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18xx» Forums » General

Subject: Design advice: Board Hex Size rss

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Will Beckley
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I'm in the process of drawing my own take on an 18xx, and I've just finished the tiles (yes, by hand). Much searching yielded that my tiles should be 41.5mm edge-to-edge.

So as I move on to tackling the board, what size should the hexes be? My gut is 42.5mm edge-to-edge, but I'm curious if there's a standard and more definitive answer.

Thanks!
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Glenn Martin
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At least 42mm. The tiles should fit comfortably in the hexes without risk of overlapping.

Unless you're going to run a human 18XX game like a human chessboard in which case three feet is a minimum and you'll need pins on the backs of your tiles so they can be worn like badges.
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Scott Petersen
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1.5 inches flat-to-flat for the normal tiles. The board spaces should be 1.52 inches flat-to-flat.

My small tile die for 1822 and 1831 is 1-1/16 inches flat-to-flat.

My quad fold boards are 22.75 x 18.25 inches. The printable art space is something like 22 inches by 17.5 inches.
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J C Lawrence
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Wiyum wrote:
I'm in the process of drawing my own take on an 18xx, and I've just finished the tiles (yes, by hand).


Unghh. Get a copy of Steve Thomas' version of ps18xx. Then you can write two fairly simple text files to generate both the tiles and map in one fell swoop. There is a bit of a learning curve and it is entirely undocumented, but the system is pretty simple all told and you can figure out almost everything just by looking at how other games have been built within the system (which is what I did).

Quote:
Much searching yielded that my tiles should be 41.5mm edge-to-edge.


The actual original spec (Tresham?) appears to have been 1" long edges for the hexes. Basic trigonometry then gives all the other masurements. AFAIK the 41.5mm flat-to-flat measurement originates with me trying to answer the same questions as you and pulling out calipers against my AH 1830, Hartland Trefoil 1825s, etc.

Quote:
So as I move on to tackling the board, what size should the hexes be? My gut is 42.5mm edge-to-edge, but I'm curious if there's a standard and more definitive answer.


That's pretty close to what I do. (I'd have to go measure to see exactly what I do, but in practice I use an internal scaling factor of 1.2 for the map against what appears(?) to be the ps18xx assumption of 2cm hex-edges on the map). For the track-tiles I use the tiles directly as they come out of ps18xx.
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A K Vikhagen
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clearclaw wrote:

Unghh. Get a copy of Steve Thomas' version of ps18xx. Then you can write two fairly simple text files to generate both the tiles and map in one fell swoop.


On that note - does ps18xx support unicode? Last time I tried I got jibberish for the æ ø, and å characters. I didn't give much time to solve it, though, so the mistake is probably on me.
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J C Lawrence
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tilde72 wrote:
clearclaw wrote:
Unghh. Get a copy of Steve Thomas' version of ps18xx. Then you can write two fairly simple text files to generate both the tiles and map in one fell swoop.


On that note - does ps18xx support unicode?


Yes...but in a horribly ugly and painful way. Unicode/UTF-8-/16 support under Postscript itself is horribly ugly and ps18xx does nothing to hide that.

More simply, ps18xx is just a set of perl scripts and Postscript macros to generate raw Postscript files. You can then print the PS directly, make PDFs (which are really just compressed Postscript) etc. As such, you just need to get the proper Postscript in place...which is possible, just bloody awful.

This (incomplete) article gives a sense of the pain.
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A K Vikhagen
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Thanks,

I will find a work-around, or at least a least worst working solution
 
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Will Beckley
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clearclaw wrote:
Wiyum wrote:
I'm in the process of drawing my own take on an 18xx, and I've just finished the tiles (yes, by hand).


Unghh. Get a copy of Steve Thomas' version of ps18xx. Then you can write two fairly simple text files to generate both the tiles and map in one fell swoop. There is a bit of a learning curve and it is entirely undocumented, but the system is pretty simple all told and you can figure out almost everything just by looking at how other games have been built within the system (which is what I did).


No, I knew about ps18xx, but the whole purpose of this project is as a design project, something for me to plug away at after wife and son are fast asleep (vastly earlier than I'm even capable of), and usually while I have the news on (which is almost exclusively aurally stimulating and little else). Moreover, I wanted to make these something of an imitation challenge, modeling them after Klemens Franz's 1844/1854 tiles; mostly classic, but with a nice touch sanding off the rough edges of black and white on bold color that I imagine procedurally generated hexes have. In that goal I can report measured success, and also that I am, to no one's surprise, no Klemens Franz.

clearclaw wrote:
The actual original spec (Tresham?) appears to have been 1" long edges for the hexes. Basic trigonometry then gives all the other masurements. AFAIK the 41.5mm flat-to-flat measurement originates with me trying to answer the same questions as you and pulling out calipers against my AH 1830, Hartland Trefoil 1825s, etc.


Oh, that would have been good to know, but are they really 2" in diameter (vertex to opposite vertex)? I didn't go back to basic trig, but I did do all of my calculations using the convenience of regular hexagons being easily broken into equilateral triangles (which made it much easier to get all of the track arcs right, once I realized both that and what a full circle of track would look like on the board; tight turns have a diameter equal to one hex edge and gentle turns have a diameter of 3 hex edges for those looking for the shortcut). In any event, you were certainly the source of the 41.5mm spec that I designed off of.

Which, by the way, yields hexes with a diameter (vertex to opposite vertex) that is 94.416% of the full 2-inch diameter one would expect with full 1-inch hexsides.

In any event, thanks everyone for your help. I'll go with 42.5mm board hexes, knowing that it will be better to have slightly too-big hexes than slightly too-small. And a millimeter isn't much more than a cutting error anyway.
 
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J C Lawrence
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XXPaper BTW also breaks under non-ASCIZ characters and for much the same reason as it is really just a pile of Python that generates raw Postscript files...and then the screwery happens. (Actually, it breaks first in the missing unicode support of a supporting library, but even if that were fixed, it would then break in the borked Postscript unicode support, but details) This results in such things as 1820 (set in England) being littered with $-signs instead of £. Sigh. At some point I'll get around to re-writing XXPaper to use ReportLab.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Wiyum wrote:
Moreover, I wanted to make these something of an imitation challenge, modeling them after Klemens Franz's 1844/1854 tiles; mostly classic, but with a nice touch sanding off the rough edges of black and white on bold color that I imagine procedurally generated hexes have.


One of the nice things about ps18xx putting out raw PS is that you can then drop that straight into Adobe Illustrator and diddle it there. (Don't think I've actually tried this, but it should work)

Quote:
Which, by the way, yields hexes with a diameter (vertex to opposite vertex) that is 94.416% of the full 2-inch diameter one would expect with full 1-inch hexsides.


I suspect an original 1" edge-length followed by a cutting kerf.

Quote:
And a millimeter isn't much more than a cutting error anyway.


In practice I cut my track tiles slightly small as I refuse to have traces of the black hex outlines on the tiles.
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Scott Petersen
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For all future designers that see this post.

Please.

All the small publishers have the same die. DTG, Marflow, AAG, GSG, Mark Frazier.

1.5 inches flat-to-flat is 38.1 mm.
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Will Beckley
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scottredracecar wrote:
For all future designers that see this post.

Please.

All the small publishers have the same die. DTG, Marflow, AAG, GSG, Mark Frazier.

1.5 inches flat-to-flat is 38.1 mm.


Thanks! And that also means:

Hex Diameter (a vastly more useful measure in most design software) is:

43.994mm or 1.732 inches

 
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J C Lawrence
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scottredracecar wrote:
For all future designers that see this post.

Please.

All the small publishers have the same die. DTG, Marflow, AAG, GSG, Mark Frazier.

1.5 inches flat-to-flat is 38.1 mm.


Excellent point and I thoroughly agree. I really need to get around to getting such a die (and extending ps18xx to do matching tile sheets with bleeds etc).

BtB AH map hexes (not track tiles) are just under 41.5mm across.
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Will Mellor
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Where can we get this die?
 
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J C Lawrence
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You order it as a custom-made item from Ellison. IIRC my quote was ~$300 for the die (this was a few years ago). I have the original spec file from John stashed away somewhere, but haven't yet finished building a toolchain that would produce track files with bleeds etc suitable for such a die (I've made headway, but am not near done).
 
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Bruce Murphy
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Alright, alright, I'll go find my patch to ps18xx which does bleeds.

B>
 
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Rebecca Carpenter
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clearclaw wrote:
You order it as a custom-made item from Ellison. IIRC my quote was ~$300 for the die (this was a few years ago). I have the original spec file from John stashed away somewhere, but haven't yet finished building a toolchain that would produce track files with bleeds etc suitable for such a die (I've made headway, but am not near done).


$300 for a tile die seems super reasonable considering how many tiles you cut out and their standard size. I was impressed with your train/shares die results at Sasquatch. Does the die ever need to be sharpened? Do you have any pics of it in action?
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Rebecca Carpenter
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scottredracecar wrote:
For all future designers that see this post.

Please.

All the small publishers have the same die. DTG, Marflow, AAG, GSG, Mark Frazier.

1.5 inches flat-to-flat is 38.1 mm.


But but, I've gotten accustomed to those micro '22 tiles Scott! '22's arrival did coincide with my first pair of eyeglasses. Coincidence? You decide.
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J C Lawrence
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CoffeeRunner wrote:
$300 for a tile die seems super reasonable considering how many tiles you cut out and their standard size.


Cutting track tiles is a funny thing. When I'm not doing it, I dread ever doing it again. Gahhh. But when I have a game design in-hand and am cutting tiles, you know what? It goes pretty quickly and isn't so bad...

Stockholm syndrome.

I've cut a few tens of thousands of track tiles by now. I've grown used to the callouses. Besides, these shackles look fetching on me.

In truth what I really need to address is not so much getting a die for track tiles, but handling alignment of the die to the image to be cut. That's painfully manual and time-consuming. If I had a quick system for that, then making something even as large as 1820 (30 companies, 5 pages per company, 12 pages of trains, 18 pages of track tiles etc) would be but an evening's work. Alignment is the actual elephant in the room.

Quote:
Does the die ever need to be sharpened?


So far not, but as it is Ellison's standard standard test die, its only ~$20 to replace should that be needed.

Quote:
Do you have any pics of it in action?


Not of mine, but it is largely consistent with the following if you add in a rather fiddly process (Okay, extremely fiddly) of getting the die aligned and centered on the image.

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Rebecca Carpenter
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^^^I can't believe I watched whole thing. What's worse is, this isn't even the first time.

Your die cut components had very crisp edges, showing no sign for need of sharpening, but $20 seems like a good deal for a replacement if eventually necessary. Paper dulls blades quickly, or so my sewing granny would say when I'd get near her shears.

What does DTG, AAB, and GS use to cut out tiles?

J C, have you considered using different components for shares in '20? What about wooden bits, cardboard rounds (like game money but with company graphics) or even a single share with dry erase marker bookkeeping? Players could write in the company size and shares owned. The bank pool could be displayed vertically with shares accounted for on it. Not sure there's a problem that needs fixing, but 50 shares is a lot to manage between multiple companies. Of course, in '20, players might be managing companies for a shorter legnth of time than they hope...
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J C Lawrence
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CoffeeRunner wrote:
Your die cut components had very crisp edges, showing no sign for need of sharpening, but $20 seems like a good deal for a replacement if eventually necessary. Paper dulls blades quickly, or so my sewing granny would say when I'd get near her shears.


It helps that the cuts are by pure compression rather than dragging the edge through the material, but yes, the lifetime of a die is clearly not infinite.

Quote:
What does DTG, AAB, and GS use to cut out tiles?


DTG uses an Ellison Prestige Pro with a custom die. As clones of DTG, I expect AAG and GSG to also be using Ellison Prestige Pros. I have an Ellison Prestige Pro as well, I just don't yet have the custom die.

Quote:
J C, have you considered using different components for shares in '20? What about wooden bits, cardboard rounds (like game money but with company graphics) or even a single share with dry erase marker bookkeeping?


Not specifically for '20, but in general for 18xx, yes. Ultimately I concluded that discrete physical movable countable etc entities for shares had the best and most direct usability.

In the specific case of '20 I'm now considering changing the share distribution from its current 5 versions of director's certificates and ~27 individual share certificates in different sizes (1, 2, and 4 share) to a simple flat distribution of a private certificate, a director's certificate, a score-ish single-share certificate and a dozen-ish double-share certificates (a total of 43 certificates per company!). The idea would be that moving up and down the size scale would just be adding or removing shares to reach the appropriate count (and privates would remain a special case). I could even individually number the certificates (1,2,3,4,5,6...) ala Marflow Games' pattern so as to make that process easier (assuming that companies were put away with their certificates in order...)

Quote:
Not sure there's a problem that needs fixing, but 50 shares is a lot to manage between multiple companies.


As there are relatively few 50 share companies, I think that's rather less of a problem. The bigger problem I see is that I so heavily re-use some individual certificates between sizes, but others have to be discarded and replaced with new sizes (eg the director's certs) that it is quite a fiddle and perhaps confusing too. Losing that fiddle seems like the most immediate gain.

Quote:
Of course, in '20, players might be managing companies for a shorter legnth of time than they hope...


Sniffle.
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Will Mellor
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Just to be clear - the die is $300 and then the $20 is for replacement cutting parts? I recall going through this before and thought that repeat dies were cheaper - perhaps thats the $300 part?

If you can find the template that would be very helpful!!!
 
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J C Lawrence
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ill6 wrote:
Just to be clear - the die is $300 and then the $20 is for replacement cutting parts? I recall going through this before and thought that repeat dies were cheaper - perhaps thats the $300 part?


No.

The custom dies were quoted to me at ~$300. I assume that replacement dies are the same cost. I have no reason to think that die-sharpening is a service or any different cost than replacement.

Test dies, this is the die that Ellison ships as a sample die with the Prestige Pro and is the format that XXPaper targets by default, cost ~$20 (I've not checked recent pricing, but they're cheap). One such test die comes for "free" with your $400 Prestige Pro. Additional/subsequent dies cost ~$2o each.

Well, except that a quick glance at the Ellison web site suggests that they no longer sell the sample/test dies.
 
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Will Mellor
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OK. Thanks. Very keen to get the template if you stumble across it for a couple of projects.
 
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