Thursday, 9 September 2010

Solos and miniatures


There can be no doubt that gazing upon a dungeon map littered with colourful miniatures is impressive and a wonderful part of our hobby's aesthetic. However if you lack a regular group to adventure with then this glorious image will likely be a rarity for you.

As solo adventures stand, they usually contain fantastic artwork, normally by evergreen T&T artists like Jeff Freels and Simon Tranter. The images combined with well-crafted description make for a fine quest that is played out almost entirely in ones imagination. But adding miniatures into the mix builds another level of interaction that comes close to emulating the feel of a multiplayer session.

Firstly, having a painted miniature of your current character is enough to spark the imagination. You can see the kind of clothing she wears and the colours she is adorned in. Even if you can only use a non-painted figurine at least you have something tangeable that represents your character. Secondly, enemies come to life. You can see the expression on the Withlord's face as he hurls a bolt of dark energy at your character.

Rooms and locales are rarely discussed in terms of exact shape, so you have free reign over their designs. You could even draw in the detail as explained in the body of the text: a bookshelf here, a bearskin run there. This all serves to heighten your solo experience.

That is not to say that you won't run into any practical problems when undertaking such an adventure. For instance, you will have to move enemies, but as the solo will not usually dictate where and how the creature moves it's likely that you will only keep them in one position while you move your own delver around. However, a representation of where your character is in relation to an enemy can be beneficial, as it denotes whether you are close enough to get a good shot with an arrow or whether you are likely to send the missile whistling past the monster.

There is certianly no harm in trying out a solo with miniatures. The main problem you will find is that setting up is time consuming and tends to break up the adventure when you are drawing a new map out as you move to the next chamber. It is always easier to just pull the book off your shelf and go at it, but if you are in the mood to add a little spice to your solitaire game with a little effort then you will be in for a visual treat.