For the last couple of years, I've been running my in-person games using Easy Roller's Metal Dice. These are black metal dice with various colored numbers, and are extremely sturdy. They roll with a satisfying thunk, and have nice weight in the hand. Easy Roller runs promotions on a regular basis, and if you want to treat yourself to a bit of a gaming luxury, these dice are a great choice.
RPGs have their origin in tabletop wargames. There's no getting around that history, and the fact that, as a result, miniatures have been a feature of RPGs pretty much from day one. The question, of course, is whether to use them or not, and if so, when.
I've mostly been running theater of the mind games for the last few years. Partly, this is a function of genres. Science fiction games and mixed settings like Rifts have some really long range weaponry available, such that the scale of minis doesn't necessarily line up well with the scale of the battlefield. Long range for a Glitter Boy Boom Gun is 1000". Unless you happen to be playing on an 85 foot game table, that's not really going to work out well. Supers games with a lot of flying characters are another example - that's just hard to represent on a 2-D table with minis.
With that said, operating without minis presents some challenges. What exactly IS the range from that Glitter Boy to the APC he's shooting at? How many bad guys are ganging up on the hero? As a GM, you need some method of resolving these issues. I've generally used dice to help out. Using spare dice, you can track things like the closing distance between two forces and the number and status of enemies engaged with various characters. That, plus a little narrative winging it, generally handles most situations just fine.
Minis are fun, and if you have the right ones available, they can add a lot to a game. But if you don't- well, constantly reminding the player that the lizardman mini is actually the High Martian chieftain and the elf is really a cyborg can really mess up the immersion.
My sister just messaged me to let me know that my tween nephew has ambitions of becoming a Dungeon Master. You know, the kind who runs that other role playing game. While the rule system is different, I think the essential skillset of the gamemaster translates pretty well across to Savage Worlds, so here's some of the advice I'm planning to dole out:
Plot Point Campaigns, on the other hand, have some form of beginning, middle and end. Often, they require just as much sequential action as a conventional, railroad style campaign; they just have more space in between episodes, allowing for other stuff to happen. At some point, however, in following a Plot Point campaign, a certain amount of GM fiat is going to come into play. You'll need to get the players somewhere, avoid them killing a critical NPC, or otherwise manage the consequences of their actions to avoid derailing the campaign.
Whether or not that's a problem really depends on your group. Some groups want the GM to point them in the direction of the cool stuff, and will grab and run with whatever narrative hooks the GM tosses out. Others resent any infringement on their player autonomy, and will cheerfully derail the plot at the slightest opportunity. (See Darths and Droids for an excellent example.) With those groups, your Plot Point campaign is probably going to go bust at some point, and you're just going to have to roll with that.
The beauty of Savage Worlds is that it works with either play style. Want total narrative freedom? The mechanics are simple enough that the GM can wing it. Want a story? Not only can you run a more directed campaign, but the flat power curve means that you can stick as much stuff in between planned encounters as you want without the players running into a completely "imbalanced" fight - in either direction. The two flavors of Plot Point campaign are well suited to the two extremes of group preference for GM fiat, and it's worth understanding which one is available in any setting of interest and matching that to your group.
More of my ongoing paint work for Blood Rage (see Part 1 here).