Depends. I mean, we played in the same group and the use of miniatures within a diorama had a detrimental affect on the game as, you included, effectively started to measure distances (eg, "I can't Protect Companion as I'm too far away") even after I stated such positions were only an abstract guide and should be ignored if necessary. My experience, after nearly 40 years of RPing, of such things is that they look great and are really helpful for games (eg, certain editions of D&D) that focus on tactical movement but simply get in the way for games such as TOR which don't require such positional detail. They add nothing to such games and can often handicap players as their focus changes to the board in front of them rather than what they imagine based on the desciptions of the players and LM. Add to that things such as setup time which ruin the pacing and tension that may have been built up at the table and the drawbacks far outweighed any positives.Matt Clark wrote: ↑Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:30 pmI built a diorama/game board of the battle stance chart on which the figures are placed. I think having figures on a chart is rather jarring and is neither one thing nor the other but certainly practical as you have already pointed out. But, I did find it was possible to represent the battle stances visually without the need for text and boxes. More than this, in the same way that using words to tell and construct narratives is a creative and satisfying principle, so also is projecting one's imagination into the construction of scenery on which your carefully painted and evocative figures sit well in and serves as complementing or even adding or evoking the imaginal aspect for players and LM alike.
I've found that Battle Maps (see my house rules and actual play threads) are far more useful then full-fledged dioramas as they act as an 'aide memoire' but are still abstracted enough to not allow players to 'pixel bitch' over where their characters are in relation to each other, etc.
Your game board of the battle stance chart was lovely but I'm not sure how it would have worked in play and it was the wrong scale as the miniatures we used were 28/30mm but it was very nice although perhaps could've been a little confusing as to who was in what stance and what order/sequence the characters could act in. Thing is with such things art often gets in the way of practicality and those things are only ever discovered through playtesting them extensively. It was really nice to look at though, gorgeous in fact.