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Re: (TFT) Counters v Miniatures

From: "Ty Beard" <tbeard@tyler.net>

So, here are some questions for David and others who use counters:

1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of counters?

2. Do you know of a source for additional TFT counters or art that
I can use to make my own?

3. Has anyone colorized or enhanced the stock TFT counters?

4. If anyone has drawn up additional counters, I'd appreciate a PDF
of them.

I must confess right off that I have a paper and sissors fetish. Not in a weird way, just from a young age studying drafting and architecture I loved drawing out plans, cutting out the shapes, and folding them up. First it was simple things, cubes, pyramids, maybe a swivel crane. When Star Wars came out I immediately made a Millennium Falcon. It had a lot of chalenging shapes. The round area of the main body is slightly dome shaped on top and bottom. This was hard to do with paper, and I was quite please when I figured out how to make it work.

For TFT I started by making some fold up Megahexes to use as walls. That didn't help though as it made it hard to reach the counters between them. So I stuck with flat walls with heavy black outlines.

My Dad and uncles used to make their own minatures. They had some molds, would clamp them together, melt lead, and pour them. On opening they file the seams, maybe adjust an arm or leg, prime and paint them. But there is something about minatures that limits the imagination during play. I noticed that players tend to design characters to fit the equipment the minature has. It is also a bother to try and find a mounted version of the exact same character. And no one was ever able to find a set of miniatures that was the same guy, but each one armed with their different ready weapons.

The only counters I like that came with Melee are the weapons. I had never seen a game where the hex a weapon fell in could affect the outcome of a fight. Besides, something rings true when at the end of a fight there are some weapons and equipment strewn about the field. If someone drops a weapon I don't have, I draw a counter real quick and cut it out.

I think I really got into counters when I made my first set for creation spells. Full color fire and wall hexes, the obligatory megahex pit, a one hex wide stair that spirals through 3 hexes of a megahex, these counters went over well.

As far as monsters go I noticed that miniatures influenced my choice of bad guys. If I had a lot of skeleton minatures there tend to be more skeleton encounters in my games. I would find my self in the game shop looking for new miniatures cause my game needed more variety in the encounters. And I got tired of putting out a goblin and saying things like "that's really an octopus."

It started when I stopped using miniatures all together, but let my players contiune with them. I print out a blank sheet of hexes, and write names or numbers on them as I need, and to fit the encounter that came to mind. The players immediately notice I can stack a lot more counters in a pile for HTH than they can fit minatures. Not that their minatures couldn't get into the HTH, its just that they had to be pushed in around the hex. Stacking a counter on the back of a horse counter is too easy. And when the character dismounts, the counter doesn't have the problem of not having a stand and falling over. My character counters a very plain actually. Just a name with an arrow, or triangle, on one side to show facing. When the players start using counters instead of minatures sometimes they whip up a new counter in the middle of the game and use it instead. It's not really effecient to paint up a new miniature in the same situation. Then came the day when a player got a bad crippling blow and made a counter that said "Jojo's leg". That pretty much settled the matter right there. We can make any peice we need in almost no time. Counters are much better at keeping up with our imagination, and they have become a more flexible vehicle for expression.

  Sorry if this rambled a bit.

  David Michael Grouchy II

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