192 Hexes of Joy: a larger hex game board


192 hexes of joy.

Playing around with a larger board as Bob Cordery has been doing, I scrounged an old scrap noticeboard with bevelled edge and painted it ‘chrome green’ acrylic to match Heroscape hex green.

Filling it with the large Heroscape 24 hex base plates, I fitted  8 of these large 24 hex base plates into the board with a thin narrow gap round the edge.

If I were not using  a found board with a prefitted sloping trim, at least  a further edge line of single hexes could have been easily added, giving another 16 hexes, in total  208 hexes of joy.

Gamers with some carpentry opportunities or checking available notice boards should be able to make the hexes fit the board and trim, rather just my ‘make do and mend’ / working as found approach


Instead for ease and speed, I kept with 192 hexes and decided to paint the gap and edge,  so that it does not stand out quite so ‘wooden frame’ like in any photos. I was quite tempted though by Bob Cordery’s smart looking approach with a white neutral edge and the wooden frame around, especially thinking about hanging the frame in between uses on the wall!

Still 192 Hexes of Joy –  A big jolly emptiness to fill.

A quick WW2 era Skirmish to try out a river setting. Peter Laing 15mm figures, four to a hex.

Wood glue was used along the joins of each board underneath and this has proved sufficient to hold the large hex plates together in place so far. If I don’t like the hex board, I should still be able to remove and separate the plates again.  Failing this,  a hot glue gun will do the sticking job robustly.

Tempted to check the strength of the adhesive, I could have hung the board on the wall. It still has its mounting cord on the back from its previous life as a noticeboard. However the rest of the household were not convinced that we could pass it off as modern art, especially once I had painted the frame edge green too.

Pausing before piling on hex terrain and figures to look at this beautiful big empty ground space, various games suggest themselves – chariot or horse racing games, surely what off-duty officers and troops do to keep busy in peacetime. Cross country running games, hare and hounds…

Even the hexspaces repainted yellow or gold could become a hive for some kind of sci-fi social insect game? Or alternative “hive” modern art. There must be some biological, physics and logistical reason why bees do these hive hex grid shapes of honeycombs.

Previous Portable 108 Hexes of Joy

Previously on Man of TIN I have used two box lids with a combined hex grid of 108 (each lid holding 9 by 6 hexes). This does not counting the four to six half hexes (infilled with scrappy clumps of AstroTurf)  that exist along the raggedy hex edge on each board. These half hexes can be doubled up and counted as a whole for the purposes of counting hexes for moving or firing ranges.

The river in the set up below can be counted as one or two hexes wide and / or impassable, whatever you choose.

My two portable game boards (each of 9 x 6 Heroscape hexes) set up for the Pine Ridge Valley ACW game

Hex size, overhang  and avoiding rebasing  figures?

I was interested to read the discussion on Bob Cordery’s blog  Wargaming Miscellany about overhang of bases such as guns and crews or vehicles and limbers, with interesting discussions in the comments section about the overhang issue and Zones of Control.

I set up a quick skirmish game scenario to check this issue out using  Peter Lang 15mm WW1 / WW2.

An easy scenario of a contested river crossing – but how to do the rivers on the new larger board?

Rivers and Streams

I wanted to see what to do about river and water features on a fixed hex baseboard.

I had thought about painting the base,  under where the hex plates  should be, with a suitable blue so that instant rivers are available, with a big of rejigging hexes around for each game as required. This idea came from Iain Dickie’s book  Wargaming On A Budget.  This flexible coast or river system idea would not work  if I was to stick down the big 24 hex plates.

I didn’t want the stalemate of a river in the same place all the time on every scenario.

Alternatively, I could have stuck down the main 24 hex base plates but left some gaps between them, creating a couple of covered stream systems (i.e. the blue painted baseboard showing) filled in and  covered over with single hex plates until needed.

I can’t still try these ideas out on my portable 54 hex boards.


Overhang or bases too big for your hexes?

As you can see it is a tight fit even for my Peter Laing two man artillery crew with an Airfix hard plastic gun from the preformed Hanomag Half-track and Gun set.

This gun is tucked in behind the natural cover of the river bank. The Heroscape river hexes built up one deep on either side of the thin blue hexes makes an effective river bank or levee.


Again the defending force’s  lorry is a bit of an hex overhang. Not quite to scale, this is one of three scrounged lorries from the giveaway cover toys from a BBC comic about five to ten years ago.

Non-specific WW1 through to WW2  Euro Nation forces, using Peter Laing 15mm Turkish WW1 infantry advancing (F754).

Who are these nonspecific European Euro-Nation troops? 

Lacking many WW2 15mm Peter Laing figures, of which only a very restricted range was made, I have padded out my WW2 forces with WW1 troops. These could of course be used to represent the original figures, which were bought prepainted, bashed and second hand.  I believe them to be WW1 Peter Laing 15mm Turkish Infantry advancing (F754)




Peter Laing figures being slender and slight of detail, these Turkish infantry could also be Soviets, Greek infantry or Low Countries remembered from my childhood library copy of  Preben Kannik’s Military Uniforms of The World in Colour.

My non-specific Peter Laing skirmish infantry could feature as troops fighting (from left hand page) this German Infantry man 1940,   troops such as on the right hand page, these 1939/40  Polish, Danish, Dutch or Belgian infantry.

Overhang and Zones of Control

Playing a standard infantry game causes few problems four 15mm figures to a hex. I can achieve the same with a similar base size for 20mm Airfix figures.

As soon as artillery and cavalry are added, things need a little more work.

I begin to see Bob  Cordery’s issue about Zones of Control and trying to avoid the need for rebasing, moving from the 4cm Heroscape hexes to the larger 10cm Hexon hexes, or your own chessboard or grid pattern.



The Hermit  Alternative – Grid Squares.

John Patriquin the Wargames Hermit has been developing an interesting version of the chessboard style Portable Wargame grid so ably explored by Bob Cordery. Like Bob and myself, John uses (Heroscape) hexes and Peter Laing figures.



This square grid is still not out of the question, as I  have a blank wooden back on the back of the larger portable hex board. This could be painted green, a small balsa edging strip added (to prevent slide off) and grid squares marked on in full or part, as Ross MacFarlane does on his Battle Game of the Month blog such as here http://gameofmonth.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/one-for-gaffer.html


My Peter Laing 15mm English Civil War artillery, too big for one hex base … rebasing required?

In my next blog post I will show some more of what happens when you start exploring the Overhang Issue by unboxing your 15mm Peter Laing cavalry, chariots and artillery.

192 Hexes of Joy create  many decisions, decisions and options …

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 1st August 2017.





4 thoughts on “192 Hexes of Joy: a larger hex game board”

  1. Thank you Mark for a really interesting blog. I am a square grid user by habit using inch and a half squares. My own (mostly Peter Laing) troops easily fit 3-4 figures on a 30mm wide base. Guns fit OK, but chariots are a tight fit.


    1. Thanks Jon.
      I am tempted to mark out the back of my new big 192 hex board (or find another board) with square grids sometime. I gather from Bob Cordery’s Portable Wargame there are several – offset and other – grid square options.
      Mark, Man of TIN

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yet again you have come up with some excellent and thought-provoking ideas. I really like your 192 hex set-up, which is almost exactly the same as the one I am currently playing around with. (I did try 288 hexes, but the board was no longer very portable!)

    I think that the problem with overhanging units is more a perceptual one than an real one. ‘One unit fit in one grid area’ is easy to grasp, but ‘one unit sort of fits in one grid area, but may overhang a bit in places’ sends shivers down the spine of anyone who likes things exact … and a LOT of wargamers fit into that category! Personally I think that the overhang ‘problem’ can be solved quite simply as I hope my experiments showed.

    Interestingly Archduke Piccolo is also looking at ways to ‘solve’ the ‘problem’, and if you haven’t already done so, I recommend that you take a look at his latest blog entry. ( http://archdukepiccolo.blogspot.com/2017/08/grid-wargames-some-thoughts-thereon.html )

    All the best,


    PS. I only wish that someone would produce Peter Laing-like 15mm WWII figures rather than the over detailed, anatomically deformed stuff that is available.


  3. Bob
    Thanks for the pointer towards Archduke Piccolo and his thoughts on grid wargames and column and line. Interesting issue as to how to rebase around this issue, if necessary, or ignore the slight overhang. I look at this rebase or ignore the issue in my next blog post, full of Peter Laing eye candy.

    At the moment, playing the raggedy skirmish games that I do, I am not so concerned about such formal manoeuvres in the cluttered terrain of Featherstone’s Close Wars but with nearly two hundred hexes to play with on the new board, I might one day achieve such sophisticated things as line, square and column one day.
    I can see that overhang in these circumstances is more of a concern for those with more exact-ing historical rulesets or mindsets. Each to his happy own, I say! It is after all just a game and a very personal one at that.

    I agree that it is a shame that slender Peter Laing 15mm figures are no longer made. I’m not sure where we are in the going round in circles “who has the missing PL moulds?” saga. I know PL enthusiast Ian Dury was trying to make contact with John Mitchell’s family after John died recently to see what remained. Maybe once the legalities of ownership are considered and past, the moulds have not been found and are declared extinct, one day someone will copy cast a Peter Laing style tribute range. I would buy more.
    I know that John Patriquin has been trying to copy a few figures, one cast a time, for home use rather than the commercial spinning centrifugal mould discs that Peter Laing was pictured with in his Mil Mod interview.

    Hope that the SpCW book update is going well. Hopefully you can include a few of the writers involved in the bibliography, if not adding to the chaos of the game mechanics, such as Lorca, Hemingway, Orwell etc. I believe that the Penguin Book of Spanish Civil War Verse is still widely around secondhand and by the same man Valentine Cunningham, Spanish Front – Writers on the Civil War anthology (Oxford Paperbacks) too.
    Best wishes, Mark Man of TIN.


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