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

 

HEXOMORFO SYSTEM

HEXOMORFO SYSTEM is created by Eneko Menica and Eneko Palencia and the design is similar to what I have been working on for the new Tabletop Hex Terrain.  I’m really pleased as this shows me I was on the right track! They have made it available for 15mm and 25/28mm miniatures.  I like to see that Hex Dungeons are catching on!  They have even mentioned that they may be making more designs!

Linmead Burrow

In my attempt to get back into my underground campaign world I’ve created the Burrow of Linmead.  See About my Dungeon World for a description of my Dungeon Fantasy setting.

Linmead Burrow

Total population:37
Humans:25
Mountain Elves :7
Half-elves:5

Druid: 1
Guards: 6
Inn Staff: 4
Troubadour: 1
Labourers: 15
Merchants: 1

Water Source: Yes
Ventilated: Yes
Light Source: None, Residents use Fire Pits, Candles, and Lanterns
Sanitation: None, chamber pots are collected. Urine goes into barrels which are sold off, feces is turned into fertilizer.
Country Rock: Rhyolite (light gray in colour)
Trade: Mead, Cider, and water are the main exports. Import fuel, basic food stuffs, clothing, etc.
Main Features: Pocket Dimension (315 acres), Laughing Bee Inn (3 levels), Linmead Meadery (4 levels)

Linmead is a very special Burrow as it has it’s own clean water source, it has only one entrance so it is defensible. However more importantly they have their own gardens for growing food and they have their own pocket dimension which they use to produce honey for the Linmead Meadery.  The Linmead pocket dimension is an impressive 315 acres of clover and wild flowers and 250 Apple Trees which they also make Cider from.  There is one round house within the pocket dimension which is used by the caretaker of the grounds.  The L.P.D. (Linmead Pocket Dimension) has four seasons that are just perfect for growing apples.  The bees produce a good quantity of honey and have no predators.

The Laughing Bee Inn is rarely less than half full as they do steady trade in Cider, Mead, and water. Most of the buildings resemble Iron Age round houses on the inside.  Some will have ladders to upper or lower levels, every house has a fire pit in the center.  Linmead also has a mushroom farm.  The water comes from one pool in the Burrows communal area.  It is a very large domed room lit with lanterns with the pool in the center and bioluminescence vegetable and fruit plants in large clay pots around the edges.

001

I hope to digitise the map soon and to get to the other two levels of the Laughing Bee Inn created

Adventure ideas

The Orchard has been invaded by a Awd Goggie (a type of Bogie who haunts forests and orchards, and kidnaps children). The adventurers have been contracted to remove the Fae without damaging the Orchard or the Hives.

A group of Bandits have set up a blockade against Linmead Burrow and a conglomerate of Inn Keepers and Merchants have offered a bounty for the capture of the ring leader(s), the rest are wanted dead or alive.

All is not as it seems in friendly Linmead. You have been hired to track down a missing couple of newlyweds who have disappeared.  Your investigations lead you to Linmead where the couple will be sacrificed to a Harvest Spirit. Can you save them in time?

The characters have been sent to Linmead to retrieve an ancient artifact, however the local Druid uses the artifact to perform Harvest rituals. Without the artifact they will be required to perform sacrifice during the ritual.

2010 & 2011 Cartographer’s Annual

I just purchased the 2010 & 2011 Cartographer’s Annual from Profantasy Software.  I’m most looking forward to 2010 March issue which is Dungeon Geomorphs and 2011 February and June issues which also deals with dungeons.   The 2011 August issue is vertical geomorphs which I will be exploring first to give a sense of depth to this crazy Megadungeon.

I hope to post more pictures soon.

A few simple Geomorphs

So I’m feeling a bit better and quickly created these three Geomorphs.  I wanted to see if it mattered visually placing a 3′ corridor to a 6′ corridor without some kind of transition, or if a corridor going to a dead end at the edge of the geomorph looked odd.  Well in some places they may look a bit odd, but creating a cave in would solve that problems fairly quickly.

The Grub Tavern
The Grub Tavern

Not all Geomorphs have to be a random assortment of rooms and corridors.  I give you “The Grub Tavern” a place that is safe to drink and rest up while exploring the never ending passages of the under world.  It features a large common area, 12 rooms for rent (from the stairs not shown on Geomorph) good food and ale.

Cross Roads

Random Geomorph 1

Once I get a good assortment of Geomorphs made I will place them in a pdf for use.  What size should each tile print at?  3″, 4″ or 6″ tiles?  I have not decided yet.

I’m also exploring the random and themed Geomorph.  I’m not going to go too much into explaining why all this is here, that just takes the fun out of Mega Dungeons, but I would like some organisation to them other than just the random mess that you see in old school mega dungeons.  Don’t get me wrong I plan on using random mess as well.  Hey if it is not broke why fix it.