October 23, 2008: Black Thursday for skirmishers the world over. "November's release of Demonweb will be the last new D&D Miniatures set that includes skirmish statistics" (Scott Rouse, D&D Miniatures Changes Explained). I read that sentence three, four, five times. My stomach churned, but my mind set to work. 'Hell, no; we're not done.' Emails were exchanged. I wasn't the only one determined to keep this game alive.
November 20, 2008: Hope returns. "The Goal: Grant an official license to community members to continue making skirmish stat cards for future D&D Miniatures releases" (Scott Rouse, D&D Skirmish Update!). The DDM Guild is born.
February 1, 2009: The DDM Guild launched officially at D&D Experience in Fort Wayne, Indiana. A seminar was held. The room was packed. Anticipation and excitement were high. Chris Tulach supported us with brand new minis to show off. Swag – item cards and a new map – were horded with glee.
What is the DDM Guild?
The DDM Guild is an officially-licensed, community-driven organization formed to continue development and support of the D&D Miniatures Game, including maintaining rules, overseeing DCI-sanctioned and unsanctioned events, and creating new cards for future D&D Miniatures sets, starting with Player's Handbook Heroes: Series 1 and Monster Manual: Dangerous Delves in Spring 2009.
On the ground, the DDM Guild is organized into Chapters. A DDM Guild Chapter is a local gaming community, headed by a Chapter Master, and comprised of members who play face-to-face on a regular basis and who have registered for membership with the DDM Guild. Chapter members receive all the regular benefits of DDM Guild membership and, in the future, will be eligible for organized play rewards and participation in special events. At present, we're proud to have established over 50 Chapters in 14 nations around the globe. Visit the DDM Guild's website for more information on forming, locating, and joining a chapter.
What Has the Guild Accomplished Thus Far?
Several new resources are available for download from the Guild's website.
New Stat Cards: The DDM Guild will release new skirmish stat cards to accompany Wizards of the Coast's 2009 D&D Miniatures sets, beginning with Player's Handbook Heroes: Series 1 In April and Monster Manual: Dangerous Delves in May. The Guild has developed a new card format for these releases and has begun creating cards for all published D&D Miniatures sets using the new card format. The new format incorporates all official errata and uses language intended to disambiguate card text such that one needs only to read the card in order to understand how powers work. So, while cards released by Wizards of the Coast remain usable in both sanctioned and un-sanctioned play, players may prefer to use the revised card format. All Guild stat cards are free for download from the Guild website. In addition, the Guild is offering professionally-printed stat cards as premium gifts for Guild donors.
New Battle Maps: The Guild has introduced two new battle maps for use in sanctioned play. Fallen Fortress was generously donated by Wizards of the Coast. The map was originally slated to appear in the 2009 D&D Miniatures Game Starter Set. A second map, Temple of the Unseeing Eye, was originally produced as a fundraiser for hordelings.com and has been adopted officially for sanctioned play. Both Fallen Fortress and Temple of the Unseeing Eye are available as premium gifts for Guild donors.
Item Stat Cards: Since the days of the Miniatures Handbook and the first attempts at campaign-style play, it's been a goal to augment a miniature's statistics block through the use of magic items and other equipment. Treasure Trove 1 is the first set of 16 item cards that are usable in sanctioned play. Rules for the use of item stat cards can be found in the Battle Rules (2009) rulebook. Item stat cards are free for download from the Guild website, and in the future, the Guild plans to offer professionally-printed item stat cards as premium gifts for Guild donors.
The Battle Rules (2009) rulebook is a complete rewrite of the D&D Miniatures Game rule set, incorporating the past year of official changes, clarifications, and errata and a small number of new rules into a single document. An accompanying article, Introducing Battle Rules (2009), details those few differences between the rulebook released in the 2008 D&D Miniatures Game Starter Set rulebook and this latest rulebook. Most players can use the Battle Rules (2009) for casual and competitive play. The intent is that these rules will stand without major change for the next one to two years. (Of course, errors will be corrected as they are discovered.)
Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Tournament Competitive Floor Rules and Penalty Guide: Competitors, Judges, and organizers involved in DCI-sanctioned tournaments are responsible for knowing and following the most current version of the Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures rules. This Floor Rules and Penalty Guide should be read and understood by all players wishing to compete in sanctioned events. All DCI members participating in DCI-sanctioned Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Game events must abide by these rules.
Articles: The Guild's website is home to numerous articles on design, organized play, Chapter activities, and much more. Of special interest to Chapter members and miniatures artists are Megan Smith's monthly DDM Guild Repaint articles. Meg offers artists both new and experienced a step-by-step guide to producing custom D&D Miniatures repaints that can be used to support league and tournament play, game demonstrations, or any other special event.
What are the Guild's plans for the future?
Comprehensive Rules Guide (CRG): The CRG contains the detailed, ultimate authority version of the rules. Players and judges usually won't need to refer to these rules except in specific cases or during highly competitive tournament games. A new version of the CRG will be released in March 2009 incorporating the rules changes found in the Battle Rules (2009) rulebook.
Release Tournaments: The DDM Guild plans to support stores and clubs wishing to hold release tournaments for the three semi-random Monster Manual sets to be released by Wizards of the Coast in 2009. The Guild is exploring options for producing printed cards and prize support for said events. Watch the Guild's website for more information in the near future.
Gen Con 2009: The DDM Guild will host a full slate of D&D Miniatures Game events at this summer's GenCon game convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. Join us at our D&D Miniatures Skirmish Seminar, try out the brand-new Arena format, attend the legendary Community Draft, and compete against top players from around the world in the 2009 Constructed Championship!
Scenario Play: The Guild intends to focus more on casual play and to support those players who enjoy fun and experimental play as much as or more than sanctioned tournament play. These tactics-based, fun-play scenarios will take at least three different forms: ongoing campaign play, mini-campaigns, and one-off scenarios (similar to and including the D&D Miniatures Icons series).
Website Tools: In the coming months, look for the addition of tools that will make it easy for you to find local players and your nearest DDM Guild Chapter. Also, the Guild will be adding both game-finding and game-reporting tools to the website. Finally, the Rules Q&A tool will enable players to submit rules questions pertaining to the original or revised editions of the D&D Miniatures Game. A weekly roundup of rules questions and their official answers will be published beginning later this spring.
The Battle Continues!
Community-driven. Fan-based. Officially-licensed. The DDM Guild is committed to supporting players of the D&D Miniatures Game for years to come. Discuss this article, give us your feedback, and most of all, join in the fun!