Tuesday 18 September 2012

Hexon and Heroscape - Same train, different carriages

The above picture is courtesy of Google Images and came originally from Bob Cordery to whom grateful thanks are extended

Now this is going to sound slightly off the wall, even by my somewhat unusual standards. Whilst pottering about with various gaming related tasks over the weekend (the results of which featured in my earlier post) I was suddenly struck by a Hexon/Heroscape brainwave. The idea is not a new one by any means but the execution of the same certainly is.

One of the things I really want to use my Command and Colours set up and the block armies with is for the purposes of running mini campaigns. As originally conceived the plan was to map an area equal to nine standard 13 x 9 hexed playing areas in three rows of three. The rules would be Memoir of Battle or a derivative thereof and movement and combat would be adjudicated normally. The basic idea is still a live one but I had not gotten around to drafting up a blank map on which to draw the terrain and plot deployments etc.

My standard playing area is 6ft x 4ft on which a 13 x 9 Hexon battlefield fits very nicely, with sufficient space around the action for rules, dice, hit markers etc. Obviously a 13 x 9 Heroscape battlefield fits equally well and so here is the idea. I am able to fit (and certainly have the raw material) nine such Heroscape battlefields on the same 6ft x 4ft area which could then serve as a 3d campaign map. By using single blocks on the Heroscape as unit markers and then replacing the same on a standard 13 x 9 Hexon table with the equivalent full sized units (4, 3 and blocks for infantry, cavalry and artillery) when a battle needs to be fought, I can in effect ‘telescope’ the action. Imagine a 13 x 9 clear plastic template roving above the campaign map. When the opposing forces have made contact (and should the size of the resultant action warrant it) the template could be orientated conveniently over the area to be fought over – a snapshot of the area if you like - and then the topographical set up can be transferred to the main Hexon table and the battle fought in the usual fashion. Small affairs of outposts would be fought on the campaign map in order to expedite the action.

The only problem I can foresee is deploying a second tabletop when a full scale action kicks off. It would be easy enough to place the Hexon table on a sheet of board that would sit on top of the campaign map by use of some carefully placed supports. Once the battle has been fought the results can then be transferred to the campaign map for the narrative to resume if applicable.

The alternative would be to use the Heroscape campaign map as the sole gaming surface and fight Memoir of Battle of actions using single blocks and hit markers – in effect a 3d old school board wargame. This is a nice idea but is not the main reason for persevering with the Heroscape although such a game may feature occasionally.

One other idea I experimented with concerned the Command and Colours Napoleonic and Ancient blocks. These will fit on a Heroscape hex in the usual units sizes (4, 3 and 2) although cavalry and artillery has to be deployed in a column one block wide. Again, this has much potential for mini campaigns and also in the case of some of the larger sized Command and Colours scenarios.

Certainly using the Heroscape terrain as the sole playing surface has some practical advantages when using the homemade block armies. A single block fills a hex nicely and by using the counters (as seen in the recent running of Brawner’s Farm) to mark hits works well enough. It would also serve to expand the number of units available for use dramatically within the context of a campaign.

I should point out at this juncture that I have absolutely no intention of using the Heroscape terrain to supplant the Hexon as I am convinced that the two systems can work together and besides, the Hexon battles look better with the larger units.

The only issue I have at present then concerns terrain for the smaller Heroscape. I will certainly need to acquire some smaller buildings and trees etc as my existing collection is larger and is far better suited to the bigger Hexon terrain.


Bluebear Jeff said...

So you need to get more terrain pieces, eh?

Welcome to the club, sir.

-- Jeff

Jim Duncan Wargamer said...

Hi David

I would have to call you a bit of a 'dog' here as you seem to be barking up a tree which isn't the wrong one!

I think further experimentation is required and I'm sure you will report on your findings.


Sean said...

A stroke of genius.

David Crook said...

Hi Jeff,

I was really hoping to avoid getting terrain in another scale but needs must and I think the practical advantages will far outweigh the initial cost and effort.

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Jim,

Absolutely! My first thought is to hex an actual map and then see how I can translate it into a campaign map that then drills down into a battlefield.

Rest assured it will feature on the blog as it develops.

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Sean,

Many thanks old chap - in fact if you look at the box lid on my ironclads, Boxes, Blocks and Tiles post you will get an idea of what I am driving at!

I am very excited about this for sure!

All the best,


Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

So many ideas David I can hardly kep up with your posts ;)

But I can play catch up on the forthcoming long winter nights

Your pad must be filling up with plastic playing pieces :)

David Crook said...

Hi Geordie,

I tend to have a veritable landslide of ideas and then, at some point, I hit the wall. In actual fact I would say that many of the ideas are not really brand new as such - more like a rehash of plans from days gone by.

I hope to keep them coming and realised in some form over the long winter nights so watch this space.

Using existing plastic pieces in a way other than that for which they were intended is a bit of an obsession and you are quite right - I do seem to acquire rather a lot of them...;-)

All the best,