View Full Version : Squares, hexes, rulers, what kind of map should I use?

2013-10-28, 05:42 AM
I've been debating for the past few days on what kind of map I should use, or if one is even necessary.

Though this is technically for an rpg, its not quite the kind of rpg you're used to. Though there are traditional rpg elements, the game mostly focuses on tactical combat between two mages summoning monsters and throwing spells at eachother and whatnot. Its based off of magic the gathering, to give you an idea of what I'm designing. The game's coming out to look alot like mage wars, but not because I'm trying to imitate it, (i've been brainstorming on this project for years now, long before I even heard of mage wars), its just that it has a similar theme of mages running around summoning monsters and casting spells, so inadvertantly the two games do bear a resemblance to eachother.

Anyway, my point is I don't know what kind of map to use. Square grid, hex grid, ruler, or if I should just have the game function like old computer rpgs where there is no movement, just characters taking a swing at eachother back and forth until one runs out of hit points (this would more resemble the card game obviously). But all these methods have disadvantages that I don't like.

The square grid can't handle diagonal movement well, the hex grid can't handle side-to-side movement well, 'diagonal' directions aren't exactly 45 degrees, and it gets a bit problematic figuring out how to represent monsters that are abnormally large, like taking up 4 spaces might be okay for something long like a lion, but what about a giant?

And I don't really have any experience with using rulers for movement, that would solve the size problem and the inherent limiations of using a grid, but its rather complicated when you think about it, especcially when you're dealing with monsters that can be quite a bit bigger than the rest, and then there's the problem of 'area of control' (the area around a monster that would either prevent another monster from passing through or requiring it to spend extra movement to disengage, I need this so monsters can actually form a wall to help defend their mage and not have something just run right between them.)

I could also just have no maps what-so-ever (it would mean less components I would have to make, especcially since I'd have to go out and buy a compass to make a hex grid map). But that seems rather odd and lazy, and makes the game look like too MTG without the cards. I don't know of any tabletop rpg that does that.

I don't even know wheather or not I should fret over this so much, considering that tactical movement isn't all THAT important (there is no 'flank attack' stuff). Most of my problem is I just find it annoying that on square grids a character can move alot faster diagonally than they can just going straight north south east or west.

Which should I choose?

Epsilon Rose
2013-10-28, 09:37 AM
Given what you're describing why don't you stick to ranges and columns?

Start by splitting the table in half, then split the halves into thirds. These new sections would be Front, Rear, and Keep. The front would start as something for melee and tanky units. The rear for magic, support, ranged, and squishy units. The keep would be solely for the wizard, special units and resources and could provide various bonuses like heightened defense and regen, but it should be very hard to get normal units into the keep.

You might also want to allow movement between the different sections, including into enemy ranges. Units should get advantages and be easier to support while in allied ranges, but there are obvious tactical advantages to moving your front up. This also means that once units get into a keep it can be very hard to deal with them, since it's hard to get allies into a keep. This also opens up interesting possibilities for tactical spells and traits. For example, a flying unit might be really good for invading, if your enemy lack flying or anti-air defenses. Similarly, there might be spells that teleport an allied unit into the enemy keep for 1 round, allowing for a quick strike against the enemy mage or the pilfering of resources if it can't be killed quickly enough, before yanking it back to allied ranges.

Finally, this makes for an interesting tactical division in types of mages and heroes. Depending on what range a mage favors, it could have very different play styles regardless of what it's roll is (a Front line support mage would be very different from a Keep support mage).

2013-10-28, 04:27 PM
I don't quite understand what you're describing. You mean a 1x6 map, or a 2x3 map? I would think you meant a 2x3 map, but you seem to be talking about a map divided into 6 rows.

Epsilon Rose
2013-10-28, 06:21 PM
Ah, sorry about that. I meant a 1x6 map with each combatant controlling one half.

Of course, each row could be arbitrarily divided into any number of monster columns, either in the rules, based on the number of monster that have been summoned, the turn number or some other resource.