My Thoughts on 4″ Hex Tiles

Last time I discussed, in my own disorganised way, my thoughts on 7″ hex tiles.  Now I’m going to delve into the 4″ hex tile.  As I’ve stated a few times before the thought first came to me when I saw the Tabletop Hex Terrain Toolkit on Kickstarter. This is going to be a great tool for making some wonderful terrain for both RPG’s and Wargames.  However the scale is just slightly off for my tastes (as discussed here).  I may eventually redesign the tool for use with proper one inch horizontal hexes, until then I am making four inch tiles to use for my GURPS Dungeon Fantasy games.

The 4″ Tiles can only support single and double width corridors (1 hex = 3′) compared to the three widths in the 7″ tiles.  Also the number of connections is reduced dramatically to the four examples in the following image, compared to the 9 images for 7″ tiles.

Corridor options

Although there are fewer options I don’t think the four inch tiles are inferior to the seven inch.  The four inch tiles will certainly allow for more dense dungeons, and with a bit of thought and planning will be able to offer some very complex designs. Also you can make any Hex Dungeon look just like any Square dungeon.  All it takes is manipulating the width of the horizontal corridors. If the corridors are the same width they will not match up when a horizontal corridor attaches to a vertical corridor.  The horizontal corridor will be too wide.

Both horizontal and vertical corridors are the same width, the horizontal is too wide

The horizontal corridor is now slightly smaller than the vertical. H: 3.43, V: 3.9

I can live with this slight alteration as it now gives me more options when designing.  I can now have corridors that turn at 90° just like you would with a square tiled dungeon.

90° left hand turn

Single width corridors and room tiles, just a fraction of the possibilities

An example of what can be made 1 hex = 3′ (1 meter)

What I like from the example above is how at any given time the orientation of the dungeon can turn 60° giving the dungeon a more natural feel.  If you’re digging a dungeon why would you limit yourself to a grid? Also once you add the double width corridors your increasing your options and complexity.  I’ll be adding more as I have time.

I’ve got plans to make full 3D dungeons using the 4 inch tiles and plaster molds such as those you can get from Hirst Arts, Linka World, and 4bot Industries. The issue is I will have to make a lot of custom pieces and custom molds so I’m going to be shelving this project for the mean time.

I think switching from the 7″ to the 4″ tiles was the right choice for me. When I get time I will go ahead and place the 30+ 7″ colour tiles I’ve already made if anyone is interested in trying them out.  I’ll do the same for the 4″ but not until I get a large amount ready.

Pro

  • You can make dense dungeons without so many extra tiles
  • Easier to store
  • Can produce more random results
  • Easier to use “Fog of War” effect

Con

  • Only single and double wide corridors, no triple
  • No irregular/offset corridors
  • Floor textures may not align properly
  • Custom 3D parts

Profantasy Software

Mapping with Master Hexes

Hexomorfo System

Hirst Arts

4bot Industries

My Thoughts on 7″ Hex Battle Tiles

In my last post I gave a brief overview of how my different hex dungeon maps evolved.  This time I just want to discuss briefly on some hex maps but mostly the 7 inch hex tile.  There are two ways to place a hex onto a map.  Vertical and Horizontal sometimes referred to Flat to Flat and Point to Point.  Now if you are using your map for miniatures the standard movement is 1 inch for the base.  If you want to the distance from top of your tile to the bottom of the tile to be 1 inch this means you have two different possible sizes for your hex.  However most people would just stick with the 1 inch distance flat to flat as that will perfectly allow even miniatures with round bases to fit within the entirety of the hex.  Not to mention that a 1 inch Vertical hex tile is the industry standard for miniature bases.

I’ve heard some people refer to them the opposite way but I view it as the direction of travel in a straight line via the flat edge.  Very few games that I can recall use the Horizontal grid.  I’ve mostly seen older wargames that use counters, Star Maps (although can use both), and probably most recognised in the gaming community Icosahedral World Maps.  I’m sure I’m missing a few.

icosahedral world map using Horizontal Hex Grid

However if your playing with miniatures on a battle map you really want to have a facing edge.  Also I play GURPS which uses Vertical Hexes if players want to use battle maps. So that narrowed my choices down to, well, one.

Now in my previous posts I’ve mentioned how I used hex grids on square mats and the problems that can lead to as you need duplicate maps for each directions as each square would have half hexes and quarter hexes.  It really wasn’t ideal.

1) Square tile, hex grid
2) Rooms cut to fit, hex grid
3) Flower Tiles
4) Hex Tiles

I did experiment with Flower Tiles.  I liked Flower Tiles as they are interlocking but you would require a larger number of varied tiles to make a proper system and it was just too much.  I wanted something simpler.

Flower Tiles

Flower Tiles interlocking

Then I came across the idea, after discussions with Andorax (a World Works Games forum user), to use Hex Tiles.  This allowed me to rotate the hexes in any direction and have all the tiles line up.  The only thing we disagreed on was whether to use Horizontal or Vertical.  I prefer the Vertical so I went with that.

There is a great blog post by Phil Wright “Mapping with Master Hexes” where he goes into in depth detail about how to choose the proper tile size.  I’d like to say I did the same thing but honestly I just got lucky.  I wanted to fit a tile on a sheet of paper with as little waste so for A4 or US 8.5×11 that ended up being a 7″ Vertical Tile.  I’ve made dozens of these tiles and even printed out a few on good quality photo paper. Most Wargames are done in 6 inch sections however that just won’t work with a 6 inch hex tile. As with a square tile the 6 inch hex tile has too many irregularities for it to be functional. 4″, 7″ are best.  you could use 10″ and 13″ but that is starting to get a bit large for me.  5″ hexes would also be feasible but it personally did not suit me.

7″ Vertical Hex tile made in Campaign Cartographer 3

120° Corridor

The Horizontal corridor is not as wide as the Vertical corridor

Now I refused to be confined to all my corridors turning at 60° and 120°.  However because of the 120° angle of the outer edges it means that the corridors meet at a slant. If the walls are all the same, then the walls cutting across the angle wouldn’t match up with the walls that hit it flat on.  So this means all horizontal, or cross cutting would be a better term, corridors have to be slightly smaller.  I’m crap at maths, I’m a visual guy so I kept scaling until it looked right.  It is roughly 13-15% difference in size depending on the width of the corridors.

First off I should clarify that in GURPS each hex is 3 feet.  Which is about the area that a normal human would occupy.  So with the seven inch tiles it allowed me to have 3′, 6′, and 9′ corridors and with the 7 inch tile I could off an array of options of how the corridors connect.

Corridor connecting guide for 7 inch tiles

I also experimented on how to use a standard dungeon map and force it onto the 7 inch tiles.  This takes away modularity but makes for some fun map tiles that only work for a specific map.

This map was randomly generated using http://donjon.bin.sh/d20/dungeon/ then placed into multiple 7 inch battle tiles

How a few tiles repeated over and over can create a maze.

Pro’s and Con’s of the 7″ Tiles

Pro

  • multiple corridor widths
  • multiple connecting points
  • able to make both large and small rooms
  • quick to assemble

Con

  • Dense dungeons with small rooms require many special tiles that will contain a whole room plus many half or quarter rooms.  This would require plenty of planning and tiles with specific use.
  • tiles may reveal rooms which have not been discovered
  • if full 3D can get heavy

However with my purchase of Kickstarter for Tabletop Hex Terrain I’ve started to think about moving to smaller 4 inch hex tiles.  However not just flat tiles but full three dimensional dungeons.  This idea was reinforced when the Hexomorfo System was released. Plus 4 inch tiles would allow me to fit the wargaming niche as well because I could build them in one foot sections. However 4 inch battle tiles is a discussion for another post.

LINKS

Game Dev “Vertical vs. Horizontal”

Mapping with Master Hexes by Phil Wright.  This is a great blog post and gets more indepth than I did for the actual reason for the size of my tiles.

Bat in the Attic “Mapping with Hexes”

Understanding Hexagon Tiles

Red Blog Games

Hexagon Measurement Calculator

 

New 4″ Hex Geomorphs progress

If you read back through the blog you can see my slow (very slow) transition of how I make my geomorphs.  I started with just making the rooms and corridors and cutting them out at the wall.  Looks good, you can do a lot with it, however you need to make separate vertical and horizontal parts for each option.  Not very efficient.

October 2008

2008 using Dungeon Siege textures, these are “Flower Hex” tiles

Then after several discussions with people I know, one of which was Andorax, from the World Works Games forums (now defunct). The idea of making the tiles Hexagonal in shape that way you can rotate them in any direction without the need to make Vertical and Horizontal versions for each tile.

March 2009

March 2009

I made the tiles 7 inches from flat side to flat side to reduce the paper waste.  One of these hexes would fit on either A4 or US 8.5×11 sheet of paper.  If your using high quality photo paper then you really don’t want to be throwing a bunch of it away.  The other nice thing about the 7 inch tile was you could have single (3′), double, and triple width corridors giving you a varied dungeon.  Now to connect the walls together when you’re running them at a 60° turn means that the horizontal corridor has to be slightly smaller for the walls to match up at the edge.  This way you can place your 4 way cross roads and all four corridors will match up to the next tile no matter how you rotate them.  Plus you then don’t have to be confined to just 60° turns as I’ve seen many people do.

I also played around with how to make 3D Hex Dungeons

January 2008

January 2008

2009-2010

2009-2010

These were overly complex but a good start.  Unfortunately I no longer have the files for these.  Then last November during my routine searches for Hex Maps and Hex Dungeons I found the Kickstarter for Tabletop Hex Terrain. You can read my thoughts about it in the blog post linked above.  I now have the Hex jigs but I think I’m going to scale them up to get a true 1″ hex and have them laser cut.  I can still use the original Hex Jigs for Battletech and Mechwarrior: Dark Age.

Then in December the Hexomorfo System came out using the same conclusions I was using (but only using vertical corridors not horizontal as well) but the smaller scaled 4″ tiles, a bit like the Hex Jig that I discussed in November. My only issue with the 4″ tiles is you can not have triple wide corridors without needing four hexes for the length of two that you would need for single or double wide.  I had considered going to 6″ tiles but it would be bulky for the 3D version although easier to build using Hirst Arts bricks.  However I’m going to have to custom make 1″ hex tiles for the Hirst Arts as Bruce doesn’t seem interested in making any.

So now I’m currently making tiles for the 4″ system and I’m hoping to get about 100-150 done before experimenting with the 3D tiles.  I’ll keep posting updates when I reach them.

Making the most of my tablet

So I’m currently using a ASUS Transformer Prime, 18 hour battery when it’s docked with its keyboard.  It is an Android operating system which is okay but I think I would have preferred Windows 8 so I could use more of my RPG programs.  However if you have an Android I recommend using the GURPS Calculator It really is a nice app to have.  Also I recommend OneNote or Evernote as well to help you organize your information.unnamed

Gurps Calculator

OneNoteGoblinEntry OneNoteAgain

Microsoft One Note.

Currently I have over 150 monsters in my OneNote with interlinks within the notebooks.  I also have Magic Items and traps as well.  I’m trying to get everything together for this weekends game including new skill and technique cards, currently in B&W as I’m tired of wasting coloured ink every time I update.  I will make them available as fillable forms for everyone soon.

If anyone has any suggestions on software or time saving steps please leave a comment!

NPC/Monster Cards are here

I’ve created a form based PDF for monsters and NPC’s to make on playing cards.  Just fill, print, cut, glue and fold and you will have yourself a collection of Monsters at your disposal in no time at all!

You can find them HERE

I’ve also made them with workable dials for Hit Points and Fatigue Points and I will have a formatted version up soon with instructions (I hope).

New Card Design

I’ve redesigned the cards to Bridge Size (2.25×3.5 inches (56×87 mm)) and I have ordered 200 blank Bridge cards to use in my printer.  I’ve asked the GURPS community on Google+ to make any suggestions and to add any Maneuvers not covered in the current GURPS Combat Cards.  I’m still working on the Monster cards and I’m unsure if to actually use them or stick with 4×6 note cards.

GURPSCombatCards2 GURPSCombatCards

Microsoft OneNote and GURPS

OneNote and GURPS

Microsoft OneNote is an amazing program that can be used effectively as a campaign manager.  There are other programs out there like EverNote, Realmscape and a few others but as I already have OneNote and use if for University I just stick to what I know.

OneNote acts just like a spiral notebook that you can keep adding pages and tabs to.  You may screen capture, use OCR, and links within OneNote and to pages on the internet for easy reference.  You can get Apps for both android and iPhone/iPad which I have used for my Android tablet and my iPhone.  The photo above shows a desktop picture overlaid with my iPhone screen cap.  I tend to place my maps into OneNote then number them in OneNote and link the numbers to the descriptions in another tab.  It works really well except the links won’t work in the Apps.  I almost wish I would have waited for the Windows 8 tablet from ASUS instead of getting my Android.

I will be using this extensively in my GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Games.

Gearing up Again??

So that last post was more of a gearing down.  I’ve now found 3 players and we are going to start playing Biweekly or Monthly depending on our schedules.  The improved Combat Maneuver Cards (same as the GURPS Combat Cards but with more cards) are finished and I will be working on the next batch of cards which will be Combat Techniques.  These Combat Techniques will be your Neck Snaps, Knee Strikes, Dual Attacks that each character can do.  I am not making all the Techniques, that would be insane.  Rather I’ll compile a list of what Techniques the Characters have and add a few more for NPC’s.

I’ve added Icons to the cards for fun and as an easy way to organize stuff.

checked-shield

Defense

hospital-cross

 

Condition

sands-of-time

 

Do Nothing

 

 

 

sword-clash

Attacks

tread

Movement

brain

Concentration, Evaluate, etc.

I’m looking forward to starting the campaign!