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I use minis. They aren't necessary for every combat, but if something really needs positioning and you aren't comfortable doing it without minis, then you should pull out the markers and some sort of map.

Of course, no version of Shadowrun has ever truly supported the use of minis. Extensive battlemap usage is yet another house rule.

Okay. So, I have to admit I'm not really following the thread where this snippet of conversation took place, but it did pique my interest. How does YOUR group manage keeping track of what's going on during a combat? Are there particular tricks or play-aids you've found helpful? Do you handle small fights and large ones the same way, or are there things you only drag out for the most complex battles?

Thought about making this a poll, but decided I didn't want to limit the possible responses that way smile.gif
Generally, in a large combat I simply set off a tactical nuke, centered on the characters. Should they have initiated combat on such a scale, they have screwed up in the worst way possible.


Anyway, I actually just use either a large oil pen pad (they sell them at plenty of game shops that have Warhammer-esk games). For characters I use anything from dragon tears to a piece of paper with a letter on it. Movement enforcement is rather loose, but stay within a semblence of reasonable. I doubt I use anything unique to GMs; I write the damage on a scrap peice of paper, constistently use grunts and Lt.s, and bullshit... I mean improvise... when the situation or my (lack of) work ethic calls for it.

Not much in a way of short cuts really. Any I use are entirely based on the situation.
battlemat with either minis or dice as markers. If combat escalates into a larger area than intended we split up the squares so that a square is <blank> and a line is <blank>.
I tend to try to avoid large combats in general. As a gm I use lots and lots of scratch paper, and the occasional diagram. I also try to have these end early, typically by strongly hinting to the players that there are one or more viable exit strategies, mostly involving running away.
James McMurray
We use battlemats for all but the simplest combats. Despite not being spoonfed rules for it, we've never had a problem. smile.gif
I'm considering switching over to a wipe-mat, minis, and a tape measure for my crew. I've had enough times when people haven't really been aware of the size/shape of the environment that I feel they'd benefit from this.

As a WH40k player, using hex mats seems a little bizarre to me. Whipping a tape measure across the table takes less time than counting hexes, and you don't have to figure bizarre shit like movement rates out in any complex way. 1cm = 1 meter or 1" = 1 meter are two scales that work pretty reasonably.
James McMurray
We use square mats rather than hex mats because drawing a normal building or hallway on a hex map is a pain in the butt. While it isn't mathematically exact, counting every other diagonal square as two squares for the purposes of distance works well enough.

I should also add that we had one combat whoe range was so extreme that we didn't bother with a mat. Range brackets rarely change at those distance, onyl situational modifiers, and nobody wanted to spread out three mats side by side on the floor.
Vinyl hex battlemat with random Warhammer 40k minis and overhead projector pens. We keep track of inititive with hard card holders by writing names and inititive, then laying them out in order.

I houserule that all turns are divided into four phases, regardless of the number of IPs anyone has; this makes the game more consistant, is incase someone wants to use edge for an extra pass so it doesn't screw things up, and so the players don't metagame if that cyber sam has wired 1 or 3. Movement is divided by four, and each phase a character can run or walk. So humans can run 7,6,6,6 or walk 3,3,2,2, or any combination. Movement is truely a free action that doesn't stop the character from using other free actions. Characters can attempt to increase their run speed with the run skill as a free action, but glitching can cause them to trip or worse. They can try to increase their run speed every phase, but they don't stack and only the more recent attempt counts.
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