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|
|One of my existing hills which fits two hexes quite nicely when placed under the gaming cloth.|
|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.