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I would like to know if you guys use Miniatures and Maps for SR4? If you do, what kind of maps do you use? Do you paint em by ur own or is there a programm that could be recommended?
Furthermore I ask ask my self over and over: does it really help? I mean can it really be usefull if the group enters a fight to use a map and set up miniatures? Another question would be, do you guys use maps for long or short distance fights?

I like maps. I typically use them if the situation is complex and the players should be able to come up with something. But I just use dice instead of figs. And not everyone in the group finds this helpful.
For figs, I like 1/72 scale plastic figures. They're pretty cheap (usually around $8 for 50 for the good stuff, or a buck a bag for the cheap ones), and its a historical wargame scale so you can find figs for any time from Ancient Greece to modern day commandos. This is also the scale the MicroMachine figures tend to be in, so in my mini's box I have not only soldiers but Imperial Stormtroopers, Rebel Pilots, Jawas, and so on. Most of these are toys left over from my childhood, or scrounged up at local discount stores.

I find minis and maps helpful for bigger combats or combats with a lot of moving parts. If its two guys fighting in a bus station bathroom it doesn't really matter, but if you've got a lot of people going in a lot of different directions, minis are good for keeping track of everybody.

For maps, I'll use whatever. A battlemat is helpful, although I'm not a big fan of grids. I prefer to use a dry erase board and go with an easy to remember scale like 1"=2m. I like to eyeball distances rather than have them gridded out.

Maps and minis aren't necessary, and there are times I think when they can work against the immersion; players tend to look down at the battlefield rather than imagine it through their character's eyes. The problem is if you aren't using some sort of representation (even just a rough sketch on notebook paper, with dice to mark character positions), you have to really describe the scene as clearly as you can. And it can get frustrating if you explain the whole scene to one player who then takes his action, and then the next player (who was looking up something in the book, and not paying attention) asks, "Okay, what's going on?" You do that two or three times a round and you'll be ready to tattoo a battlemat on your forehead.
We use mini's and dice in our games and it helps a lot. When I GM, I find that drawing out the map gets rid of any confusion that may occur when we play such as cover and distance. When I play I like seeing what the setting is around me.

We use 1" square battle map so we can erase the map and redraw a million times a night. Plus, as the PCs find out where things such as cameras and guards are, we can draw them in on the spot.
I never used minis until I started GMing a group that played D&D before SR. Once I started using them with that group, I found out how useful it is to use a battlemat and the minis to clear things up.

I use the mondomat and SR minis almost exclusively now. Since there aren't many critter minis, I end up borrowing some of the D&D from a friend and bought the Heroscape sets.

I found that a lot of problems arose because of some of the ambushes I used with descriptions only. Now my players practically demand a map be drawn. At first, I only drew them when I knew combat would take place, but my players quickly caught on, so I'll draw the maps out just to make them paranoid.
Thanks for the nice answers. I think it is time to buy me a mondomat ... Minis are no problem, I own like 50~ Shadowrun Miniatures (dont ask why LOL cool.gif) . Like I thought, for long distance fights and bigger areals a mondomat/map comes very helpfull.

bjorn: Plus, as the PCs find out where things such as cameras and guards are, we can draw them in on the spot.

Very nice. Didnt think about that. Traps, Cams aso could be drawn by the PC when spotted.
We use a mondomat as well, but the hex side. No minis, just dice, but it all works out quite well. Reduces confusion, keeps movement and actions manageable...increases the level of fun and participation when everyone can see what is going on.
Same here deek, though honestly we need a bigger table. Once character sheets drinks etc. all get put down I barely have enough room to draw a 10x10 room without having to scale it down by alot.

We're kinda spoiled, cause the friend's house where we all meet is ripe for gaming. We play in his finished basement which has a full-size fridge, a kegerator, mini-kitchen, couches and a 117" projector TV with XBOX 360, Wii and PS2...and our game takes place on the battlemat on top of a pool we have plenty of space!
Sounds like the basement I plan to have in about 10 years. Freaking med school taking so long.

I envy you. We play in my shitty apartment though I am getting a 42 LCD HDTV soon and I have a 360 and PS2 and Wii, but a pool table would BARELY fit in the available room in my living room so the table we have is a dining room table, but it's like 3 inches wider than the battlemat we have.

I was going to go with a projector, but I couldn't afford one that wouldn't lose a lot of the HD resolution so I went with the TV for now. I'd need a bigger space to be able to take advantage of such a large screen anyway.

I've never used minis, but I do often draw maps for the game. Luckily, we game in an academic building of the local University, so I have a big black board on which to draw, so I rarely have maps prepared in advance and, instead, do it on the fly during a game.
QUOTE (DTFarstar)
Same here deek, though honestly we need a bigger table. Once character sheets drinks etc. all get put down I barely have enough room to draw a 10x10 room without having to scale it down by alot.


To keep the stuff off the mat, we use TV trays for each of the players. It helps keep the accidental food and drink from getting on the mat as well.
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