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Questions thread - anything and everything

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Thought I'd start this thread as a kind of unplugged version of Off Topic's "embarrassing questions" thread - so, this thread is for any questions about unplugged gaming, regardless of how basic they may be.

So, to start the ball rolling, I have a question that is quite basic. I've played a fair bit of 4E D&D, and I know that 4E D&D (as well as 3.5E) were criticised by some old-school D&D players because they had an increased focus on using miniatures for combat (partially a game design decision, but arguably cynically motivated by WotC's desire to sell D&D miniatures and maps).

Anyway, I suppose what I'm asking is that I understand how D&D combat works with miniatures - but I don't get how it could work without them. How does D&D (and, by association, general RPG combat) work without miniatures to visualise the placement of all of the "actors" in combat, when you have close range abilities, melee weapons, ranged weapons (perhaps even guns or rifles in some settings)?

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I stopped playing AD&D during the second edition and back then, miniatures weren't necessary. The key was in the DM's skill; the focus was placed in the storytelling and trying things like tactical flanking we're rewarded with gusto rather than checking any kind of illustration to see if it was possible to do in the first place.

I played 4th edition for all of two hours at Dorkapalooza and I must admit that I really enjoyed the miniatures. It was a completely different experience though and it felt like a game of two halves: conversational role play and tabletop war gaming. In the former, you were able to focus on flair and in the latter, it was factual analysis. Other people's mileage may vary, of course.

So yeah, with a good DM, you can do anything. I don't know if it's still his job these days but when I was a tyke, he was the chief storyteller who made it fun to play around in his tale.

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Yeah, it's very much "Theatre of the Imagination" when you're not playing with minis. There's a definite reliance on the GM to conjure up the world but you and your fellow players also need to invest in it. There's a lot more freedom without minis in front of you but there's also a need for honesty - if you've said you're standing on the other side of a room, you can't immediately pretend you're next to the big bad guy plunging a dagger into his arse.

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I struggle with D&D combat without miniatures; not because I don't have a particularly good imagination, but because you have to throw more than half the ruleset away without them. No GM, no matter how talented can describe a shifting battlefield so well as to allow a mechanic like Greater Cleave to work, or properly conceptualise exactly who threatens who's zone etc. etc. it's actually also a pretty refined, speedy system when people know what they're doing.

None of that is essential obviously, but it skews balence. For one, the use of Fireball gets a whole lot safer because the explosive radius isn't really very well defined. Simply put, D&D has squares at it's core and ignoring them is ignoring a large part of the fun. WHFB 3rd Edition gets round it by building itself from scratch to have distances operate at nebulous 'Ranges' that you can move into and out of - and then you get World of Darkness where there's simply no point putting people on the table because the whole thing becomes painfully laborious and the combat is terrible anyway.

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Simply put, D&D has squares at it's core and ignoring them is ignoring a large part of the fun.

I think the point is that more recent editions of D&D have squares at their core but earlier editions were less prescribed in this way. Personally I like the more prescribed solution because it creates a tactical combat aspect that I don't imagine the earlier ones had.

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I've been a lurker on here, and to a lesser extent BBG. I'd love to get into playing board games but unfortunately don't know anyone who'd give it a go with me; my kids are too young, my wife is a bad loser, and my other friends aren't interested really. Whats the best way to get into it? I'm near Milton Keynes if that makes any difference!

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Dude, I live in Bletchley and have more games than I know what to do with. PM me and we'll sort out something! There's also a regular games night in Newport Pagnell every Thursday, plus a monthly one in Leighton Buzzard.

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Which side of MK are you? I go to a games club in Aylesbury who meet up every Wednesday night but don't know if that's a little far for you. We also meet up one Saturday a month in Leighton Buzzard for a daytime session. You can find more details on the website if you can get to either venue: http://www.bedsbucksgamers.com/

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Dude, I live in Bletchley and have more games than I know what to do with. PM me and we'll sort out something! There's also a regular games night in Newport Pagnell every Thursday, plus a monthly one in Leighton Buzzard.

Much obliged, PM on its way!

Which side of MK are you? I go to a games club in Aylesbury who meet up every Wednesday night but don't know if that's a little far for you. We also meet up one Saturday a month in Leighton Buzzard for a daytime session. You can find more details on the website if you can get to either venue: http://www.bedsbucksgamers.com/

Just north of MK, probably 30 minutes or so from the middle of Aylesbury - will take a look, thanks!

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What online sites do people recommend for RPGs? I've spent a lot of time recently on BoardGameGeek's sister site RPGGeek, but overall it doesn't seem quite as popular as BGG. Anyone got some good suggested sites?

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DOMINION question. I've only played with the base set on the iOS knock-off thing, but I want a real-life set (previously documented). I was going to grab Intrigue and an expansion, but if my least favourite cards are the Witch and Thief in the base set, is Intrigue the right one to get as that sounds to have more stuff like that? And which expansion?

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Although it's not Dominion, I would recommend Ascension, either on iOS or in real life. It's a bit lighter and quicker, and a little less deterministic, but still pretty fun.

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Having been playing on Isotropic, I went with base set, Seaside and Hinterlands. Didn't really get on with Intrigue and Alchemy - I think they might be better with 4 players, mind.

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Can anyone suggest where to get cheap trading card folders from?

Looking on eBay, you can get business card holders for, like, £1.50. The minute you look for trading card holders, though, the price goes up to enthusiast level - like, £16 for a piddly folder :(

EDIT: answered my own question by looking on Amazon: http://is.gd/dercP3

Pug-ugly but exactly what I'm after, and dirt cheap at £2.99 each.

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Trading card folder pro-tips - The Entertainer. They'll almost invariably have a folder for Match Attax/Moshi Monsters/Whatever for a quid or so and they have slip-in covers, so you can rip them out and leave them clear/put your own cover in.

Just make sure they're large enough, they should be though.

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Ooh, another one: where do people get their laminating done? Are you relying on work ones, going to printers, or what?

They also seem to be pretty cheap to buy. Are the home versions any cop? Any recommendations (and tips, perhaps)?

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Q: What is a good tabletop covering and where can I get it?

Whats a good covering to stop my nice (fairly soft wood) table from being scratched and dented to buggery during play sessions?

Something that stays nice and flat without being ironed every time I get it out would be great.

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http://www.johnlewis...96/Product.aspx

Keep it rolled up. It is probably cheaper somewhere else, obviously.

Ooh, another one: where do people get their laminating done? Are you relying on work ones, going to printers, or what?

They also seem to be pretty cheap to buy. Are the home versions any cop? Any recommendations (and tips, perhaps)?

They're fine, I've got one and used one. As long as you're not having a fit you'll be fine with it. Or if you're being really cheap, you can just lay it out and iron around the edge, but I'd go with the machine really. I can't recommend anything as the one I've had access to is about 10 years old.

EDIT: I have weird knowledge.

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Q: What is a good tabletop covering and where can I get it?

Whats a good covering to stop my nice (fairly soft wood) table from being scratched and dented to buggery during play sessions?

Something that stays nice and flat without being ironed every time I get it out would be great.

Do you particularly want to see the table? Because otherwise you can buy a vinyl table cloth. I've just ordered one from Karina Home off Amazon for about £15. They've got billions of designs. I went for a comic book one, to keep in the gaming theme ^_^

51Yw2%2BN1AZL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

[Laminators] They're fine, I've got one and used one. As long as you're not having a fit you'll be fine with it. Or if you're being really cheap, you can just lay it out and iron around the edge, but I'd go with the machine really. I can't recommend anything as the one I've had access to is about 10 years old.

EDIT: I have weird knowledge.

Ok, I might bite the bullet then. I didn't think of ironing though.... might be a cheap person's solution :ph34r:

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Ok, I might bite the bullet then. I didn't think of ironing though.... might be a cheap person's solution :ph34r:

Obviously use something inbetween the iron and the plastic. And be quick/gentle/accurate.

Does work though.

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Q: I saw someone mention the Civilization board game in the 100 games to play thread, I've been tempted by this for ages and as I am currently playing alot of Civ 5 it's getting worse. Just wondering which is better, the old version from 2004 or so, or the newer one that came out 2010? From what I remember of the old one it looked quite different so if it was much better I'd rather try and get that one.

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Q: I saw someone mention the Civilization board game in the 100 games to play thread, I've been tempted by this for ages and as I am currently playing alot of Civ 5 it's getting worse. Just wondering which is better, the old version from 2004 or so, or the newer one that came out 2010? From what I remember of the old one it looked quite different so if it was much better I'd rather try and get that one.

I've never played the 2004 version but I love the 2010 version. From what I understand, it was a complete re-design from the ground up. A lot of people have said that it's the computer game... but translated very well into a board game, and I agree. There's a lot to take in at first but thankfully the manual's written really well and like everything else, once you get a feel for it, it gets much easier.

There are four win conditions: Military (defeat your enemy's capital), Cultural, Economic and Technological. Each of them are based off of the Technology tree (it's a pyramid in this version) which brings them all together, so that the game doesn't feel fiddly. It's easy to keep track of what you need to do to achieve your preferred victory type which allows you to focus on developing your strategies and executing your tactics.

There are a LOT of bits in that box and you pretty much use every one of them in a game. You'll easily lose four hours when you play your first game but you'll be able to get it down to about two hours once you get familiar.

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Can anyone recommend some good co op games for Mrs Fudge and myself? Nothing too heavy (yet...), she enjoys Forbidden Island and Flash Point, so I don't want to get anything TOO similar to those...

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