I'm prototyping a base-building game that uses a hex grid as the basic structure. Hex grids have benefits, but when humans want to build buildings or divide up space, they usually use square/rectangular shapes. How can I allow players to lay out spaces that look or feel right, while playing nicely on the hex grid?

One option I think I could use is to align rectangles with the centers of hexes. This allows for some hexes to clearly fall "inside" or "outside" the region, but also introduces three new hex/rect intersection types: an edge-to-edge half, a vertex-to-vertex half, and a corner.

A rectangle overlaid on a hex grid, with the rectangle corners aligned with hexagon centers

Another option would simply be to make buildings and regions hex-based as well - they could be drawn in any arbitrary fashion on the grid and would have clean boundaries, but would probably feel strange to someone who just wants to build a square building.

Or is this just a sign that I should be using a square grid?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ "Or is this just a sign that I should be using a square grid?" I think that's a question only you can answer. You know what perks of hex grids are most important for your gameplay, and what trade-offs you'd make if you switched to square grids in exchange for the simplicity of rectilinear building footprints. Whether or not that's a worthwhile trade in your case depends on the details of your gameplay, your goals for the game, and on you/your team's preferred works styles - all of which are areas where you are the expert, not strangers on the Internet like us. 😉 \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Apr 27, 2022 at 14:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ As a follow on to DMGregory's comment, describing the perks of hex grids that are most important for your gameplay significantly improves the chances of getting an answer that accounts for your design priorities. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pikalek
    Apr 27, 2022 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


Don't know if this can help but you can design rectangle overlapping several hex.

enter image description here

  • \$\begingroup\$ If I understand your suggestion correctly, you're saying "use an underlying square/rectangle grid, then layer a hexagonal structure on top to use for any game mechanics that are better suited to hex topology"? So units would be able to stand on a coarser grid, while buildings could be placed on a finer grid? \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Apr 27, 2022 at 17:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think you can use the same grid for both. Depends on the building size you want. Using hex at the end depends more on the look of the game. Hex tiles are common in wargames. Personnally I'm using squares and boxes for detection or AStar pathfinding. \$\endgroup\$
    – philB
    May 1, 2022 at 12:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can divide up the hexes into rectangles in such a way that every hex only has two rectangles in it and you're not sharing any rectangle between two hexes. Then the whole game is essentially working on a rectangular grid but you can use neighbouring pairs of rectangles to represent hexagons too. Example \$\endgroup\$
    – Romen
    May 27, 2022 at 20:35

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