View Full Version : What makes a map Great for Gaming?

09-28-2013, 05:01 PM
I've been trying to figure out how maps are used in the course of game-play; what types/sizes/scales are used most often; which are less important but cool to have on hand; what finer points within the layout or terrain structure of each type of map makes it the most fun, useful for multiple games, and what would make it unusable. So basically, what would you want to see in a map, or map pack, for gaming? What would be amazing?

I know there are a lot of different types of games, many ways to play them, and even more perspectives and opinions out there. I'd like to hear them. Or, if there's already a discussion on this subject in another place--anywhere--please point me to it. You have my thanks!

09-29-2013, 02:53 AM
I think maps with enough specifics to be used at the scale you are playing would be the most obvious answer. For instance I remember traveling in an RPG on an overland map where the hexs defined an area of 30 miles edge to edge or something. Each hex detailed an encounter table for the area, the terrain type the biome and weather etc. We spent days or weeks dealing with the damn logistics and traveling thanks to an over enthusiastic player amongst us, but the point is the map served its function. Party tactics obviously dropped us down into 5 ft squares which are by far probably the most common maps, encounters were just erasable pen on a clear plastic grid and the dungeons are pre-drawn and hidden for the DM.

Map packs would undoubtedly be able to utilized most readily by RPG's because of their flexibility and the fact that they are designed for that sort of thing. For other games the map packs would have to be specific to each game I'd imagine (and most likely balanced toward the game as well).In short what makes a great map for gaming is a map that contains all the relevant information for playing that game on that map, which seems like a trite answer but also seems to me to be an unavoidable one for so general a question.

09-29-2013, 01:44 PM
Thank you, Falconius. That gives me a clearer picture of the circumstances to be considered.

10-19-2013, 10:50 AM
I for one enjoy diversity in games. Im not saying games that take place within 1 area(such as black mesa in half life) make the game bad, but diversity can improve things. Work the diversity around the time-period which the story/game/whatever takes place around. Trying combinations of things also increases the players interest in diversity. For example, a mushroom forest is always interesting. Or perhaps a cave filled with luminescent crystals is more to your liking. The possibilities are truly endless. I also believe that the proportions also matter. If the game/story will have a relatively small map, don't make a city take up half of it(unless the main setting just so happens to be the city). Lastly, unique landmarks are important as well. If your world has 3 forests, make sure they have differences. Perhaps one forest will contain a cave with untold treasures, while the next forest is far north and has perpetually snowy weather. Diversity is what makes a good map, in my opinion.