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Joining the Party
Tracy Hurley

F or some gamers, miniatures are a favorite component of their hobby—whether they play war games, tabletop RPGs, or simply like to collect minis for their own sake. And for those who enjoy minis, there are options at every price level: from official pre-painted, to pewter hand-painted, to minis collected from toys.

Let’s explore some of them.

Dungeon Command

The newest kid on the minis block is D&D Dungeon Command. Each faction comes with twelve pre-painted plastic miniatures, cards, tiles, and rules for the game—which pits different factions against each other. The minis can also be used in the D&D RPG as well as in the D&D Adventure System board games (handy if you want to throw a different monster or twelve at your party). July sees the first two faction packs being released, Heart of Cormyr and Sting of Lolth.

The rules can be downloaded from the website (direct link added below) and Daily Motion even has a video preview. In addition, the D&D Game Days featuring Dungeon Command is happening July 21-22.

(14 Mbs PDF)

(Editor's Note: As a final look at Dungeon Command, here's a sneak preview of another mini coming out in September's Tyranny of Goblins faction.)

Prior to Dungeon Command, the D&D Miniatures Skirmish game ran from 2003 to 2011, which still boasts an active fan community including the DDM Guild. One fan of the game and its minis, Jared "the D&D Outsider" von Hindman, painted his versions of many of these miniatures including a red scorpion and—one of my favorites—an Aboleth Slime Mage taking a bath with a rubber ducky. More of them can be found on the Wizards of the Coast website.

Painting Miniatures

For some, one of the best activities with minis is customizing and painting your own. Many conventions have a minis painting area along with learn-to-paint seminars or tables, and local groups often meet at game and hobby shops.

In 2001, Mike McVey wrote a series on painting miniatures for the Wizards of the Coast website:

A number of forums are also dedicated to tips and works in progress:

Other Sources of Minis

A frequent source of minis are other games, such as Warhammer and Reaper Mini’s Mouslings.

Some gamers find their minis in toy stores. For instance, LEGO minifigs are a common mini for some, especially those from the Lord of the Rings and Heroica sets. Those minifigs come with a variety of weapons, helmets, and potions. This is My Game has a post about customizing them. Some companies are even making packs of knights, pirates, skeletons, and the like similar to the little green army men. The Dungeoneering Dad found some at his local Dollar General and I’ve seen similar ones at a number of toy stores. (Hint: Gluing them to a wider base will make them more stable. I’ve found some of them fall over pretty easily.)

Know of any mini tips or sources that I missed? Feel free to add them in the comments.

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About the Author

Tracy Hurley is a D&D blogger, podcaster, and freelance game designer. On any given night, there is a 50% chance you will find her on Twitter as @SarahDarkmagic, a 10% chance you'll find her on the Tome Show, 4Geeks4e, or the DM Round Table, a 25% chance she's home plotting world domination with her husband, and a 15% chance she's planning a sneak attack. She is rarely surprised, never flat-footed, and uses Encounter powers as At-Wills.

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