edit: The more I think about this, the more I think we're still going to need some form of distance measuring. Something will have to define the length of a 'range band'. For example, if the players are surrounded and the attackers are in different range bands, then there will have to be some sort of measurement to determine how close each is. It could be as simple as 'A range band is as long as this stick'... I'm not sure. I'll have to see it in action :(

That brings up other issues, like cover. If I have a fig behind a wall and I say a range band is 'as long as this stick', then does the target still get cover if the attacker is within the sticks lenth? Arg... This is giving me OCD. I can only hope there's a paragraph somewhere about minis.

Well, we have tokens which tell you how far away enemies or groups are from you. And cover was also mentioned: the elf was engaged with a tree, to grant him cover. So to hide behind something, you'll need to get engaged with it.



#5 NezziR

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 07:54 PM

Ravenheart87 said:

Well, we have tokens which tell you how far away enemies or groups are from you. And cover was also mentioned: the elf was engaged with a tree, to grant him cover. So to hide behind something, you'll need to get engaged with it.


 

 

OK, I'm really immature... The thought of and elf 'engaged' with a tree made me lol.



#6 Ravenheart87

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 08:25 PM

NezziR said:

 OK, I'm really immature... The thought of and elf 'engaged' with a tree made me lol.

Those tree hugging bastards... :)



#7 Nova Nagilum

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 09:43 PM

hahahaha



#8 GhostWolf69

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 09:51 PM

I thought it was "Tree Huggers"... not "Tree Buggers"...

/wolf



#9 Ye Ancient One

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 11:17 PM

He meant 'engaged to be married', guys!  Pfeh!






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