[minis+] Have you ever made a "collection plan" for an RPG game setting?

I know there's a few of you who have followed my Minis + posts over time, so jump on in.

I'm curious about your responses. I know a few LEGO fans are out there too, and their approach to this question will probably be different from folks like me who stick to gaming minis.

As much as I like minis, I've never really planned a collection for an RPG.

My approach has been more one of accidental acquisition of some minis for a genre or setting and a decent amount of retail therapy impulse buying, with the result of a kinda-sorta adequate collection of stuff for a multitude of game settings.

As I've done these kinds of threads here and elsewhere, it did strike me that there isn't much guidance for someone thinking a bit about maybe jumping into minis use for a specific genre/setting combo. With miniatures wargames, it's relatively easy to get advice. Heck, a big part of your what to buy/what to build guidance is likely built in to the rules of that game ( and when it comes to "what to build"? in terms of terrain, likely the FLGS selling you the minis for the game in question is likely to have that stuff already on hand, enough for your initial gaming needs anyway).

But...rpgs are different from war games.

What would you do if you were setting out to use minis heavily with an RPG of your choosing?
How would you plan, prioritize, and work within some sort of reasonable budget? How would your choices impact the kinds of games you'd play?

For this exercise, pick a game/genre/setting combo you'd like to do if you had your druthers.

Show the rest of us what your initial thoughts are, and we'll see if we can collectively help you create a plan ( even if you never actually go through with it) for building that collection ( both character/monster minis and terrain).

I'll throw a conversation seed out there. I'm thinking about starting a collection for the Paranoia setting. What should I focus on first, and what can I slowly expand and add over time? What are the Must-Haves?

There's mine. What's your advice on that and what's your game/setting/genre?

Comments

  • Interesting topic, will read.

    As you know, I'm very much not a minis type of person, so my "collection plans" tend to be more like "plans for not having to collect anything" [grin]. That being said, my go-to solution has generally been to develop my paper figure skillz to a sufficient level to be able to produce whatever figures I need, arbitrarily. With that accomplished, assuming I can derive a finite list of necessities for the given game, I can just craft the set I need.

    I've used this method for two games so far: one's the miniatures story game I designed myself, and the other is D&D 4th edition, for which I wrote a sort of a micro-campaign this summer based on the Chronicles of Prydain. The latter is finite enough to create miniatures for with the paper-crafting methods.
    I'll throw a conversation seed out there. I'm thinking about starting a collection for the Paranoia setting. What should I focus on first, and what can I slowly expand and add over time? What are the Must-Haves?
    Paranoia is an interesting choice for a miniatures game. Were I doing this, I'd consider the following to be the "essentials":
    * A horde of infrared citizens.
    * A smaller, yet considerable, number of Red security figs; the players would pick their Troubleshooters from this lot. Ideally one would have visual distinction between the service groups so you'd see from the figure what service group they belong in.
    * Be prepared to repaint player character figs to higher security clearances if they ever get there [grin].
    * Higher clearances I would deal with on a "named NPC" basis. Either get a bunch and build play around them, or vice versa. I would attempt to maintain the service group distinction in the Orange and Yellow clearances, but any higher than that should look more like modern middle-class civilians or weird cultists - all in their clearance colors, of course.
    * Mutants (the sewer-dwelling kind), robots, savages, specialty critters as needed.

    Considering the sort of Paranoia I've been doing, I'd get by pretty well with that selection. There are other things one encounters in the Alpha Complex, but mostly I'd be happy with matching a character's security clearance and service group. Like, I would just do registered mutants by crayoning on some yellow marks on a normal piece [grin].

  • Be prepared to repaint player character figs to higher security clearances if they ever get there [grin].
    I think that clearly the more reasonable option here is to devise easily swappable flair of some sort. I propose very tiny armbands (to the point where my actual idea of the Paranoia universe might as well contain easily swappable pieces of flair like armbands, velcro service group patches, and maybe numbers indicating which clone you are, because no matter how silly it may be nobody in universe is ever going to question it if they want to continue living).

    Depending on your personal image of Alpha Complex, I think Paranoia could also get by with some simple modular terrain, where the fact that it's all just the same few pieces repeated and rearranged actually makes thematic sense.
  • @Eero_Tuovinen You mentioned paper minis. I don't know if you are aware, but there is a great site for paper minis called juniorgeneral.org. Paper minis is a whole hobby/culture. There's another one called Cardboard Heroes as well but I can never find the site.

    I have other thoughts for this thread but I have to go to be, and I wanted to mention JG.org before I forgot.
  • As a kid, I made highly specific and spur of the moment minis purchases. "Ooooh, I want djinn in next week's game, I'll buy this awesome pack!!!" So I wound up with a huge but chaotic collection. The real flaw was that it was hard to re-use very specific minis: a djinn is a djinn. Vague ogre-looking things had a lot more versatility and therefore re-use.

    My solution later on was to embrace complete abstraction. The PCs would have proper figures, but for the baddies we'd use a generic chess set. Pawns were whatever type of grunts they were fighting, whether that was orcs or rats or fire elementals, then scaling up the chess hierarchy for more powerful or important figures. We had a lot of large skirmish battles, and it was extremely intuitive and effective, because you knew a bishop was more threatening than a rook, whether it was representing a higher level wizard or a bigger giant, etc.

    I never went back. In later years I just found better and better sets of abstract figures (like Ice House pyramids in West Marches days)

    There's also a secondary benefit that literal representation minis can reduce the grandeur: you see a little dragon so you imagine the dragon looks like that, warts and all. Unimpressive, unless it's an awesome mini. But for an abstract figure it's all in your mind, so hearing the description and imagining what it looks like becomes important again.
  • My solution later on was to embrace complete abstraction. The PCs would have proper figures, but for the baddies we'd use a generic chess set. Pawns were whatever type of grunts they were fighting, whether that was orcs or rats or fire elementals, then scaling up the chess hierarchy for more powerful or important figures. We had a lot of large skirmish battles, and it was extremely intuitive and effective, because you knew a bishop was more threatening than a rook, whether it was representing a higher level wizard or a bigger giant, etc.
    Oooh, I like this!

    Personally I'm more on Eero's papercraft minimalism side. Being able to draw a bit and also having the internet and a printer I've gathered a bunch of pictures (mainly on Deviantart, but I'm kinda discovering Tumblr now, too) where sometimes there will even be sets of creatures, character art, etc., which I have then saved in folders. At times I'll sort things out and make themed sets, but usually I just save it in a folder under the artist's name.

    If anyone needs some cool dnd monster art I suggest googling Dungeons and Drawings, where a collective of illustrators are re-imagening dnd monsters.
  • Abstraction??!!!

    Ben, them thars fightin words!

    Good thing I like yer games, buddy!
  • edited November 2017
    Joking aside, there have been some good suggestions in the thread, and I'll tackle them one at a time.

    So far the overall responses seem to indicate something I've been suspecting for a while, namely that planning for how you'd build a collection of minis to use in an RPG is basically terra incognita.

    To more specific points:

    From Yukamichi
    Depending on your personal image of Alpha Complex, I think Paranoia could also get by with some simple modular terrain, where the fact that it's all just the same few pieces repeated and rearranged actually makes thematic sense.
    That's a great point about thematic terrain. I'd been looking at a couple types of 2D printable, modular scifi terrain for the purpose. Thinking more about your suggestion, it could be pretty setting re-inforcing to just use a half dozen rooms and use spot terrain in them to differentiate them as needed, along with a few types of generic corridor as needed. Even if that collection is later expanded, it's a solid good start on the "where are we?" type toys.

    Yukamichi and Eero both mentioned modification of the character figures, due to upgrades and so on ( and gave ideas on how to approach it.

    One cheat I've been considering is simply having slotta-bases or other thicker plastic bases. Those generally have an edge that's easy to repaint as needed or to add writing to, and are big enough that I could always put a sticker with info beneath it, too.

    Anyway, good stuff there, including ideas about adding flair in some fashion.

    Eero's list was really what I was looking for in terms of initial brainstorming and considerations. I want to take a closer look at it, as it's a nice example of thinking about a minis collection, when a game doesn't really give you any consolidated pointers and you have to work it out yourself.
    Paranoia is an interesting choice for a miniatures game. Were I doing this, I'd consider the following to be the "essentials":
    * A horde of infrared citizens.
    * A smaller, yet considerable, number of Red security figs; the players would pick their Troubleshooters from this lot. Ideally one would have visual distinction between the service groups so you'd see from the figure what service group they belong in.
    * Be prepared to repaint player character figs to higher security clearances if they ever get there [grin].
    * Higher clearances I would deal with on a "named NPC" basis. Either get a bunch and build play around them, or vice versa. I would attempt to maintain the service group distinction in the Orange and Yellow clearances, but any higher than that should look more like modern middle-class civilians or weird cultists - all in their clearance colors, of course.
    * Mutants (the sewer-dwelling kind), robots, savages, specialty critters as needed.
    On troubleshooters/Red Security minis: I'm trying to acquire some of the old, out of production Paranoia miniatures that were made over time by 3 different companies. If I can get them, great. If not, I'm probably going to modify and re-paint some cheap Heroclix ( probably SHIELD agents). I'm shooting for about a dozen for players to choose from. I like the service group idea. After that, I'm planning to leave players to their own devices for character minis, although I'm also preparing to give aid/advice/modelling/painting skills if they wan something outside of the normal mix available.

    Infrared hordes Looking at cheap model railroad minis in O scale, which roughly meet up with gaming minis. Not perfect, but probably good enough. Similarly looking at 'Clix for these as well, especially for the classic Big, Dumb IR Ox that always seems to get assigned to trouble shooter teams.

    (Now where to find Cossack hats for the inevitable commie IRs might be trickier)

    "Higher clearances I would deal with on a "named NPC" basis. Either get a bunch and build play around them, or vice versa"

    Okay, this is a great point!

    ( Which caused me to have one of those Lightbulb -going -on, Eureka! moments, btw)

    It also relates a bit to the comment about various stuff like mutants and robots, but also ties in to Ben talking about his buying habits as a kid leading to chaotic collection.

    I think it's a major fail point where it comes to minis use in RPGs ( from lack of discussion and thinking in texts) and important enough that I'll talk about it in a separate post.
  • So, that Fail Point I was talking about, and thinking more about the above stuff, and how it all relates to minis-use heavy RPG play...

    How it looks to me from the general discussion ( and earlier threads, too):

    There's the easy part. That's the generic half of planning the basics for your setting/genre.

    1) The basic terrain toys you want, at whatever your budget and space allow for. Choose the stuff to represent the most common adventuring environment for the setting.
    As a complete side note, a buddy and I were brainstorming something about a modern monster hunter type game, roughly along the lines of Supernatural or Buffy a week ago or so. As a thought exercise, we brainstormed the 10-20 most generic, re-usable, common locations we could think of for it. The kind of stuff you could draw up on one side of a piece of 20" x 30" poster board, and maybe slightly modify from game to game with spot terrain. We came to the conclusion that it wouldn't really be hard to do something like that, then have more specific pieces for individual adventures/sessions. Something to consider, and really something anyone designing a game meant to encourage minis use should consider putting in a base game set or having available as a download. It's pretty much the approach taken by the old TSR Marvel Superheroes FASERIP game series
    2) A smallish (8-15) PC pool of miniatures for players to initially choose from to make characters. [ Note, as always, choose the mini FIRST, then make the character! Most games since the early 1980s are built rather than random chargen anyway, so it shouldn't be a problem].

    3) A slightly bigger pool of minis with lots of flexibility for re-use, meant to be your commonly created on-the-spot NPCs and most commonly encountered opposition ( and hopefully have use as either as needed). This is easier with a human based setting especially a modern(ish) one, as you can get a lot of re-use. Dungeon Fantasy is a bit harder here, even if the minis are more readily available at the FLGS.

    Anyway, like I said, that isn't too hard to plan for. It's also pretty easy to see how to get that core stuff, then slowly expand that core stuff with small purchases ( or terrain builds) over time.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    The harder part: Collecting the opposition and doing it in a way that it focusses the game.

    Ben's impulse purchase example of the Djinn mini and Eero's suggestion about planning the major opposition NPCs and building around them got me thinking.

    Maybe...maybe this is an important step in building for minis use, and it needs to go into the thinking about both planning and rules for those major NPCs/Monsters and how they get re-used.

    Some of it is because, if you have a mini for that NPC/Monster, and they have personality/goals, and they aren't just a generic example of a type ( that was covered earlier), we want to get a lot of re-use out of those guys.

    In terms of use in a game/campaign, I'm thinking about taking a cue from Dungeon World. Each major NPC/Monster is a bit like their own "campaign front". I know DW says start with maybe 3 of those Campaign fronts, so maybe three is a magic number here too.
    Starting off, go for 3 major, in the background baddies/opposition NPCs when you're building your collection. Each one is a different sort of enemy goals/related challenges set.

    ( And, of course, being fans of minis, you can certainly consider a few special paired minis to go with each of your baddies. Maybe lieutenants, or even terrain/scenery special toys that pair with them. Dragons need lairs, right?).

    OTOH, what about special rules?

    I know it's common to give advice like "Kill your NPCs if the story/roll results indicate it!"

    On the Other Other Hand...minis!

    I start to think that maybe a more comic book Super Villain approach is more appropriate.

    Maybe that advice gets translated more to something like:
    If the fiction/rolls indicate it, the NPC is defeated...for now( cue mysterious death when enemy base collapses in explosions, etc)

    And then switch back to other campaign fronts ( and associated minis). Total defeat/death of an enemy of importance with an associated mini is something to culminate a campaign front resolution, not so much a single adventure or encounter.

    What do yo all think of that direction of thinking?

    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    As for my own project with the Paranoia idea, any suggestions for 3 starter enemies of different sorts? Paranoia has all kinds of possibilities.

    Eero, you sound like you know your way around that setting. What three things would you start with as campaign fronts? ( Everyone invited on this subject, obviously)

    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    Also, if anyone else wants to just try this whole concept as an exercise, give us some stuff to work with as seeds of an idea, and we'll help you brainstorm.
  • edited November 2017
    Dungeon Fantasy is a bit harder here, even if the minis are more readily available at the FLGS.
    I'm being reminded of a post from some OSR blog I read a while ago. I can't remember quite where it was, but it was a challenge to design your next D&D setting with only 60 distinct species of monster. More coherent world, more meaningful role for each monster. And it was observed that if you try to count, there are only about 40 different monsters in Middle Earth, including both ubiquitous things like orcs and unique things like gollum or the watcher in the water.

    Putting that post and this thread together, I can imagine it would be really fun to set up a shelf of 60 miniatures (with repeats for orc-type things) and saying, "These are the monsters that exist in this setting."

    Edit: That or a fill-your-Pokédex approach... you start with the 60 monsters in a secret box and add them to the shelf as the players discover them!
  • I like that concept a lot.

    I ended up with a big fantasy minis collection from buying into Reaper kickstarters, and had considered lumping all non-human humanoids of about humanish size into "Fae" ( differing by temperament/alignment, that showing through appearance), and then splitting everything else into Great Beast and Dragons ( the greatest of the beasts) and having all Great Beasts be unique.

    It simplified things greatly conceptually, and made re-use easier. "Orcs" then just become a generic name for a particularly nasty horde of Fae ( which could mean then are elf orcs and dwarf orcs and gnome orcs, etc).
  • SAs for my own project with the Paranoia idea, any suggestions for 3 starter enemies of different sorts? Paranoia has all kinds of possibilities.

    Eero, you sound like you know your way around that setting. What three things would you start with as campaign fronts? ( Everyone invited on this subject, obviously)
    My opinions are a bit inflexibly crystallized due to the way we've played Paranoia as a "serious wargame" sort of thing, so I've ended up thinking about it much too much in terms of how these different pieces would really go together, and correspondingly less in terms of raw GM story-crafting. This means that I've used some stuff much more than seems typical of Paranoia adventures, and other things much less.

    That being said, if I had to choose three recurring things the troubleshooters interacted with, I'd go with:
    * A secret police (I don't remember the English name for this service group right now) goon squad, led by a self-important Green and an ambitious Orange. These could always show up to snoop, investigate and accuse the troubleshooters, whatever the adventure. They are, of course, up to their ears in treason themselves, so no reason why one wouldn't get into shootouts with them as well at opportune times.
    * One of the more traitorous and flashy secret societies. Heavy Metal (that's the robot-led conspiracy, right) would be an opportunity to use your old robot toys, I've found that the more mechas and giant robots you give them, the better. It's easy to have any given society recur all the time, and it makes the setting seem more coherent rather than less when the same enemy (or friend, depending on your faction) regularly has their fork up in troubleshooter business.
    * An outsider faction that does not have the means or understanding to really distinguish the Computer as a political concept separate from its human servants. I've myself done a lot with "morlocks", monstrous mutant outcasts who live in the abandoned sectors and maintenance ducts of Alpha Complex. You could also go with e.g. a disgustingly white-bread, prosperous farm town that happens to exist on top of the Alpha Complex.

    Obviously you could pick other things, too. I find Paranoia nice in that it's pretty easy to think up conspiracy plots that entangle any two or three things together. You could well just pick any three factions you favour, and just write those into your scenarios. Just figure out what the common interests between any two factions are, and of you go.
  • IntSec ( Internal Security) is the English version, although Secret Police is what I always reflexively call them as well.
  • Collecting has been my biggest screw up as I have been getting into minis+

    1) I didn't follow Bob's original advice about collecting (it was in one of the earliest threads. Well, I followed some of it but not most of it.
    2) I didn't have a plan, or rather I should say that I kept changing my plan. Then trying to do multiple plans at the same time. This was a fool's errand.
    3) I was trying to allow for every possibility--every time that I saw an interesting piece, I would go "ooh, ooh, I've got to have that.

    This has led to a confused, mixed-up collection, which isn't particularly great for anything (like @Ben_Robbins mentioned about the collection of his youth). My only saving-grace was it's Lego minifigures and not white metal, so there is some flexibility in the very nature of the toy. So, my plan will survive this.

    There's been some very good advice in this thread:

    1) Limit the amount of monsters in your world, and rationalise it to the fiction (@Vivificient). This is the best advice in my opinion. The fill-your-Pokédex approach is brilliant.

    2) Find some way for great villains to survive, while being fair to the players, i.e. make it realistic to the game system and the setting ( @komradebob). But find a way!

    3) Don't spend the bulk of your money/time on cool one-off creatures, etc. If it's not going to be important for the long-term, or isn't going to by part of the climax (final act of your campaign), find another way to represent it paper is a great idea ( @Eero_Tuovinen ), check out juniorgeneral.org. They do monsters too!

    4) Get a lot of general, or flexible-use stuff. Spend your money there (this has been Bob's mantra from the start). And remember you need a lot more civilians than you think (Bob mentioned this in an earlier thread).

    5) Make a plan and stick to it. This is where I have failed spectacularly. You know that old saying: measure twice, cut once. It applies to making your collection. Think a lot before you start.
  • edited November 2017
    I think pretty much everyone who tries to start using minis in an RPG stumbles through the whole thing, learning as they go, and I'd even hazard that it's pretty much entirely normal to end up with a chaotic collection the first ( or first several) time(s).

    Dungeon fantasy, drawing inspiration from tropes/concepts of D&D, is particularly hard to do in many ways.

    To some extent, some of the concepts from D&D 4e and 5e make it somewhat easier to do with minis (around the issues of building a collection, I mean). Rules for buffing monsters and keeping them a challenge ( I think Volo's Guide for 5e goes into this) or making Solo monsters a bigger challenge ( in 4e) certainly help somewhat.

    Taking a slightly more "monster of the week" approach to dungeon fantasy ( and altering rules and expectations to match that approach) would probably help too.

    Mostly though, D&D type fantasy is just tricky because players have come to expect to engage a crapton of different monster types regularly, and as the PCs level up, they'll start to need to meet multiples of a monster type to be a real challenge. That makes it hard both to plan a collection and to fund a collection.

    And yeah, Tolkien fantasy vs D&D fantasy? Jack T's world is a whole lot easier to build a collection of minis for use in it.

    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    I think I'm starting to see a way to a general outline of good practices, especially based on the last few posts.

    Does anyone else want to suggest a genre/setting , and the rest of us will help you work through the thing?

    Again, this can be an exercise. You aren't expected to immediately use the thing as a shopping list ( although X-Mas is coming up...).
    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    BTW, I'm still rolling around Eero' suggestions for the Paranoia collection, and trying to figure out if I can take those examples and distill them down to something broadly applicable to turn into methods. I can almost make out their shape in my mind.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________

    Oh, and that civilian thing mentioned upthread?

    Yeah, for roleplaying games specifically, I always suggest making the purchase of a decent pool of civilians (including character civilians in addition to generic civilians) an early and ongoing priority for your collection.

    To me, one of the key differences between an RPG (even when played using minis) and a war game ( even a skirmish wargame), is that PCs are going to be doing important non-combat social interactions. Those non-combat interactions will almost certainly, somewhere along the way, lead into action sequences. Without the civvies, the combat stuff is constantly isolated out as the aberration in play, becoming it's own separate thing.

    Don't skip the civvies.
  • edited November 2017
    I'm going to split off a conversation and start a new thread, specifically about planning to build a minis collection for fantasy gaming, and I hope you folks will come and join it.

    By fantasy, I mean generic, D&D influenced fantasy, dungeon fantasy ( maybe) and so on.

    It will start with a bit of an essay, some warnings about what I'd like to skip talking about, and some things I think I've figured out regarding general minis use in games that are applicable broadly across genres.

    The meat of the conversation though is going to be about monsters and their use and re-use.

    That's where I really want lots of your input. I'm hoping we come up with some practices that are useful to folks just starting out with using minis, but who are positive on the concept, but not sure where to go with it. The idea is to identify pitfalls that pretty much everyone falls into when unguided, and to come up with ways mechanically, setting-wise, playstyle-wise, and so on to get the most use out of monster minis.

    I'll edit this later to link to that thread.

    Here it is. It's a big wonkin essay to start, but you can skim and jump ahead.

    http://story-games.com/forums/discussion/21362/minis-fixes-for-problems-in-planning-developing-a-fantasy-minis-collection?new=1


    Also, on a side note, I did manage to hunt down on E-Bay some Paranoia minis I've been wanting, so that project/concept has reached another step.
  • BTW, a quick note for the budget conscious ( which means, pretty much everyone...), if you're starting off building any sort of collection for a modern or near-future fiction game, non-Superhero Heroclix singles from sites like trollandtoad.com are a good way to build up your Civilian types and even maybe some 'Bots or enemies.

    For around $0.50 USD you can find lots of generic minis for cops, scientists, soldiers, and even really generic stuff like office worker types, if you use basic search terms. Knowing the secret Identities for various Marvel and DC characters often gives you them in their street clothes as well.

    Similar sites often allow for searching from low to high pricing, so if you have a ton of time, this will give you even better ideas to build a solid core collection. For about the MSRP of a mainstream hardcover book, you can have an absolute gob of minis. Repaint or kitbash to personalize.
  • I'm going to post another thread soon about planning a collection WRT the terrain and environment toys, since I've been doing some thinking about that as well.

    In the meantime, I continue apace on the Paranoia inspired toy collection project.

    Yukamichi and Eero, both of you ended up heavily influencing my working approach to it with your suggestions. I'll try to get around to posting a thread describing the process for that project as well.
  • Please do. I'm interested in how people approach Paranoia for its own sake, it's an interesting and ambitious game.
  • I don't really know how ambitious I'm personally going to be with it. My personal approach on this one is going to be to limit the amount of weirdness at any one time/one adventure.

    There are so many ways of creating criss-crossed antagonism among PCs/ Main characters, that you really need to rein it in a bit.
  • So, heh, Eero threw me off a bit by asking about how I was going to approach play of Paranoia with this stuff. I'm going to answer that in a bit.

    Right now, I just wanted to talk about the method I'm planning to use from here out, when planning the "location" part of a toy collection for RPG + minis gaming.

    It just comes down to figuring out, by way of brainstorming, what your 20 Key Locations are in the setting.

    [That's really the subject of the other thread I'll be posting in a bit]

    For Paranoia, I came up with 20-ish locations, off the cuff. Since it was off the cuff, it was stream of consciousness, but also likely the almost-right priority order. After all, if I'm thinking of classic must-have locations, the first ones thought of are probably likely to also be the most important ( analysis afterwards may change that, however). Still, it's a good starting point.

    Having thought about those, went looking for terrain. When I start a project like this, often look for paper related options first, especially downloadable 2d and 3d terrain. It just fits my budget better, looks decent enough, and is light to travel with, and slightly easier to store. I think I've settled on this kit bundle:
    http://www.wargamevault.com/product/109117/Modular-Evil-Lair-Year-One-BUNDLE?manufacturers_id=4244

    Thinking about it further, I've also decided to go with Yukmichi's suggestion, in modified form. Yup, most of Alpha Complex looks pretty similar. I don't really need to build every tunnel 3D, even with that kit. OTOH, I also don't want to build a bunch of separate floor tiles, which is also a bit of a pain in the ass.

    Solution: Geomorphic boards based on three 20" x 30" foam core sheets. I'll use both sides, for a total of 6 separate, general purpose areas, using just the floor tiles from that kit. I can use up to all three at once if I wish, and can put them side by side or end to end as needed, or use them individually.

    What, no 3D stuff?!?

    Well, yeah, I'm still going to make some separate 3D rooms with that kit bundle, but just a few key ones as needed or desired over time. If I need barracks or a lab or something for one day, I'll make it as needed pre-session.

    And of course, I'll make up some of the 3d foldable spot terrain for monitor stations, sentry guns, stacks of crates, and so on.

    In any case, I can just lay those 3d pieces atop the geomorphic boards as needed, fitting them in wherever seems right.

    Paranoia doesn't involve exploration the way a dungeon crawl does ( at least not generally), so I figure this should all be more than adequate for a ton of game play.

    As a slight variation of a more common approach, I'm also tempted to go find Jim Holloway classic Paranoia illustrations, copy and re-size them and place them in blank areas of those geomorphic boards to keep players tuned to the "Paranoia feel".
  • As for the minis collection plan...it went more as intended than before.

    Let's say I had a limited success that suggests proper planning helps.

    I'd be a liar if I said the plan was completely followed in all regards. :D

    So here is where I started:

    I took Eero's concept and used that for the core of my collecting plan:

    Start with the Troubleshooters/PC minis.
    ( kept haunting e-bay until I found a box of them by Mongoose for a price I was willing to pay. I also found some recasts of older Citadel Paranoia minis on E-Bay. A bit pricier, but not too dear.)

    I then found a box of Mongoose Internal Security Goons in a similar fashion.

    These were the higher priced minis.

    [For the next step, had been smart, I would have looked in my bits box first. As it turns out I had a bunch of stuff that I could have used without some of the purchases I made. Now I have rather a lot of stuff.]

    For the bulk of the minis, hit an online Heroclix singles seller (Troll and Toad in the USA) and kept to the minis selling for $0.49 USD each.

    Keeping Eero's suggestions in mind, I made a list of the stuff I'd want in Paranoia, including a couple of recurring villains for the Troubleshooter team to deal with of different sorts. Basically, I made a lists of the Service Groups and Secret Societies in a notebook, and as I perused the available cheapo minis, I made notes of names and so on to build a "catalog" for Paranoia. I also made a separate section just for Infrareds, since those should be the bulk of the Alpha Complex citizenry. I added similar categories for Bots and registered and unregistered (sewer)mutants.

    I made sure to look for at least one or two good minis for each category, more for Infrared, Bots, and Muties. After that, I went back and cut the list down to a manageable level, based on priority and general usefulness. Those minis that didn't make the initial cut ( I gave myself a price tag limit for the initial order of $25 + shipping), were shuffled over to lists, by priority, for orders to be made in the future.

    That $25 order, however, gave me about 10 IRs, 5 registered and 5 unregistered muties, 4 Bots, an armored suit ( gotta love R+D experimental stuff) and 25 other citizens of various Security clearances and Service Group or Secret Society affiliations.

    I figure, that should be plenty. Later on, going through my bitz box, I found enough things I could use to make significantly more bots, and a squad each of Commies, Death Leopards, and yet more Infrareds.



    Anyway, not bad. Between the paper terrain part of the project and the minis ( a number need to be painted or modified), I've now got a solid Paranoia collection.

    I'll write about my plans on how to use it later, in another post.

    Right now, my preference would be to use it in a more GM-less/Shared GM style with Mythic GM Emulator as a basis, or even something like Archipelago. OTOH, can always GM it in a more traditional fashion with whatever system I'd like and a Paranoia attitude.

    The nice thing about a collection of minis like this is that they're, in themselves, a system agnostic tool.
  • Interesting narrative. The practical miniatures-hunting is rather exotic to me [grin].

    If you'd like to take pictures, it'd be interesting to see something of your budding Paranoia collection.
  • When I've got something pretty to show, I'll try to get some pictures and link them up. :smiley:

    Yeah, the practicalities of building a minis collection for an RPG are very much overlooked.

    I doubt there's much point in creating a "product" on the subject, but I'm hoping that this thread and some other ones can be condensed down into some starter info essays later on, for those who are considering such a project, just to help avoid some pitfalls ( including some advice on how to plan-in collection evolution and a broken-up Buying Plan into one's efforts).

    I should probably add in something about a really common situation:

    " I've just inherited/landed a starting collection...now what do I do?"

    I suspect that's the way most people actually get started with using minis.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________
    On a side note, if there was ever a game setting where Lego might actually be the best answer for minis use, it really is Paranoia.
  • Big step have fun.
  • I realise this is a little late, but something else to consider is scale. There are some fabulous 15mm suppliers, particularly in the science fiction and historical field (there are plenty of fantasy too though).

    While, yes, they are little smaller, that doesn't mean they lack character. Another great reason to consider 15mil is the reduced cost of both figures and terrain, and the increased ease of storage.

    While not as easy to store as flat tokens they are definitely something to consider.
  • I've picked up a few 15mm minis, and they're too small scale for me, but there is a ton of great stuff out there for people who are more comfortable with it.
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