Not quite sure where this idea came from. But, I remembered that tile shops often sell sheets of tiles on flexible mesh backing. These are normally made up of lot so little (i.e. about an inch across) squares. I believe they are called mosaic tiles. I then wondered if they did a hexagonal version. They do:
If you’ve not seen these before, you stick down the flexible mesh sheet and fill in the spaces with grout. Normally the tiles are small squares.
… anyway, I think you will probably see where I’m going with this now.
Using the tile set as is
Think white board, but made of lots of little hexes.
You can mark straight on these tiles with a marker to make a hex terrain map on-the-go.
Or, you could use this as a tactical miniature map template and place minis directly on it.
Clearly, buy tiles that are not porous, or you could simply varnish them.
Making a custom tile set
Either place them out as the PCs explore, or draw them randomly out from a bag.
Obviously, if you’re going to make a lot of custom tiles, painting them in sets on the mesh makes more sense rather than separating them individually beforehand.
I figure, you could ‘spray can’ on the backing colour, then ‘potato stamp’ on the terrain feature (e.g. a tree for woods), perhaps using a bit of cut rubber or cork. If you are all arty, you could paint on the feature by hand. Varnish the tile set, I figure there is spray on varnish.
If you are super crafty, you might even be able to enamel the tiles too.
The above 144 tile (12 x 12) set is listed on the internet as GBP 5.99 (I took the first hit), which works out to be about 5 pence (about 7 cents) per tile.
Have I missed something obvious? Is this old news? Can the idea be improved? I’d be interested to hear more.
For an idea of physical dimensions please see this video I found on YouTube:
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More of my stuff on DriveThruRPG: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/9524/Goblin039s-Henchman