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Minis and counters, oh my
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DirkSJ
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 08 Jun 2010
Posts: 239

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:10 pm    Post subject: Minis and counters, oh my Reply with quote

So recently I showed up at a friend's gaming group and we decided to play some FC. As we started getting set up the topic of minis vs counters came up and I expressed my preference for counters (and for the tiny counters at that). Everyone was shocked which in turn shocked me!

Whenever I have played with minis they have seemed amazingly inconvenient. They seemed to have ambiguous facing at times and if anyone gets to range 0 or 1 they become completely non-functional.

I completely respect them as an artistic endeavor; many beautiful minis exist that are extremely well painted/converted. I just never realized that there was any sentiment that they were "better" than counters to actually play the game with.

What are other peoples' thoughts?
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djdood
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Joined: 01 Feb 2007
Posts: 2929
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The counters included with FedCom are great, but I vastly prefer minis.

War-gaming is an escapist art form and the "tin soldiers" of old live on in modern pewter minis. I prefer the "role playing" aspect of seeing my ship on the board, as opposed to a picture of it. I always want to win, but I want to win even more with a ship I worked so hard to prepare, paint, and detail.

There are multiple ways to deal with de-conflicting minis when they get too-close. I personally swap for the nice 1-inch counters (which I store with the associated mini) and switch back as soon as possible. I've also played with folks who have a six-hex segment of floor material that acts as a surrogate mini-map.

Another factor for using minis in my group is that one of our members is losing his eyesight (permanently). He's already well past being able to use the small 1/2-inch counters. Even the one-inch counters are a bit of a struggle for him. Minis, he can still see, due to the height, shadows, etc. We've made larger and brightly-colored (1.25-inch) turn and slip markers to accommodate his needs and hopefully those function for a while. Beyond that, we'll have to look into a video camera over the map and projection-screen on a wall for him.
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wedge_hammersteel
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Joined: 27 Sep 2008
Posts: 581
Location: Lafayette, LA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its hard to stack minis but they sure are pretty.

Our group began using counters to get ready for the Origins Tournament. We switch out one inch counters and minis fairly often depending on how we feel. When using counters, we use the small counters for drones, plasmas, and shuttles.

My preference

1. One inch counters
2. Minis
3. Elite minis
4. The small counters where you need the slender fingers of a child to pick up the darn things with any sense of dexterity.


Last edited by wedge_hammersteel on Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Scoutdad
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Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 4478
Location: Middle Tennessee

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmmm... counters or minis? Let me see... which do "I" prefer? Rolling Eyes

I'd have to say...

wait for it...



MINIS!

(Surprised aren't you?) Wink

Our group always uses miniatures... although having 600+ awesome miniatures may have something to do with that! Cool
Of course, we also have a couple of 4 foot by 8 foot felt star maps with 2 inch hexes, so the minis aren't crowded together.
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djdood
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Joined: 01 Feb 2007
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Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Murfreesboro is a Super-Fund site for lead toxicity.
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Scoutdad
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Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 4478
Location: Middle Tennessee

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Funny you should mention that...

My home owners policy has an EPA waiver on it...
The M'Boro Fire Dept. has made me attach HazMat warning placards to my game room (in case of fire)...
and the local service stations call me for information on how to properly dispose of the lead wheel weights they remove from thier old tires!!! Wink
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DirkSJ
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 08 Jun 2010
Posts: 239

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scoutdad wrote:
Our group always uses miniatures... although having 600+ awesome miniatures may have something to do with that! Cool
Of course, we also have a couple of 4 foot by 8 foot felt star maps with 2 inch hexes, so the minis aren't crowded together.

Wow huge map! That would certainly remove all problems with range 0/1 Smile. I would love to try minis on that size map!

Does it lead to ambiguous facing at times though?
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OGOPTIMUS
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Joined: 10 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scoutdad wrote:
...and the local service stations call me for information on how to properly dispose of the lead wheel weights they remove from thier old tires!!! Wink


Give it to you so you can melt it down and cast your own minis? Very Happy
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Rick Smith
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Joined: 02 Sep 2008
Posts: 266
Location: Silver Spring, MD

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey guys, this is an interesting question. One I've struggled with pretty often too. Which do I prefer? Tokens or miniatures?

Well, I'm an odd one. I love miniatures. They look great on the tabletop and really make for a dynamic looking game. Here's where I break from the norm though: I use a hexless surface when I play SFB or FC with minis. Yep. I'm crazy. So crazy in fact that I built special shield and fire arc art in inDesign and pasted them onto thick illustration board that fit snugly onto the special clear bases that I use. I'm also crazy enough to create range rulers that look like the direct fire that they are (fusion beams, disruptors, phasers, etc.) and that are thin and long enough to pass right next to the stem of the ship, and thus, over the proper shield facing.

That said, I love playing the SFU games as the board games they are. I really enjoy using the tokens. I like the 1/2 inch tokens because you can see at a glance what faction you're dealing with. The 1 inch tokens have some great art.

So I suppose it boils down to this: am I traveling to play a game? Well, I use tokens and a hex map. Am I having a friend over to play? Pull the miniatures out of the display case.
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Rick Smith
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Joined: 02 Sep 2008
Posts: 266
Location: Silver Spring, MD

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose as an aside, I started messing around with the idea of doing a play by email with a friend that I just recently lost to a move. I'll be using the guidelines set down in the PBEM section of this site, but I'll be making my own graphics for the hex map background, planets, Tholian webs, etc. and an interface that should be pretty easy for the two players to follow along while fighting. Such things like seeking weapons will have a graphic representation of a "tail" so that both players will know how long they've been on the board for and how much longer they'll live.

This may actually be the way of all future games for me actually, unless I can find other folks to physically play against.
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Scoutdad
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Joined: 09 Oct 2006
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Location: Middle Tennessee

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not usually. We try to keep the minis close to the front of the hex so it's obvious what their facing is... and if it gets too close, or if we get multiple minis in the same hex; I have a 6 inch plexiglass hex on 4 inch tall legs. We just sit that close to the hex in quetion and transfer minis onto it.

I don't have any photos of the big star maps... but here's the table we use them on. In this photo, there are 50 of the Fed Comm map panels laid out on the table.

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Scoutdad
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Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 4478
Location: Middle Tennessee

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OGOPTIMUS wrote:
Scoutdad wrote:
...and the local service stations call me for information on how to properly dispose of the lead wheel weights they remove from thier old tires!!! Wink


Give it to you so you can melt it down and cast your own minis? Very Happy


Haha...

I actually have a 5 gallon bucket full of old wheel weights that I have been known to use in just such a manner.

Although, in the interest of safety... I do melt the lead outside, on an electric hot plate and I do wear a full face respirator when perfroming such actions.
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terryoc
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Joined: 07 Oct 2006
Posts: 1380

PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I use a hexless surface when I play SFB or FC with minis.


I think minis with the hexless movement system is superior.

I guess the small counters are more convenient. Me, I'm a beer-and-pretzels player and don't mind a bit of inconvenience for the increased immersion.
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Rick Smith
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Joined: 02 Sep 2008
Posts: 266
Location: Silver Spring, MD

PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I think minis with the hexless movement system is superior.


Good. Glad I'm not the only one! Wonder how many other's play this way?
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OGOPTIMUS
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Joined: 10 Nov 2006
Posts: 981

PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've mostly used the small 1/2 inch counters, but I have used the larger counters for intro games with new players. I actually have a 'new' player that is interested in using miniatures, so we'll see how feasable that is. I don't have access to a huge table capable of holding 50+ map panels unlike some other people around here. Rolling Eyes Very Happy
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