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Subject: Hex vs Square Map: Theme = City Building rss

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Thom Barchet
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I have a design for a city building game (currently in its infancy, but it is my first game that I am passionate about, and I think I may have a nice blend of mechanics to really make it something special). I have always enjoyed hexagon-style maps; however, I am thinking that a square-style map might be more conductive to the theme (I have heard that cities have systems of straight roads, I wouldn't know from living in Boston ). I also have a modular board in my mind, and that lends itself to square maps. Could anyone spare a new designer some of their experiences, feedback, or personal opinions about hex vs square maps? Thanks in advance.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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Roads meet often at close to 90 degree increments. Buildings usually have rectangular based shapes.

Hexes would not to city building justice.

Now, if it were an ant farm...
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Thom Barchet
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Geosphere wrote:
Roads meet often at close to 90 degree increments. Buildings usually have rectangular based shapes.

Hexes would not to city building justice.

Now, if it were an ant farm...

Yeah, that how I felt too. I might be able to make it work with hexes, but I think it would feel awkward, maybe even pasted together. I think that, unless I come up with some real good reason to do hexes (make it a space/city theme that's more believable), I'll stick with squares.
 
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Daniel Winterhalter
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I have to second (third?) this motion; terrestrial cities that didn't grow up around odd geographical things like harbors are almost all laid out in a square grid pattern.

I like the idea of a hex-based game for either space or hive-type organic growth myself, but if your theme doesn't change, I think you're best off w/ the square grid.

Best of luck with this, and let us know when you have more!
 
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Franklin Turner
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Squares definitely work better for cities. Look at the maps in SPI's Sniper! to see how wrong hexes are. applied to an urban setting. If movement or distance are part of your game you should account for the longer distance of a diagonal move. T.he easiest approach is to use 5 and 7 points as the costs of an orthogonal and diagonal move. Another is to ban diagonal moves.
 
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Thom Barchet
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Thanks for the feedback. I was testing the waters with my question, and by your unanimous feedback, I can conclude that hexes would be a disaster.
 
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Christopher
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Harv wrote:
Trekspert1 wrote:
I have to second (third?) this motion; terrestrial cities that didn't grow up around odd geographical things like harbors are almost all laid out in a square grid pattern.


Only in the last 200 years! Take a look outside America, we favour the 'punish the postman' approach.

we can't help it, we even still do it now, with complete new portions of cities/villages! shake
 
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Alan Monroe
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Geosphere wrote:
Roads meet often at close to 90 degree increments. Buildings usually have rectangular based shapes.

Hexes would not to city building justice.


For a dissenting opinion, see the Fallout 1 and 2 computer games. They're hex-based, and still have rectangular buildings.
 
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John Kovacs
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Quote:
(I have heard that cities have systems of straight roads, I wouldn't know from living in Boston)


I've been to the Boston area for business - truer words were never spoken! It's been a long time, though - when there was only one tunnel under the river to get to Logan. There's nothing like squeezing six lanes of rush hour traffic into one to get across the river...
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Ryan Powers
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There was a thread a while back about different ways to put square buildings (or other 90 degree features) on hex based maps. It had a link to a pretty interesting discussion on another forum, complete with tons of examples. Last time I tired it though, the link no longer lead to a useful place. And now I seem to be failing in my attempt to find that particular BGG thread.

In the end though for a city building game, I suspect squares/rectangles are the way to go anyhow.
 
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Byron Grimes
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Well, I'm working on a light civilization game, and I'm going to do something different: hexagon cards. I like some of the mulitfunctionality of cards in San Juan and RftG, but I want something a little different. With hex cards, I can have the civ actually be built (space-filling shape) and have cards influence neighboring cards.

From the standpoint of ease, squares are much easier. My game is going to run me through a lot of ink and cardstock, due to shape and size. If you want a modular board, though, either could work. Think of it somewhat like a retheme of Fjords, at least for the tiles. Yes, you probably want larger, but that's not the point; that's just a matter of scale.

Alternately, you could do two versions: one with square tiles, one with hexes.goo
 
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Travis Worthington
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2010 Releases ........................................ The Resistance, Haggis & Triumvirate ..................................... Now accepting submissions for 2011 releases ........................................ www.IndieBoardsandCards.com
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There is a good discussion of using hexes in this post a while ago, including this very unique design of streets in the muslim world http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/934806#934806. The cairo tiling effect has 4 irregular pentagons that make an irregular hex.



I hadn't seen this when I went down the path of designing my first game, Streets of Cairo, but I did name my game for that city because of the resemblance between google earth map of Cairo and my city based on hexes.



I am still looking for committed playtesters, going through first round of blind playtesting and will need a handful of others that can help me test revisions to the rulebook



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Scott O'Brien
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have you considered octagons?

the advantage of octagons over hexes, is its like having 2 built in squares... why?

because then you have the option of doing roads at 45 AND 90 degree angles with the same chips, instead of having to print a limited amount of corner to corner road chips.
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Travis Worthington
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Lots of good pictures at the mathworld site on tessellation options.

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Tessellation.html

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Have you considered a brick pattern?

You still get six connections and the bricks offer right angle corners...
 
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Thom Barchet
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This created a more lively discussion than I anticipated. The Cairo Tessellation is pretty cool as well. Part of the reason I asked is because a unique feel could prevent the game from looking like SimCity on a board, as well as providing a cool environment to play with. Fairness in movement distance/direction isn't an issue in this game, so the prototype will be square (go with what I know can work). Once again, thanks for the suggestions (especially the outside the box ones).
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Christopher
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T Worthington wrote:
Lots of good pictures at the mathworld site on tessellation options.

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Tessellation.html


Thanks for citing this exciting site! (that came out a bit weird...)
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Christopher Todesco
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Solarinus wrote:
Part of the reason I asked is because a unique feel could prevent the game from looking like SimCity on a board, as well as providing a cool environment to play with.


SimCity's "board" involves placing zones on a square grid; so far, your game sounds like is going to be a square TILE placing game-- a subtle difference, but in most tile-placing games, each tile reacts like its own zone, whereas SimCity each zone is multiple squares on a much larger grid. Worrying about what else your game may look like because it has a same basic theme is no reason to try to shoehorn in a mechanic that doesn't fit the theme. (i.e. MOST cities' streets are at least partially orthogonal.)
 
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Richard Pakpreo
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It really depends on what the actions do. Boston is somewhat square... if you do the newer parts of the city, aka nothing in cobblestone. It also depends on who you are marketing the game to. Squares are much easier to visualize and easier to understand. Hexs and Octagons are sometimes more functional. Then again, you could so something wacky like diamonds if it works/fits better. Look at Lost Valley and see how it plays out.
 
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