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The Hills Rise Wild!» Forums » Variants

Subject: Converting this game to grid-based movement rss

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Sebastian Bludd
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I think I'd play this game more often (and have better luck roping in casual gamers) if the pieces moved by spaces rather than inches, so I got it into my head to scan a few of the tiles and apply a grid to see how well it would work. I went with 3/4" squares (same size as the character bases) which necessitated increasing the map tile size from 6.375" to 6.75", yielding a 9 x 9 grid. I've uploaded a few of the tiles that I think illustrate most clearly the challenges inherent in trying to complete this conversion. I've also uploaded a .png file of the grid itself (6.75" square at 400 dpi) to the Files section.


The Marsh Clan Home Tile is easily one of the best conversions. All of the doors and windows line up perfectly and only 8 of the 81 squares have any sort of ambiguity regarding whether the space should be designated inside or outside.


Devil Hill is more complicated. The windows are bisected by grid lines and the building's squares at the bottom of the tile would make pawn placement ambiguous, at best. The bushes are even worse as it's not clear which squares should be considered blocked.

I've also uploaded 3 other images but there's no need to analyze them in detail since they all suffer from similar issues as the Devil Hill tile.

The common sense approach would be to say that if a bush covers less than half of a square then the square should be considered to be unobstructed. (I also came up with the clarification that no diagonal movement is to be permitted between two partially obstructed squares whose common corner lies inside an obstacle.) However, this still doesn't address those 50/50 cases where a square is half-building/half-field, plus it's not very playable and simply looks bad when you have to stop and parse the "meaning" of a square. Then one has to consider bisected door and windows and how to handle movement through them (I don't have any concrete ideas for this yet...).

I've played around with adjusting the size of the buildings to conform to the grid but this will require deciding whether or not to make certain pathways wider/narrower or change the shape/location of doors or windows. Fortunately this game has a lot of variance introduced by the dice so it's possible that the balance won't be impacted significantly, it'll just take a lot longer due to having to edit each individual tile.

Thoughts?
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Brad Johnson
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I agree with you -- I was one of the playtesters for HRW, and some of my feedback included how much cleaner the game would play if it were grid-based instead of using analog measurement. But Pagan was really set on this being a miniatures-style experience, so they were totally against using the grid. I still pull this game out once in a while because my kids and some of my friends love it, but I always hate the time everyone spends trying to finagle the measurements.

If you're a photoshop pro you could theoretically resize and move all the features on each tile to align with the grid.

Another possible solution might be to use multiple overlapping grids on each tile. For example, grid the interior of each house so it aligns with the walls - then grid the exterior area of the tile so it aligns with the edges of the tile. There would be mismatches at the building walls, but since you can actually only enter at doors and windows, just say you can move to any adjacent (or partially adjacent) square through the openings. If necessary, put little arrows at the doors and windows to explicitly indicate legal moves. You could even use slightly different size grids inside buildings and outside (to make sure everything fits correctly) with no real impact to the game. (If it's not clear what I'm suggesting, let me know, and I'll try to work up an example, but my graphics skills are pretty meager.)

There are two other logistical improvements I'd love to make as well:

1) Make the tiles hook together jigsaw style so they don't slip around so much. (This would be less vital with a grid than it is when you're trying to measure.) Pagan rejected this feedback from me, too.

2) Use some miniatures with some weight (preferably metal) instead of the little paper standups. I didn't even bother to give this feedback - I knew it would be much too expensive.

Maybe someday I'll pimp my game
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Sebastian Bludd
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tempus42 wrote:
If you're a photoshop pro you could theoretically resize and move all the features on each tile to align with the grid.


I don't know if I'd call myself a "pro" but I have enough knowledge and experience to be dangerous. devil I've modified the Storm Hollow tile and uploaded it, let me know what you think. The Strange Old Shack is going to be kind of a pain but I don't think any of the tiles will be impossible; it'll just mean that this project will take a lot longer than I'd hoped...

tempus42 wrote:
Another possible solution might be to use multiple overlapping grids on each tile. For example, grid the interior of each house so it aligns with the walls - then grid the exterior area of the tile so it aligns with the edges of the tile. There would be mismatches at the building walls, but since you can actually only enter at doors and windows, just say you can move to any adjacent (or partially adjacent) square through the openings. If necessary, put little arrows at the doors and windows to explicitly indicate legal moves. You could even use slightly different size grids inside buildings and outside (to make sure everything fits correctly) with no real impact to the game.


That's an excellent idea. I'll probably resize most of the buildings (and bushes) to conform to the grid but I think a separate grid of a different orientation is the best solution for the Strange Old Shack tile.

tempus42 wrote:
2) Use some miniatures with some weight (preferably metal) instead of the little paper standups. I didn't even bother to give this feedback - I knew it would be much too expensive.


I'm going to pick up some game stands from here: http://www.rolcogames.com/product.php?id=83&catid=9. They're even 3/4" x 3/4"!

Thanks for your feedback and I guess I'll just keep plugging along and see if I can come up with something that'll work.
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Sebastian Bludd
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tempus42 wrote:
...you could theoretically resize and move all the features on each tile to align with the grid.


So far I've finished the Storm Hollow, The Mansion & Strange Old Shack tiles. I changed the size of the Mansion and the sizes and shapes of the rooms and tweaked the locations of the doors. In the case of door and windows that are bisected by gridlines (like the upper right door on the Mansion tile) I'm going to edit it such that half of the door/window falls on either side of the line. That way the door or window can be entered/exited from two squares without a lot of new rule clarifications.


The Strange Old Shack was a nightmare. It took me a while (using your excellent suggestion) to puzzle out how to get the grid inside the shack, and once I had that figured out I had to determine how I was going to change the bushes to conform to the grid. I'm quite happy with the results and at this point I think I can do all the tiles. I arranged the shack specifically so that in can only be entered via one specific square. I didn't think any other orientation would work very well without instituting new rules that would be more complicated than I'd want.

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Brad Johnson
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I like what you're doing! I'd certainly like to try a game with your graphics to see how it would work. Do you want a hand modifying the rules to speak in terms of grids for movement and shooting? It should be a pretty easy conversion, but there might be some hidden issues in there to think about....
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Sebastian Bludd
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tempus42 wrote:
I like what you're doing! I'd certainly like to try a game with your graphics to see how it would work.


Thanks for the compliment. I've had to make a lot of executive decisions re: bush placement and shape; I hope I haven't modified them in ways that will imbalance the game. I'm counting on the D20 to even things out.

tempus42 wrote:
Do you want a hand modifying the rules to speak in terms of grids for movement and shooting? It should be a pretty easy conversion, but there might be some hidden issues in there to think about....


I'd appreciate any help you'd be willing to offer. I've got 7 of the 18 tiles done (I'm doing all the tiles with bushes first since they're the biggest pain) so it'll be a while before I get to the rules.
 
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Brad Johnson
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One additional suggestion before you get too far: Looking at the sample tile above with the diagonal shack -- there are a number of partial squares along the exterior walls of the shack (of course). Would it be possible to pre-decide which of those spaces should be considered "playable" and lightly gray-out the ones that are not? That way, during play, there are no arguments about spaces. Figures can't be placed in grayed-out spaces (but they would still be used if necessary for range determination.)
 
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Brad Johnson
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SabastianBludd wrote:
Thanks for the compliment. I've had to make a lot of executive decisions re: bush placement and shape; I hope I haven't modified them in ways that will imbalance the game. I'm counting on the D20 to even things out.


I wouldn't worry about the precise placement of bushes affecting game balance at all. I can't imagine a couple squares either way will ever make any noticeable difference.
 
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Sebastian Bludd
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tempus42 wrote:
One additional suggestion before you get too far: Looking at the sample tile above with the diagonal shack -- there are a number of partial squares along the exterior walls of the shack (of course). Would it be possible to pre-decide which of those spaces should be considered "playable" and lightly gray-out the ones that are not? That way, during play, there are no arguments about spaces. Figures can't be placed in grayed-out spaces (but they would still be used if necessary for range determination.)


I haven't merged any of my layers in my edited tile files so it's no problem to go back and add grayed-out spaces to indicate squares that are out of play. I'm in the middle of a bushes tile now, but I'll do a diagonal-building tile next and upload it so you can see how it looks.
 
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Luc VC
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That's a very, very good idea!
But I must say that I'm not crazy about the thick black lines.
Maybe semi-transparent white lines would make it less busy?
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j h
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I too am tempted to just draw grids on there. I love this game, but the ruler measurement is just obsolete, backwards design.

jh
 
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Kvinnherad Brettspelklubb
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Use a clear/transparent overlay with pre-drawn lines. We use this all the time playing RPG; then we have grids in a second on all the cool battle boards and maps we want (even using the tiles from THRW!)

And don’t forget to substitute your paper figures with metal miniatures; you don’t want to sneeze Captain Marsh to death!!!
 
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