I had an idea lately for a space map design. Most space games use a point to point movement (ex: Twilight Imperium, Eclipse) because you do not need to show the space between the system.
I was thinking to use a small hex grid to represent space a bit like in "Stellar Conquest" or "Space Empire 4X", but the problem with these maps is that there is not much space to place tokens and ship in a system. So I was thinking to use space around the star for placing system component. I have 2 layout example:
The first example use the space between the hexes, The circles are planets or objects around the star:
The second example use surrounding hexes to place the planets. But even if these planets have a hex of their own, the players still need to move from a star to another star to reach the planet because all the planets are located in the star location even if represented in adjacent hex.
I really like the 2nd system, the only drawback is that there must be a minimum distance between stars to make sure the orbits does not overlap. Second, if the ships can stop their movement in the middle of the space, they cannot land 1 space away from the star, else the player will think the ship will have reached the system. So either the ship is granted an extra move and reach the system, or he must wait outside the system and enter on the next turn.
What do you think?