Miniatures May

May 08, 2015

Before Sprites and Dice was a thing, I wouldn't have called myself much of a tabletop gamer. Nowadays, a night in my house usually isn't complete without at least a round or two of Settlers of Catan. Other times though, simpler board games go by the wayside for the sake of games like Super Dungeon Explore and Zombicide. Miniatures games are what happens when regular tabletop isn't enough. They often start at a steeper price point than most tabletop games, but they also to bring enough complexity to the table to feel like a worthwhile investment. Thanks to repeated exposure by other writers, I find myself enjoying the challenge of learning game systems, of sitting down for hours with friends to figure out just what makes the game tick.

To start off Miniatures May, Wyatt and I spent the night learning Heavy Steam, a game we discovered at PAX around this time last year. Learning new board games is often a long, tedious process, but it can be extremely rewarding once you get to the other side. When presented with a game board that has dozens of tiny squares to fill, multiple colors of special die, and a multitude of various game pieces, it's not uncommon to have a lot of questions. Answering them is just part of the adventure though: by the end of the night, both of us were laughing, piles of scrapped artillery pieces taken off the table, and both steam titans mostly destroyed through our own mistakes. Games involving miniatures might often need a lot of mental investment, sure, but I can safely say it's worth the energy.

At this point, I hope two things are obvious: We love tabletop games, and we think we haven't covered them enough. This is what we plan to address with Miniatures May, a month dedicated to the games we've spent countless hours (and dollars) playing. There's a sea of games out there that we think haven't been talked about enough. Along with the usual reviews, we plan to dive in deep and talk about specific aspects of these games: custom levels, potential meta-gaming strategies, and more will be explored in great detail. It is our hope that these articles will serve a purpose long after they're written, and maybe even be a go-to reference in the future. We're hoping this month will start us off writing about tabletop games of all kinds in the future.

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Hopefully, we can stop playing Heavy Steam and blowing each other up to write all these articles.

On top of all this, we want to talk a bit miniatures more often than not come unpainted, giving you armies of figures to customize and call your own (Wyatt described the joy of having a personalized army first in his Why I Love Wargaming piece). Again, it's more investment into the game, but filled with it's own rewards: learning how to paint, learning how to customize, learning how to collect. We hope to jump more into that too.

Sprites and Dice likes to get personal, so think of this month's articles as a window to each writer's personal "Notes" section in the back of their game manuals. Sure, people never really write in those sections, but when they do, it's often a treasure trove of valuable information. We want to give you guys our personal cheat codes to improving the tabletop experience, but we also hope that you'll get a little more out of it. Maybe it'll be a new appreciation for a game's design, or maybe it'll help explain a game mechanic that has wrinkled your brain in the past.

Everyone brings something different to the table when they're playing a miniatures game, and the resulting chaos is worth it almost every time. Stay tuned for our war stories, strategies, and more - hopefully we'll see some of yours in the comments too!

Zoë Wolfe

Co-Founder, Webmaster