Brick Wall Grid: just like Hexes

A brick wall grid is exactly like a hex grid, just easier to draw.*

After I posted ideas on my blog about how to buy or make a hex or brick wall grid, there was some discussion on the Rommel rule set forum about whether brick wall grids are different than hex grids. And I contend that there is not… so long as the bricks are not square but less “tall” than they are long.

I drew the following to illustrate it:

HexesVsBrickWall
To get a bigger version of this drawing with most of this text, I made a PDF: HexesVsBrickWall as that you can download

A 6” hex grid (measured flat to flat here and shown in blue on the drawing above) can be precisely represented as a brick wall with each bricks a length x height dimensions of say 6 x 5.1966” (shown in dashed red & yes, 6×5.25” is close enough!)

Why shouldn’t the bricks be square?

The bricks should not be squares or that will distort the movement rate in one direction. Proof that the bricks should not be squares is the equilateral triangle (shown in green) whose 6” sides’ vertices are on the precise centers of 3 hexes/bricks.

*And easier than drawing grid lines or marking each brick corner is to mark just the centers. Then the troops cluster around the centers.

Procedure: 

  1. Depending on which way the “grain” (length) of the hexes are going on your table get a board a bit longer than the width or length of your table—specifically 3” longer if brick lengths are 6”).
  2. Mark every 6“ (or whatever your brick lengths are to be).
  3. Place it half a brick height (2.625” for 5.25” high bricks) and mark the centers
  4. Jog the board 3” & move the board 5.25” over.
  5. Jog the board back 3” and move another 5.25”
  6. Repeat until done.
  7. Even if your initial marking is a magic marker dot, I suggest you make it look nicer by marking with “random” terrain bits like bushes, boulders, tree trunks.

Alternate scale note

If you are going with smaller than 6” long bricks, the height of the bricks (vertical here) need to be 86.6% of the length. So, a 4” long brick should have a height x.866 = 3.464” or call it 3.5”!

Important note about the extra row or two rows of bricks

If your bricks are 5.25″ high and 6″ wide then you are “saving” .75″ for every row of bricks and this will add up across the length (or width) of your table. The last row may be a partial row.

For example: lets say you have a 4×6′ table and 4″ brick wall grid = each brick is 4″ long and 3.5″ high. Furthermore you have elected to run the rows along the length so figuring the number of bricks across the 6′ width is easy: 72″ divided by 4″ = 18 rows.

But since the 3.5″ high dimension is across the 48″ direction of the table, divide by 3.5 = 13.71 rows. This means you will have 13 full bricks and a partial 2.5″ brick.

And notice how you do not have just 12 bricks on the 48″ direction as you would if the bricks were squares (distorting movement distances as mentioned earlier) but 14, counting the last partial row.

Final important note about partial bricks

Part and parcel of this is that along two edges you will have “half bricks” just as you would with partial hexes.

If the thought of drawing a brick wall seems too hard

But you still like hexes, then my suggestion is that you buy a sharp-looking and long-wearing hex-gridded felt from Hotz Mats. I recommend their European Fields  (which now comes in an Enhanced version too with simulated bush look along the field edges that can be ignored in game terms). The reverse of that is good for the Russian steppes but remember to have Eric Hotz put a hex grid on both sides. His largest hex size is 5″ (flat to flat). His largest hex grid is 45×72″ which gives you almost 11×14 kilometers of battlefield. Which is more than the Rommel rule-set’s suggested 6″ grid on 4×6′ table or 8×12 kilometers.

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