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Old 04-09-2015, 03:09 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2014
Default Are Minatures or maps required for gurps?

Hello there. I have wanted to play gurps for ages and i am considering buying the basic sets. I have played rpgs for many years and I have regularly been a dungeon master or game master, or dm, or gm, or whatever you call it, for almost the past year and a half. however as I would most likely be dungeon mastering gurps if I bought it I decided to check if miniatures were required. I like miniatures- I just don't like dming them. in my opinion, they slow down the game and they are often way too expensive. I feel the same way about the combat graph-paper like maps used with the miniatures. so I Googled it and researched it on these forums and I just couldn't discover if minis or maps were necessary. I did see a few forum posts about them but none of those answered my question. so are miniatures required to play gurps? what about maps? are the optional? (I don't mean use a chess piece or Lego minifigure or whatever for a miniature instead of a rpg mini kind of optional; I mean are miniatures one of those rules in gurps that are included but not required?) please respond. thank you. have a excellent day.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:30 PM   #2
mehrkat's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Austin Texas
Default Re: Are Minatures or maps required for gurps?

No not at all.

I find that my players like me to pull out the miniatures so they can see where their characters are on the battle field but that is absolutely a personal choice and pretty often I don't pull them out at all.

There are also a strategy miniatures rules in the campaigns book that helps if you like that sort of thing where you have literal movement points along the map but the game works just fine without them both with the map and without it.

Probably one of the reasons there isn't a definitive answer is that GURPS is modular and all rules are optional including the miniatures.

As long as the player can tell which character is them and which character is the baddie almost anything the right size will do as a miniature. Currently I've used green army men, poker chips, dice containers, dice, tiny swords, pieces of paper, pencils, pens, coins.

To use the miniatures rules you need to know front and back and where you are. But just to use miniatures as markers you don't really need anything but a marker you recognize.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:31 PM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Dallas, TX
Default Re: Are Minatures or maps required for gurps?

GURPS is certainly not dependent on miniatures. Obviously there are times when it's helpful to have a visual representation, but it is by no means required.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:37 PM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Default Re: Are Minatures or maps required for gurps?

Maps and miniatures are optional in the combat rules, but commonly used by a lot of groups.

Whether maps improve play speed or not depends on the group and the context. In my face to face group, running small combats using ranged weapons, I'd be happy to skip the maps and minis and just describe what's going on. In my online group that uses text chat only, maps are essential for keeping the game on track: everyone can instantly see where they are and where the foes are, and the GM doesn't have to spend all his time retyping the answers to questions such as "where did you say the big knight went again? Is he next to the wizard or the archer?"

If you're comfortable with not using miniatures and maps, the game supports not using them.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:37 PM   #5
evileeyore's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: 100 hurricane swamp
Default Re: Are Minatures or maps required for gurps?

Personally I've run entire campaigns without minis (those were also mostly higher tech campaigns where melee ranges were almost never involved). In others I've mixed and matched using minis, quick sketches, and just descriptives as needed.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:40 PM   #6
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Binghamton, NY, USA. Near the river Styx in the 5th Circle.
Default Re: Are Minatures or maps required for gurps?

The combat sections are broken down into (Basic) Combat and Tactical Combat. The Tactical Combat chapter is optional and covers all the rules for using miniatures and maps. So the simplest answer to you question is no, miniatures and maps are absolutely not required.

However, I find them to be very useful. In fact, I've gone the extra step of setting up a projector just so I can project maps onto my tabletop for the games. Miniatures need not be overly expensive either; You can get Cardboard Heroes PDFs which you can print out and use multiple times over for not too expensive. There used to be two printed versions of Cardboard Heroes, one Modern and the other Fantasy, but they're a little hard to find. I recently sold an extra set of each that I had on eBay, and only got about $20 each for them. Each set has a little over 400 cardstock cutouts, which are more than adequate for gaming.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:46 PM   #7
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Yucca Valley, CA
Default Re: Are Minatures or maps required for gurps?

I find that a few sessions played with minis helps people learn to visualize the combat system, and thereafter I can dispense with them. I don't spend a fortune, though, but if I see a boardgame that has minis in the dicount bargain bin, I'll pick it just for those. So what if the enemy is a robot? I'll use a zombie fig 'cuz that's what I have.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:48 PM   #8
A Ladder
Join Date: Dec 2012
Default Re: Are Minatures or maps required for gurps?

Don't need them. I have really gotten a lot of use out of the range bands in Action 2 for mapless abstract combat.

What I use instead of miniatures are plastic army men. You can typically find a bag of them for a dollar at cheap stores. They work really well for when you want tactical combat, but don't want to spend money.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:49 PM   #9
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: L.I., NY
Default Re: Are Minatures or maps required for gurps?

You can easily run GURPS without using any kind of miniatures. GURPS is modular, and almost all the rules are optional to one degree or another.

To be a bit more specific, GURPS has many options for combat rules that you can use. They aren't this-or-that alternatives for the most part. They are more like numerous optional rules you can plug in to add detail and complexity. Many of the rules presented in the Tactical Combat section are much easier to use if you have a hex grid and some kind of visual representation of the positions of the characters. But you don't have to use those rules, and combat will still be interesting and give players meaningful tactical decisions to make without them.
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Old 04-09-2015, 04:44 PM   #10
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: GMT-5
Default Re: Are Minatures or maps required for gurps?

Maps and minis are certainly not required.

I've played somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 GURPS sessions. We've used scaled tactical maps less than 10 times. The only minis we used for those few times were either dice or (on 2 high-production-value occasions) lego figures.

Most of the time, if people need a visual representation to help with tactical decisions, we make a quick sketch with pencil on paper, dry-erase on whiteboard, or use the drawing app on an electronic tablet.

EDIT: I told my wife about this thread and she said, "Who plays GURPS with miniatures? We tried that once and everyone hated it."
Different strokes for different folks.

Last edited by Edges; 04-09-2015 at 04:49 PM.
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