Use of Miniature Figures With the Game-

< ** Gary Gygax didn't use minis ** >

- - - - -
The Game - DMG.10 - DMG

The special figures cast for AD&D add color to play and make refereeing far easier.
Each player might be required to furnish painted figures representing his or her player character and all henchmen and/or hirelings included in the game session.
Such distinctively painted figures enable you to immediately recognize each individual involved.
Figures can be placed so as to show their order of march,
i.e., which characters are in the lead,
which are in the middle, and which are bringing up the rear.
Furthermore, players are more readily able to visualize their array and plan actions while seeing the reason for your restrictions on their actions.
Monster figures are likewise most helpful,
as many things become instantly apparent when a party is arrayed and their monster opponent(s) placed.
Furnishing such monsters is probably best undertaken as a joint effort,
the whole group contributing towards the purchase of such figurines on a regular basis.
Be very careful to purchase castings which are in scale!
Out of scale monsters are virtually worthless in many cases.
As a rule of thumb, HO scale is 25 mm = 1 actual inch = 6’ in scale height or length or breadth.

Figure bases are necessarily broad in order to assure that the figures will stand in the proper position and not constantly be falling over.
Because of this, it is usually necessary to use a ground scale twice that of the actual scale for HO,
and squares of about 1 actual inch per side are suggested.
Each ground scale inch can then be used to equal 31/2 linear feet,
so a 10’ wide scale corridor is 3 actual inches in width and shown as 3 separate squares.
This allows depiction of the typical array of three figures abreast,
and also enables easy handling of such figures when they are moved.
While you may not find it convenient to actually use such figures and floor plans to handle routine dungeon movement,
having sheets of squares for encounter AREA depiction will probably be quite helpful.
If you do so,
be certain to remember that ground scale differs from figure scale,
and when dealing with length, two man-sized figures per square is quite possible,
as the space is actually 6 scale feet with respect to length.
This is meaningful when attacking a snake, dragon, etc. if characters are able to attack the creature’s body length.
With respect to basically bipedal, erect opponents,
scale will not be a factor.

Details of preparation and painting of miniature figures for the game are not germane to this work.
Your hobby supplier will have an assortment of small brushes and paints for such purposes,
and you may inquire there as to the best techniques of painting.

Q: Where can I get cardboard figures
for use with fantasy role-playing

A: TSR's two Dragon Tiles fantasy play aids
contain cardboard figures. Their stock
numbers and titles are: 9121 Dragon Tiles
1 and 9145 Dragon Tiles 2. Look for them
at your local dealer. If you can?t find them
locally, you can order them through the
TSR Mail Order Hobby Shop, PO. Box 756,
Lake Geneva WI 53147

D&D Lead (main bibliography for AD&D Miniatures)

1976 Archive
1977 Minifigs
1979 Dungeon Dwellers
1980 Grenadier
1983 TSR
1985 Citadel Miniatures
1987 Ral Partha
1999 WotC D&D
2000 Chainmail
2006 Otherworld

source =


 DD1 Demogorgon
 DD2 Type II Demon
 DD3 Type III Demon
 DD4 Type IV Demon
 DD5 Balrog (Type VI)
 DD6 Type V Demon
 DD7 Orcus, Prince of Demons
 DD8 Succubus

 DWF1 Dwarf with Ox-Tongued Partizan
 DWF2 Dwarf swinging One-Handed Pick
 DWF3 Dwarf firing Light Crossbow
 DWF4 Dwarf with Handaxe
 DWF5 Dwarf swinging Two-Handed Axe
 DWF6 Dwarf with Spear
 DWF7 Dwarf with Flanged Mace
 DWF8 Dwarf swinging Military Pick
 DWF9 Dwarf firing Heavy Crossbow
 DWF10 Dwarf with Two-Handed Axe
 DWF11 Dwarf King holding Rod
 DWF12 Dwarf blowing Warhorn
 DWF13 Dwarf Noble with 2-Headed Mattock
 DWF14 Dwarf Guard with Bec-de-Corbin

 ELF1 High Elf with Long Spear
 ELF2 High Elf thrusting with Long Spear
 ELF3 High Elf firing Bow
 ELF4 High Elf attacking with Sword
 ELF5 High Elf with Two-Handed Sword
 ELF6 Wood Elf advancing with Bow
 ELF7 Wood Elf firing Bow
 ELF8 Wood Elf attacking with Sword
 ELF9 Wood Elf with Short Sword
 ELF10 Wood Elf with Short Spear
 ELF11 High Elf King
 ELF12 Wood Elf King
 ELF13 High Elf Noble
 ELF14 High Elf Guardsman

 GNL1 Gnoll Chieftain with Broadaxe
 GNL2 Gnoll Guard with Two-Handed Sword
 GNL3 Gnoll with Glaive-Fauchard
 GNL4 Gnoll firing Bow
 GNL5 Gnoll with Bill-Guisarme
 GNL6 Gnoll with Morning Star
 GNL7 Gnoll with Guisarme-Voulge
 GNL8 Gnoll with Sword and Broadaxe

 GNM1 Two Gnomes with Swords
 GNM2 Two Gnomes firing Bows
 GNM3 Two Gnomes with Slings and Targets
 GNM4 Two Gnomes with Spears
 GNM5 Two Gnomes with Clubs

 GOB1 Goblin whirling Sling
 GOB2 Goblin with Voulge-Type Spear
 GOB3 Goblin with Short Spear
 GOB4 Goblin swinging Morning Star
 GOB5 Goblin with Military Pick

 HOB1 Two Hobbits with Slings
 HOB2 Two Hobbits with Bows
 HOB3 Two Hobbits with Swords
 HOB4 Two Hobbits with Spears
 HOB5 Two Hobbits with Hand-Axes

 HBG1 Hobgoblin Sergeant with Military Fork
 HBG2 Hobgoblin with Partizan
 HBG3 Hobgoblin with Spetum
 HBG4 Hobgoblin with Glaive Guisarme
 HBG5 Hobgoblin with Spiked-Tipped Guisarme
 HBG6 Hobgoblin hurling Spear
 HBG7 Hobgoblin firing Horn Bow
 HBG8 Hobgoblin with Barbed Whip
 HBG9 Hobgoblin with Scimitar
 HBG10 Hobgoblin with Spiked Mace
 HBG11 Hobgoblin marching with Banner
 HBG12 Hobgoblin Chieftain with Mace
 HBG13 Sub-Chief with Kris-Bladed Sword
 HBG14 Hobgoblin Guardsman with Bardische

 KL1 Two Kobolds with Short Javelins
 KL2 Two Kobolds with Spiked Maces
 KL3 Two Kobolds with Axes
 KL4 Two Kobolds with Swords
 KL5 Two Kobolds with Glaive Headed Spears

 ORC1 Orc with Guisarme
 ORC2 Orc with Fauchard
 ORC3 Orc with Kris-Bladed Spear
 ORC4 Orc with Halberd
 ORC5 Orc with Serrated Crescent
 ORC6 Orc hurling Spear
 ORC7 Orc firing Bow
 ORC8 Orc with Crossbow
 ORC9 Orc with Tulwar
 ORC10 Orc with Piercing Axe
 ORC11 Orc Chieftain with Spiked Flail
 ORC12 Orc Sub-Chief with Piercing Axe
 ORC13 Orc Sub-Chief with Broad-Bladed Axe
 ORC14 Orc Standard Bearer

 OGR1 Ogre Chieftain with Axe
 OGR2 Ogre with Spear & Stone Axe
 OGR3 Ogre with Glaive-Headed Spear
 OGR4 Ogre with Morning Star & Spiked Club

Note: Some of these Ogres may not have been produced.

 OGM1 Ogre Magi with Katana
 OGM2 Ogre Magi with Ceremonial Naginata
 OGM3 Ogre Magi with Sabre-Headed Naginata
 OGM4 Ogre Magi with Cross-Guarded Spear

 TRL1 Troll Attacking
 TRL2 Troll Advancing

The following were never actually produced:
 ECL1 Evil Cleric Elder on Foot
 ECL2 Evil Cleric Elder, Rider
 ECL3 Evil Cleric on Foot, Indian Type
 ECL4 Evil Cleric Rider, Indian Type
 ECL5 Evil Cleric on Foot, Sphinx Dress
 ECL6 Evil Cleric Rider, Sphinx Dress
 ECL7 Evil Cleric on Foot, Skull Helmet
 ECL8 Evil Cleric Rider, Skull Helmet
 FEL1 Female Elf Magic User on Foot
 FEL2 Female Elf Magic User, Rider
 FEL3 Female Elf Princess/Magic User on Foot
 FEL4 Female Elf Princess/Magic User, Rider
 FEL5 Female Elf Thief on Foot
 FEL6 Female Elf Thief, Rider
 FEL7 Female Elf Fighter
 FEL8 Female Elf Fighter, Rider

 2001 Wizards and Illusionists
 2002 Halflings
 2003 Dwarves
 2004 Hirelings
 2005 Fighting Men
 2006 Specialists
 2007 Female Characters
 2008 Thieves
 2009 Wizard’s Room
 2010 Denizens of the Swamp
 2011 Orc’s Lair
 2012 Dwellers Below
 2013 Adventurers of the Golden Quest

Large Introductory Sets
 5001 Dungeon Explorers
 5002 Dungeon Monsters
 5003 Woodland Adventurer
 Tomb of Spells
 Dragon’s Lair

Action Art Sets
 8001 Dungeoneers
 8002 Monsters
 8003 Mythological Creatures
 8004 Fantasy Fiends

Blister Packs
 101 Rakshasas (2)
 102 Bugbears (2)
 103 Orcs (5)
 104 Lizardmen (2)
 105 Djinni & Efreeti w/treasure
 106 Driders (2)
 107 Umber Hulk & Xorn
 108 Goblins (5)
 109 Basilisk & 2 Cockatrices w/treasure
 110 Golems (2)
 111 Kobolds (5)
 112 Wererats (5)
 113 Elementals I (air & water w/ brazier)
 114 Elementals II (fire & earth w/burning pillar)
 115 Adventurers (5)
 116 Giants (3 plus stone totem)
 117 Undead – Never Released
 118 Lycanthropes – Never Released
 119 Centaurs – Never Released
 120 Pegasus & Unicorn – Never Released

Boxed Sets
 5301 Fighters, Rangers and Paladins
 5302 Clerics and Druids
 5303 Magic Users and Illusionists
 5304 Monks, Bards and Thieves
 5305 AD&D Monster Tribes
 5306 D&D Basic Figure Set
 5307 GenCon RPGA Set
 5308 AD&D Heroes
 5309 Champion Figure Set not produced
 5310 Expert Figure Set, never produced

 5402 Conan Set #1
 5403 Conan Set #2
 Nothing Produced with this Serial #
 5405 Dragonlance Set 1

Monster Blister Packs
 5601 Roper and Shambling Mound
 5602 Elementals
 5603 Ogre and Cyclopskin
 5604 Ant Lion and Piscodaemon
 5605 Scrag, Yuan Ti, Banderlog
 5606 Vilstrak and Rock Reptile
 5607 Kampfult, Quickwood and 2 Hoods
 5608 Phoenix and Aarakocra
 5609 Owlbear and Polar Bear
 5610 Neo-Otyugh and Azer and Korred
 5611 Firbolg and Boobrie
 5612 Rust Monster and Rakshasa

Player Character Blister Packs
 5701 Paladins
 5702 Cavaliers
 5703 Elves
 5704 Dwarves
 5705 Clerics
 5706 Druids
 5707 Rangers
 5708 Magic Users
 5709 Illusionists
 5710 ?? Did they even produce a 5710?
 5711 Half-Elves
 5712 Fighters






    <above, is that a giant species of agaric?>


Howdy Jokamachi,

Originally Posted by jokamachi
Hey Gary,

I seem to remember reading that you enjoyed wargaming in the early days before D&D, so I'm curious as to what kind of experience you have with miniatures. How much effort did you and your friends put into miniatures at that time? Did you paint them with great detail or were they simply tokens for you to manipulate?

I played military miniatures for many years--ancients, medieval, ECW, Napoleonics, ACW, Victorian, and WW II to 1956. I personally had 40 mm pre-painted medieval figurines, a small contingent of Turkish 20 mm troops, Brunswick Napoleonic figurines that I painted, and a large number of US WW II men and AFVs, the latter including many conversions I did.

In addition I planned and refereed many games in various periods. Our WW Ii games would sometime last the whole weekend--about 20 hours of playing time.

Finally, i had a sand table that we would spend hours preparing for a game, so that the terrain and buildings, if any, looked great.

The spectacle added considerably to the enjoyment of the actual reason for playing--the exercise of strategic and tactical ability.

Has that attitude changed? What about now? Do you still enjoy incorporating minis into your campaigns? Is it much harder since monsters have grown so fantastic in scope? How much attention/detail do these minis receive from you?

Lastly, I'm curious if you've seen the new minis line from Wizards. It has displayed a fair degree of success and seems to be pulling in thousands upon thousands of new minis fans by the week. Do you think that's good for the game (D&D)?

Sincerely, Jokamachi

I don't usually employ miniatures in my RPG play. We ceased that when we moved from CHAINMAIL Fantasy to D&D.

I have nothing against the use of miniatures, but they are generally impractical for long and free-wheeling campaign play where the scene and opponents can vary wildly in the course of but an hour.

The GW folks use them a lot, but they are fighting set-piece battles as is usual with miniatures gaming.

I don't believe that fantasy miniatures are good or bad for FRPGs in general. If the GM sets up gaming sessions based on their use, the resulting play is great from my standpoint. It is mainly a matter of having the painted figures and a big tabletop to play on 



I forgot to mention that I spent a lot of time painting and converting fantasy figures for the CHAINMAIL Fantasy game.

We also used to play Napoleonic and WW II naval miniatures a fair amount.


Originally Posted by oldschooler
Gary, my girlfriend would like to start using miniatures in our games because she's so used to boardgames, but the scale always messes me up. In older versions of D&D, movement was rated in inches (1" = 10' underground for example) but ground scale is given as 1" equals 3 1/3' (making a 10' corridor 3" wide on the tabletop) therefore 1" isn't 10'. Argh!
The latest version of The Game has a straight movement rate in footage with a ground scale of 1" = 5', but we'd like to stick with older games if we can. The whole thing is very confusing.
Anywho, the main question I have is: Have you ever used miniatures yourself (for any RPG) and if so, what kind of scale/movement do you employ?
There is always a problem with three-dimensional representation using miniature figurines. Even at one-to-one ratio of figures to actual number, there is a ground scale dilema. If the figurines are truly to 25mm scale, then one inch should equal six feet in ground scale. That means a spear can be thrown c. five inches, a jevalin c. 12 inches, and a longbow has an range of c. 36 inches on the table top. Time scale must then be set, and it it is in one minute turns, then movement, once commenced, will be at rates in the neighborbood of 30 inches at a slow pace, 45 inches quick time, and 60 inches on the run, with horsed figures moving commensurately faster at the trot, canter, and gallop.

During a one minute period a trained archer can aim and loose at least six arrows.

Realistically the ground scale must be different than that of the figurines used, and that means time is relative to ground scale as adjusted by subsumed delays in forming plans and ordering movement or reacting to what an individual comprehends in the field.

No FRPG I know of is meant to be a combat simulation, so there's really no need to worry about such matters <paranoid>


Originally Posted by dcollins
Gary, it was interesting to see your comments on this page because I've recently been working on a program of just that sort. Of course you're correct that there's a lot of leeway for how the morale rules get instituted.

Another key aspect is exactly what the assumed "formation inside a figure" is. For example, if a single figure in 1:10 scale represents a line of 10 men, or 5x2 rows (my preference), or a 1-man wide column -- since it determines how many can attack an opposing formation in one turn. What's your expectation for this?
Christmas Salutations!

Having written a fair number of military miniatures rules for tabletop play, the form that a figure takes depends on the figure to troops represented ratio--1:10, 1:20, etc. and the class/stand mounting of the figures. Skirmisher-types are likely in a single rank or at most a double one with a broad fron assumed. The same is true of cavalry, although the front varies by class of horseman, while infantry can vary according to their class and fighting style/training. A pike figure would be four ranks of five men in 1:20 scale surely, with mounting of figures close in blocks of at last four for Swiss or Landsknecht pikemen, larger stands for less well-trained ones.

Yuletide cheer,

Originally Posted by Henrix
Hi, Gary! It's so good to see that you are up and posting again! I hope your recovery is going along speedily!

I wanted to ask you about the old illustrations of the pig-snouted orcs and asian-looking hobgoblins. Is it true they were inspired by the Minifigs miniatures, or was it the other way 'round?

Ho There!

Thanks, my blasted shingles condition is about 90% gone now---after some five plus months 

As I recollect, Dave Sutherland, rest his soul, did the hog-faced orcs and the hobgoblins in samurai-like armor. Minifigs worked from those illustrations.


<added entries?>

Originally Posted by Mark CMG
Are you a fan of pre-painted plastic figures used at the game table for RPGs?

Actually, I am noit much given to employing miniatures when playing an RPG. I agree with Plato's assessment of spectacle being the least element of tragedy...

What I really do enjoy, however, is tabletop combat with miniatures; and pre-painted is the way to go as far as I am concerned, as I no longer have the desire, time, nor eyeseight to manage a proper job of painting myself.


Originally Posted by grodog
Hi Gary---

When you were designing the various monsters in Grenadier's "Action Art" Monsters set (#8002) that featured the drow captain, drider, EHP, bugbear chief, etc. (see for reference), what level of design input did you have? Did you select the monsters, provide descriptions for the sculptors, review the greens and then request revisions, etc.?

Regardless of these, have you designed other miniatures lines (perhaps some for the Minifigs line @

Thanks, as always


I did very little in regards the miniatures, as I make a fine copywriter as an art director. About all I did was suggest what figure types I thought would be appealing to consumers, give vague discriptions of what some of the figures should look like. Then the miniature figuring people would consult with another person or persona at TSR that could help them--artists and model makers.

I did much the same when working with Steve Carpenter of MiniFigs USA...only he and I would toast a bit with some single malt Scotch.


Here you go, Gary

I am not much of a one for fantasy miniatures mysself.