How to play 4E without a battlemat?

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Ok the Warlord and Rogue have some really cool powers. I give you that. Simply cannot deny it. That stuff sounds cool.

But if the Warlord is a Core class, how do you play it without a battlemat? I know the powers listed are a fraction of the ones we will see when it is released, but the ones shown ALL involve moving squares.

I think I might be misunderstanding the preview of the Warlord. The Warlord is obviously meant to be used for D&D Miniatures, not D&D. Or am I wrong? I can't tell.

If the Warlord is meant for D&D, does that mean that 4E is no longer a RPG but has returned D&D to its roots as a tabletop wargame?
How did one play DnD before the use of battlemats? Did people just say "I'm 15 feet away from my target and shoot an arrow" or several people charge a target and just assumed they're close by but not in each other's space? I'm not trying to be sarcastic or anything (in case anyone construes my queries as such), but I only ever played 3.X and Star Wars and really don't know how you'd keep track of positions without some kind of grid/map system. My group always used grid paper until I finally bought a battlemap. Not having to erase characters' positions and remarking it was a godsend.
Well, 1 square should be 5 feet. So multiply all "squares" by 5 and you have feet. Or use 1 square = 1 meter if it's easier for you, it scales everything down a bit but IMO works better overall, and since EVERYTHING is scaled down it won't 'break' anything.

You can still play without a grid and you can still play without minis. But just like all previous editions, a map is a really nice visual aid and will make things a lot easier.
Ok the Warlord and Rogue have some really cool powers. I give you that. Simply cannot deny it. That stuff sounds cool.

But if the Warlord is a Core class, how do you play it without a battlemat? I know the powers listed are a fraction of the ones we will see when it is released, but the ones shown ALL involve moving squares.

I think I might be misunderstanding the preview of the Warlord. The Warlord is obviously meant to be used for D&D Miniatures, not D&D. Or am I wrong? I can't tell.

If the Warlord is meant for D&D, does that mean that 4E is no longer a RPG but has returned D&D to its roots as a tabletop wargame?

With an even greater focus on tactical combat than 3E, 4E combat will be a real challenge to run without a battlemat. It's not impossible, but in my eyes is clearly not how the game was designed to be played. WotC wants players to use (and buy) mini's and battlemats, and the rules are written with the use of those tools in mind. If you are one of those gamers who don't like to use mini's 'n mats, then 4E might not be as much fun for you.
I actually want a setting that has been created to showcase 4E, not a setting that has had so much cosmetic surgery done to it that Elminster now looks like Joan Rivers.

Dude that is just awesome. Fantastic!
Ok the Warlord and Rogue have some really cool powers. I give you that. Simply cannot deny it. That stuff sounds cool.

But if the Warlord is a Core class, how do you play it without a battlemat? I know the powers listed are a fraction of the ones we will see when it is released, but the ones shown ALL involve moving squares.

I think I might be misunderstanding the preview of the Warlord. The Warlord is obviously meant to be used for D&D Miniatures, not D&D. Or am I wrong? I can't tell.

If the Warlord is meant for D&D, does that mean that 4E is no longer a RPG but has returned D&D to its roots as a tabletop wargame?

That's like saying all spellcasters in every version of D&D were made for D&D minis [which in a way they were as it all started out as a minis game] because they use spells which have shapes and effect a specific set of squares.
If you can manage to run a game without a mat with spellcasters in, you should have no trouble with Warlords [though why anyone would want to is beyond me].
Luckily, just because you need a visual method of keeping track of combat doesn't mean you need to buy into Wizard's nefarious plan to sell their minatures and dungeon tiles. My group currently uses an old cutting board we got for free from the sewing shop in town (good sized and already gridded with 1" squares) and coins, pieces of paper, or colored counters to keep track of combatants.
DnD has always, from 1st edition forward, assumed minis and a tabletop map of somekind. After all, distances in first edtion were often listed in inches, meaning inches on the table. Three and 3.5 were obviously written to support tabletop battles with minis. It would be a shock if 4th ed didn't support this style of play, so lets not lament the end of role playing with the new edition.

Having said that, you dont need any of that to play. A small whiteboard or just a tab of graph paper can be used by the DM to keep a basic sense of who and what is where. In this style of game players must be willing to trust the DM to make decisions based on story advancement.

An example of what I mean by that: Lets assume that the players are entering a long room, and there are some monsters grouped down at the far end. The wizard throws an area affect spell, lets say fireball. If you are playing on the battle grid, there is no question as to how many you can hit. You target the spell, count squares, see who gets torched and who doesn't. Without a battlegrid it is a different experience, you look at the DM and say "How many do I hit?" The DM makes his decision bases not on exact position on the map, but rather for story reasons. Perhaps this room is a early line of defence for the monsters, there are harder challenges ahead, and using up the fireball here should remove most if not all of the threat. Or perhaps this is the climax of the delve, and the DM doesn't want all the badguys going down from the first volley of spells, so he rules only half of them get hit. Etc.

To make this work, you need players who will trust the DM to have a good reason for his ruling, not to break out a compass and a protractor to "prove" that you really hit five of the monsters and not just three. With the right players and a good DM, you absolutly DO NOT need minis to play this game.
The fact that 4E seems to have a much more structured challenge-reward system for non-combat encounters suggests that the new version might be even less reliant on grids and miniatures than previous versions, as entire sessions without breaking them out to track positions in a fight are supposed to be not only possible, but more rewarding.

The fact that the DMG is supposedly containing rules on how to create new powers and classes could mean that, assuming that there aren't enough "non-grid-based" Powers available, it should be relatively simple to rule in replacements or additions. I imagine being given guidelines on how to swap an area of effect of X squares ability for one that attacks Y number of targets instead, or how to swap a "slide target X squares" bonus for something that "inflicts Y penalty on target" or "ally gains Z bonus". Without the square counts, not only is reliance on the battlemap/mat/plan/grid gone, but chances are you would have a more balanced "theatre of the mind" style game than you would have had under 3.5 rules.
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I just used sculpted terrain and a laser ruler. 1 inch = five feet. I do use minis, though, but I ge them cheaper from Reaper/GW/etc and paint them. Metal4life, baby!
My group just uses graph paper and a corkboard. Map pins = small/medium creatures while bulletin board pins = large. Bigger than that and we throw a dice or two on the paper. Much much cheaper than buying minis. (Admittedly we do sometimes use minis when playing modern/future - but that's only because I play imperial guard in Warhammer 40k - so I already have plenty on minis.)
I agree with D1Tremere. 4E should be no more difficult to play sans battle-map than 3.5 was. You must have, obviously, used some sort of arbitrary system for determining how many beasties were within an area of effect. Just rationalize the same system for all of the other issues. I can understand the appeal of an "in-your-head" game.
Call one square five feet then do whatever you did in previous editions (whiteboard, graph paper, memorization, whatever).
One word: Imagination.
Lots-O-RPG's Played: D&D (Advanced 2nded, 3.0, 3.5, 4thed & Pathfinder), StarWars (RCR & Saga), Scion, Shadowrun (4thed), Call of Cthulhu (Original % & d20), Warhammer, BESM (d20-3.5 compatable), Fudge (Fudge on the fly variant).
Honestly, they will probably include a fold out paper one you can tear out in the DM's guide or something. Or some coupon for a dnd mini starter set that will have a blank map included ./shrug
Use a battlemat.
who would the the dungeon maps that are poster size and come with adventures go to waste?
I played D&D for nearly 20 years without a figure or a battlemap.

Imagination is a wonderful thing. We used graph paper for mapping the dungeons out and we simply pointed to where we were and where we were going.

Now, I'm all for battlemaps, and I love them now that I have them, but they arn't required by any stretch of the imagination.

"The turning of the tide always begins with one soldier's decision to head back into the fray"

Same way I've always done it. The room gets described, the players do what the players do and if at some point it becomes critical that we figure out how characters are directly interacting put some dice on the table in the relative positions of the characters.

We haven't actually played around the table for years. Usually we play kicked back in comfy chairs and couches around the living room.
You could do what I use to do in my cheap (read: Highschool) days. I used dominoes! each section is a perfect square on a battlemat. You just outline the hallways and doors with it and then you can get a general jist of the area and the distance without the grid underneath it. Even before we had mini's, i would do that just to show what the area looked like. I still do it now, especially when i don't feel like going through the hassle of marker clean up.
You could do what I use to do in my cheap (read: Highschool) days. I used dominoes! each section is a perfect square on a battlemat. You just outline the hallways and doors with it and then you can get a general jist of the area and the distance without the grid underneath it. Even before we had mini's, i would do that just to show what the area looked like. I still do it now, especially when i don't feel like going through the hassle of marker clean up.

I used chess pieces and various handy items lying around myself ("okay, see the cigarette lighter? That's the altar of Tharizdun.") I PREFER a battlemat and minis these days, but there is acertain nostalgia value to doing it the old way.
I use dungeon tiles and DnD minis, they help in combat but my players and I ignor them outside combat.
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Abstract combat is actually preferable to some. This might come as a shock to all you kids these days, but in real life, people in a fight don't have range-finders built into their eyes - they have to guestimate. "Will this grenade get all five of those guys?" is something real people have to try and make educated guesses about. So when your GM says "There's five guys down at the far end of the room, sorta in a circle" then guess what? You have NO idea how far that might be unless you have a good eye for distance. But in all honesty, playing with a mat with distances measured out nice and neat is sort of cheating, since you don't have a laser/radar range finder in your shield to help you out in a dungeon. Sometimes you can throw that fireball and just not have the range for it. Tough luck mate.