Sunday, July 3, 2016

In Praise of 30-Foot Hexes

Thirty-foot hexes are pretty much the perfect size for tactical wilderness combat in ACKS.  There are several reasons for this.
  • Ranges and movement speed are measures in yards in the wilderness.  A 30' hex is 10 yards, so you can treat it a lot like a 10' square for movement and range purposes.  If your combat move in the dungeon is 20', you can move two 10' squares in the dungeon in combat, or two 30' hexes in the wilderness.
  • Perfect fireball size.  If you ground-burst a fireball, the expansion to volume means that its radius for the remaining hemisphere will be around 13 feet, and it'll hit close-enough to everything standing in the hex.
  • Compatibility with platoon scale.  If you piss off a village of orcs and they send their six platoons of dudes after you, you can have a reasonable combat on 30' hexes with six enemy groups, with the main body of the party probably concentrated in one hex.
  • Works well with buildings.  A 100' wall is three hexes, most towers and largish civilian structures are about one hex, a big keep is like 4-8 hexes.
  • Divides nicely in the infinite chain of detailed hex mapping.  A six-mile hex can be divided into 16 1.5 mile hexes, which can each be divided into 16 ~2000-foot hexes, which can each be divided into 16 ~500-foot hexes, which can each by divided into 16 ~125-foot hexes, which can each be divided into 16 ~30-foot hexes.  A 500' hex has 256 30' hexes in it, and fits well on a tabletop wet-erase hexmap, at 16 30' hexes in diameter (you'd likely even have space for a little more around the edges). Hypothetically zooming in from a 6-mile or 1.5-mile hex into 30' hexes is something software could handle.  I have designed such software, but whether or not it will get implemented is another question entirely.
  • Such a 500' hex "battlezone" is adequate to handle average wilderness random encounter distances in all terrains but Plains (4d6x10 yards -> 14 hexes on average, 500' hex is 16 hexes across).  Again, you might want more to handle higher rolls and longer-visibility encounters like flying monsters and giants, but most of the time it should be workable.

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