Hexes: can it be done?

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I am all about playing the game as it is meant to be played (that is, with as few houserules as possible).  However as I began to look at "stepping up" our gaming experience, and enhancing the table (cheaply) I started looking at, for instance, using HeroScape terrain.

I've been trying to drill through a list of possible issues.  Distance, movement, area/blast/burst, flanking... all seem to work the same, if not better.  Obviously there's the whole "straight hallways are a thing of the past" issue (also known as the "BattleTech City Planning Issue") but we're in paragon anyway, and the idea of, say, a Feywild dungeon being hexagon-aligned is highly intriguing.
 
Has anyone every played 4E using hexes?  How did it go?  Did you come up with anything wonky?

 
I am all about playing the game as it is meant to be played (that is, with as few houserules as possible).  However as I began to look at "stepping up" our gaming experience, and enhancing the table (cheaply) I started looking at, for instance, using HeroScape terrain.

I've been trying to drill through a list of possible issues.  Distance, movement, area/blast/burst, flanking... all seem to work the same, if not better.  Obviously there's the whole "straight hallways are a thing of the past" issue (also known as the "BattleTech City Planning Issue") but we're in paragon anyway, and the idea of, say, a Feywild dungeon being hexagon-aligned is highly intriguing.
 
Has anyone every played 4E using hexes?  How did it go?  Did you come up with anything wonky?

 



Let me be honest I don't see any difference between hexes and squares.  I don't feel the game is improved or makes the game worst.

I will say the game was designed with squares in mind.  Blast and burst are affected somewhat by this. This is why I stick with squares.  Make my life a bit easier.  Not that hexes make it that much harder, I just don't see the need or want to changed to hexes.

My home group has played exclusively with hexes with 4e, and it works great.  And for the most part everything works the same (or as you noticed and in our opinion better).

Straight hallways are possible, its a bit more of a headache for a DM when planning and drawing, but it is possible.

You can find a couple hex examples in my house rules below. 

Always a GM, never a player (not really but sometimes feels like it).

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Hexes are better, since on a square grid you run into the problem of what to do about diagonal movement (which actually moves you further). Unfortunately, since the maps in modules are exclusively squares, I've found myself sticking to squares. Let us know how the hex thing works out; I would love to move to hexes, but I just don't see how I could do that and still use the maps in modules.

 

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I'm actually tempted to try converting all the maps in a single module just as an exercise in feasibility.  That might be a good starting point for me.

Great rules, nightwalker.  Why did you layout the close blasts like that, specifically?  It seems like they would hit a much larger number of targets compared to their square-based counterparts.  It may be that the cone ends up hitting less by default, though.   
I wish they had used hexes. But I am simply not interested in the effort to adjust to them.

It just doesn't meet the critereon for 'must be done'.
I don't play 4th edition D&D for Wizard's sake I play it for my sake.
I'm actually tempted to try converting all the maps in a single module just as an exercise in feasibility.  That might be a good starting point for me.

Great rules, nightwalker.  Why did you layout the close blasts like that, specifically?  It seems like they would hit a much larger number of targets compared to their square-based counterparts.  It may be that the cone ends up hitting less by default, though.   



Most of the blasts fluff wise were created looking and sounding like the prior edition cones.  They are actually the biggest difference between square and hex, but overall the players like they way they work.  Also they make the tactics for using them different from the tactics for dropping a burst attack (area or close), since they are differently shaped.  With the square ones, the only difference between area burst 3 within 10 and close blast 3, was one provoked OA's, and the other could go further (or closer if you wanted to).

Always a GM, never a player (not really but sometimes feels like it).

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I just don't see the differnce in hexes...at least tacticly.  The hexes are more less in the same spot as squares.

I don't have a problem with hexes or squares I just don't get how there is a differnce.

The game is based around squares so that is why I stick with squares
I just don't see the differnce in hexes...at least tacticly.  The hexes are more less in the same spot as squares.

I don't have a problem with hexes or squares I just don't get how there is a differnce.

The game is based around squares so that is why I stick with squares



I generally agree, but the OP has a good reason to use hexes: to use Heroscape terrain.  If my group was run out of my house then I would incorporate the Heroscape terrain that I have.

I have used HS terrain for cavern-like dungeons that I have ran for my oldest kid.

 Any Edition

I use hexes when I DM, and they work just fine. The only real house rule that hexes demand is 'You don't have to be exactly opposite of your ally to flank an enemy.' (Because narrow straight hallways on a hex map can make flanking impossible otherwise.) It's a minor house rule, and it actually makes more sense than the RAW, which basically penalizes the third flanker in any group.


You can find a couple hex examples in my house rules below. 


Until recently, I've been treating blasts as circular areas rather than cones, but I'm going to try cones in my upcoming campaign. One of my players is concerned about preserving the original number of spaces that the square grid would provide, so I'm going to replace Blast 5 with Cone 6 rather than Cone 5. (One of my house rules is that I let my players spontaneously shrink their AoE powers, so AoE powers being unwieldy is less of an issue in my games.) It'll be interesting to find out what minor tactical ramifications the cones produce.

I just don't see the differnce in hexes...at least tacticly.  The hexes are more less in the same spot as squares.

I don't have a problem with hexes or squares I just don't get how there is a differnce.

The game is based around squares so that is why I stick with squares


It's not about tactics, it's about taste. Like how some people like the Backstreet Boys, and some people like Billy Joel. There's nothing to get about taste--it's just what people like. I like Billy Joel myself, but you might like the BBs, and that's okay even if I don't get why.

I know hexes and squares are about taste, but people say or I get this impression that some people think there are more tactics with hexes as opposed to squares.

I personally believe that squares are slightly better for D&D (as implemented) than hexes.  But, for this post, I won't express reasons why.  Instead, I will simply point out what meaningfully changes with hexes.


*Adjacency - Squares are adjacent to 8 squares.  Hexes are only adjacent to 6 hexes.  This has meaningful impact on auras, close burst 1 powers, and powers like Valiant Strike (Pal 1 At-Will) and Come and Get It (Fig 7 Enc).  On a purely anecdotal note, I have seen a fighter pull 8 targets adjacent with Come and Get It.

*Large, Huge, and Gargantuan creatures - You need to determine how to depict these sizes and no shape is entirely perfect.  Flanking large creature can definitely be awkward to determine depending ont he chosen number of hexes.  Also, D&D minis may no longer fit your board.

*Walls - Walls may actually become more powerful, due to the increased flexibility of shape in a hex system.  For example, a wall only needs to be six squares to completely surround a single square, rather than 8 squares.  In fact, for any wall that isn't a straight line, the wall will essentially be longer than in a square system.

*Bursts - Bursts are smaller, which impacts the potential targets and the strength of certain powers.

*Blasts - The shape of blasts significantly changes the effectiveness of certain powers and templates have to be made or blasts redefined.  There is an obvious cone based solution, but it decreases number of targets.

*3D Space - The 3rd dimension basically can not be implemented hexagonally as well, which is not necessarily a problem, but it is worth noting that the geometry changes somewhat in 3D.

*Friendly Fire - It is no longer possible to flank an enemy in such a way (diagonal flank) as to allow a wizard buddy to also attack the enemy with a close burst 1 power and not hit an ally.  Reasonable or not, it affects the effectiveness of some characters.

-SYB
I*3D Space - The 3rd dimension basically can not be implemented hexagonally as well, which is not necessarily a problem, but it is worth noting that the geometry changes somewhat in 3D.



Good point.  I would probably do hexagonal cylinders in 3D.

*Friendly Fire - It is no longer possible to flank an enemy in such a way (diagonal flank) as to allow a wizard buddy to also attack the enemy with a close burst 1 power and not hit an ally.  Reasonable or not, it affects the effectiveness of some characters.



I didn't get this one until I realized that the wizard doing the burst wasn't one of the flankers.

 Any Edition

I know hexes and squares are about taste...


Then stop regurgitating 'I don't see I don't get it I don't see' like some kind of mantra.
...but people say or I get this impression that some people think there are more tactics with hexes as opposed to squares.


Ignore those impressions and those people. Believe me, there aren't any more tactics involved with hexes, just marginally different tactics.
I personally believe that squares are slightly better for D&D (as implemented) than hexes.  But, for this post, I won't express reasons why.  Instead, I will simply point out what meaningfully changes with hexes.


*Adjacency - Squares are adjacent to 8 squares.  Hexes are only adjacent to 6 hexes.  This has meaningful impact on auras, close burst 1 powers, and powers like Valiant Strike (Pal 1 At-Will) and Come and Get It (Fig 7 Enc).  On a purely anecdotal note, I have seen a fighter pull 8 targets adjacent with Come and Get It.

*Large, Huge, and Gargantuan creatures - You need to determine how to depict these sizes and no shape is entirely perfect.  Flanking large creature can definitely be awkward to determine depending ont he chosen number of hexes.  Also, D&D minis may no longer fit your board.

*Walls - Walls may actually become more powerful, due to the increased flexibility of shape in a hex system.  For example, a wall only needs to be six squares to completely surround a single square, rather than 8 squares.  In fact, for any wall that isn't a straight line, the wall will essentially be longer than in a square system.

*Bursts - Bursts are smaller, which impacts the potential targets and the strength of certain powers.

*Blasts - The shape of blasts significantly changes the effectiveness of certain powers and templates have to be made or blasts redefined.  There is an obvious cone based solution, but it decreases number of targets.

*3D Space - The 3rd dimension basically can not be implemented hexagonally as well, which is not necessarily a problem, but it is worth noting that the geometry changes somewhat in 3D.

*Friendly Fire - It is no longer possible to flank an enemy in such a way (diagonal flank) as to allow a wizard buddy to also attack the enemy with a close burst 1 power and not hit an ally.  Reasonable or not, it affects the effectiveness of some characters.

-SYB



I never thought about these.  I guess stock in hexs have gone down a little bit in my book.  Thanks for the heads up

The corner vs side flanking is a a personally a pet peve of mine, a big win for hexes.  It should also be noted that, with squares, when flanking by corners, the flanked can shift away from both flankers.  If your flanked on the sides, you can't.

I also perfer hexes for the more "realistic" amount of people that can surround you, and the better shaped burst/blast.

So those points seem in favor of hexes, except the 3D space, which i completely agree is better in squares.

*Add IMO where appropriate.

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F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

A long time ago, when gamin' was young, there was no squares or hexes. We had inches, and we liked it, by gum! And we had rulers to use too! Some of them were 6 inches, some were a foot. Some were called "measurin' tape" and was really long and bent, so you could even figure movement past a corner! Wonders!

Here's a tip for you if you feel square or hex movement is wonky. Use your map/tiles, whatever, but don't move by squares. Turn your squares of movement into inches, and just use a ruler or tape. Move your distance in normal, straight, makes sense lines, and be done with it. If you have some OCD issue with a mini sitting outside a square, when movement is done, set the mini in the square it takes the most of.

Makes blasts and bursts make a lot more sense too.
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Looking through some of my OD&D books, they used squares. In BECMI they used squares, too. In 1E, they used squares, but the squares could be anywhere from 5 ft. to 30 ft. each. As a matter of fact, the only instances I can find of hexes in D&D were in some of the 2E DragonLance material and some of the 2E Greyhawk material (and a few supplement books), and those were only for large, overland area maps, not combat or encounter maps. I personally see no problems at all using hexes, and actually wish they had done so to begin with.
I'm with OpsKT. Why stop at hexes. Go to inches and you don't have any of the funny partial square/hex issues and your bursts/blasts look exactly like you think they should.

Not that I play with inches (I'm a squares guy) but if I was going to make the battlegrid "more realistic" I'd be inclined to just dump the grid altogether. 
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I'm with OpsKT. Why stop at hexes.

because it still is an absolute system. When are you flanking? Is that enemy 5.9" or 6.1" away? etc ...
These are all problems you don't have with absolute systems (be it hexes, squares or anything else)
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