Friday, 12 December 2014

Hip to be square?

I have enjoyed (of late and for some time now) wargames using a square grid. Be it the "Portable Wargames" of Bob or Ross's "Gathering of Hosts" they have given me some excellent solo gaming. This week a thought popped into my mind-
the staggered square grid ,if that's what it is called.
I wonder what the pros and cons of such grids are and if one could use them with rules set up for a normal squared grids? Are they merely an easier to draw substitute for hexagons? How would a staggered grid effect my games? Any thoughts gentlemen?


  1. I discussed this kind of format in my blog in April last year with view to exploring its feasibility. I had had such an idea for a 'Bathtubbed' Operation Crusader 'campaign' some 20-odd years ago. At any rate, here are links to my discussion last year, that you might find interesting.

  2. Staggered squares are pretty well identical in operation to hexes so they will need minor adjustments to be used with rules designed for a normal square grid.

    That's probably what the Archduke will say in his links.

  3. Tradgardmastare,

    The offset square grid is an excellent substitute for hexes, and is easier to draw accurately.

    My personal opinion is that conventional squared grids work well with battles set before the introduction of the AFV and mobile warfare, and that hexes (and offset square grids) work better after their introduction. I am trying to write rules that will work with squared and hexed grids.

    All the best,


  4. I've used the staggered squares in place of hexes for a lot of things. They aren't perfect but they are pretty good.

    -- Jeff

  5. A few caveats when using (staggered grids):

    - They are not completely identical to the corresponding hexgrid. A straight line from centre-cell to centre-cell does not cross exactly the same corresponding cells in the square grid or the hexgrid. Some rules rely on line of sight to be measured from centre to centre. Whether this truly matters is another question, of course, but some people might get fuzzy about it.

    - On a hexgrid - and when facing is important and also discretized along the grid - 6 or 12 orientations are allowed (either face towards a hexside or towards a point of the hex). Discretized facing on a staggered square grid is visually less elegant.

    - Hexgrids have the perceives advantage that continuous movement distances in all 6 main directions are identical (as opposed to a square grid where a diagonal move is not identical to a vertical or horizontal move). This is not entirely true in a staggered square grid. If you want to keep the same distances in all 6 directions, you need to make the squares rectangular rather than square.

  6. Another thing that may or may not matter depending on the rules is that like a hex grid, staggered squares have a grain. In 1 direction you can move straight if you face a side but your battle lines are staggered while in other direction the opposite is true. With squares there is the additional matter that in 1 direction 1 square side faces 1 square but in the other, 1 faces 2.

    These are all easily handled with a little thought.

  7. On the rectangular vs square spaces on the offset grid, Phil Dutré is correct, but the ratio is not huge. Taking the height of the rectangle as 20mm, say, the horizontal length should be measured as 23mm (the ratio to 3 decimal places is 1: 1.155). My own attitude is that the difference being so small might not be worth worrying about, considering the geometric improvement over a square grid. On the other hand, it's not so hard to measure multiples of 23mm ... not if you know your 23-times table: 23,46, 69, 92 (eighty-twelve), 115 (one hundred and fifteen)...

    If you haven't seen them already, I do discuss in my postings the effect of orientation upon shooting ranges and arcs of fire. I do not look at line of sight, though. In my view, since the 'brick; system is distinct from hexes anyhow, its own geometries in that regard can be accepted as they are.