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MrProper

Square or Hex board?

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I'm in early stages of game development, focusing on game design and I've already got stucked. Game is turn based with 2 players.

I can't decide whether its better to use square or hexa game board. Both have its pros and cons. I've also made small list of them. Feel free to correct me or add some new.

I feel like Hex board might be good choice, but on the other hand you can't go wrong with good old square board.

Square:
+ classic
+ 8 surrounding tiles
+ easy to understand
+- harder to master
- old, looks boring

Hex:
+ cool
+ strategy part seems more fun to me
+ board feels bigger
+- looks more complicated then square, but I believe it's way easier to master
- 6 surrounding tiles
- harder to understand
- people aren't very familiar with this option

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I'm in early stages of game development, focusing on game design and I've already got stucked. Game is turn based with 2 players.

I can't decide whether its better to use square or hexa game board. Both have its pros and cons. I've also made small list of them. Feel free to correct me or add some new.

I feel like Hex board might be good choice, but on the other hand you can't go wrong with good old square board.

Square:
+ classic
+ 8 surrounding tiles
+ easy to understand
+- harder to master
- old, looks boring

Hex:
+ cool
+ strategy part seems more fun to me
+ board feels bigger
+- looks more complicated then square, but I believe it's way easier to master
- 6 surrounding tiles
- harder to understand
- people aren't very familiar with this option



Hexagon board isn't hard to understand in my opinion. It is used in many many board games.

One pro I can imagine for hexagon board is that :

- moving in any adjacent tile moves you equal distance. In square map moving diagonally moves you ~1.4 times the distance compared to moving horizontally or vertically.

For storing a hexagon board in memory you can imagine it as a square board. When drawing it, you'll just need to offset every second column half tile.

Cheers!

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If you were to test out the gameplay on paper, which technique works better?

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I do personally find the math of hexagon boards difficult to understand in a game with complicated stats (like terrain types give different movement penalties, some spells require a clear line of sight, some spells hit hardest at a particular distance from the target, some spells hit multiple tiles in a particular pattern, etc.) My two favorite tactical turn-based combat systems use square grids. Hex grids aren't bad though, they seem to work pretty well in empire-building games and RTS games where you don't have to calculate each turn to find the mathematically best move.

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moving in any adjacent tile moves you equal distance. In square map moving diagonally moves you ~1.4 times the distance compared to moving horizontally or vertically.

This is the main difference I think.

With a square grid, you have to consider whether or not diagonally adjacent spots are adjacent (e.g. if you can travel / melee attack diagonally), and if so, whether or not it should be penalized or count as farther than a horizontal or vertical movement. Neither is wrong, but you have to account for it one way or the other.

With a hex grid, all adjacent spots are definitely adjacent, and all distances are obvious (no worrying about diagonal spots being somewhat farther). On the other hand, one of either horizontal or vertical movement is impossible without "zig-zagging".

It really depends on how you want the game to feel. Both options can be made to work well and look good, I wouldn't worry about hexes confusing players or squares looking boring.

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As a player I like squares a bit more because I know the distance instantly (with hexes I have to click on a unit, I never have a clue how long it will reach if the destination is further than 2 tiles :D). But I like hexes too in heavier wargames (WWI & WWII). But if I were to find hexes in a simple RPG tactical battle game I would feel annoyed and cheated.

Additional cons for Hexes:
- AI movement might give you troubles (check Civilization V design notes, they said they had a lot of trouble with it)

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Additional cons for Hexes:
- AI movement might give you troubles (check Civilization V design notes, they said they had a lot of trouble with it)


Do you have a link for this? I'm curious why it gave them trouble. The SRPG I'm working on originally started with hex tiles and the only thing that changed was the functions to get neighbors tiles and affected tiles when using area of effect skills. The AI remained the same and works just as well with square tiles.

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Here's a great post by Jason Kapalka (creator of Bejeweled) from PopCap where he talks about how hex board can be confusing to casual players: http://www.gamasutra...php?story=21701

There are some interesting points there, and I especially like how they got around the daunting-ness of hexes in Bookworm by using hex mechanics, but displaying them as square tiles.

I know not all of those points apply to a strategy game, but it's definitely worth considering.

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