Having fun with a hex grid
Here is the Hotz Mat with the 4 inch hex grid. It is a full size (45″ x 72″) Earth Green Game Mat.
First I put on the MDF Rivers. I wasn’t following a map/plan so I just put a few on to have a look. I have felt rivers but I prefer the MDF versions because they are more curvy.
The next step was felt roads and railways. Black roads. Grey railway lines.
Finally I put on woods, hills and towns. The “woods” are single tree models in a forested hex. The “towns” are single ruined houses. I went for ruins so I could easily fit troops inside.
I’m fairly pleased with the result but I think there are some areas to improve.
I like the:
- MDF rivers
- black felt roads
- straight roads and railway lines
But I’m not sure about the:
- grey felt railway lines
- ruined towns
Straight roads and railway lines
On my Kharkov 1942 Map for PanzerGruppe with 10km Hexes the roads and railway lines are naturally curved. This looks good on a map but once transposed to a table the same roads and railway lines end up dead straight and, more or less, from the centre of a hex to a centre of a hex. I’m okay with that. But it means next time I draw a map I’ll make the roads and railway lines reflect how they will look on table rather than curvy.
There is nothing about the grey felt that screams “railway line”. Of course, anybody I play with will just know they are railway lines but I’d prefer something more suggestive.
Doctor Phalanx uses black felt for his railway lines and brown for roads. I could follow suit but this wouldn’t really address the underlying problem. Black felt looks no more like a railway than grey felt.
I experimented with images of railway lines from Hotz Mats. But that would result in either paper railways lines (flimsy and floaty) or cardboard (floaty and inflexible). By “floaty” I mean will float around the table. In contrast felt terrain sticks to the felt mat.
I’m wondering about printed felt.
A ruined building is pragmatic. But not terribly visually inspired.
I could go for 6mm buildings so they fit in the hex. But that would mean duplicating terrain and I hate that. (Don’t you dare point out that I’ve duplicated rivers, roads and railway lines for this project – it is cruel to point out a man’s self-delusions.)
I could also do a 2D city.
I found that even my smallest hills are too big for a 4″ hex grid.
S&A Scenics have done a few special projects for me. I’m tempted to ask them to make me some tiny hills.
The experiments continue.