One Unit Per Tile Debate: Hex vs. Square

Jatta Pake

Sep 24, 2007
Los Angeles
Civilization fans have been divided over Civ 5's introduction of the One Unit Per Tile (1UPT) restriction. Some love it. Some hate it.

For those that hate 1UPT, I started wondering if the perceived limitations have less to do with the amount of units on the tiles and more to do with another factor: shape of the tile.

A hex movement system provides 6 directions of movement. A classic square movement system provides 4 directions of movement - like a rook moves in chess - no diagonal moves. But previous iterations of Civilization provided squares with 8 directions of movement by allowing diagonal movement. At a fundamental level, players had more choices of movement with the square system with 8 different directions to choose from.

Fewer directions for movement constrain player choices when limited to a single unit per tile. To combat this restriction, Civ 5 gives base units two movement points. Unfortunately, most terrain features restrict movement to actually moving only a single space. And being next to enemies limits movement to a single space. Invariably, this reduces choices at the tactical level.

I think this problem with the Hex 1UPT system, perhaps we can call it "Choice Restriction", is at the heart of what folks dislike about the 1UPT system. The tactical game isn't allowed room to breathe and develop.

A design change could fix Hex 1UPT. Increase unit move points and increase map sizes. Increase city growth rates, increase food production to support faster city growth, set higher limits for city placement spacing (like four empty hexes between cities), and alter the Happiness system back to being city specific.

The idea being that instead of patching the game to remove choices and "nerf" options, you are INCREASING choices for the player. Larger cities faster would build units quicker, build buildings quicker, and allow technology growth quicker. What to do with the extra money, hammers, beakers, and luxuries? Add more units, buildings, Social Policies, techs and options.

I don't think allowing Stacking is necessarily the answer. The hex format can potentially offer more choices rather than less.

Interesting discussion. For those not wanting to follow that thread, the poster there proposes opening movement to the six corner hexes of a hex (follow the line from the hex corner to the next hex) for a total of 12 movement options. Six around the hex and six corner movements.

It seems a little too "alien" to me than just adding movement points to the units. I like Zones of Control, and I believe enemy foot soldier units adjacent to each other should be considered "engaged" and not allowed to escape. Horsemen, though, could have Zones of Control disabled.

The Hex system combined with 1UPT is just too "Choice Restrictive". Let's have bigger maps with bigger cities and larger populations. A starting city in Civ 5 has six tile options for working instead of eight like in Civs 1-4. Expand the ring to 18. Start cities with a population of 2 or 3.

The gist of my argument is that the HEX system is not being utilized properly for a deep game. It is far too simplistic.
Moderator Action: Moved to Ideas and Suggestions, a more appropriate place I think.
I reckon they are two separate issues. Restriction of possibilities is a result of not being able to move a unit onto the same tile as another. Adding an extra two directions of movement doesn't resolve this restriction.

I also don't really think that a restriction on tactical aspects is what people don't like with 1upt. There is a dislike that there is tactical aspects at all. The game isn't meant to be a tactical warfare game, but a strategic empire building and management game. Arguments about 1upt being cumbersome don't really gel with arguments for greater tactical depth.
I'm flattered but let me delve a little deeper into the Theory here since another thread has been started;

-- The ZoC rules are "altered" during your turns for (your) deployment purposes only.
-- The AI (enemy as you stated) benefits from the same ruleset in their own process and activities.

What this does is very simple;

1) ALL units have range (and distance points) opportunities to not only move within an expanded set of hexes but *also* in patterns that unclugs the current group of default 6 hexes --every step of the way-- towards the immediate ring set_S of 12,18...etc outside the first.

2) What i dubbed the snake_wave pathway is actually responsible for (100%/6)*5 unavailable locations when occupied by other Units while the additional 6 directions reduce the collision probabilities **During** the calculated move-steps. The Horse example with a comparative amounts of expended Red dots.

3) 1upT is still "in use", but gets a boost of 200%+ effectiveness from supplemental directions in not only group movements but also at the most basic level, TBS. For every coordinated turn_by_turn decisions six more "corridors" spend 1.75 points rather than 2 to reach the exact same spot.

4) I estimated that a huge carpet of 61 Units would be able to escape (or deploy) into a rectangular area (oriented in any of 12 different angles, btw) 3 tiles wide by 28 long on average! Which is an extremely strong plan of attack or defense.

5) Add cities and now you're getting where this could lead; a freshly built defender would flank out a blockade of 6 enemy Units by "moving" on the outside ring. You may claim, what's with the Zoc rule in that case? Battlefields are neutral while a territory is *under* your control. It's not defensive bonuses, it's deployment tactics (again) at TBS levels.

PS; The additional Move points "method" has been tried and proven ineffective back in November. We're simply heading in a whole new dimension (of patterns) without even touching the default points_pool array. Since it becomes unnecessary to artificially "add" another clugging process after the turn, within predictable range and distance.
PS; And, Camikaze... doesn't it belong also in the corresponding section of what you are maintaining in the Index sticky?

Certainly it will if it continues (but I only update the index every week or two, and only include threads with 10 or more replies, so there isn't an overload; the two reasons it isn't in there at the moment). :)
Ah... Okay i see, 10 or (21) posts qualify as being worthy of notice.
Feels more like i was being ignored but, it was most probably some weird coincidence.
Never mind, every good or bad ideas i'll have will endup buried anyway... that's the price *some* Modders pay for trying to contribute in the usual Forums chaos of the www.
Not that it matters that much, anymore.
Although, the 1upT solution i offered was kinda solid & ingenious -- IMHO.

Back on Topic...

This whole 12 directions concept is also (somehow) tied with the tactical overlay suggestion i made some time ago too... but i won't bother linking it here also since it was only hinted about in Sulla's best for all to comment or again, ignore.
Type "SoD, Carpets, 1upT" in the Search Box, if you're curious. And get ready for a ride, there are PAGES worth of similar rantings without exposing the facts or contributing tricky solutions.
At least, some of us are trying to stir Firaxis' Devs attention.

PS; Found the related thread.
For realism, I think 1-unit-pr-tile is an improvement. If a unit represents an army, one tile "would need to feed" an entire army, which makes it difficult for a single tile to hold a 12-unit stack.

The hex is better than square, because this arise Civilization from its cradle of a classic board game idea into a more realistic strategy computer game. I know you all like micro-management, but the largest crowd of customers is the casual gamer in need for a little action sometimes, I think. And you can attack from more tiles this way, making the game shorter.
Welcome to the forums, AvalPlaza. :wavey:

I don't really think that 1upt is particularly realistic, or that stacking is particularly unrealistic. Tiles are meant to represent pretty vast areas, and you'd think more than one singular unit would be able to be in the area, looking at it from a realistic point of view.
Thank you for the welcome, Camikaze :)

Alright, we may disagree on the scale of the game, a tile looks a little tiny to me, compared to the size of an early city.

As for the realism - yes I do agree neither of the solutions are not perfect. How would you want to solve it, then?
I would allow stacking, but with exponentially increasing penalties. That way, you get the realistic benefit of allowing stacking, and the gameplay benefit of discouraging SoDs.
The only problem I have with Zyxpsilon's movement change/improvement is the "alien-ness" of the idea. It is a very different concept to my rather casual gamer eyes. I think it would be more difficult to calculate movement in your head especially with units having high movement points. Also, how would roads be graphically represented?

Not to say any of this is bad, it is an elegant solution to unit clog.

I pondered whether the movement points should be significantly ratched up and the hexes scaled WAY down in size to the point of a city occupying several hexes. I puzzle over the tile working at this scale.
Movements points rescaling would not change the flow of deployment even if you'd add a resizing factor to the abstracted range of hex tiles.
The algorithm has an inherent 6 directions limit... within which (if using your suggestion) the TBS pattern would simply happen "faster" but still clug based on grouped Units amount.

Secondly, roads networking wouldn't need changing at all since twelve directions eliminate the snaky pathing from *ALL* units without adding move points.
The unclugging effects occur because grouped units aren't frozen in a 6 tiles radius but rather in a capacity for immediate access to between 19 and 30 (indirectly, 24 directions, btw) tiles depending on the already implemented move points pool. Adding supplemental points would simply make such range ratio go up to 61 or even 91 radius -- which to me is not only *TOO* much but also irrationally high in a sense that locked grids (ahead & nearby) are still limited to a total of 7 available hexes only, step_by_step.
Top Bottom