I used to play many of my games using a 6 inch square grid on my 6 by 4 foot tabletop when I started this blog (hence the title blog). However, I have over the last 12-18 months been increasingly using free movement. Recently I have moved back to using a grid with my WW2 Western Desert campaign, which uses a hex grid and I am thoroughly enjoying. Over the last few weeks now I have been considering using hexes for my other games.
Prompting my thinking was a number of posts by Old Trousers
on using One-Hour Wargaming scenarios and Simplicity in Practice rules (both by Neil Thomas) and more recently posts from projects and Procrastination
. Anyway, after re-reading chapter "Grids: Hexes and Squares" from The Portable Wargame by Bob Cordrey I decided it was timely to setup my tabletop to have a hex grid.
My first step was to determine a suitable hex size which would fit the unit basing and terrain. My paper soldier units have a frontage of 7 inches and most other periods have units with a 4 inch base frontage. Using a compass (probably last used for a school project) a few templates were drawn on paper to determine a suitable size. A few tests found the best size hex was 7.5 inches from one side to the opposite side. This is quite a large size, but has the advantage that they can easily accommodate my units and terrain.
Those of you who use hexes will note I have the unit facing a side rather than one of the angles which seems quite common. I may change this approach, for the present though the side approach suits my rules which don't differentiate between flank and rear attacks, treating them as all the same. I also have a personal preference to having a unit facing a side (not sure why).
|My 42mm scaled paper soldier unit with an 8 inch base frontage|
|ECW unit with a 4 inch base frontage and plenty of room for terrain|
On my 6 by 4 foot table top this size hex grid would give me a board of 5 to 6 hexes by 10 hexes. I did think this 5 to 6 hex width might be a tad small, but the more I thought about it the less convinced I am that it will be too small. I tend to think of the hexes as zones with units deciding to make clear advances into an adjacent zone, and too many zones unnecessarily delay contact with opposing units. I will know for sure over the next few weeks as I try out the grid.
With all that decided my next step was to make a template was made out of MDF and start marking out the tabletop cloth. Rather than draw the whole hex I chose to just mark out the hexes just at the corner, hopefully making the hex less obvious.
|MDF template and brown pen to mark out the grid|
|Grid with only the hex corners marked|
|One of my existing hills which fits two hexes quite nicely when placed under the gaming cloth.|
|The hill placed under the gaming cloth (not very noticeable in the picture)|
|A 6x6 inch field fits nicely into the hex|
I will be able to reuse most of my terrain without modification, but will have to cut some more blue felt for rivers which will run along the hex sides (and is why there are no photographs of rivers).
The first game to be tested was the next game in the Jacobite snakes and ladders campaign
|Tabletop setup for a Jacobite campaign game|
Having made the hex grid the next step is to try it out with the next Jacobite snakes and ladders campaign game. It took a few rolls of the dice before the next battle occurred. The campaign has the Jacobite cause well advanced compared to the Government forces who had been delayed by muddy roads, while a Jacobite victory saw them progress a number of squares along one of the green arrows.
Luck is a fickle thing and soon after their victory the Jacobite cause was suffering from desertions due to a lack of pay. Meanwhile, Government forces conducted a force march to avoid battle and seemed to have the upper hand only to be frustrated again by muddy roads delaying their supplies. Seizing the opportunity Jacobite forces were able to catch a column of Government troops on the march.
Random dice produced One Hour-Wargames scenario 13 - escape. The Jacobite side having landed on a battle event square got to choose which scenario force they would act as (Blue or Red). They chose to be the attacking force which catch the opposition on the march.
|Snakes and ladders campaign has |
|Action from the game|
The game using hexes was a victory to Jacobites. So did the hexes work? For the most part yes. I do need to make a few tweaks to the rules to suit the hex grid and am looking forward to replaying the game (although the last game result will stand for the campaign).
The hex-grid partial markings look good on your cloth - not too obvious which means you can easily ignore them for free-moving games. I like the little house - what did you make it from?ReplyDelete
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Thanks. The buildings are made from timber. Details posted in December 2019.Delete
I remember seeing that now! Memory of a goldfish...Delete
The hex grid is nice and subtle and I would only mark the corners as you have done.ReplyDelete
Thanks, it worked surprisingly well and does not show where they are slightly out of line.Delete
I am toying with using offset squares or rectangles with just the corners painted on.Delete
The number of hexes v table size has always been a thing that has pushed me towards the 4" hex, but I agree with you that the zonal aspect of hexes makes better sense and in that regard a 7 x 5 type grid or slightly bigger is fine.ReplyDelete
I note that the Lost Battles system is doing something similar on a 5 x 5 square grid and I think the new version of Peter Pig's Barons Wars is using a 4 x 4 square grid, again with the idea that these are zones.
It also deals with one of the big problems of hexes and that is that 4" is a real squeeze when trying to represent terrain and figures in the hex at the same time.
Interested to see where this goes. I have some 8" hex templates in the garage that came from a fancy pants notice board type thing in a local DIY and home furnishings store - so some of this has been on my mind.
From the two games I have played I have not noticed the small number of hexes effecting the flow of the games. The ability to accommodate terrain in the hex is certainly an advantage.Delete
Interesting post, I have been playing a lot of napoleonic 10mm games on old heroe scape terrain boards. Works well. Looking at adapting your snakes and ladders campaign set up for an ECW project.thanks for postingReplyDelete
Thanks. This is my first attempt using a snakes and ladders approach to a campaign. There are a few tweaks I would make with the next campaign which I will post once the campaign is complete.Delete
I like apex facing, it makes that perfect enfilade really easy to identify. It also allows a reasonable arc of fire out of the two sides. If facing a side you either shoot out of one face or three if want to keep it simple. I also solve the crabbing forward progression for some games by treating hexes as having tow halves - I wrote an article for it in the short-lived online 'The Wargamers Notebook'. I could send you a copy if you wish.ReplyDelete
The apex facing is an approach I will have to try, and I would be interested in your article.Delete
How can I send it?Delete
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I've sent an email hopefully it's got through - let me know if does/doesn't, but you should remove the email addresses now.Delete
Many thanks Rob.Delete