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Mechanize
2013-02-22, 03:17 PM
Why are hex maps not used more often? They make more sense in all combat aspects. They solve the annoyance issue with counting one and a half diagonal squares for spell areas in 3.5, vs the square 4e square fireball simplification. They are more realistic because there is no way in hell 8 people are swinging great swords at 1 person at the same time without hitting eachother. Even 6 is pushing it.

The only issue I have read is that people don't like buildings and dungeons... straight lines. I actually think buildings on hex look better because they have a 3d look due to the slanted drawings.

So what is the obsession with square maps?

I am in the process of creating my own gaming system. This isn't just out of boredom. I actually want people to enjoy it. Logic tells me to create the system based on a Hex grid, but if everyone else hates it, then there is no point. Opinions?

Ashtagon
2013-02-22, 03:28 PM
Squared paper is traditionally easier to purchase than hexed paper.

Mechanize
2013-02-22, 03:33 PM
Squared paper is traditionally easier to purchase than hexed paper.

Do you just mean as far as grid paper goes or do you mean the hex dry erase battle maps?

Ashtagon
2013-02-22, 03:35 PM
Do you just mean as far as grid paper goes or do you mean the hex dry erase battle maps?

I mean paper. With lines printed on it.

I suppose you can dry erase it with one of these (https://www.google.co.uk/shopping/product/8260983039903758686?hl=en&safe=active&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=fflb&q=eraser&oq=eraser&gs_l=serp.3..0l10.1148.1516.0.1984.2.2.0.0.0.0.261 .520.2-2.2.0...0.0...1c.1.4.serp.bnhcijJB5SI&sa=X&ei=T9YnUYX3D6yq0AXjj4DwCg&ved=0CIgBEPMCMAM).

Mechanize
2013-02-22, 03:39 PM
I mean paper. With lines printed on it.

I suppose you can dry erase it with one of these (https://www.google.co.uk/shopping/product/8260983039903758686?hl=en&safe=active&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=fflb&q=eraser&oq=eraser&gs_l=serp.3..0l10.1148.1516.0.1984.2.2.0.0.0.0.261 .520.2-2.2.0...0.0...1c.1.4.serp.bnhcijJB5SI&sa=X&ei=T9YnUYX3D6yq0AXjj4DwCg&ved=0CIgBEPMCMAM).

I can't see availability, or lack there of, of something so simple being the issue. I could photoshop a hex grid in no time and print it out. I've seen dry erase hex battle maps, though I am unsure of the rarity of those. I think the issue is that D&D uses squares, so that is what people are used to. Though I thought original D&D used hex. I wonder why they switched?

navar100
2013-02-22, 03:42 PM
Real world street blocks are in squares, at least in the U.S. They are easier for people to conceptualize. When a real world street area is not a square (circle, triangle) its uniqueness stands out.

hymer
2013-02-22, 03:46 PM
Hexes make at least as little sense as squares. The 1 cost for diagonal movement is decently accurate. Hex movement will often have you moving like a headless chicken.
Eight people can't attack one guy? Those squares are supposed to be five feet on each side. They're huge! There's plenty of space. Your problem there is with the simplification of swinging large weapons when your fighting space is only 5', not with squares as such. The 'realism' is lost anyway when one guy isn't dead long before the other eight have him surrounded.

Don't get me wrong, if you like hexes, go ahead and use them. But they're not inherently superior to squares in my view.

Mechanize
2013-02-22, 03:49 PM
Real world street blocks are in squares, at least in the U.S. They are easier for people to conceptualize. When a real world street area is not a square (circle, triangle) its uniqueness stands out.

You can still draw streets and buildings on hex, you just follow the lines... your drawings have more of a 3d look to them actually. I dunno, maybe I was a bee in a passed life, nothing looks odd at all to me about hex. It actually looks better to me.

Edge of Dreams
2013-02-22, 04:04 PM
I have a wet-erase roll-up battle map with squares on one side and hexes on the other. I use squares for most man-made areas (buildings, city streets, etc.) and hexes for most natural, outdoor, or underground areas. I'm also using hexes right now for a dwarf-built dungeon, specifically because the place has a ton of curved and circular rooms, with pretty much no straight hallways at all.

Mechanize
2013-02-22, 04:05 PM
Hexes make at least as little sense as squares. The 1 cost for diagonal movement is decently accurate. Hex movement will often have you moving like a headless chicken.
Eight people can't attack one guy? Those squares are supposed to be five feet on each side. They're huge! There's plenty of space. Your problem there is with the simplification of swinging large weapons when your fighting space is only 5', not with squares as such. The 'realism' is lost anyway when one guy isn't dead long before the other eight have him surrounded.

Don't get me wrong, if you like hexes, go ahead and use them. But they're not inherently superior to squares in my view.

I never said using 1.5 squares for diagonal isn't acurate, I said its annoying. It's a pain especially when doing area of effect. I already hate that it takes 10-15 minutes to get through 1 round of combat... counting 1.5 squares just makes it worse that is all.

And how do squares have you running around like a headless chicken any less? People count their 6 squares carefully, moving in all sorts of weird directions, to avoid AoOs. Moving on hex isn't any harder, it just looks different so people are not used to it. You count X squares in any direction, simple.

I could get into a very long winded arguement about how wrong you are regarding 5ft squares and who can hit who but I won't. My problem isn't the simplification of swinging large weapons, its actual personal experience, and it covers just about every weapon.

I'm only arguing with you because you say that neither choice is superior but back it up with flawed opinions. :(

Ashtagon
2013-02-22, 04:20 PM
I can't see availability, or lack there of, of something so simple being the issue. I could photoshop a hex grid in no time and print it out. I've seen dry erase hex battle maps, though I am unsure of the rarity of those. I think the issue is that D&D uses squares, so that is what people are used to. Though I thought original D&D used hex. I wonder why they switched?

D&D is older than photoshop and home printing.

Synovia
2013-02-22, 04:41 PM
Eight people can't attack one guy? Those squares are supposed to be five feet on each side. They're huge! There's plenty of space. Your problem there is with the simplification of swinging large weapons when your fighting space is only 5', not with squares as such. The 'realism' is lost anyway when one guy isn't dead long before the other eight have him surrounded.

Right. Look at a football field, specifically the offensive and defensive lines, and see how many people you can fit in a small area. A 3x3 block is 225 sq ft. Its plenty to fit 8 people in.

Geostationary
2013-02-22, 04:47 PM
Also, keep in mind that hexes are a pain to draw compared to squares, where you can botch the proportions and still get something useable. Grids are also faster to draw on the spot than hexes.

Mechanize
2013-02-22, 04:56 PM
Also, keep in mind that hexes are a pain to draw compared to squares, where you can botch the proportions and still get something useable. Grids are also faster to draw on the spot than hexes.

This is true.

Mechanize
2013-02-22, 05:23 PM
Right. Look at a football field, specifically the offensive and defensive lines, and see how many people you can fit in a small area. A 3x3 block is 225 sq ft. Its plenty to fit 8 people in.

Never said you can't fit 8 people in a 15ftx15ft space. I said 8 people can't surround one person without hitting eachother, or tripping over eachother for that matter.

You guys can theorize and fantasize all you want about how many hot and sweaty men you can fit into a small area while they swing their sticks at eachother:smallamused: but I suggest you get out there and actually try it. Its hard enough empty hand, and damned near impossible with weapons.

Synovia
2013-02-22, 06:06 PM
Never said you can't fit 8 people in a 15ftx15ft space. I said 8 people can't surround one person without hitting eachother, or tripping over eachother for that matter.

Sure they can.

And it gets real friggen tough for that guy in the middle. Ever seen the scene in like every movie ever where the whole bunch of guys with spears surround the hero and he basically just has to throw up his hands? Thats what is happening.

cucchulainnn
2013-02-22, 06:30 PM
i can't speak for why graph paper is still popular but i can speak to why it was used. my only guess is inertia. people have become accustomed to it.

i started playing back at around 1979 or so. i played from 79 or so until about 97 or so and didn't play again until a few years ago so i've missed a lot and a few editions.

back in the day, you could get graph paper almost any where. on the other hand hex paper was a specialty item. the only places that me and my friends knew of where the big gaming stores like the complete strategist or coliseum books or some place like that. (this is new york city hardly a backwoods area.) you could probably also get it as places that sold drafting supplies but i'm not sure. also there was the price difference. in that for 75 cents you could get a 100 page pad of graph paper or take a subway ride (60 cents for the carfare and an easy hour each way) and for the same 75 cents get 5 pages of hex. of course 75 cents doesn't sound like much now but consider that a slice of pizza cost 55 and a bottle of soda was quarter. again you could get graph paper any place that sold loose leaf paper almost every grocery stores, pharmacies and 5 and dime stores (now a days they are 99cent stores). extremely common is an understatement. i went back to school in 97, college, at that time hex paper was still uncommon, printing it your self was to expensive. but your right now it is cheap and easy to print your own.

the only game i remember using hexes where the old avalon hill games. which came with printed boards. i think judges guild used to do things on hex paper too. but i'm not sure. that and some times it was used for out door maps by some after market companies, such as role aids.

for a dungeon crawl with players mapping it is almost perfectly suited. we used to play with each square as 5 feet and hallways being either 5 or ten feet wide. making is easy for the DM to describe and players to map. this was so common that is was the assumed format.

for instance. the DM describes;
your party is standing in a five foot wide hallway, there are two doors one on either side. the left hand door is ten feet in and the right hand side one is 15. the hall is twenty five feet long and then makes a right hand turn at the end.

the mapping player interprets it as. the hall is one square wide and 5 long turning on the 5th, one door is 2 squares in, the other is 3. no fuss, no muss.

the players end up with a fairly accurate map with graph paper where as with hex paper i can easily see it turning into a mess.

for the older games graph worked extremely well, enough for there to be no reason to fix what ain't broken for newer games i have no idea if it makes a difference and defer to those with more current knowledge.

as far as area of effect spells such as cone of cold or fire ball, it was never a big deal. it was a non-issue. so insignificant we didn't give it any thought and i still don't. we didn't use mini's and battle maps for combat, we kept every thing in our head going off descriptions and estimates. actually that is not entire true, for war gaming we used mini's. out side of avalon hill games thing where measured with tape measures and or rulers.

Mechanize
2013-02-22, 07:20 PM
Sure they can.

And it gets real friggen tough for that guy in the middle. Ever seen the scene in like every movie ever where the whole bunch of guys with spears surround the hero and he basically just has to throw up his hands? Thats what is happening.

The difference here friend is that your theories use movies as support, my facts use every day occurence as support. I am a combat instructor lol. Your spear argument is actually about the only viable one so far. It is the only weapon (any long range thrusting weapon) you could viably get an 8 man surround on without there being much of an issue with "friendly fire"

Just for the record, the reason I am getting so "realistic" with all of this is that I am actually attempting to build a system that uses very realistic mechanics.

Mechanize
2013-02-22, 07:21 PM
we didn't use mini's and battle maps for combat, we kept every thing in our head going off descriptions and estimates.

I miss those days. I've grown to despise the battle grid lol.

Synovia
2013-02-22, 07:23 PM
The difference here friend is that your theories use movies as support, my facts use every day occurence as support. I am a combat instructor lol. Your spear argument is actually about the only viable one so far. It is the only weapon (any long range thrusting weapon) you could viably get an 8 man surround on without there being much of an issue with "friendly fire"

Just for the record, the reason I am getting so "realistic" with all of this is that I am actually attempting to build a system that uses very realistic mechanics.

There aren't dragons in the real world. People can't jump 60 feet in the real world.

We're not trying to model the real world.

And I never said there wasn't an issue of friendly fire. Nice strawman though.


I miss those days. I've grown to despise the battle grid lol.

And I despise "theater of the mind" combat. I like to know whether or not the enemy is close enough to me to hit. I like to have consequences to poor movement. I like having tactical and strategic play.

ArcturusV
2013-02-22, 07:32 PM
The other game that used Hexes for everything, least from the era you were reminiscing about, was Star Fleet Battles. But that was never a hugely popular game. Still going though. Still fun.

And of course in older DnD they also used Hex maps for Outdoors, and Squares for Indoors. So I'm not sure if it was necessarily inertia so much. There had to have been something in the minds of guys who wrote adventures and such that Hexes were superior in some way for dealing with open terrain (While Squares were easy for interior and closed off terrain).

I dunno. Between stuff like Avalon Hill Games, SFB, and other wargames I never really had a problem using Hexes. It gives a bit of tactical advantage as you can travel in a direction X number of hexes and take different routes, all in the same X hexes and end in the same spot. Though you can also do that in 4th Edition DnD with the Square Simplification. But otherwise you can't really do that on a square grid map. I suppose that's the downside to it. If you want only ONE way to be the direct line, then you go Square. If you want to be able to go routes A, B, or C, and end up in the same hex D with the same movement cost, then you go Hex.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-02-22, 08:08 PM
we didn't use mini's and battle maps for combat, we kept every thing in our head going off descriptions and estimates.

We used to do this in my group, until stuff like this started happening:

Rogue: "I said I walked behind the guy! Why don't I get sneak attack?"
DM: "The hallway's only 5 feet wide! You can't have walked past him."
Rogue: "All you said was that it was a 'thin hallway', but I'm not even in it! I'm in the room next to it."
Wizard: "I thought he was in the room with us, and that I could Fireball him?"
Rogue: "Yeah, sure. Improved Evasion says go for it."
Rest of the party: "NO DON'T SHOOT"
DM: "But he's been in the hallway this entire time."
Entire party: "Wait, what?"

And now we use battlegrids to eliminate the confusion.

ArcturusV
2013-02-22, 08:12 PM
Also my problem with running games on Skype. Least DnD that makes heavy use of map and specific positioning (Compared to say, RIFTS, where typically it doesn't matter in my experience). Every turn ends up starting off with my players playing 20 questions with me on exact particulars of positioning (Even though I already described it) just because they are paranoid of those mistakes.

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-22, 08:17 PM
A while ago I decided that all buildings in my world are built as hexagons, rather than rectangles. I'm pretty happy with that decision.

valadil
2013-02-22, 08:59 PM
I like hex for outdoor and dungeon areas. Hate it for indoor. I want my buildings to look like buildings. I could see the thinking outside the box solution of square buildings with a rhombus as working, but it just feels wrong.

Raimun
2013-02-22, 09:49 PM
Three things:

People generally want to be able to walk in straight lines.

Area of effect is a non-issue. Squares work just as fine. You can even use templates.

D&D-rules expect that the combat is fought on squares. It would be a different thing in a mecha game or whatever.

Mechanize
2013-02-22, 10:13 PM
There aren't dragons in the real world. People can't jump 60 feet in the real world.

We're not trying to model the real world.

And I never said there wasn't an issue of friendly fire. Nice strawman though.



I said that I am attempting to create more realistic mechanics so giving me unrealistic opinions isn't really helping me. Thanks though.

jindra34
2013-02-22, 10:19 PM
Raimun the straight line thing is actually pretty stupid reason. In a square grid there are 4 quick and easy, and 4 simple straight line motions, with everything else requiring breaking up to figure the distance. With hex grid there are twelve quick and easy straight lines and every other line is simply counting the number of hexes crossed, which ends up being easier.

Mechanize
2013-02-22, 10:27 PM
Here is the story...

As I said, my goals are realistic combat mechanics. So, with that said...

Despite what many may think, short of everyone wielding 10ft thrusting weapons, you cannot effectively put 8 men on 1 target. So, working with the square grid I decided that I would use an old tactics video game model where 5ft reach melee could only hit the 4 adjacent squares where 10ft weapons could hit corners and 2 squares away north east south west. The problem then lied in the fact that now, area effects would be diamond shape, and those are a pain in the ass to count and I am attempting to keep things simple. I don't want people counting squares by halves. The 4e everything is square idea is fine, except that it doesn't match with my rule of 4 man on 1 with 5ft weapons...

So that got me thinking about the hex, it seems to solve my issue wonderfully. 6 man surround is a little more realistic than 8, though id still prefer 4, and area of effects are round and simple. My issue is that I never used one so am weary and unsure what I am getting myself into. A part of me wonders why they are not used more often.

Stubbazubba
2013-02-22, 10:27 PM
Hexes are a lot more work to produce by hand. Other than that, I find them superior in pretty much every way.

Surfnerd
2013-02-22, 10:49 PM
have you tried squexes?:smallbiggrin: I kid. Actually in our current campaign we have been using terrain boards, homebuilt terrain and miniatures. Without a hex or square grid super imposed over the area we just have one guy use a tape measure on either side of the table.

I know someone had to go with option C. At first everyone stared at the tape measure like it was some kind of weird magic devise that affect wore off. I actually like it because players declare actions and then realize they can't move that far. That and the terrain really add a lot to the gaming experience. We've been having a blast.

I might add I'm a player not DM in this game and love combat when it happens. I just need to make up some templates for area of effect attacks. Namely my character's obscuring mist spell.

Mechanize
2013-02-22, 10:59 PM
Hexes are a lot more work to produce by hand. Other than that, I find them superior in pretty much every way.

I just created my own hex grid in photoshop and practiced drawing a map on it. It really didn't seem too bad. A little strange compared to drawing on a grid at first, but it took me only seconds to catch on.

TypoNinja
2013-02-22, 11:27 PM
Also, keep in mind that hexes are a pain to draw compared to squares, where you can botch the proportions and still get something useable. Grids are also faster to draw on the spot than hexes.

My groups first battle grid was a pizza box we took a ruler and pencil to. 60 seconds of effort and we had a decent sized grid.

Dare you to replicate that with hexes. :P

We called it the Pizza Box of Doom. Saved it between sessions. Lasted about 6 months before somebody just bought a mat.

Ashtagon
2013-02-23, 02:18 AM
I just created my own hex grid in photoshop and practiced drawing a map on it. It really didn't seem too bad. A little strange compared to drawing on a grid at first, but it took me only seconds to catch on.

Back in my day, when we wanted hex paper, we had to draw it by hand. None of this namby-pamby photoshop stuff...

:smallbiggrin:

Stubbazubba
2013-02-23, 09:18 AM
I just created my own hex grid in photoshop and practiced drawing a map on it. It really didn't seem too bad. A little strange compared to drawing on a grid at first, but it took me only seconds to catch on.

Notice I said by hand. As in, drawing it out. Which I have done, and actually made it very exact, and was very proud of, but it took a lot longer than just rulers and straight lines, y'know?

Jay R
2013-02-23, 10:20 AM
A part of me wonders why they are not used more often.

They are not used more because people think of area movement in two dimensions, so a grid laid out in with north/south and east/west lines only is easier for a lot of people to conceptualize. That way, there is one less barrier to immersion.

I agree with you that hexes are (slightly) more accurate. But more people prefer squares.

Mechanize
2013-02-23, 11:03 AM
Notice I said by hand. As in, drawing it out. Which I have done, and actually made it very exact, and was very proud of, but it took a lot longer than just rulers and straight lines, y'know?

Yeah I meant drawing the actual dungeon. I couldn't imagine drawing a hex grid by hand lol.

I could also offer rules in the system for both square and hex, rather than force people to do one or the other.

Rhynn
2013-02-23, 11:30 AM
D&D is older than photoshop and home printing.

Yet wilderness maps were all originally hexed. (It's really a pity that TSR abandoned this; the last vestige was those hex overlays that came with my 2E Forgotten Realms box.)

Hexes are particularly superior for wilderness maps. For dungeon maps, eh, squares work okay. Indeed, this was the standard since forever, and battle maps were probably born from dungeon maps.

saxavarius
2013-02-23, 12:14 PM
@ Mechanize: you've obviously never been in any kind of medieval combat/LARP line fights; in a 15' line there can be about 8-10 people all swinging wildly, 9 people in a 15'x15' square is a very realistic scenario


That being said I do like hex grids for effects that have a radius or other round areas

ArcturusV
2013-02-23, 02:07 PM
Indeed Jay R. I remember how my math teachers would freak out when I was in school, asking to learn Non-Euclidean Geometry. Because as I pointed out "Reality isn't a flat, featureless two dimensional plane stretching out infinitely. Why should we learn math that presumes it is?"

Jay R
2013-02-23, 03:27 PM
Indeed Jay R. I remember how my math teachers would freak out when I was in school, asking to learn Non-Euclidean Geometry. Because as I pointed out "Reality isn't a flat, featureless two dimensional plane stretching out infinitely. Why should we learn math that presumes it is?"

We shouldn't freak out; we should answer the question in good faith:

"Because it's the simplest version. When you master this, you can try hyperbolic or elliptical geometry. But until you make 100% on all Euclidean geometry homework and tests, you aren't ready for the more complicated versions."

ArcturusV
2013-02-23, 03:33 PM
I had bad math teachers. :smallbiggrin: And I gave them fits.

"How do you figure out Sine/Cosine/tangents?"

"... press the button for it on your calculator."

"... but if I didn't HAVE a calculator?"

"... just use the damned calculator. I'll give you one."

navar100
2013-02-23, 03:55 PM
I had bad math teachers. :smallbiggrin: And I gave them fits.

"How do you figure out Sine/Cosine/tangents?"

"... press the button for it on your calculator."

"... but if I didn't HAVE a calculator?"

"... just use the damned calculator. I'll give you one."

It's easy. All you have to remember is "a sin is the opposite of what you should be doing".

Everyone remembers Tan = Sin over Cos; it's Sin and Cos that confuses. Since sin is the opposite of what you should be doing, Sin = Opposite over Hypotenuse. Cos is therefore the other one, Adjacent over Hypotenuse. That's when people also remember that Tan = Opposite over Adjacent

:smallbiggrin:

Ashtagon
2013-02-23, 04:47 PM
It's easy. All you have to remember is "a sin is the opposite of what you should be doing".

Everyone remembers Tan = Sin over Cos; it's Sin and Cos that confuses. Since sin is the opposite of what you should be doing, Sin = Opposite over Hypotenuse. Cos is therefore the other one, Adjacent over Hypotenuse. That's when people also remember that Tan = Opposite over Adjacent

:smallbiggrin:

sohcahtoa

sin - opp/hyp

cos = adj/hyp

tan = opp/adj

Zeful
2013-02-23, 06:06 PM
And I despise "theater of the mind" combat. I like to know whether or not the enemy is close enough to me to hit. I like to have consequences to poor movement. I like having tactical and strategic play.

And none of those things are opposed to "theater of the mind" play. I DM'd for my family and kept track of everyone's position relative to everyone else by explicitly clarifying distance often, and getting my players into the habit of ding the one thing necessary for this style of play: Asking questions.

If you aren't asking how far you are from things, of course you aren't going to know if the enemy is close enough to hit, or have tactical or strategic play, but that's your fault.

oxybe
2013-02-23, 07:06 PM
And none of those things are opposed to "theater of the mind" play. I DM'd for my family and kept track of everyone's position relative to everyone else by explicitly clarifying distance often, and getting my players into the habit of ding the one thing necessary for this style of play: Asking questions.

If you aren't asking how far you are from things, of course you aren't going to know if the enemy is close enough to hit, or have tactical or strategic play, but that's your fault.

no, it's not their fault, at least not voluntarily.

many people, like myself are visual and tactile by default... those minis and whatnot are vital for us to enjoy and visualize tactical and strategic games, or at least elements that could emphasize or utilize tactics and strategy..

having a visual representation or abstraction in front of us helps far more then repeatedly asking and nagging at the dm about distances and options. having something in front of us allows us to much easier figure things out and decide what our options are since as long as we know the rules, we can figure it out on our own.

for us simply telling us that there is an orc nearby usually isn't enough. it just doesn't click for the most part until we see it or an abstraction thereof.

i don't like "theatre of the mind" play for things like combat because unless the combat options are extremely simple, it doesn't click in any satisfying way.

Zeful
2013-02-23, 07:55 PM
no, it's not their fault, at least not voluntarily.

many people, like myself are visual and tactile by default... those minis and whatnot are vital for us to enjoy and visualize tactical and strategic games, or at least elements that could emphasize or utilize tactics and strategy..

having a visual representation or abstraction in front of us helps far more then repeatedly asking and nagging at the dm about distances and options. having something in front of us allows us to much easier figure things out and decide what our options are since as long as we know the rules, we can figure it out on our own.

for us simply telling us that there is an orc nearby usually isn't enough. it just doesn't click for the most part until we see it or an abstraction thereof.

i don't like "theatre of the mind" play for things like combat because unless the combat options are extremely simple, it doesn't click in any satisfying way.

So if I told you, that there's an Orc 30 feet away at 10 o'clock, you have no idea the orc is in front of you to your left? Or that your allies are 5, 10, and 20 feet away at 4 o'clock you don't know that they're behind you, to your right?

You might not know you are in a line, as the directions are still pretty vague, but if you're playing this way, when you decide to attack, you should be asking if there's anything in your way, because outside of the Orcs and your allies, what has been established about the encounter?

This is why I find it to be the player's fault if they can't do this. Because as long as the DM is capable of doing this with precision (and if he can't then no, it's not your fault), you only need to ask questions, and you will get useful answers, but if you aren't asking, it's not the DM's fault you are acting with incomplete information. It's yours, and nothing about specific learning styles changes this.

Animastryfe
2013-02-23, 07:59 PM
We shouldn't freak out; we should answer the question in good faith:

"Because it's the simplest version. When you master this, you can try hyperbolic or elliptical geometry. But until you make 100% on all Euclidean geometry homework and tests, you aren't ready for the more complicated versions."
Also, it is a very good approximation for the geometry of the surface of a planet at relatively short length scales.

jindra34
2013-02-23, 08:06 PM
This is why I find it to be the player's fault if they can't do this. Because as long as the DM is capable of doing this with precision (and if he can't then no, it's not your fault), you only need to ask questions, and you will get useful answers, but if you aren't asking, it's not the DM's fault you are acting with incomplete information. It's yours, and nothing about specific learning styles changes this.

Your right in relatively simple, basic situations people can properly visualize it. But add in more elements (aka enemies and allies) and three dimensions and most people will struggle. And even in basic cases you will likely have to repeat the battlefield layout every player's turn, slowing down the game. Not to mention to keep everything straight you will either have to take insanely copious notes or already have a map and be moving things on it.

Zeful
2013-02-23, 08:34 PM
Your right in relatively simple, basic situations people can properly visualize it. But add in more elements (aka enemies and allies) and three dimensions and most people will struggle. And even in basic cases you will likely have to repeat the battlefield layout every player's turn, slowing down the game. Not to mention to keep everything straight you will either have to take insanely copious notes or already have a map and be moving things on it.

Really? It's just spacial awareness. It's the same skill you use every day for everything from walking to driving to navigating your own house in the dark at night. I mean, you really mean to say people cannot visualize a concert hall's layout without a floor plan? It's just imagining a box with people and chairs in it.

I guess I figured people were able to abstract out needless bits and only consolidate what they need, which is easy.

jindra34
2013-02-23, 08:39 PM
Really? It's just spacial awareness. It's the same skill you use every day for everything from walking to driving to navigating your own house in the dark at night. I mean, you really mean to say people cannot visualize a concert hall's layout without a floor plan? It's just imagining a box with people and chairs in it.

I guess I figured people were able to abstract out needless bits and only consolidate what they need, which is easy.

Right. And most of the time with spacial awareness we use visual clues, even if they are indistinct. Try walking around your house blindfolded, with someone telling you rough idea of where the walls and objects are. And count how many times you bump into something. Now have them occasionally move those object and tell you how far they moved and in what direction relative to them. Gets tricky right.

oxybe
2013-02-23, 08:46 PM
what people can and cannot do in their minds will vary from person to person. i'm capable of doing most math barring complex calculus in my mind (mostly due to not having done virtually any calculus in almost a decade, i'm kinda rusty).

numbers and maths come easy to me.

would it be condescending of me to expect the same of everyone else?

yes, it would. not everyone has an aptitude for numbers or capable of memorizing, recalling and applying formulas, the same skill you use when you do virtually anything that's requires you to remember something, from a mental grocery list to the email you got from that lady at the supermarket.

note that i can navigate my halls in the dark because i'm familiar with them and i can use my hands and other sense to guide me in the dark. i have a vague idea where stuff is because i put it there myself and i pass those hallways every morning & evening.

i can't visualize that concert hall easily because i've never seen it and it's a rather complex structure.

Grundy
2013-02-23, 09:20 PM
We used hex for years, and switched to squares well after we switched to 3.5. Even with calculating diagonals, I don't miss it at all. Of course, we also drew square rooms on the hex, which was ok, really, we ruled 1/2 hexes as full, but theoretically then you'd have more space in a given room than there actually was.
As to the 4/6/8 guy thing, somebody up thread pointed out the real answer. If you're surrounded, you're screwed. Unless it's fantasy:smallamused:

Stubbazubba
2013-02-25, 12:29 AM
Really? It's just spacial awareness. It's the same skill you use every day for everything from walking to driving to navigating your own house in the dark at night. I mean, you really mean to say people cannot visualize a concert hall's layout without a floor plan? It's just imagining a box with people and chairs in it.

Seriously? None of those involves having any spatial relationship described to you, they rely on visual, tactile, and other clues to create a whole from the pieces we have from non-intellectual senses. If you were blindfolded and someone told you there was a 5 foot gap in front of you that you have to jump across, you'd have a hard time gauging that jump based purely on you imagining the area, and that's the most basic possible obstacle where description is woefully inadequate. If you were told "An Orc chieftain (which you cannot hear or otherwise detect yourself in any way) is charging towards you at 11 mph in a straight line 60 degrees to the right of straight ahead, raising the 15" blade of his meter-long war axe over his head at a total height of 8' 4"," you'd be little better off than you were without the description.

But this is really besides the point, because "theater of the mind" does not ask players to react physically to descriptions. What it does is ask them to make rules decisions that are dependent or heavily informed by certain conditions in the battle, which may or may not include spatial ones. Since they're making a completely intellectual response, they just need the information, and communicating it visually through minis is the most efficient way to do so.

I really enjoy the freedom of "theater of the mind," but only when spatial relationships are not integral to my decisions. When I play 3.5 without a battle mat, movement is pretty free form, AoOs are based on penetrating lines of formed enemies, and you can charge pretty much anyone you're not engaged with already. I prune the role that spatial information plays in the game so people can make decisions based largely on a relatively static impression of the battlefield, eliminating the need to describe in detail all the changes because I don't have the tools to do so without bogging down the game.

Re: Being surrounded, I think this has more to do with facing than sheer numbers. In D&D, being surrounded is treated little differently than fighting X number of opponents one after another in a straight line. IRL, it's completely different. If your game has rules for facing, then hexes will probably work just as well for being surrounded as would squares (because either with facing or without it, 6 opponents versus 8 opponents shouldn't be a huge distinction anyway). Just remember to put in some epic sweeps that get you out of a tight spot every now and again.

Artillery
2013-02-25, 01:42 AM
I recently started DMing and decided to go with Hex-grids. My main reason for it was the system we are using, Legend (http://www.ruleofcool.com/get-the-game/), has quite a lot of radius and reach effects.

Hexes grids make it easier for me to keep track of positions and make it easier for my players to actually get through there turns.

As for problems with it, there really haven't been any. I have grid templates made up in inkscape and just need to bucket a in outlines for most things. I give my players a general map idea, and then go into detail about it if they ask questions. Most of my maps end up 2x2 sheet and about 24x20 hexes and take into account 3D space due to the fact people are expected to have flight speeds later by mid game.

Sure larger creatures are a bit strange, large creatures are 3 hexes, but it makes actual melee range much easier to visualize for everyone.

Its a take your pick thing really. If you do your own maps hexes are nice. Its not hard to emulate a rectangular building with some well place zig-zags.

Mechanize
2013-02-25, 02:29 PM
@ Mechanize: you've obviously never been in any kind of medieval combat/LARP line fights; in a 15' line there can be about 8-10 people all swinging wildly, 9 people in a 15'x15' square is a very realistic scenario


That being said I do like hex grids for effects that have a radius or other round areas

You are correct, I've never been in a fake LARP line fight with dull weapons and people having fun instead of trying to murder eachother. Sounds like a viable arguement though... :smallsigh:

Raimun
2013-02-25, 03:18 PM
If you support non-euclidean geometry, you should be burnt at the stake as a cthulhu-cultist. :smalltongue:

By the way, what about flying combat? Battles that use three dimensions are a lot simpler with squares.

Do any games that use hexes even have rules for three-dimensional combat?

Mechanize
2013-02-25, 03:24 PM
If you support non-euclidean geometry, you should be burnt at the stake as a cthulhu-cultist. :smalltongue:

By the way, what about flying combat? Battles that use three dimensions are a lot simpler with squares.

Do any games that use hexes even have rules for three-dimensional combat?

Why would flying be any different with hex?

Emmerask
2013-02-25, 03:50 PM
Why would flying be any different with hex?

Well I think hes talking about the 3d shape of the hex, though there is no hex only 3d shape so it would need to be something like a truncated icosahedron.
While you are thinking about a hex prism ie just extruding the hex to the third dimension :smallsmile:

erikun
2013-02-25, 03:54 PM
Hexes tend not to like square objects, such as buildings. Yes, you can run the walls through the edges of hexes, or straight through the middle and make the hexes unavailable. It takes a bit to get used to positioning, though.

The other problem is...

Why would flying be any different with hex?
Heh, this exactly.

With squares, if you want to move vertically, you just turn them into cubes. If a character moves 20 feet straight up, then they just move 4 cubes up. If someone wants to attack them, then it is reasonably easy to determine distance just by counting the cubes between the two characters.

What will you do with hexes? Will they stack on top of one another, has hexigonal prisms? This is the simpliest answer, but then you end up using the square-map method of determining distance. You could go with some odd shape that allows them to stagger between layers, but this becomes hard to visualize and even harder to determine distances. I'm not sure of any hex grid methods that allow you to determine horizontal movement easily. (Most older hex grids assumed you would be on a flying mount, and so just used the ground-hex grid with an altitude.)

Emmerask
2013-02-25, 03:59 PM
Hexes tend not to like square objects, such as buildings. Yes, you can run the walls through the edges of hexes, or straight through the middle and make the hexes unavailable. It takes a bit to get used to positioning, though.

well on the other hand squares are really bad at organic objects/scenes :smallsmile:

Mechanize
2013-02-25, 04:06 PM
Hexes tend not to like square objects, such as buildings. Yes, you can run the walls through the edges of hexes, or straight through the middle and make the hexes unavailable. It takes a bit to get used to positioning, though.

The other problem is...

Heh, this exactly.

With squares, if you want to move vertically, you just turn them into cubes. If a character moves 20 feet straight up, then they just move 4 cubes up. If someone wants to attack them, then it is reasonably easy to determine distance just by counting the cubes between the two characters.

What will you do with hexes? Will they stack on top of one another, has hexigonal prisms? This is the simpliest answer, but then you end up using the square-map method of determining distance. You could go with some odd shape that allows them to stagger between layers, but this becomes hard to visualize and even harder to determine distances. I'm not sure of any hex grid methods that allow you to determine horizontal movement easily. (Most older hex grids assumed you would be on a flying mount, and so just used the ground-hex grid with an altitude.)

Just simplifying things here but off the top of my head, I would just say increasing altitude plus moving N,E,S,W is half speed and decreasing altitude + direction is normal speed, or dive bombing straight down is double speed! lol... It's probably not perfectly accurate but again. I'd like to spend less time crunching numbers and more time adventuring. :P

Geostationary
2013-02-26, 01:26 AM
Flying is straightforward, and more or less the same between squares and hexes.

1.Locate square/hex the player is above.
2.Find altitude of flyer
3.Find range from combatant to flyer
4.Are they in range of the attack? If yes, attack as normal. If no, attack misses/fails/doesn't occur.

For motion, simply move the vertical and horizontal distances separately on the hex grid "i.e., move 3 hexes North, then 5 up", all relative to the 2d plane.

If multiple parties are in the air, figure out what hex they're above, and then figure out altitudes relative to each other. This system does involve ditching most of the 3d aspect of grids/hexthings beyond relative position on the 2d plane, but the only reason squares/hexes are there to begin with is to simplify positioning and range rules.

fusilier
2013-02-26, 01:40 AM
Why not ditch grids altogether and simply use tape measure? No artificial angles imposed upon direction of movement, area of effect weapons can be handled with templates, or simply measured radially from a point, etc.

Plenty of miniatures games do this, and if you are using a grid I assume you intend to use miniatures. I actually run GURPS games with miniatures and rulers, and just interpret rules that are hex dependent using my own judgement.

Rhynn
2013-02-26, 03:37 AM
Why not ditch grids altogether and simply use tape measure? No artificial angles imposed upon direction of movement, area of effect weapons can be handled with templates, or simply measured radially from a point, etc.

Plenty of miniatures games do this, and if you are using a grid I assume you intend to use miniatures. I actually run GURPS games with miniatures and rulers, and just interpret rules that are hex dependent using my own judgement.

That's how AD&D 1E did it, isn't it? (Hence movement was expressed in inches.)

Killer Angel
2013-02-26, 04:17 AM
Both have their good and bad sides.
Hexes are perfect in the open field and for area effects, squares are decisely better in dungeons and constructions, with walls at 90.

Mechanize
2013-02-26, 01:19 PM
Why not ditch grids altogether and simply use tape measure? No artificial angles imposed upon direction of movement, area of effect weapons can be handled with templates, or simply measured radially from a point, etc.

Plenty of miniatures games do this, and if you are using a grid I assume you intend to use miniatures. I actually run GURPS games with miniatures and rulers, and just interpret rules that are hex dependent using my own judgement.

I think out of game tools, hell even dice, serve only to disctract a player from the adventure and ruin immersion. A grid simplifies things and allows a player to know how far he has to be to hit someone, or how far he can move, without busting out the tape measure.

My favorite D&D times were those without a map and with the fewest die rolls possible, most done by a DM. Though, as mentioned in a previous post in this thread, some people just have a different mind then others. Some require the battlegrid because they are more visual. I personally am more imaginative and love having the battle in my mind rather than a grid. I suppose it is best to set up rules for a grid then if a group feels like doing without then, by all means, I support that fully.

Synovia
2013-02-26, 01:32 PM
My favorite D&D times were those without a map and with the fewest die rolls possible, most done by a DM. Though, as mentioned in a previous post in this thread, some people just have a different mind then others. Some require the battlegrid because they are more visual. I personally am more imaginative and love having the battle in my mind rather than a grid. I suppose it is best to set up rules for a grid then if a group feels like doing without then, by all means, I support that fully.

Its definitely a to-each-their-own thing. Combat without any sort of visual representation is an exercise in frustration for me. You want to break immersion for me, have combat in theater-of-the-mind.

CarpeGuitarrem
2013-02-26, 01:56 PM
Come to think...yeah, a ruler (or even a rod marked out in inch increments) would do wonders. Just have a "I won't be fiddly with distances if you don't spend tons of time agonizing over your move" rule.

Raimun
2013-02-26, 02:20 PM
Iron Kingdoms uses inches and taperulers. There it works and is actually fun and quick, because the rules expect you to use inches and taperulers.

D&D-rules expect that you use squares, so those work the best in that system.

erikun
2013-02-26, 02:32 PM
well on the other hand squares are really bad at organic objects/scenes :smallsmile:
It is relatively easy to keep bushes and trees within a 5'x5' or 10'x10' area. Larger than that begins to get awkward, although in most you don't generally run into trees that are 20' across. You see the awkwardness in circles come into play far, far more often with spellcasting - specifically Fireball and similar spells.

Fun fact: Take a look at the various "cone" spells in D&D. Take a look at their 60 spread. Now put that on a hex grid. Quite a bit simplier, yes?


Just simplifying things here but off the top of my head, I would just say increasing altitude plus moving N,E,S,W is half speed and decreasing altitude + direction is normal speed, or dive bombing straight down is double speed! lol... It's probably not perfectly accurate but again. I'd like to spend less time crunching numbers and more time adventuring. :P
Older editions of D&D had a lot of rules for aerial combat. The general rules involved a minimum necessary movement to stay airborn, half-speed for a climb, and you can move full speed for a dive. The biggest problem is that such a system doesn't handle floating/"perfect movement" fliers, which seem to be increasingly common with 3rd edition and later.


Why not ditch grids altogether and simply use tape measure? No artificial angles imposed upon direction of movement, area of effect weapons can be handled with templates, or simply measured radially from a point, etc.

Plenty of miniatures games do this, and if you are using a grid I assume you intend to use miniatures. I actually run GURPS games with miniatures and rulers, and just interpret rules that are hex dependent using my own judgement.
Iron Kingdoms actually does this. The biggest problem (besides altitude issues) is that it requires properly proportioned, physical battle maps that are in-scale with the minis.

fusilier
2013-02-26, 07:21 PM
I think out of game tools, hell even dice, serve only to disctract a player from the adventure and ruin immersion. A grid simplifies things and allows a player to know how far he has to be to hit someone, or how far he can move, without busting out the tape measure.

My favorite D&D times were those without a map and with the fewest die rolls possible, most done by a DM. Though, as mentioned in a previous post in this thread, some people just have a different mind then others. Some require the battlegrid because they are more visual. I personally am more imaginative and love having the battle in my mind rather than a grid. I suppose it is best to set up rules for a grid then if a group feels like doing without then, by all means, I support that fully.

I've done that too and it can be fun. Sometimes we might use a rough diagram to show a general outlay of a room or something, but nothing formal like a grid. Once you start using a grid, you are introducing a formal element into it -- possibly even more formal than rulers. I've sometimes used grids to merely transfer a small image to a larger surface, and then run with rulers after that.


Iron Kingdoms actually does this. The biggest problem (besides altitude issues) is that it requires properly proportioned, physical battle maps that are in-scale with the minis.

Not necessarily; you can draw everything on a map, and usually that's sufficient. Scale doesn't matter too much, as long as it's consistent -- you can say one inch equals one yard, even if your miniatures are smaller than that. If you need to deal with elevation or something, then you need rules for it (e.g. one-level of elevation adds one-inch to the distance, etc.) -- and that can get annoying, especially with line of sight. But at least you have the option of using physical terrain which allows direct measurements to be made.

One of the nice things is you aren't constrained by the grid, you can place, or draw, terrain that doesn't conform to hexes or squares with no problems. On the other hand measuring can lead to more ambiguous situations, which a grid can eliminate -- however, with the GM present to be the referee, it shouldn't be a serious issue.

dps
2013-02-26, 10:23 PM
Both have their good and bad sides.
Hexes are perfect in the open field and for area effects, squares are decisely better in dungeons and constructions, with walls at 90.

Yep.

I seem to recall that there are some systems that use hex map for outdoor areas, and square maps for indoor areas.

JusticeZero
2013-02-26, 10:34 PM
For me? Just give me a square map. usually if i'm fighting, it's around squareish things and squareish places. The actual movement stuff is an abstraction. Obsessing over the degree of map distortion is an eyeroller, given that people are, regardless, going to then start arguing about how well they can, at high speed and while carrying a load, thread in between the momentarily-stationary combatants without getting too close to any of them.

TypoNinja
2013-02-26, 11:03 PM
My biggest problem with hex maps is that you cant run horizontally across them, hexes will always have a direction that you can't quite move straight across.

Granted this can be addressed by rules systems individually, but its a flaw in the system. Of course square grids suffer the same for diagonals.

Rhynn
2013-02-27, 02:33 AM
My biggest problem with hex maps is that you cant run horizontally across them, hexes will always have a direction that you can't quite move straight across.

I don't get it - you don't have to move one hex at a time, that's the point of hexes. You just look at how many hexes you cross through to get to your target hex.

ArcturusV
2013-02-27, 02:40 AM
The route matters mostly due to the existence of traps, etc.

But really the "can't move horizontally in a straight line" thing is kind of really nitpicking on an otherwise better system. Well that and "Less flankers" but how many times do you really have 8 PCs/Allies all mob one target?

Ashtagon
2013-02-27, 02:55 AM
But really the "can't move horizontally in a straight line" thing is kind of really nitpicking on an otherwise better system. Well that and "Less flankers" but how many times do you really have 8 PCs/Allies all mob one target?

This.

With a square grid, there's 356 directions that can't be moved in a straight line. With a hex map, that drops to 354. That's such a minor change that it's barelty worth noticing.

TheOOB
2013-02-27, 03:50 AM
The main reason I use square grids is because structures/objects very rarely are structured like a bee-hive, and they don't fit elegantly on a hex grid. Something as simple as a 20' by 20' square room, or a 10' wide hallway perpendicular to a 5' hallway don't work well with hex grids.

I will admit area effects are easier on a hex though.