Battle grid... square vs. hex?

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Hello all,

Well its been a while since I've been involved with D&D (boards or writing for Dragon) and I was just currious as to whether the battle grid question has come up? I've only really played D&D and I like the incorporation on mini's but to me it seems that using a hex grid would have a better, and simpler, feel for movement. I realize that the whole flanking/line of sight thing may become mor complex, but really it still works if you have to line up from a "corner" and what not.

Anyway, I was just wondering if 4E would take a look at the hex mat as an alternative... basically I just dislike the squares cause everything feels forced into a box. I know its not that case, but on the square mat a fireball just doesn't work and I find myself calling DM's perogative quite often. ;)
Hex would be alot better for movement purposes concerning diagonal since it's equal distance no matter what way you move...no 5/10/15/25 counting just keeps it simple. Also it's more realistic with hex one can only be surrounded by 6 medium size creatures where it's 8 on squares. If spell area of effects work anything like 3.5 then using hex is pretty easy there is a good system there in the Unearthed Arcana.

I to would really like to see hex become the official standard for 4th but for some reason I don't think it will. Maybe it's a publishing problem or something that isin't overly common knowledge, I'm sure they looked into hex as an option and I would sure like to know at some point why they ruled it out or unlikely confirmation that it is in.
Yeah, I tend to find hexes just plain easier to work with too.

Ever try figuring out a cone's area of effect in a square grid? It's a nightmare. Entirely inconsistent and crazy, either you use the DMG spell templates or you spend an hour there staring dumbfounded at the square grid. Even then, firing a cone diagonally causes it to be really wide and narrow as it goes, while firing it straight north or south or whatever leads to a more cone-like shape. Radius effects like fireballs, same problem. In a game with so many area effects you'd figure they could choose a better means of representing them.

And I'm not even going to start with the problem of diagonal squares costing more movement.

Hexes are a lot easier simply because one hex is one hex, regardless of what direction you go. Diagonals aren't more costly. Radius effects are an even spread, 3 hexes in every direction for a 3 hex radius effect. Cones are easy enough to execute as cones.

About the only real problems you have wtih hexes is that the geometry of structures isn't as nice and neat. Its alot easier drawing a map of a dungeon on a square grid than a hex grid, simply because your walls naturally follow your grid as opposed to constantly bisecting hexes. And that's a pain... but still, once the battle actually starts, the hex grid is far superior.
D&D's cone effects are all 90 degrees. Unless you house rule them to be 60 or 120 when using a hex grid, you're going to have a lot of trouble with it.

I used to be a fan of hex grids. I always thought of the whole diagonal=1.5 convention on square grids had to be horribly inaccurate. But if you sit down and look at it, you realize that D&D's way of handling the 1.5 makes your "circles" just a little more circular than an octagon. And octagons are closer to circles than hexes. Square movement is actually more accurate than hex movement, with the every other diagonal rule. I've never seen a player have difficulty handling diagonal movement, either.

I think, overall, hexes are just silly. They're only worth it in games with facing or games about bees.

However, there is another very good alternate movement system available that never gets mentioned. Whip out a tape measure and call every inch five feet. It's faster than you may think, perfectly accurate, and has no weird mapping constraints. The only downside is wrapping your head around how AOOs work without a grid for the first time.
I don't really like the idea of my character looking drunk as he staggers back and forth between two rows of hexes, becuase that's the only way he can go "straight" in that direction.:P

8 directions seems better to me than "6-but-you-can-really-go-12-kinda-but-it'll-look-like-you're-failing-a-breathalyzer-test".

And may I ask: How is it eaisier to do cones and AoE? In squares, it's 90 degree cones. In hex, I don't even know. In squares for AoE, you just count out the squares from the origin to each nearby creature and see if it hits (no real need to find out EXACTLY what it looked like) or use a template. In hex for AoE, I guess it's kinda the same, but I'm assuming if you try to count the spaces out, it ends up looking like your fireball is shaped like a flower.
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Well I have to agree that hex is a far better system for calculating everything. It's probably because I grew up using hex on Battletech that I can say that though. To be honest, hex doesn't go well with mapping too well. If you can handle having bizarrely unusable spaces because half of it is taken by a building, then go hex. there's no diagonals to annoy you and almost all parts of gameplay will come out smoother. I don't know about a 45º angle ray. It'll probably be either 30º or 60º degrees for a cone, which may change some things, but it would be easily fixed.

All in all, I don't think it's a necessary change for the game, but it should be an option in the DMG.

Update: And as to the stagger argument, all that's needed is to do the same thing that's done in square grids. Go one direction until your parallel with your target, then go toward your target. It's the same thing that's used in normal D&D, unless your argument is "aww man, I keep going diagonal then north rapidly, and it makes me look like I'm using the track skill on a retarded bee" as well.
I've been using hexes for years now and love them. I have not had a player who didn't end up loving them either. Counting distance and areas is fast regardless of direction. It gives the battlefield a nice 'compass' feel to it (whatever that means).

To those who don't like to 'waddle', I don't like being 'boxed in'! :P :D

P.S. to Rustmonster, "Go 'Bombers!"

The Piazza A renaissance of the Old Worlds. Where any setting can be explored, any rules system discussed, and any combination of the two brought to life.

I'm just going to have to be different. We use neither and I love it.

We use a virtual table top that calculates all the distances for you. So we are not boxed in. If you want to move only 2'3" to stand on that rock, you can. Increadibly freeing.
I'm rather torn on the hexes vs. squares question. It's like the chocolate vs. vanilla argument: nobody can agree, but we're all happy with what we have.

Hexes are nifty because they remove the question of diagonals, though at the cost of creating a playing board that newbies might find a little strange. Most people are used to looking at grids for movement (checkers and chess being the first "miniatures" games people encounter).

Hexes are also troublesome for an aesthetics reason: dungeons mapped in hexes, especially tactical maps, look a little strange. Straight walls either clip parts of the hexes or must be transformed into jagged lines.

I think D&D has stuck with squares because, since the beginning of the game, dungeons have been mapped on square graph paper. Changing at this point might be more trouble than it's worth.

Hexes do have some strengths:
1. Flanking is a lot easier, since you just have to look at opposite sides of a single hex. There are no corners to worry about. Veteran players may find this odd, but flanking is one of the hardest things for new players to understand.

2. No worries about 1.5 square diagonals, or 1 for 1 diagonals that ignore the Pythagorean theorem.

The aesthetics issue might the the root of D&D's use of squares: it's worth noting that back in the day, Gygax used square graph paper for dungeons and hexes for outdoor maps (no dungeon walls, there).

-------------------------------

Answers to rules questions are meant to be helpful advice or insights, not canonical R&D dictates. Treat them as unofficial, but (hopefully) useful.

I'd like to add my vote for hexes. Most of the reasons have been covered by others already.

For drawing straight lines, you could use a ruler...
P.S. to Rustmonster, "Go 'Bombers!"

Are they winning? I don't keep up with football. I always just assume that they are sucking cause they are the home team.:P
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
I have to agree with what Mearls said (even if he didn't really say it to join the argument). While hexes do have an issue with areas involving square structures (cities, dungeons, and whatnot), that issue is gone in the outdoors. You can always try using both, but in different situations.

Another idea that I thought of is that since these are fantasy worlds, you can always try for the modern art approach and have your world use hex-based buildings and such. It sounds weird right here and now, but in a world truly alien from ours where the only thing we share with the human beings there is the word human, who is to say that they like squares in the first place?
In fact, since I use my own maps instead of those that come with [whatever product already with squares or hexes] I prefer using octagons: same number enemies can surround as in square grid, and pretty much the same easy diagonals as hexes.

I also like using a translucid sheet with the octagons to put over any map acording to the map's scale. The same for pre made area of efect.

Also, a ruler is your friend :D
Hexes are nifty because they remove the question of diagonals, though at the cost of creating a playing board that newbies might find a little strange. Most people are used to looking at grids for movement (checkers and chess being the first "miniatures" games people encounter).

While hexes may look strange, they're much easier for newbies to learn than squares.

I can't count the number of times I've had to explain how cone radius worked on a square grid, or how often I've had players ask, "Can I fit all those guys in with my fireball radius?" Even experienced players have trouble with that stuff sometimes.

Hell, the only way I'd know what the various cone effects look like is because I've memorized the templates in the back of the DMG, aside from that, there's really little actual sense or logic in those templates.

If squares are kept for D&D, consideration should be made into making spell radius into primarily cubes and lines as opposed to circles and cones, because a square grid simply cannot handle those irregular shapes well.
In fact, since I use my own maps instead of those that come with [whatever product already with squares or hexes] I prefer using octagons: same number enemies can surround as in square grid, and pretty much the same easy diagonals as hexes.

I also like using a translucid sheet with the octagons to put over any map acording to the map's scale. The same for pre made area of efect.

What, interlocking octagons? I call shenanigins, unless you also go by the name Azathoth.
The 4+4 weighted square grid provides slightly more "natural" movement than a hex grid, but at the cost of a more complex movement algorithm and asymetric rules for the various axes (eg flanking, as Mike noted). Though I will say that off-axis movement in D&D and WizKids MageKnight Dungeons felt a lot more natural than in BattleTech or Starfire or Star Fleet Battles, though turning and facing rules might also contribute to that.

Also, square grids are a heck of a lot easier to draw and come by. Several people have done play-maps in spreadsheets (eg Excel) - you can't do that with hexes. Similarly, it's a lot easier to draw mini-diagrams with squares than hexes (possible, certainly, but squares are easier). The world mostly works in squares.

Where hexes really break down is sight lines. An arbitrary line placed across a square grid is monotonic and deterministic - there is only one pattern of squares that matches the line and the line does not zig-zag back and forth (intersections excepted). An abritrary line placed across a hex grid will for large portions of its length intersect two "rows" of hexes. This doesn't matter much if there's no terrain (Starfire), but was a frequent pain when determining cover in BattleTech.
We use a virtual table top that calculates all the distances for you. So we are not boxed in. If you want to move only 2'3" to stand on that rock, you can. Increadibly freeing.

... What??

What witchcraft created that monstrosity, and how can I get one??

Actually, now that I think about it, it would probably be pretty easy to implement. The only problem is getting everyone onto a PC, or connecting one to a TV in realtime.


On the actual topic of debate, I respect the ingenuity of hex grids. However, I will most likely continue to use square grids, since all of my grids are either A) imaginary, or B) in Excel. No matter how nice hex grids are, it's much easier for a human to mentally picture a square grid.

My only beef is that 1.5 =/= 1.417
Hex is unnecessarily complicated for me. I've DMed with both when I was on my "D&D ISN'T REAL ENOUGH" kick when I was younger, and I quickly came to the conclusion that it wasn't worth it once you started adding structures like walls into the fight.
I think, overall, hexes are just silly. They're only worth it in games with facing or games about bees.

This. I like both chocolate and vanilla, but I won't use hexes. They're obscure and arcane just for the sake of being obscure and arcane. Kind of a grognardian shibboleth.

While hexes may look strange, they're much easier for newbies to learn than squares.

Yeah, this isn't actually true. I'm with Mearls: newbies' experience with Chess and Checkers beats your silly Bee-Grid.
If you show only the intersections -- not the connecting lines -- then there is no aesthetic flaw with hexagon grids in rectangular rooms. Characters can land on the points themselves, not in the spaces between them, so the shapes of the spaces are not something the DM or players have to consider.

Thus, you can draw walls and areas however you wish on the map. The only question you need to ask in combat is whether a particular point is inside or outside a the drawn area. This is much easier to do with a point than with either a square or a hexagon.

Why have square rooms or hexagonal plains? By using just the points, you can play in any-shaped space you want and get all the benefits of hexagons for movement, flanking, etc.
Yeah, this isn't actually true. I'm with Mearls: newbies' experience with Chess and Checkers beats your silly Bee-Grid.

Honestly, aside from looking obscure, what's so hard about hexes?

Explaining almost anything in the rules is actually easier with hexes. Squares may be more familiar, but certainly not easier.

Base Movement
Hexes: A movement of 3 hexes lets you move 3 hexes.

Squares: A movement of 3 squares lets you move 3 squares, except when you're going diagonal, then every other square costs you 2 squares of movement instead of one.

Radius burst spells
Hexes: If your spell has a 3 hex radius, you choose a hex and count out every hex within 3 hexes of it. The spell hits that.

Squares: You choose a grid intersection and then um... just look at the DMG and check out the spell templates, cause I've been playing 3rd edition since it came out and still have no damn idea how to do that.

Cone spells
Hexes: Choose a direction, choose that hex and then each branching hex to create a roughly cone looking shape.

Squares: God I have no damned clue. Open your DMG to the template section and look there because there is no rational way to explain how 3E does cones on a square grid. None at all. It's completely arbitrary.
Staggering like you're drunk? Back and forth, and back and forth.

And a cone in 3e is 90 degrees. Honestly.
Hex is an absolute disaster when dealing with larger creatures. Does a large creature take up 2 hexes? 3? 4? How does the irregular shape of the larger creature interact with the flanking rules. Irregular shapes almost [i]require rules for turning. Hexes work just fine when every creature is one hex beg, but beyond that, they are quite messy and inconvienent.
I agree with Rustmonsters. I never like this staggered "drunken" movement with hexes.
Hex is an absolute disaster when dealing with larger creatures. Does a large creature take up 2 hexes? 3? 4? How does the irregular shape of the larger creature interact with the flanking rules. Irregular shapes almost [i]require rules for turning. Hexes work just fine when every creature is one hex beg, but beyond that, they are quite messy and inconvienent.

This is also not a problem with hexes if you use discrete points (the intersections) instead of spaces. You can use creatures of arbitrary size and shape. All that matters is whether or not they can fit centered on a particular point. The only real issues are ones you would have anyway with large creatures (such as defining flanking when there are multiple opposing spaces for either squares or hexes.)
I just tried a game without a grid. I've gotta say, it's quite nice. Just get a bunch of tape measures and use 1" = 5ft. When you want to move, pull the tape measure out to the 6" mark and lock it in place. Any way you can connect your character with a location using that much tape is a valid movement.

AOOs are resolved by measuring how many inches of something's threatened area you move through. It gets one AOO per. Threat areas are a little annoying if you measure them out all the time, but you can put down a ring-shaped template under your character marker, and you're fine.
I have to agree that hexes are too simple; they don't have enough options, but I also have to agree that squares are too complicated. I've honestly found that the easiest way to do it is with rulers. Radii: easy. Cones: easy. if you can't figure that out, you shouldn't be playing. he only even mildly complicated issue is AOO. SquashMonster explained this well. I have a lot of war games terrain and miniatures so it turns out looking like a game of warhammer on a much smaller (usually) scale. If I had to pick between squares and hexes (which i haven't thankfully, for years) I would probably go with squares. I tend to think in terms of right angles as far as those things go (most people do actually) and 'drunken line' charging and no right angle cones drives me insane.
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I agree with Rustmonsters. I never like this staggered "drunken" movement with hexes.

This 'drunken movement' notion that people have really blows me away. Here we are playing a game of the imagination and people can't get beyond moving pieces along the board as if moving a checkers marker? The 'Grid' doesn't exist, it is for measuring distance and space. How far can I go and what area do I influence.

How do you 'move your mini' on a square grid when you want to travel to a point that is 20' east and 10' north of where you are now in a straight line? Do you say you can't due to some mystical aligning force that snaps you into rigid paths?

It would do a lot of people good if they realized that the grid is an aid and not an something that exists in the fantasy world.

The first thing I instill into new players to a hex grid (or any grid for that matter) is to ignore it - determine what you want to do first and then use the hexes to accomplish that.

The Piazza A renaissance of the Old Worlds. Where any setting can be explored, any rules system discussed, and any combination of the two brought to life.

The first thing I instill into new players to a hex grid (or any grid for that matter) is to ignore it - determine what you want to do first and then use the hexes to accomplish that.

... And then realize that you don't have enough movment/you provoked about 50 AoOs/etc?

If they should ignore it, why use one? I have done gridless, as some people have pointed out. It's a bit slower, but it's the most "realistic" of the options, and is quite freeing.
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
If they should ignore it, why use one? I have done gridless, as some people have pointed out. It's a bit slower, but it's the most "realistic" of the options, and is quite freeing.

Its less about ignoring it and more about not letting it bother you.

Honestly, the majority of the people defending squares have a single argument: Hexes look funky. Honestly, who cares? Just get used to em and then it won't be an issue.

Electricbee brought up the only actual counter-argument against hexes: that handling larger creatures can be difficult.

Everyone else is just whining about trivial points.

It's like saying they shouldn't include the warlord in the game because you hate the name of the class, even though it may be a really great class.

I've brought up some good arguments as to why Hexes are better. If the best most people can do is say "It looks stupid how you move in a staggered pattern instead of a line.", then seriously use some imagination. Hexes are just an abstraction. And you use the best abstraction for handling things in the game.

A hex grid handles things like cones and radial effects far better than a square grid can. It also doesn't have problems with diagonal movement.

Larger creatures are a bit more complex to put on a hex grid, but still possible, and probably a lot less complex than say, trying to figure out what squares your fireball affects without using the spell template.
As far as dungeons and hexes being bisected it happens all the time in Regular square maps. I cut some players teeth on Age of Worms and the 1st dungeon in thier as a half circle at the end of alot of the hallways.

I have played lots of game on squares and used Hex alot in BattleTech as well. Movement/Facing was extremely important in that game and it had exactly Zero AoO in it. I could not begin to fathom that game using squares.

Moving to Hexes is the best choice but I will be happy with Squares.

/humor
I think going with triangle is the best. Your character has to face either a point or a side. Your character has a defined "back". It definately solves the cone problem. /humor
Other than flanking, is there actually something wrong with a triangular grid? Movement in a straight line is good, and circles are perfect.
A hex grid handles things like cones and radial effects far better than a square grid can.

Actually, you're just quibbling about rounding errors.

Let's assume favourable angles - 60 degrees for hexes, 90 degrees for squares.

Putting a cone or circle on a hex grid gives you 1 option:
* triangles or multiples thereof.
Putting a cone or circle on a square grid gives you 3 options:
* triangles
* squares
* approximation to arcs

Yes, the magnitude of error when quantising to triangles on a hex grid is greater than that of quantising to a square grid, but it's still a quantisation to a regular shape.

Or you can do arc approximations, which are superior shape-wise to both squares and hexes, but require a more complex distance metric.
It also doesn't have problems with diagonal movement.

Let's be careful with our terminology. A square grid supports 2 primary axes, and can be extended to support 2 secondary axes. A hex grid supports 3 primary axes, but does secondary axes very poorly.

Ultimately, you have 3 choices:
* gridless
* fully-quantised
* some sort of hybrid

In a fully quantised system, the world is the grid, you can only move on the primary axes of the grid, and everything fits to the shape of the grid. The current 3.5 system is a mild hybrid, in that it tries to use a more "real distance" measure for diagonals.

A system that allows diagonal movement at either 1 or 2 is another fully quantised system, because you end up with area effects as either squares (1) or diamonds (2), rather than the "best effort" blocky 3.5 shapes.
... And then realize that you don't have enough movment/you provoked about 50 AoOs/etc?

I didn't think I'd have to explain my statement, however, in the interest of clarity...

When you are thinking in terms of 'not seeing the grid' you begin to think as your character would in the fantasy world. What causes AoO? Is it moving through an enemy's adjacent hex or square? NO! An enemy gets an AoO from you passing through his reach or being distracted within his reach. It is not hard to think about staying away from an enemies reach.

And what about movement? "I want to move to this spot". If you don't have enough movement to get there, well, I guess you don't get there! Do you measure out the distance between your door and the car before you start walking to see if you can get there within six seconds? Now, lets say it's raining and you don't want to get wet. You might gauge the how long it will take you but if you're wrong, you're still making the movement and you're getting wet! (That said, I don't prohibit my players from 'pre-measuring' their movement before they start moving).

Let's be careful with our terminology. A square grid supports 2 primary axes, and can be extended to support 2 secondary axes. A hex grid supports 3 primary axes, but does secondary axes very poorly.

The grid is the tool, not the reality. Once people start realizing this I believe more things will start to make sense. A character can move in any of 360 degrees of direction. It's not that difficult a concept. Hexes make it easier to interpret mechanically.

The Piazza A renaissance of the Old Worlds. Where any setting can be explored, any rules system discussed, and any combination of the two brought to life.

How does a hexagonal grid make interpreting 360 degree movement easier? A square grid with diagonals has 8 directions, a hex grid has 6. 8 is closer to 360 than 6 is.
Other than flanking, is there actually something wrong with a triangular grid? Movement in a straight line is good, and circles are perfect.

Actually if we took a step back in time and said you have to define your facing then you could just define a +2 to being in the rear. And sneak attack damage could go back to the old school "back stab"
Hexes are also troublesome for an aesthetics reason: dungeons mapped in hexes, especially tactical maps, look a little strange. Straight walls either clip parts of the hexes or must be transformed into jagged lines.

No worries about 1.5 square diagonals, or 1 for 1 diagonals that ignore the Pythagorean theorem.

Gygax used square graph paper for dungeons and hexes for outdoor maps (no dungeon walls, there).

While a hex dungeon looks a little strange the hex are just there to help with combat and logistics of the game it's easy to just think of the location without them. Once you get past that visual element mentally it's easy to like all the benefits of hex. While when Gygax created up his dungeons on graph paper that was really the best and only option in that era. However we sure are living in a Digital World now. I'm hoping maps can be imported to the Gaming Table and more options such as square or hex can be applied to them. Also option rules for 4th in the future or the DMG on hex use would be very nice and valuable to lots of D&D players, and I hope you guys look into that as some options for us.
How does a hexagonal grid make interpreting 360 degree movement easier? A square grid with diagonals has 8 directions, a hex grid has 6. 8 is closer to 360 than 6 is.

Boy this is frustrating. Forget about 6 directions or 8 directions. I'm taking about 360 directions. Always. Spaces in the grid are just there to help you determine how much area things occupy/influence and distances between points. Characters are not limited to 6 or 8 directions.

Now, mechanically there will be certain spaces that fall under the character's influence or will influence the character, but that does not change the fact that the character can move in a straight line in any degree of the compass. I'm not saying a square grid cannot do what a hex grid can, because it can. I have just found that hexes make it easier and give a feeling of freeform movement from point of origin.

It is easier to facilitate circular direction on a hex grid then it is on a square grid. You are still visualizing D&D combat like chess or checkers instead of an open field concept. I am honestly shocked at how difficult people are finding this to grasp, although I would find it much easier to demonstrate what I'm talking about using an illustration.

The Piazza A renaissance of the Old Worlds. Where any setting can be explored, any rules system discussed, and any combination of the two brought to life.

Actually, you're just quibbling about rounding errors.

Let's assume favourable angles - 60 degrees for hexes, 90 degrees for squares.

Putting a cone or circle on a hex grid gives you 1 option:
* triangles or multiples thereof.
Putting a cone or circle on a square grid gives you 3 options:
* triangles
* squares
* approximation to arcs

Yes, the magnitude of error when quantising to triangles on a hex grid is greater than that of quantising to a square grid, but it's still a quantisation to a regular shape.

Or you can do arc approximations, which are superior shape-wise to both squares and hexes, but require a more complex distance metric.

Honestly, I'm not particularly, concerned with too many rounding errors, I just want it to be simple to determine how to do this stuff when I'm playing the game. It's easy to explain to a newbie how to do a radius effect or a cone effect on a hex grid. You start your effect in a space, and then you count outward.

On a square grid, I have yet to come up wtih a good way of explaining how to do radius or cone effects. At all. I just have to tell people to look at the DMG templates. Now maybe you guys have come up with some rational explanation for those templates, and if you so, you're smarter than I am here, because I've been playing this game forever and I can't explain them.

As far as movement, sure, hexes aren't 100% accurate, but they are easier and that's really all we care about. A move of 4 is 4 hexes. Period. No extra diagonal rules, nothing. Just 4 hexes. Wherever you want.
About the only real problems you have wtih hexes is that the geometry of structures isn't as nice and neat. Its alot easier drawing a map of a dungeon on a square grid than a hex grid, simply because your walls naturally follow your grid as opposed to constantly bisecting hexes.

Statue-filled alchoves and supporting pillars are your friends. You should go play with them more.
Honestly, I'm not particularly, concerned with too many rounding errors, I just want it to be simple to determine how to do this stuff when I'm playing the game. It's easy to explain to a newbie how to do a radius effect or a cone effect on a hex grid. You start your effect in a space, and then you count outward.

(1) Draw a square (or diamond), draw a hex, it's the same thing.

(2) Unless you're using a hybrid. Personally, I think the 'spell effects on corners' thing from 3.x is probably a mistake. Pick a centre square (or edge square, for cones), and then just count range exactly the same as you'd do for movement or archery.

That's how it works in practice anyway. I mostly ignore the fine details of PH pg 175 and just count distance. Mechanically identical, but a heck of a lot easier to understand.


One thing I will note in favour of hexes: they provide a much cleaner model and aesthetic for radial movement. Important if you have space battles around planets and care about orbital mechanics. Not particularly important for anything else.