Hexing a table

Hexes and how many hexes do I need? 

Gridding a table, whether in hexes or squares can bring useful advantages and having played boardgames for many years, the hex as a device is second nature to me and looks natural to the eye. Gamers who have been adverse to grids and then played some of the Peter Pig games (use square grids) generally report back positively, so giving them a try can be worthwhile.

The advantages of the hex are that movement, measurement, facing, flanks, fire arcs, terrain type and blast areas are readily and instantly defined. Since a unit can generally be anywhere in the hex and still be considered to be 'in that hex', exact placement of units becomes less important, so anyone with a bad back does not need to lean over into a table to move things with millimetre precision and for those who play against chums that take liberties with angles and measurements etc, then hexes can take care of much of those sort of 'Debates' that can crop up.

The hex field can be a complicated pattern for a gamer to make themselves, when I attempt it, the hexes get harder to 'fit' exactly as I get further into the hexfield and become more 'crooked', but these days, gaming mats are getting increasingly available and they can be gridded at the point of manufacturer and Kallistra produce hard plastic modular hex terrain.

The following is presented from the perspective of having a small gaming area, so looks at minimum table sizes per setup. The calculations are based on a Kallistra 6 cell hex tile or single hex tiles when specifically stated. These calculations assume that the players are setting up their tables with the hex grain (the flat edges) travelling form left to right and not from front to back.

The large 'pin board' needs a working surface of 22" x 34" giving room for an 8 x 6 hex grid. This needs 8 tiles.

Going up slightly to 10 hexes wide by 7 hexes deep, needs another two 6 cell hex tiles to get the width and a pack of 10 single hex tiles to get the depth. The size required is now  40" wide by 25" deep.

A 4 x 3 standard table will allow for a 12 x 9 (tiles very slightly overhang width-wise, but are stable to game on). This space needs 18 tiles. The depth of this setup is actually 32" and so an extra row of single tiles (Buy a pack of 10) can be added to a 4 x 3 table to make the battlefield 12 x 10 tiles deep. 

A standard Commands and Colors 13 x 9  hexfield will not fit on a 4' wide table, as the table needs to be 52" wide (i.e. An additional 4"). The gamer needs 18 standard tiles and a pack of 10 single hex tiles to make this field.

Going 12 tiles deep - the offset pattern that a hex field gives (zig-zag effect as some observe) allows for a compression of depth, so a deeper field can be represented by cramming more hexes in than can be done on the width, which is locked into 4" increments. A table that is 42" deep can take 4 of the 6 cell tiles, so will become 12 hexes deep. If you place 6mm MDF boards onto your table to get a 48" wide by 42" deep surface, this will require 24 of the standard Kallistra 6 cell tiles. The DIY wood merchant will cut down a standard 24" X 48" board to get a 24" X 42". You need two sheets for a 4' table.  

Increasing the width of the table to wider than 4' can be calculated as per the above, so for example growing the table from 4' to 6' with increase the hex width from 12 to 18 hexes. So a 6 x 4 table would be 18 hexes wide by 12 hexes deep if normal 6 cell tiles were used (36 such tiles would do the job). On a 4' deep table there is enough room to add another row of single tiles, to increase from 12 to 13 hexes deep, but on a 6 foot wide table, this would need 18 single tiles (so 2 packs of 10).