Is D&D 4e a roleplaying game?

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Is it, or is it a miniatures game? Please expand on your reply.
One dagger is a plot point. A thousand daggers is inventory. Thank you for disrailing this thread.
I do not envy you the flames you will receive for this.

It is an RPG that has a strong tie to minis. They are not always mutually exclusive.

D&D evolved from Chainmail, which was a minis game. OD&D was designed to be used with minis. 1E through 3E made it much easier to play without minis. 4E returned to its mini-usage roots. As for role-playing...you get out of it what you put into it. You can run 4E with little to no RP and almost 100% mini/tactical wargame/hack-n-slash. You can also run 4E with little to no combat and no mini use. It's up to you and your group.
They are not always mutually exclusive.



This.

Wonder how long this thread will last.
It is a RPG.
Please don't troll with questions this pathetic. If you understand the criteria for something to be an RPG, 4E mets all of them, the same as every other edition.
The mini's part is irrelevent, as them being necessary is a false assumption. Actually that would mean it is not a mini's game since you do not need them.
An RPG played with minis?

How many RPGs are played without figures/maps these days anyway? 
"At a certain point, one simply has to accept that some folks will see what they want to see..." Dragon 387
It is a role-playing board game.

If the computer game Diablo is considered an RPG then 4e (which has an infinite amount more role-playing) is certainly an RPG. 


The better question is: what is an RPG?
This is a big heady question (blog entry worthy) considering something as rigid and rail-heavy as a Final Fantasy game is an RPG.

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Okay then, is D&D 4e more an RPG or more miniatures?

I ask as someone who truly doesn't know and wants to learn.
One dagger is a plot point. A thousand daggers is inventory. Thank you for disrailing this thread.
An RPG played with minis?

How many RPGs are played without figures/maps these days anyway? 



Vampire/WoD, Hero, GURPS, Unisystem, Lot5R, Palladium, Mouse Guard, Cortex, Traveller, etc, etc.

You know, pretty much every game on the market except D&D and Warhammer. And possibly Battletech.

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The compilation of my Worldbuilding blog series is now available: 

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Okay then, is D&D 4e more an RPG or more miniatures?

I ask as someone who truly doesn't know and wants to learn.



See my first response. It answers this question nicely.
I do not envy you the flames you will receive for this.

It is an RPG that has a strong tie to minis. They are not always mutually exclusive.

D&D evolved from Chainmail, which was a minis game. OD&D was designed to be used with minis. 1E through 3E made it much easier to play without minis. 4E returned to its mini-usage roots. As for role-playing...you get out of it what you put into it. You can run 4E with little to no RP and almost 100% mini/tactical wargame/hack-n-slash. You can also run 4E with little to no combat and no mini use. It's up to you and your group.



Does the game encourage roleplaying?
One dagger is a plot point. A thousand daggers is inventory. Thank you for disrailing this thread.

Does the game encourage roleplaying?



The DM and players encourage roleplaying.
The game tells you that you can roleplay, and gives specific rules to handle many aspects of it.
D&D does not "encourage" roleplaying any more than Monopoly encourages property buying.
Check out the Robot Chicken Podcasts on the main site. Its a spot-on depiction of probably 75% of the DnD sessions out there. =)
"At a certain point, one simply has to accept that some folks will see what they want to see..." Dragon 387
The miniatures accent the overall experience for D&D, but anything can be used instead, tokens, pieces of papers, X's and O's on a dry erase board, or some very detailed descriptions. The last edition relied more on discripts but evolved as Mini's were created during it's run, and it was a good way to picture the action.

The question itself is to simple, and begs for misinterpretation. What most people want to ask, why the more dependance on Mini's in the rules for this new edition. The simple answer is that the Mini game ended and Wizards wants to still sell the mini's without the game. They simply attatched it to the game they came from. The more complicated answer is above, they are returning to the roots of the D&D brand.
Terms you should know...
Show
Kit Build - A class build that is self sustaining and has mechanical differences than the normal scale. Started in Essentials. Most are call their own terms, though the Base Class should be said in front of their own terms (Like Assassin/Executioner) Power Points - A mechanic that was wedged into the PHB3 classes (with the exception of the Monk) from the previous editions. This time, they are used to augment At Wills to be Encounters, thus eliminating the need to choose powers past 4th level. Mage Builds - Kit builds that are schools of magic for the Wizard. A call back to the previous editions powering up of the wizard. (Wizard/Necromancer, for example) Unlike the previous kit builds, Wizards simply lose their Scribe Rituals feature and most likely still can choose powers from any build, unlike the Kit Builds. Parcel System - A treasure distribution method that keeps adventurers poor while forcing/advising the DM to get wish lists from players. The version 2.0 rolls for treasure instead of making a list, and is incomplete because of the lack of clarity about magic item rarity.
ha ha
56902498 wrote:
They will Essentialize the Essentials classes, otherwise known as Essentials2. The new sub-sub-classes will be: * Magician. A subsubclass of Mage, the magician has two implements, wand and hat, one familiar (rabbit) and series of basic tricks. * Crook. A subsubclass of Thief, the Crook can only use a shiv, which allows him to use his only power... Shank. * Angry Vicar, a subsubclass of warpriest, the angry vicar has two attacks -- Shame and Lecture. * Hitter. A subsubclass of Slayer, the Hitter hits things. * Gatherer. A subsubclass of Hunter, it doesn't actually do anything, but pick up the stuff other players might leave behind. Future Essentials2 classes include the Security Guard (Sentinel2), the Hexknife (Hexblade2), the Webelos (Scout2), the Gallant (Cavalier2) and the Goofus (Knight2). These will all be detailed in the box set called Heroes of the Futile Marketing. (Though what they should really release tomorrow is the Essentialized version of the Witchalok!)
Okay then, is D&D 4e more an RPG or more miniatures?

I ask as someone who truly doesn't know and wants to learn.



Again, this is a difficult, complicated question. 
The only answer I can give is:   maybe. 

Look, if you wanted to, you could sit down with five friends and role-play out a in-depth session of The Game of Life, filling-in what's happening from the rolls and cards with your imagination and making a tapestry of the life story and ups-and-downs of a group of friends. 
You can role-play through Monopoly and turn chess into the epic story of feuding kingdoms.  

Minis don't help role-playing. When the dice come-out in D&D the game switches full-form into a tactical resource management game. It's hard to remember to describe the badguys when the minis are right there, and even harder to remember to describe the action in the battle beyond a series of attacks and rolls.
But the emphasis of DM and players can make all the difference. If the DM focuses on story and description and role-playing and minimizes combat then the game works almost as well as other games. You have to make an active effort to emphasise and maintain the role-playing. 
Just human nature really. Imagination works well until we have something physical and visible to look at, which can distract us and influence our mind's eye. 

There ARE problems with this, but not because of the minis. 4e D&D is build around the PCs adventuring and having multiple lengthy combat sessions each day. In a combat-lite game the PCs often have too many powers and resources; unless the DM decides to make the combat especially the PCs will likely defeat a single encounter without challenge. And if the DM makes the combat extra-deadly there's a higher chance of accidental fatality or extremely long combats. 

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The second post is the best reply.

The only rpgs that I know that uses minis or position markers are D&D, WFRP and Savage Worlds.

I do think 4e encourages more grid combat than roleplay imo. The only saving grace for roleplaying is skill challenges which takes abit of creativity to run, but combat is much easier to handle for a DM.

I will repeat again that 4e can have roleplaying, but you can ignore it and play it as a minis game. 

This question seems so similar to others posted in the past that were very clearly flame-bait that, while it may not be your intention, it seems like flame-bait itself. It seems designed to get people arguing (yet again) about the merits/flaws of 4E.


Maybe you don't intend for it to do that, I have no way of divining your true intentions. This point has been argued though; just search the threads for it, it's there in all its many paged glory/shame. But really, for something so nebulously defined, just play it and decide for yourself. Our opinions on the matter mean nothing. And does the answer even matter? If it's a fun game for you, play it. If not, don't.

Resident jark. Resident Minister of Education and Misinformation.
I see, it depends. According to the responses my question has gotten, it's up to the players and the DM as to the roleplaying that goes on. So let me ask a more detailed question.

What role does character background play in your game? Do the PCs have contacts, connections; family, enemies, and friends? Did this come from the game, or is it something you added?
One dagger is a plot point. A thousand daggers is inventory. Thank you for disrailing this thread.
I see, it depends. According to the responses my question has gotten, it's up to the players and the DM as to the roleplaying that goes on. So let me ask a more detailed question.

What role does character background play in your game? Do the PCs have contacts, connections; family, enemies, and friends? Did this come from the game, or is it something you added?



Added, but PHB2 does have backgrounds to get trained skills. I must admit it does feel like "freeform roleplaying+combat rules". But almost all D&D editions were the same. I have accept 4e for what it is. You want a good tactical combat system, 4e is king.

I have to admit you worded your questions really good.
What role does character background play in your game?

In D&D as in other RPGs, that almost always depends on the player. Personally I tend to have deep character backgrounds that affect my builds and actions. I know other people who have almost no background whatsoever regardless of the game.

Note, often I have backgrounds that are unsupported by rules. For example my Shadowrun character is Jewish. My pacifist cleric is NOT a pacifist. (Note, some people have pacifist clerics that are serious pacifists.) My ranger is a theif (not that he tells anyone).

Do the PCs have contacts, connections; family, enemies, and friends? Did this come from the game, or is it something you added?


Contacts, connections; family, enemies, and friends - Shadowrun, Hero systems, and GURPS all have more support for these things than D&D does in my opinion (for ANY edition). However, I've never seen them fleshed out over time like I've seen them fleshed out in a D&D campaign.

The rules makes the creation of them easier but those same rules get in the way of their growth. For example, in Champions (Hero systems) if you keep making a villian angry he doesn't actually change UNLESS the DM decides to change the player's character sheet. The rules encourage the contacts to remain static. In D&D, that group of ninjas you annoyed, that bard you keep running into, thatnecromancer whose plans you keep foiling... they become focal points. Nothing stops the DM from turning these guys into major campaign bad guys that will be remembered long after the campaign ends.


I see, it depends. According to the responses my question has gotten, it's up to the players and the DM as to the roleplaying that goes on.



I'll risk leaving myself open to be flamed.
Does D&D encourage role-playing? 
I'd say "no". 

Having read many, many other RPGs I've seem others that really, really emphasise and encourage role-playing. They don't just accept the label of "RPG" or permit role-playing but actively encourage it. 
D&D 4e does have more information in the Core books for role-playing than earlier editions (3e mostly) but this is still a pittance compared to other story and role emphasising RPGs. I'd say D&D lags behind most other RPGs in the market in this aspect. 

Partially, I think the writers emphasise the mechanics because you can learn how to role-play yourself but you can't make your own mechanics. You don't need lengthy chapters on role-playing to tell a shared story but you absolutely need mechanics to have a lengthy, epic combat encounter. 
But also because staff is shared between D&D and other mini combat games and board games. You work with what you know. 

So let me ask a more detailed question.

What role does character background play in your game? Do the PCs have contacts, connections; family, enemies, and friends? Did this come from the game, or is it something you added?



Good question. And again, total honesty, very little.
But I have the excuse of playing with 75% total new players straight off of Warcraft (members of my raid guild actually).
As the DM I could have added friends and contacts but for the story I chose this didn't end-up happening. Which I actually regret.

They do have a spectacular rivalry with another adventuring group that they absolutely hate.  

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Added, but PHB2 does have backgrounds to get trained skills. I must admit it does feel like "freeform roleplaying+combat rules". I have accept 4e for what it is. You want a good tactical combat system, 4e is king.

I have to admit you worded your questions really good.  



I see. So matters which can be left to "winging it" are left to "winging it", but matters which require formal guidelines are given such. Guess it all comes down to what sort of game one wishes to play.

Thank you, BTW. I find it better to be as clear as one can whereto one's intentions. Now off I go to start a thread about my RPG philosophy.
One dagger is a plot point. A thousand daggers is inventory. Thank you for disrailing this thread.
D&D 4e is very good about not getting in the way of roleplaying. The rules focus on the combat end of things, and the skill system is very basic and rules-lite.  The game has very little to say on what you CAN'T do, and lays out a DMing philosophy of "say yes," so it encourages free-form improvisational roleplaying with minimal structure.

The only thing it has in the way of roleplaying encouragement is the fluff provided with the races and classes, which tends to be generic and fairly light.

Basically, D&D 4e is great for roleplaying with a group that likes free-style diceless rp, but isn't as good for a group that wants more structure. A good way to tell which camp you fall into is whether or not you think the removal of the profession skill is good for rp or bad for rp. Good = try 4e, you're probably gonna like it; bad = still try 4e, but don't get over-excited about it.
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Added, but PHB2 does have backgrounds to get trained skills. I must admit it does feel like "freeform roleplaying+combat rules". I have accept 4e for what it is. You want a good tactical combat system, 4e is king.

I have to admit you worded your questions really good.  



I see. So matters which can be left to "winging it" are left to "winging it", but matters which require formal guidelines are given such. Guess it all comes down to what sort of game one wishes to play.

Thank you, BTW. I find it better to be as clear as one can whereto one's intentions. Now off I go to start a thread about my RPG philosophy.



Yup, wing it and you are only limited to your imagination. I am also glad no one has yet flamed you. I was worried about that. There are quite a number of them who are overly sensitive when questioning their favourite rpg. 
I am also glad no one has yet flamed you. I was worried about that. There are quite a number of them who are overly sensitive when questioning their favourite rpg. 



Yes. Kudos to the posters so far; you give the game and community a good name!

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It is a role-playing board game.

If the computer game Diablo is considered an RPG then 4e (which has an infinite amount more role-playing) is certainly an RPG. 


The better question is: what is an RPG?
This is a big heady question (blog entry worthy) considering something as rigid and rail-heavy as a Final Fantasy game is an RPG.

I love this question and I think it's a great one. The whole concept of the Role Playing Game has evolved so organically across a lot of different expressions, some shaped heavily by preference or culture and others by limitation (technological, self-imposed, genre-imposed). I would say it only needs to meet two criteria:
  1. A game where you have the option of customizing some aspect of the player avatar through progression-based mechanics.

  2. A game wishing to be identified as a RPG.

Monopoly and Doom aren't RPGs because they don't allow customization through progression, nor do they wish to be called RPGs. God of War isn't because even though it does allow for customization through progression (they even call the red orbs "experience," and even though you can cap out on everything that's irrelevant given the number of RPGs that allow you to do the same) it doesn't want to be called an RPG.

Of course in the electronic gaming world there's a lot of crossover between genres as a result of games being inherently more insular, delivering a complete product as opposed to a tool box. In the tabletop world there's much clearer distinctions: board game, card game, war game, role playing game. Of course war games and role playing games bleed over into each other a lot, but otherwise it's fairly segregated, partly because the fan base, even though they play many if not all the different genres, seem to get rabid whenever they start touching more than holding hands under the table in the cafeteria when no one's looking (see: any thread about D&D being a minis game, any thread about D&D being a CCG, any thread about D&D being a glorified board game...)

Of course this whole assessment of mine ends up full of holes when you realize that many games that call themselves RPGs don't actually meet criteria 1, providing only the illusion of customization, but allowing things like toggling equipment and weapons and upgrades to same. The fact that the illusion works indicates that we probably associate RPGs most of all with any form of character management, be it skills, inventory, upgrades, or whatever: as long as it has fiddly bits we can toggle as a player and it calls itself an RPG we'll accept it.

Unless we're haters. 



An RPG played with minis?

How many RPGs are played without figures/maps these days anyway? 



Vampire/WoD, Hero, Unisystem, Lot5R, Palladium, Mouse Guard, Cortex, Traveller, etc, etc.

You know, pretty much every game on the market except D&D and Warhammer. And possibly Battletech.

I would recommend some kind of visualization for Alternity and any given edition of Star Wars. Werewolf too given its greater degree of combat than the other WoD games, but usually only bother if the engagement area is in any way specially complicated or cramped. RIFTs and Hero mostly escape the need for visualization by virtue of massive engagement ranges that generally make targeting = yes and minor barriers (walls) = no. We used visualizations for Ninja Turtles though, same reason as Werewolf.

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
held his heart in his hands, and ate of it.
I said, "is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter – bitter," he answered;
"but I like it,
"beacuase it is bitter,
"and because it is my heart."

Basically all printed rpgs are just cops and robbers with rules to adjudicate whether the cop did shoot the robber or the robber can escape (ie to settle dispute). Whatever the cop and robber wants to do besides that it's up to them.

Also, when Gygax and Arneson first invented D&D, a character was just made up of combat stats for wargaming. They then came up with background, motivations etc for that particular unit and gave life to it. Thats roleplaying imo. Of course, there are current rpgs that do codify the roleplaying attributes liek FATE, PDQ etc.. 

There's kind of a problem with putting rules relating to role playing.  Rules that encourage role playing can get in the way of roleplaying.

For example, my current character spent a few years as a landed noble while I was on hiatus from the game, and when I returned and my character was unpetrified 1000 years later, he found out he is a saint in the church of the war god, and he now has a clan of descendants.  Using GURPS or World of Darkness, I'd have to spend a ton of points for this to happen.  In D&D, my character doesn't go through any mechanical changes (well, my character is going to have a big penalty to his pretty much nonexistant history skill for a while, but that was the DM's ruling for the whole party, and this balances out with us not needing to roll for some ancient history: for us a lot of it was current events).

Of course, since D&D doesn't have that many rules for roleplaying, what could happen (but won't) is "uh, whatever" *keep swinging axe at monsters*


Is it, or is it a miniatures game? Please expand on your reply.





Of course it is a roleplaying game.  But unlike some games, it doesn't presume to tell you how to roleplay or use your imagination.  The majority of the rules concern character creation, combat and LEWT.

Minatures are simply a means to an end, that being depiction of combat so that one can position one's character in tactically advantageous positions, and allow one to better visualize the field of battle.
I curious what the OPs point was.

He starts a thread asking the sorts of questions one would expect from someone completely unfamiliar with the system, but then asks further pointed questions which indicates a familiarity with RPGs, and questions which could be answered pretty much by looking at the sites homepage.

Then he creates a thread on the Community Business board saying this is his second account on here, which means he's not a total newbie to the game which makes me wonder why this thread exists since he's obviously been around before.

Not saying he's trying to start anything, I just don't see his point.
If you're reading this there's a good chance you should be wearing a helmet, consequently I really can't bring myself to care about your opinion.
Well, no matter what his intentions are, its a good thing we didn't get all worked up right?
It is what D&D has traditionally been: a tactical skirmish game combined with a freeform roleplaying game. It does have a far more evolved skill system than the game did up through AD&D 2nd Edition (although it's not as detailed as 3e's was). It also does not try to model the whole world, but focuses entirely on the rules needed to settle the actions of adventurers going adventuring. There's no place in 4e for "The Complete Tavern Wench" or "The Slayer's Guide to Bunny Rabbits."

When the adventurers aren't directly involved, events are free to follow whatever narrative the DM decides is appropriate. For instance, an NPC can die in a freak accident from falling off a horse, or be killed by a single arrow to the eye or anything else that advances the story for the important characters. Those are the PCs, by the way.

I’ve removed content from this thread because baiting is a violation of the Code of Conduct.  You can review the Code of Conduct here: wizards.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wizards.cfg...


 


 


Please keep your posts polite, respectful, and on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks.

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Of course it is a roleplaying game.  But unlike some games, it doesn't presume to tell you how to roleplay or use your imagination.  The majority of the rules concern character creation, combat and LEWT.



This is very true.
Unfortunately, this statement also mean they books emphasise "character creation, combat and LEWT" to the exclusion of other elements. If they don't mention role-playing, give you advice, or push that aspect of the game is it fulfilling its potential? 

It's not a role-playing game with good combat that uses minis, it's miniature combat game with role-playing. Yes, this is a bit of a pirate-ghost vs. ghost-pirate argument. 

A good example of the emphasis is the Robot Chicken podcasts. The DM commentary proudly mentions how it was the fourth podcast before combat started and how they engaged in a some excellent role-playing and character interactions. But, when combat did start, the first fight lasted twice as long as all the social interaction to that point. 

Well, no matter what his intentions are, its a good thing we didn't get all worked up right?



Hear, hear. Well done all around. Medals and promotions for all!

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The compilation of my Worldbuilding blog series is now available: 

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Is it, or is it a miniatures game? Please expand on your reply.



There is no such thing as a minatures game. There are only games which use minatures, which includes the vast majority of board games, wargames, and many RPGs, including every single edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Given that Dungeons & Dragons invented roleplaying games, being the first, and given that it has not fundamentally changed since its inception in terms of goal or general overview, the answer is "It is a roleplaying game."

Do you sit around the table pretending to be an elf?

If the answer is "yes", and it IS, then yes, it is a roleplaying game.

Its a pretty simple test.

You don't HAVE to roleplay to play D&D. The same is true of Vampire, GURPS, and every other non-freeform RP system ever, so clearly it is rather irrelevant to the discussion. Heck, its true of original D&D, which created the genre.

To deny that 4th edition D&D is a RPG is to deny that RPGs exist at all.

It sure as heck is on our chat. After all, players come on, go In-Character and interact quite happily for hours on end between adventures. Almost as if it was, you know, a role-playing game. Tongue out
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Well yah 4e is an RPG. It says it on the label doesn't it?

The 4e phb I think does one of the best jobs at explaining what an RPG is out of most of the books I have read.

This is also a definition of a RPG.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Role_playing_game
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An RPG played with minis?

How many RPGs are played without figures/maps these days anyway? 



Vampire/WoD, Hero, GURPS, Unisystem, Lot5R, Palladium, Mouse Guard, Cortex, Traveller, etc, etc.

You know, pretty much every game on the market except D&D and Warhammer. And possibly Battletech.



I have a GURPS book. The combat rules involve hex grids.
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An RPG played with minis?

How many RPGs are played without figures/maps these days anyway? 



Vampire/WoD, Hero, GURPS, Unisystem, Lot5R, Palladium, Mouse Guard, Cortex, Traveller, etc, etc.

You know, pretty much every game on the market except D&D and Warhammer. And possibly Battletech.



I have a GURPS book. The combat rules involve hex grids.



Same with Hero.  So, yeah, nice try.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
An RPG played with minis?

How many RPGs are played without figures/maps these days anyway? 



Vampire/WoD, Hero, GURPS, Unisystem, Lot5R, Palladium, Mouse Guard, Cortex, Traveller, etc, etc.

You know, pretty much every game on the market except D&D and Warhammer. And possibly Battletech.


Battletech itself is a tactical board game. So is Warhammer. Neither one is actually an RPG, but they have companion RPGs.

I can't speak as to the Warhammer RPG (I haven't played it and have never owned a copy of the rules), but while the associated MechWarrior RPG can be played using minis if you like, it's actually not strictly necessary until/unless you break out the BattleMechs.

In that sense, I suppose the 2nd edition MW RPG, in which almost everybody was assumed to be some kind of mechwarrior/pilot/jockey/etc, is very close to D&D 4e as far as where it falls on the spectrum between a tactical game and role-playing game; it's much more of an adjunct to the tactical board game designed to flesh out scenarios and games for a little less competitive and a little more cooperative BattleTech scenarios with players vs GM (with the GM usually losing).

MW 3rd edition moved away from combat and away from being a role-playing add-on for the BattleTech tactical board game.

Frankly, I don't walk into a 4th edition D&D game expecting to see much more than a straight tactical game with recurrent characters, a little stock narration, and occasional glints of roleplaying. I walk in expecting an immersive cooperative tactical gaming experience. Is that a bad thing? Is that a good thing? It depends on what you're looking for.
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Same with Hero.  So, yeah, nice try.


AD&D 2nd edition combat rules use grids to illustrate things.

However, I find it's quite easy to run a 2nd edition game without using minis, tokens, or tactical maps at all.
The notorious tjhairball of legend and lore.

Is it, or is it a miniatures game? Please expand on your reply.


Yes and Yes.  DnD 4e is a RPG, says so on the book.  It is an Rpg that uses miniatures effectivly.  Enjoy. 
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