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This is my next thread of what will hopefully be a series of positive minded threads about using ministaures with tabletop SGs/RPGs.
I started one a while ago about finding the starting by finding the story in the miniatures. That is, using the actual look of the minis and the combination of miinis for inspiration for fiction starters.
In this thread, i'd like to talk about what I consider to be an overlooked aspect of using minis with gaming: The importance of civilians, regular joes, and other sorts of non-combatants as inspiration in games.
Mosy commonly, when we trot out the minis for use with gaming, there's pretty much one reason: We're gonna git dwn to the killin' !
No big shock there. RPGs have their roots in miniatures wargamaing. many times people who are using minis in their games have some kind of background in that type of gaming, and very often any particular mnis collection they might start off using is probably doing double duty from a wargaming collection. After all, why not use what you aready have access to, right?
Even if the players aren't playing a wargame regularly, even made-for-RPG type miniatures tend towards the combatty. they're adventurers and their foes, various monsters, alien threats, and just generally action/combat oriented stuff.
That stuff is great fun. We know it is because the tradition of using miinis for that kind of thing has been with us for well over a century, just as gamers ( and goes back even further).
Thing is, that all kind of creates a feedback loop of limitation: Own only combatty minis->only use them for combat/action-> Own only combatty minis, and around and around.
Toy soldiers and their pals have never been the only sort of toy representations of people/critters/animals/characters. Whether plushies, or dolls, or Breyer horses or smurfs and Homies, there are plenty of other sorts of people representing toys that imaginative kids have used and played with and created more kinds of stories than simple combat encounters and wars.
When you start adding non-combatant minis to your collection of gaming minis, you start t open back up the option of drawing on that other imaginative play tradition.
It's the same tradition HG Wells is talking about in "Floor Games". Look that book up online. It's the companion volume to his better known toy soldier gaming book "Little Wars".
If all you end up doing with minis is using them for combat encounters, or all you are doing is battle games, civilians/non-combatants seem like kind of a drag. You might pop them out once in a great while as kidnap victims or innnocent bystanders or angry mobs or whatever. Still, given that everyone lives with their own personal restrictions of time/money budgets, it almost always seems like an unecessary distraction from collecting and prettying up your maincollection, and people regularly skip buying any.
Please don't. Please consider getting yourself some core non-combatants for your preferred genre.
Merely having little representations of characters ( and do look for ones that have some individualityto them) that aren't first and foremost soldiers or other martial/fighty tyopes immediately offers the possibility of more talkiness, more adventure in the non-combat sense, and even more factionalism in play. It starts to imply a greater world, and one where not everything is a problem easily resolved by the sword or pistol.
There's another reason though, and perhaps this one will most appeal to the real lead-heads reading this: It's an excuse to buy and paint up stuff really outside of your usual collection, from those weird little companies you've probably seen ads for but skipped as you busily collecting the onsters for the next session or so down the road.
Ask me some questions!
I've been given the advice before that a good thread isn't just a satement or rant, it's an opening for getting other folks to interact. So go ahead and hit me with questions you might have on this topic, or examplesof play you've had doing something similar, or ideas you might want to explore in this kind of minis use and collecting and we'll get the coversation going.