Monday, November 6, 2017

Marking up a hex-grid game board.

In the wake of last week's HEXBLITZ game without hexes, I thought it might not be a bad idea to mark up one of my available playing surfaces to a hex grid.  This was a piece of 5-ply wood building material that had been left over years ago from earthquake repairs to the house and never collected. This piece is 120cm x 133cm.

The hexagons pencilled in using the method I described in

To mark this up I followed the method I outlined in a blog posting in March this year, but with the hexes 10cm across the faces.  I didn't bother sanding or otherwise tidying up the piece (though the other face has been) preferring to retain the grain, knots and assorted dings and scratches to give character to the surface.  I will at some time spray or brush on some green and beige so that it looks a little less like wood.

One doesn't need hyper-accuracy...
Time taken to mark up in pencil and mark with marker pen (which, surprisingly, survived the ordeal), a little over 24 hours elapsed time, probably less than three actually working on it.  It briefly considered marking the points of the grid with 'Y' marks, but gave that away as insufficiently clear.  Painting the hex sides also looked to be far too slow.
Hexes marked up and outlined with marker pen.  End hexes left
as pentagons.

Finally, I have left the end hexes as pentagons, originally thinking that the hexes wouldn't quite fit. This seemed to be indicated by some experiments I did with a hex field on paper.  But fit they would, quite well, so I may well finish the edges as hexagons after all.  Overall, this gives me a field of 173 cells - 11-12 x 15.  Gridded up as squares, this would have given me just 156 10cm square cells - 12x13.

The battlefield with Russian and German troops.

   The following pix are there to see what the thing will look like 'in action'.  Have to admit, I might have been a tad overenthusiastic with the pencil.  Losing the pencil marks might not be as easy as I imagined.
Russian infantry and tank brigades.  The half-tracked Zis
medium truck I scratchbuilt.  Only the cab and the traction is
from a kit.The rest is balsa and cardboard, with resin front wheels.
This morning I splodged some heavily watered down paint to give the surface a bit of variety.  Can't say this is the prettiest game board I've ever seen, and I may end up giving it a proper sand and paint job - undercoat, remark the hexes, top coats, the lot. 
A few Germans,  Metal cavalry, the farther Tiger II a diecast
toy with the barrel lengthened, and the commander
recapitated... (yes you read it correctly!)

The remaining pictures are merely an indulgence... 

German Cavalry.  metal, bought second hand.
Provenance unknown.

... just to see how it would look with terrain pieces added.  

Adding terrain - a three-hex conifer forest.  If the centre trees
are kept on the hex-sides, troops can be placed in the woods
and the trees removed without losing sight of where the
forest should be.

A four-hex town - quite a sizeable settlement.  Buildings from
various sources, including two home-made.
Meanwhile, I have indicated I would 'debrief' on the recent East Front action.  I kinda got a little sidetracked with this hex-board project.  Such reflections I'll leave for the moment.  Just by the way I have put in an order for a copy of Megablitz, the ETA of which, my spies tell me, is any time from this coming Friday to tomorrow week (Wednesday).


  1. I think it is perfect to be honest. I am looking at getting a 6x4 (at least that size) and I am very tempted to paint it bright green (aka old style wargame pictures)


  2. Looks good! They are a bit of work to make up though, aren't they?

    1. Until I nutted out the method I used here, I thought the thing would be much too difficult and scarcely worth it. At that time I was thinking in terms of drawing fields of equilateral triangles. Once I lit on the offset oblongs with an appropriate aspect ratio, I found there was only a fairly slight added work to convert them to hexagons. The thing was not too much of a chore to make up and went reasonably quickly. Had I worked at it in one hit, it would have taken maybe half an afternoon.

  3. You must have had a lot of patience doing that hex grid. Good luck with you next hex-based wargame.

    1. You flatter me, sir, I do assure you. I probably spent almost as much time figuring out which way to orient the hexagons as to scribing them onto the board. It took a bit of calculation and experimentation with a piece of paper printed with hexes to determine that hex sides should parallel the long sides of the board.

  4. Archduke Piccolo,

    I really do like the way you have created your hexed tabletop. The fact that you have left the surface rough and stained it rather than painted it enhances the whole effect, and it doesn't look quite as uniform as my Hexon II terrain does.

    I look forward to seeing it in action in the near future.

    All the best,


    1. Hi Bob-
      I have some ideas in mind. I was hoping the splotches would mute the woodiness to some extent, but... well. The thing is a good, manageable size. Of course, the reason I didn't go down the Hexon route was that I'm cheap. Well, the storage consideration is the real reason...

  5. I'm with you on Hexon, shipping and exchange rates really kill it for me.

    I do admire your hexes though. I would think that a thin coat of paint would soften but not obscure the hexes. (My problem when overpainting has always been trying to stop them from showing through.

    Looking at this, and the cloth a friend made, I'm getting closer to loosing the purse strings and buying a Hotz map but might venture to try your technique for base for terrain features.

    1. Yes, I'm thinking the thin coat might well be the go. Perhaps two or three colours to give a splodgy effect - green, tan and beige. If it mutes without altogether obscuring the grid, that would be great.