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Strategic game board #3: Hexagons!

Beer Engine

Rated capacity: 2.8 gal.
Jan 19, 2002
4214 miles from Newton's Grave.
Strategic Game Board #3: My first Hex Map!
Table of Contents:
(7 posts, six attachments)

1. *zip file* (the map itself)
2. map outline
3. mini-map screenshot
4. editor screenshot
5. game-in-progress screenshot
6. resource distribution jpg
7. Map Notes ** please read.
The zip file includes the map file, the 'map outline' jpg, and the map notes posted below.


  • hb180.zip
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a mini-map screenshot


  • mapshot.jpg
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This image shows resource ditribution. As you can tell from the map key, I used a grayscale to show roughly what type of resource is placed in each hex. (I removed the color key because I felt it gave you too much information -- now you'll just have to explore the map.)


  • cluster 180.jpg
    cluster 180.jpg
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The general design concept for this map (and the others in this series) is to encourage certain game play decisions without changing the rules. Hopefully players will try out new strategies in response to the geometry of the map.

series history:

strategic game board #1 (large waffle-iron)
thread: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=14695

strategic game board #2 (small waffle-iron)
Featured on Civ3.com! :D
thread: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=15610

strategic game board #3 (large hex board)
You're soaking in it.

What would you like to see in the next game board? Comments, suggestions, and recomendations can be posted in this thread, or sent directly to beerengine@mad.scientist.com

Map Notes for Strategic Game Board #3:

=Map Stats=

- Map designed for 16 civs.
- Overall size 180x180. (default huge map size -- no rule changes)
- 18 player start locations
- 'Board Game' style layout, using 288 hexagons


When I think of strategy board games, I almost always think of hexagons. So in developing a new map, I messed around a bit until I found a hex pattern I liked, then started into a hex board map.

Hexagons connect at six points (naturally) to neighboring game hexes. A small land bridge connects three hexes at a corner. (see the map outline, above.)

The game board hexagons are larger than the old game board 'squares' (which I used in a waffle-iron pattern as seen on maps #1 and #2). You should be able to fit 2 (maybe 3) cities on each hex, more or less comfortably with a little overlap. Unfortunately, that means there are going to be some really freaking huge civilizations on this map --

The map is made up of 288 hexes. There are 43 inland seas, which are in fact just holes where an intervening hex would have been. A map screenshot and 'outline' were previously posted in this thread (you had to scroll past them to read this).


In a further effort to increase trade potential, I tried a new resource placement heuristic. The two key concepts are *relative scarcity* and *available trade surpluses*.

Scarcity begins almost immediately. Every start position has nearby (and uncontested) access to horses (I'm being nice -- it's a huge map), but other resources will probably be fought over. Key hexes have clusters of strategic resources (3 to a hex) but the clusters for new resources occur with decreasing frequency:

18 horse clusters
12 iron clusters
12 saltpeter clusters
9 coal clusters
9 oil clusters
6 rubber clusters
6 aluminium clusters
3 uranium clusters

Scarcity is mitigated by the second key concept: surpluses. If you find an oil cluster, for example, you not only meet your own needs but have two surplus oil to trade. There is also a possibility that two civs could split control of a cluster, sharing the same oil field, so to speak. (Uranium is a noteable exception: even with 3 to a cluster, there are only 9 uranium. I doubt anyone will trade. Three nuclear superpowers, at most?)

Luxury resources are more plentiful, though there are only 12 clusters of each. Same logic here: relative scarcity combined with available trade surpluses.

Strategic resources are not randomly distributed. Starting from the outside edge, they are placed in roughly concentric 'rings' headed in toward the middle. The 'modern' resources are at the center, iron and horses are at the outside. Uranium is at the 'bullseye' of the map. Similarly, while luxuries are randomly placed, they are also concentrated in the middle of the board. Overall, roughly two-thirds of the hexes have a luxury or strategic resource placement. Within a certain radius, all hexes have a resource cluster. Even discounting the race for uranium, the center of the board is valuable territory.

If you play with less than 16 civs, this will seem like a very rich map. A lot of the design work takes into account fierce competition between civs.


The geometry of the map means you can defend a lot of territory with just a few guys along key points, particularly if you make use of the inland seas as anchors for your defensive lines. Offensively, you can concentrate on taking and holding one game board hex at a time, without having to string an offensive front across half a continent.

This is not really a naval map. You may want to use a navy if you'd like to move units around the outside edge of the board, or maybe build transports to take shortcuts across the small inland seas.

The game board was not designed to wrap around. You should not be able to get units to the other side. However, some fun things might be done with aircraft carriers near the equator. ;)

Obviously, success in the game will depend on grabbing available resources before your opponent. This means a quick, hard drive for the center of the map, hopefully finding and securing each type of strategic resource along the way.

With the size of the map, corruption is also a big concern. You may approach this two ways, I think: 1. keep moving you capital as you advance, to try and keep corruption down in the middle of you empire. 2. Adopt a colonial model. Keep your palace with the oldest cities on the rim, and found interior cities primarily to take advantage of resources. Good road/rail networks are a must. (In my current game-in-progress, I'm using the colonial model, and it seems to be working out fine. Find a resource, build a city, build a temple, and then set production to wealth. And ignore the city after that. It takes a lot of road-building workers and a sound defensive strategy to run a colonial empire, but its kind of fun.)

Will the computer play along? I think it will. Everyone starts near the outside edge, with neighbors close on either side. Computer civs will start exploring and expanding in all directions, but the confines of the map and other civs will eventually force them into the wide, unpopulated center. A smart player will likely beat the other civs to the middle, but then again, the smart player is also outnumbered 15 to 1.
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