Horses. People need miniature horses all the time, right? No, not a Falabella; I’m talking wargame miniature horses. My RPG group recently finished playing the first module of Pathfinder’s Carrion Crown and our intrepid group of adventurers has set out to take the likely perilous journey to a distant town. For the trip, the characters purchased horse-drawn wagons. To represent this I found some good, cheap miniature wagons from 4Ground, but then, looking through my countless Bones miniatures from Reaper as well as the rest of my collection, I was severely lacking in plain-old horses to pull the wagons.
A standard horse is a common need in role playing games. Most players that play with a battle grid have a miniature to represent their character, but few have a mount, especially if the character is not a class that specifically uses a mount. Rarely, if ever, can you find a mounted and matching unmounted version of a miniature that is representative of what you want for your character. Some design-your-own miniatures options are starting to deal with this issue. Hero Forge has announced that they will be adding mounts to their line of customizable 3D-printed miniatures, and Mounted Heroes focuses on, well, mounted heroes. Both of these options, though, are rather costly for a figure that typically is not mounted, and neither was a good solution to my horse-drawn wagon need.
I took to the web to find myself some plain horses. Enter Stuffer Shack. Stuffer Shack was conceived by Chris Stevens as a place where he could write down all his ideas for adventures, encounters, non-player characters, and the like. Chris figured, “if I put them up on a website, then others might find them useful and be able to steal them for their own game. In Shadowrun, a Stuffer Shack is a street corner convenience store, a place where you can go to steal stuff. So, Stuffer Shack was born.”
Stuffer Shack has grown since its inception. In addition to gaming ideas we can steal, this great find provides excellent 28mm scale horse miniatures that were perfect for my needs. As an interesting surprise, though, the Stuffer Shack also offered sets of miniatures counters and markers.
In addition to a lack of horses, another common RPG problem is when large numbers of similar creatures are involved in an encounter. It’s difficult to track which creature is which. I am not keen on permanently marking my minis, so I would try to identify which baddie is which by describing them on my initiative tracker, “goblin with sword raised,” “gray goblin” for instance, but, in trying to set up the encounter quickly, I would still lose track of which goblin was which.
The Stuffer Shack counters, each with a unique number, can be applied to the base of a mini, thus identifying it. Chris Stevens had the same issues as me in his games, but unlike me, he solved it himself and started making his own miniature markers until he found a solution that worked well. Chris said, “then a friend asked me to make him a set, so I did. Then another friend, and then another friend. That’s when I figured other gamers out there might want them too. So, I put them up for sale on my site and have been selling them ever since.” The same thing happened with the horses. He had a need, started putting bases on toy horses he had found, and people started asking him for those as well.
You can purchase individual horses and counters, but Stuffer Shack offers bundles that are an excellent value. The Adventurer’s Bundle comes with counters numbered 1-10, ten mini-markers, and ten horse minis. The Deluxe Adventurer’s Bundle comes with counters numbered 1-20, ten mini-markers, and all twelve available horse minis.
I received a Deluxe Adventurer’s Bundle for this review. The materials were safely packaged and included a nice assortment of horses. All twelve were different in pose and coloration. There are two to three that are slightly smaller and could represent a pony, donkey, or mule. They are positioned with the horse to the left or right of the large (two-inch diameter) bases. This ingenious idea allows for two useful features. First, to represent riding the horse your miniature can be placed on the open space to the side of the horse. Tacky putty, like used to hang posters, is included to securely mount your miniature on the horse base. Second, to get two horses riding abreast either with riders, or pulling a wagon for instance, you just need one mounted on the left of the base, another mounted on the right and you can place them side-by-side.
Chris Stevens of Stuffer Shack does not make the horse miniatures. Chris wanted to make it clear that these are simply Safari Ltd figures. He “buys the coolest minis and affixes them to bases.” The bases he uses are also available on his site in one-, two-, and three-inch sizes if you want to find your own mount, such as this awesome steed, and affix it to the base yourself.
Again, my surprise find on Stuffer Shack were the simple but effective miniature counters and markers. These are, in fact, made, “almost completely from scratch” by Chris Stevens. They arrived stored and well-presented in their own case, each with tacky putty already affixed and ready for use in-game. They are easy to remove and place on each mini.
Now, instead of trying to describe ten different miniatures on my initiative counter I can just number them. Players and game masters can reference them by number, and if one of the creatures pick up a condition like “fatigued,” or “charmed,” I use a mini-marker to tag it. The marker reminds me to look at the initiative tracker to see what condition I noted there. Stuffer Shack also offers condition markers if you’d prefer to just look and see what the condition is directly on the miniature.
I will primarily be using these in my role playing games, but see their use in many miniatures games as well. The counters could be used to mark a unit of multiple miniatures by placing a counter on one of the unit minis for instance.
While I started this process looking for some horse miniatures, I found more than that. In addition to now having plenty of horses for most of my role playing needs, the counters and markers will greatly ease our miniatures tracking, whether we are trying to keep track of a large number of similar creatures, or want to mark certain minis to remind us of various conditions that are in effect. In addition to these products, check out Stuffer Shack for their many useful articles and ideas that you can steal, Shadowrun style.
Stuffer Shack represents everything I love about the Internet and the Maker Movement. Chris Stevens saw a need, created his own product, and now like-minded people can find and buy it to fulfill the same need.
Disclosure: Stuffer Shack provided the Deluxe Adventurer’s Bundle for this review.