Hex map

# Hex map

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A hex map, hex board or hex grid is a gameboard design commonly used in wargames
Wargaming
A wargame is a strategy game that deals with military operations of various types, real or fictional. Wargaming is the hobby dedicated to the play of such games, which can also be called conflict simulations, or consims for short. When used professionally to study warfare, it is generally known as...

of all scales. The map is subdivided into small regular hexagons of identical size.

The primary advantage of a hex map over a traditional square grid map is that the distance between the center of each hex cell (or hex) and the center of all six adjacent hexes is constant. By comparison, in a square grid map, the distance from the center of each square cell to the center of the four diagonal adjacent cells it shares a corner with is greater than the distance to the center of the four adjacent cells it shares an edge with. The constant distance of a hex map is desirable for games in which the measurement of movement is a factor. The other advantage is the fact that neighbouring cells always share edges; there are no two cells with contact at only one point.

One disadvantage of a hex map is that hexes have adjacent cells in only six directions instead of eight, as in a square grid map. Commonly, cells will form continuous straight lines "up" and "down", or "north" and "south", in which case the other four adjacent cells lie "north-west", "north-east", "south-west" and "south-east". As a result, no hex cell has an adjacent hex cell lying directly "east" or "west", making movement in a straight line east or west somewhat more complicated than on a square grid map. Instead, paths in these directions, and any other path that does not bisect one of the six cell edges, will "zig-zag"; since no two directions are orthogonal, it is impossible to move forward in one direction without moving backwards slightly in the other.

Games that traditionally use the four cardinal direction
Cardinal direction
The four cardinal directions or cardinal points are the directions of north, east, south, and west, commonly denoted by their initials: N, E, S, W. East and west are at right angles to north and south, with east being in the direction of rotation and west being directly opposite. Intermediate...

s, or otherwise suit a square grid, may adapt to a hex grid in different ways. For example, hexagonal chess replaces the four directions of orthogonal movement (along ranks and files) with the six directions to adjacent cells, through cell edges. The four directions of diagonal movement are likewise replaced with the six directions that lie through vertices of the cell; these "diagonal" movements travel along the edge between a pair of adjacent cells before arriving at another cell. A three-colour grid aids in visualising this movement, since it preserves the traditional chessboard's property that pieces moving diagonally land only on cells of the same colour.

## Uses

The hex map has been a favourite for game designers since 1961, when Charles S. Roberts
Charles S. Roberts
Charles Swann Roberts was a wargame designer, railroad historian, and businessman. He is renowned as "The Father of Board Wargaming", having created the first modern wargame in 1952, and the first wargaming company in 1954...

of the Avalon Hill
Avalon Hill
Avalon Hill was a game company that specialized in wargames and strategic board games. Its logo contained its initials "AH", and it was often referred to by this abbreviation. It also published the occasional miniature wargaming rules, role-playing game, and had a popular line of sports simulations...

game company published the second edition of Gettysburg
Gettysburg (game)
Gettysburg is a board wargame produced by Avalon Hill which re-enacts the American Civil War battle of Gettysburg. It was originally published in 1958, and was the first board wargame based on a historical battle....

with a hex map. The hex grid is a distinguishing feature of the games from many wargame publishers, and a few other games (such as The Settlers of Catan
The Settlers of Catan
The Settlers of Catan is a multiplayer board game designed by Klaus Teuber and first published in 1995 in Germany by Franckh-Kosmos Verlag as Die Siedler von Catan. Players assume the roles of settlers, each attempting to build and develop their settlement while trading and acquiring resources...

)
.

The hex map has also been popular for role-playing game wilderness maps. They were used in the Dungeons & Dragons boxed sets of the 1980s and related TSR
TSR, Inc.
Blume and Gygax, the remaining owners, incorporated a new company called TSR Hobbies, Inc., with Blume and his father, Melvin Blume, owning the larger share. The former assets of the partnership were transferred to TSR Hobbies, Inc....

products. GDW also used a hex grid map in mapping space for their science-fiction RPG
Role-playing game
A role-playing game is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making or character development...

Traveller
Traveller (role-playing game)
Traveller is a series of related science fiction role-playing games, the first published in 1977 by Game Designers' Workshop and subsequent editions by various companies remaining in print to this day. The game was inspired from such classic science fiction stories as the Dumarest saga series by...

.

A few abstract games are played on a hex grid, such as the six games of the GIPF
GIPF project
The GIPF Project is an award-winning series of six abstract strategy games by designer Kris Burm.The series is named after the first game, GIPF, and the idea behind the project is that the reward for winning each of the other games in the series is to allow the winner to introduce new pieces with...

series as well as Hex
Hex (board game)
Hex is a board game played on a hexagonal grid, theoretically of any size and several possible shapes, but traditionally as an 11x11 rhombus. Other popular dimensions are 13x13 and 19x19 as a result of the game's relationship to the older game of Go...

and the television game show
Game show
A game show is a type of radio or television program in which members of the public, television personalities or celebrities, sometimes as part of a team, play a game which involves answering questions or solving puzzles usually for money and/or prizes...

based on it, Blockbusters
Blockbusters (US game show)
Blockbusters is an American game show which had two separate runs in the 1980s. Created by Steve Ryan for Mark Goodson Productions, the first series debuted on NBC on October 27, 1980 and aired until April 23, 1982. In the first series, a team of two family members competed against a solo contestant...

. Several variants of chess
Chess variant
A chess variant is a game related to, derived from or inspired by chess. The difference from chess might include one or more of the following:...

have also been invented for a hex board.

Early examples of strategy video game
Strategy video game
Strategy video games is a video game genre that emphasizes skillful thinking and planning to achieve victory. They emphasize strategic, tactical, and sometimes logistical challenges. Many games also offer economic challenges and exploration...

s that use hex maps include 1983's Nobunaga's Ambition
Nobunaga's Ambition
is a series of turn-based grand strategy role-playing simulation video games, first released in 1983 by the Japanese video game developer Koei.Games in the franchise have been released on a variety of gaming platforms, including the Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo Game Boy, Sega Mega Drive,...

and 1989's Military Madness
Military Madness is sci-fi-themed, hex map turn-based strategy game for the TurboGrafx-16. The first game in the Nectaris series, it was developed by Hudson Soft....

(the first entry in the Nectaris series). While the first four iterations of the popular Civilization computer game franchise
Civilization (series)
Civilization is a series of turn-based strategy, 4X video games produced by Sid Meier. Basic gameplay functions are similar throughout the series, namely, buiding a civilization on a macro-scale from prehistory up to the near future...

used square maps, Civilization V
Civilization V
Sid Meier's Civilization V is a turn-based strategy, 4X computer game developed by Firaxis, released on Microsoft Windows in September 2010 and on Mac OS X on November 23, 2010...

uses hexagonal maps.