Home Forums Terrain and Scenery "HEX BOX WOODS"

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  • #32478
    Otto Schmidt
    Participant

    Dear List

    I wanted forests that would truly disguise troops, so I made up a hex box forest. My terrain for my 18th century troops is on hexagons. It’s a free-move game and movement is not constrained to the hexagons, but I use them because I can make firm plates to model hills, fields, streams etc. and especially towns. These town hexes allow me to “lock” the buildings down on them so an incautious move by a gamer does not send the buildings toppling over. The reason that is critical is that the buildings are the Lithuanian Candle houses and are made of terra-cotta and porcelean and are a bit fragile. The lock on the bottom keeps them secure, and besides, the foot print means we can take them off the table when the action gets to heated and still know where they are.

    The Hexagons are  rather large, 12″ across betweenparallel sides and about 14″ point to point. They are made of luan plywood 1/4″ thick, and they make excellent bases for any modeling construction I want to put on them. In this case it was woods. What I do is create an inner “box,” hexagonal shape which is about 3 to 4″ high and set in about 1″ from the edge. For the top I cut a flange which overlays the top (with an interior hexagon cut out) which just supports the “hat” or roof or top of the box. This is a conical structure on which is piled lichen and bits of dyed packing foam.  The sides of the box are painted, but often I will decopage pictures of real forest interiors taken from my backyard (I live way out in the woods) or other scenes, and the top flange is supported by small twigs and sticks taken off a Christmas tree from some years ago which look like tree trunks. They are set in the base in simply wallboard compound. Makes a highly effective looking forest and I have modified he tops or the “hats” with various configurations of woods, small peaks rising from the forest canopy and so forth.
    But the real fun is I am decorating the outer flange with figures chosen to make a scene. I have one with a gazebo half imbedded in the forest in which a lady and her lover are having a tryst “en flagrante delicto” and in the next face the ladies maid is rushing toward the gazebo down a path, while on the face next to that a bunch of beaters and gillies are bringing a pack of houds, while I the face before that  there’s an old gouty fat lord waving his cane being pushed by other servants rushing to catch his wife in the act.  Other planned ones have ginger bread houses, with Hansel and Gretel,  Lil’ Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the three bears, and all sorts of other scenes.   One of the tops which I had made flat already has a group of officers at the crossroads in the forest waving and pointing and gesticulating , with equipment and maps and a broken down wagon by the side of the road, obviously lost.

    The advantage to this is that it’s a great way to use up oddball figures  you may acquire which just hang around, and you can add tremendously to the scenic effect.  They also are a great load of fun to make and plan.

     

    Otto

    • This topic was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by Otto Schmidt.
    #32480
    Otto Schmidt
    Participant

    Dear List

     

    Oh yeah, I forgot. One time we were holding this battle in which a small force of light troops was attempting to hold up a huge force from passing through a patch of back country. The game was a really near run thing and Gerry, my friend, was holding his own barely. He turned to me and said “This is a really exciting game, but I think the light forces are a bit overmatched.” I said to him, “but Jerry” and flipped the tops off five forest sections where he had hidden the other half of his forces– and forgotten about them.

    Out of sight is really out of mind.

     

    Otto

     

    #32487
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Otto:

    If memory serves me correctly Jozi Tinman is doing the same thing with woods for 6mm Modern/Cold War combat.

    Its a lovely idea but how much time and effort others can devote to the hobby is a variable which may preclude such a labour intensive approach to gaming. Why not just draw a quick map and note down where the forces are until they are spotted or become active and reveal themselves? It is a very nice touch however if time is not a constraining factor. Thanks for posting.

    Cheers and good hidden gaming.

    Rod Robertson

    #32489
    Otto Schmidt
    Participant

    Dear Rob

    Because the box woods look much better on the table top, and there are no arguments with what can and can’t be seen given the piece of paper, and the endless discussions as to what it means to be “In the woods” regardless of what Sondheim says.

    I’m sorry, I can’t buy the time argument.  For the last 35 years of my life I worked at the end of a 2 hour one way drive, which coming home because of rush hour was 2.5 to 3  hours. Add 12 hours at work often six days a week, I made do at night with 2 to 4 hours of sleep. I built all this stuff patiently over the years, so time, if  you want to devote it to the hobby, is not a problem.

    The terrain, the constructions, the models,  nine 800+ man 19th century armies, two Ancient Armies, (500+) Six Renaissance Armies (400+) four WWII armies  two published newsleters, three play by mail games, four I.W.G’s sixteen sets of rules,  founding and running TWO conventions , and a host of other projects all take gobs of time out of my limited schedule.

    Yes a piece of paper might do, but that has no scenic, visual or artistic effect.

     

    Right now I’m working on a two-hex 18th century town, with modular buildings, with interiors and furniture, that can be taken out and replaced with other structures that make it look like what a town would be when “organized for defence.”

    Oh yes, all that was back when I was working. Now that I am retired who knows what I can do.

    Besides  NOTHING can make up for the look on Jerry’s face when I flipped over the “hats” and revealed the rest of his army he had put there.

    If you want the time for the hobby you’ll make the time.

    Otto

     

    #32492
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Otto:

    I applaud your devotion to your hobby and your determination to get things done in the face of adversity. Bully for you, sir and I look forward to hearing what you can do with the free time of retirement. The modular town you are building sounds wonderful. Keep up the great work and enjoy the fruits of your labour. I’m sure Jerry will!

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #32497
    Norm S
    Participant

    Nice idea. It also has the advantage of making players worry about what woods may hold – regardless of whether anything is there, so getting a good realistic feel without a ton of rules.

    The good thing about hexes is that the grid gives a ready made reference, so gamers who like your idea, but are not happy to do the work involved could simply use the hex grid to administer hidden troops. but just keep  them off table, so pre-game would write “Saxon Fyrd are in the woods at hex D7 facing the hexes D8 and E8” …. etc.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by Norm S.
    #32526
    Otto Schmidt
    Participant

    Dear Norm

    That’s true.  One could work it that way and it would be more precise for those not wanting to do the work.  Some might object to the “pre-measurement” that hexes  give to the field, but I don’t think that would be an insurmountable  one. One point of clarification.  In my game the ENTIRE hex is rated as homogenous terrain. Thus the effect in the game is the same for the area of the hex. If its a hill then all of it is hill, if it’s a town, all of it is “town.” I don’t count the individual buildings or hen coops  within it.  The advantage  to this is the lack of arguments as to where “The Hill or the town” begins and ends.  Troops within it are assumed to be somewhere “in there”  and their facing is the only thing that matters.

     

    The other thing other than a material base for modeling I use the hex for is primarily Victory Conditions. In my rules I have several sets some of which but not necessarily all of which apply to each battle. There are “Strategic point” cards, small business card tokens with a star on them which  can go in any non clear hex.  There are special unit victory conditions of Camp, Headquarters, and Line of Retreat, that you must put in road hexes, or town hexes. If at the end of the game, you have a unit physically standing on these cards you get them to count towards your victory total at the end.  In addition there are two more possible Victory  cards, one is critical loss, which you get if you roll a 1 after an enemy unit is eliminated, and “Action Conditions” which is if you achieve  such and such a situation, like getting the enemy to commit reserves and reveal himself, or reach a certain position once in the game allowing you to observe  the enemy (as in a reconnaissance)  or  if for example an ancient game ‘Kill Darius!”  One can vary the cards used in each game.  The person who has the most cards in his hand after the game (earned by action, killing enemy units and standing on the special units or strategic points is how well the side had done and simple comparison of the difference between the total of the two opponents, who has won and by how much.

    Otto

     

    #32538
    Norm S
    Participant

    Hi Otto – I may have got my wires crossed, is the entire table hexed or just the strategic / tactical terrain elements on an otherwise open board?

    I am a huge fan of hexes and happy to overlook the things that might bother some, for the substantial administrative benefits that  come from them, especially like you say having the hex in total defined by the terrain contained. It helps with everything from movement costs to who is affected by artillery attacks etc without resorting to the template thing and worrying about millimetre precision.

    I also agree with you about the time spent on the hobby. It is rather like spending money, we can only spend it once, but we each have choices how we spend our spare money …… depending how high up the hobby is in one’s list of priorities will determine how much free time people are willing to give to it.

    I have decided to liberate myself from the keyboard for a period every day or evening and instead getting something productive done – it works even if it is just 30 – 45 minutes. It is too easy to fall into the trap of plonking down in front of the computer screen for a couple of hours every night and then complaining that one does not have enough time. I am also trying to get back to having a midweek game in the evening, doing a boardgame or some such that fits into a 1 – 2 hour window. The 1 Hour wargames book by Neil Thomas is an interesting concept for doing just that.

    Norm.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by Norm S.
    #32565
    Otto Schmidt
    Participant

    Dear Norm

    The entire table top is hexes, at least when I do my Renaissance to 18th Century games.  These are all made from the 1/4″ luan plywood.  I once was a long time ago going to use geo-hex but I decided I could do it better on my own.  The game CAN be hex run and I know the benefits of using a gridded system in the time is saves and  so forth.  In fact, I DO use a hex system for my Modern Games of Between the wars to mid WWII.  These hexes are somewhat smaller and only 8″ across parallel sides. that’s because I print out the hexes on paper from my computer so that the entire table top looks like a map laid out on a command table.  This modern hex system is flat though hill hexes have contours made by foam board.

     

    But to return to the Musket period stuff, it’s all hexes but I use  the free move over it simply because my group liked it better.  Still hexes are extremely useful.  In fact when I designed my 18th century rules we originally started out with a square grid and developed it form there as we wanted to waste the least amount of time of fiddling with measuring and instead get the game system down pat. Once we did that we moved on to “liberalize” it to open movement etc.

    You will understand how tempting hexes can be though when I tell you about how I organize the minis. I put, for example, the entire regiment of 28 privates 2 NCO’s 2 Colors, 2 musicians.  and 2 officers on one big 3.5″ by 8″ stand.  Cavalry have 16 figures (12 privates, 1 trumpeter, 1 color 1 officer, 1 kettledrummer on one 6″ by 5″ stand.  I do this because, well, the troops fought in three ranks and it saves a lot of wear and tear on figures and bayonets to use the big stands.  (Remembe these are all large 28mm or 30-33mm troops.

    So it would be very easy to use hexes as base for movement and fire. I don’t find hexes objectionable as some do. The other thing about the rules is you can use any basing system against almost any other basing system by simply adjusting the frontage, but that’s another story.

    I use the hexes in the modern set up for exactly the reasons you stated, movement close assault, no need for artillery templates, you can do away with measurement and all sorts of pesky little bits of impedimentia.

    The only hexes I object to is when you get to the small hexes compared to the figures. For me 4″ wide hexes would be unsightly, and you would get too few figures in one, and you REALLY notice the hexes. With my big 12″ hexes  you barely notice them at all. If you want, send me your e-mail at [email protected] and I’ll post you some photos of what it looks like. I’m too cheap to use a photo server to post them here.

    Otto

     

     

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