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Combat Spaces: Squares, Hexes, or Zones?

Hussar

Legend
Sure but people generally don't run only in terms of a cardinal direction, but straight outwards from a point of origin.

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Well, fair enough, but, again, hex doesn't solve that. It all depends on where your cut off for inaccuracy lies. In hexes, you're simply running in 60 degree lines instead of 45. Still not making a whole lot of difference.

At the distances we're typically talking about in a D&D combat, by and large it doesn't really make a whole lot of difference. The system is already pretty fuzzy.

Reminds me of all the hoopla over square fireballs in 4e. In actual play is makes so little difference that it might as well not be there. Plus, with square circles, you stop all that garbage of the wizard trying to take advantage of the pixelated circle so he hits enemies and not allies. I loathe it with a passion. It wastes SO much table time when the casters futz around trying to pound square pegs into round holes. "Oh, if I shift it five feet this way, oh, no, how about here, oh no how about here... "

Makes me want to pull my hair out.
 

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Aldarc

Legend
Well, fair enough, but, again, hex doesn't solve that. It all depends on where your cut off for inaccuracy lies. In hexes, you're simply running in 60 degree lines instead of 45. Still not making a whole lot of difference.
Jein. Hexes are deceptive in that one can approximate a straight line fairly easily.

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It admittedly looks a bit wonky to us, because we imagine this action in terms of the zig-zag rather than the straight line that it functionally is in the fiction.

At the distances we're typically talking about in a D&D combat, by and large it doesn't really make a whole lot of difference. The system is already pretty fuzzy.

Reminds me of all the hoopla over square fireballs in 4e. In actual play is makes so little difference that it might as well not be there. Plus, with square circles, you stop all that garbage of the wizard trying to take advantage of the pixelated circle so he hits enemies and not allies. I loathe it with a passion. It wastes SO much table time when the casters futz around trying to pound square pegs into round holes. "Oh, if I shift it five feet this way, oh, no, how about here, oh no how about here... "

Makes me want to pull my hair out.
I'm admittedly not limiting the thread to "D&D combat." I am talking of more tactically-minded games, which includes 4e D&D, especially considering how this is a spin-off thread about more "tacitcal" RPGs akin to 4e.
 

Staffan

Legend
Bringing some math into the hex/square thing...

The maximum measurement error you get with squares is when you move diagonally, so you move SQRT(2) units for one "step". That's ~41% error.

The maximum measurement error you get with hexes is when you move in a zig-zag pattern. This math is slightly more complicated, so we need to define some terms: r is the distance from the hex's center to the midpoint of its side, and s is both the length of its sides and the distance from the center to a corner (because the hex consists of six equilateral triangles).

The straight distance from center to center two hexes away when zigzagging is 3 * s: center to corner to corner to center. The zigzag distance is 4 * r: center to center to center. So they differ by a factor of (4*r)/(3*s)

But we also know that s = (2/SQRT(3)) * r. Substituting that, we get (4*r) / (3*(2/sqrt(3)*r), which simplifies to 2*sqrt(3)/3 = ~1.15, so a maximum error of 15%.

Of course, these errors can't quite be compared, because they are in different directions. With the square, you move ~1.4 units for the cost of 1, but with the hexes you move ~1.7 units at the cost of 2.

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Going back to the original question, my preference is for zones. Of course, that requires that the game is made for that – you'd have to have AOEs and the like measured in zones, for example, or perhaps a randomish number of targets. It also means you can't use small speed differences as a balance factor for various options (e.g. how one of the racial traits of the 5e wood elf is speed 35 ft instead of the standard 30 ft). Whether this is good or bad is a matter of taste.

Edit: A fourth option is range bands, like in Star Wars. I'm not really a fan of this, because it tends to lead to weirdness when you have three or more combatants in different places but still interacting with one another ("OK, so I'm a short distance from her, who is a medium distance from him... does that make me at medium or long distance from him?").
 
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