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How to determine locations for events on a hex board.

10 replies [Last post]
Joined: 09/20/2010
Example board layout


I've got a small problem, and would appreciate any suggestions on how to solve it.

I got a board with a hex map on it, and there's different types of tiles on some of the hexes.
Each type of tile is a certain terrain feature, and the players can place some of them around the board.
For example, a Mountain tile or say a chain of water tiles (larger ocean).

Now the problem is as follows: theres a deck of event cards that the players have to draw from every now and then.
But the event drawn might be a tsunami (that happens at a random water chain) or vulcano eruption (that happens at a mountain tile) event.
How should I determine which chain/tile the event occurs at?
It can't be written on the card as it'd be too easy to learn all the event cards and then just adapt to them.
Additionally, once the mountain tile for the eruption has been chosen, the 'lava' only affect one tile adjacent to it.
How should I determine which adjacent tile is affected?

I'd like to note that there aren't any dice used in the game, so i think its uncessesary to add dice to the game only to be used for one thing. And I'd want to avoid creating a deck with cards that represent the hexes.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to read!

- SuperioR

Joined: 09/21/2010
Here is one trick

Let us assume that you want that only one hex will be affected by some (lava for example).
The easy way is to add some rotating arrow that you turn on each turn. Something circular with 5 directions to define on the board (1,2,3,4,5).
At any time of the game the arrow is going to give the orientation.
If the event happen assuming that only one represents the vulcanoe then the tile number 1 or 2 or 3 or..... will be affected.
The only problem is that you have on each turn to increment 1 direction.
More than that you can use it for other events.
I hope this will help.

rcjames14's picture
Joined: 09/17/2010
Complex Systems

I sense that your game produces a lot of random events which the players are forced to either anticipate or respond to. I would challenge you to think about how these events might be generated by card play or actions by the players rather than by chance from the game mechanic itself.

A complex system can be unpredictable and deeply complicated without any chance as long as there are enough interactions between its components and those interactions have the capacity to create feedback loops and self-reinforcing phenomena. Because non-linear systems with a large number of agents are difficult for us to comprehend, they can generate events which appear to be the result of chance and spur the players to think deeply about causal mechanisms.

If it is a complex system, the players will effectively inadvertently create their own events and you may not have to address the issue of what direction lava flows or what pond floods. Each of these things may be the consequence of a lot of interlocking factors... but all completely determined by the actions the players take.

Just a thought.

RacNRoll Gaming
RacNRoll Gaming's picture
Joined: 05/12/2010
Another way to do it is....

Use a number marker for each lake, mountain etc on the board..Lets use the Lava Eruption example...

Lava Eruption Card is event card is drawn and on the bottom is a number and a directional arrow. This determins where it begins and how the flow progresses. The actual event on that card is ignored. (This is similar to the faint checks you do with the cards in Red November)

Pastor_Mora's picture
Joined: 01/05/2010
Cardinal Points

In a 4-player setup, I can imagine each player sitting in a cardinal point: North, South, East, West. To do that, place a fixed compass tile somewhere handy.

Then state that the lava flow or whatever large area event will spawn to in the card description. i.e. "The Volcano erupts, and lava flows to the tiles N, NE & E."

As how to assign the tile that the event will affect, you could have the back of the event cards matching the background colors of the tiles. Forest tiles event will have green backgrounds, swamp events cards will have a black back similar to the swamp tile, etc.

If the event is onset by the player entering a certain area, you know which tile deck he has to draw his event from.

If the event is spawned randomly each turn, have the first player draw the card, and have the card depict the tile number (1st, 2nd, 3d, etc). So what you do is start in the top left part of the map the first player is facing and start to follow the lines as if you where reading the board, until you reach the "1st, 2nd, 3d, etc" tile the event depicts. i.e. now you'll have "The (2nd) Volcano erupts, and lava flows to the tiles N, NE & E."

Not sure if this is clear. Hope you get what I mean. Keep thinking!

Joined: 07/28/2008

a quick answer is to have a co-ordinate on each tile, granted this is all dependent on the game setting mind you.

This way when you draw an event card, it should have the tile, the effect, the co-ordinate of the origin, and maybe a smaller image showing distribution. So:

Effect: Lava flows blah
Co-ord: 1.2
Distribution: (P=Plains, M=Mountain, V=Volcano, L=Lava)

Joined: 09/20/2010

Thanks for all the great ideas!

I'm going to have to think about all the different ideas and then hopefully choose a good system for the game. Trial and error I guess, but you guys got lots of things for me to try :)

If you got more suggestions I'm listening.


- SuperioR

Joined: 10/05/2009

This may seem similar to someone else's suggestion, but it is simpler:

* Number the Tiles.
* When an event like the example happens, roll a die corresponding to the amount of tiles or more.
Example: Mountain 3, 5 and 8.
Roll D6 1-2=1; 3-4=2; 5-6=3,
Result: 4, = 2
Count the mountain numbers upwards to nr "2" = 5
So, it is the one with number 5 that erupts.

Joined: 12/15/2009
I suggest labelling the tiles

I suggest labelling the tiles with different icons, and putting icons on the cards.
When an event card is flipped, flip another card and look at its icon. If that icon only matches one tile, the event happens on that tile. Otherwise, the player with the fewest points chooses. (If there are few enough tiles that each one has a different icon, you won't need to resort to player choice; just flip cards until you flip one with an icon matching a tile on the board.)

Joined: 09/17/2010
This might be too

This might be too deterministic, but what if you had events flow towards the path of least resistance?

You mentioned terrain tiles. Give each tile type a value (ie: water=0, sand=1, grass=2, mountain=3,...). Then use a simple path cost algorithm to have the even flow in the path of least resistance. So in the case of a volcano, the lava would flow down hill.

In the case of a tsunami, you might have the event travel in the path of most resistance (ie: it heads towards shore).

As for the simple path cost algorithm, a tie is broken by looking at the next tile out.

Joined: 09/20/2010
Hey again :) Added an image

Hey again :)

Added an image to the top post, as it might help explain the problem I have.

Basically, I've been trying out different ways, but none have yet been as good as I want it to be.
The problem is, each player has their own boards and can for example place anywhere inbetween 0-20 mountain tiles. This really makes it tricky to add numbers/icons on the tiles, as there can be 1 of them on the board, or 20, depending on how the players have setup their boards.

I tried adding coordinates and directions on the event cards, so after a card that needs a location and direction is drawn, they draw a new one and check the closest tile to that location and then have a direction for it.

The problem with this solution is (check the image in the OP) that as there is 1 event card for each hex on the board, if players place mountains 1 next to the edge, and then mountain 2 just a tiny bit further from the edge, then basically theres only a 1/61 chance of mountain 1 erupting if a lava card is drawn. And players can abuse this fact to prevent the mountains they have other valuable stuff around from erupting.

I've been thinking about some arrow that is spinned, and that just doesn't work for this game in my opinion. I've been thinking about dice, but as theres an uneven distribution of hexes per column (column A has 5 hexes, column B has 6, etc) that won't work seamlessly either.

The players already have a saying in when the events happen as its a specific action they have to do. Players aren't really required to take events, but doing so grants them some bonuses (other than whats on the card), basically risk vs reward (the risk/reward isnt huge, so people wont be spamming events and hoping to win from luck). And having players able to use event like stuff against other players wont fit the theme, as its supposed to be a friendly game. :)

Do you guys have more ideas ?

Thanks for any help, and if something is unclear, just ask and i'll try to explain better :)

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