The Best Games To Play That Use A Hex Grid

The hexagonal grid is an extremely popular tabletop wargame mechanic. It provides additional instructions (six) compared to a traditional square, which greatly limits gameplay in more complex games. The only downside to the hex grid board game is the time it takes to set up and clean up, which some would say is part of the experience.

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Developers are now using hexadecimal grids for digital video games. These games range from faithful adaptations of cult classic games to completely new creations. These games often have additional features and full animations, bringing your favorite game to life. These are ten of the best hex games that you can play alone or with friends and don’t require setup or cleanup like their physical siblings.

Updated June 6, 2023 by Jack Webb: Sometimes all you need is a good 4X game to sink your teeth into, and games with a hex map and grid can be easy or challenging. With that in mind, this article has been updated to include more hex-based online games and non-4X titles, highlighting games like Endless Legend, For the King, and Civilization 6.



12 An endless legend

A world map showing the city, tiles and creatures in Endless Legend

Unlike its predecessor, Endless Space, Endless Legend made the leap to a hex grid to better utilize its strategic, turn-based exploration and gameplay to beautiful effect. Although the 2014 release was highly praised, the game has had several free updates and new additions over the years. This is a brilliant 4X sci-fi fantasy game that will easily immerse you for hundreds of hours.

If you’re a fan of the Civilization games, you’ll notice some similarities here. You choose a faction, map, and area to start your base of operations. When you start a new game, you can change the victory conditions and other parameters to suit how you want the campaign to play out. Manage your resources, build cities, exert your military influence or do whatever you want to win.

11 A curious expedition

An in-game screenshot of Curious Expedition showing the map and various tiles

Curious Expedition is a hybrid game that contains exploration, roguelike, turn-based, and survival elements. The game is heavily inspired by the Dungeons and Dragons hexcrawl and uses pixel graphics, giving it a retro feel.

You take on the role of celebrities throughout history to explore the uncharted lands of Earth. You will need to manage your explorers and their resources to survive the expeditions. This game requires a lot of planning and mistakes on one expedition can hinder your progress on the next. The game is procedurally generated so no two games will be the same, increasing replay value.

10 Before we leave

A screenshot of Before We Go showing tiles with trees, houses and other objects on the map

Before You Go is a city building game with the sole purpose of taking care of your Peeps. Peeps are those who spent some time underground and finally decided to come out. A unique aspect of Before We Go is that it does not contain violence and does not require you to fight other factions to achieve victory. This game focuses entirely on building your city and ensuring the success of your residents.

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The game has cute graphics and a fun soundtrack that you can get lost in for hours without wanting to break your keyboard due to frustrating mechanics — unlike some of the games on this list.

9 Terraforming Mars

Terraforming Mars in-game screenshot showing the world map grid and various icons

Terraforming Mars is another faithful adaptation of the hugely popular board game. Jacob Fryxelius, author of the original board game, helped develop this version with Asmodee Digital.

Take on the role of a corporation whose goal is to turn Mars into a habitable planet before other corporations succeed. The digital version includes a solo challenge mode where you have to terraform Mars before Generation 14 is successfully completed. There is also a draft mode that adds new rules to the base game.

8 Armello

Lightning strikes on the map in Armello

Armello is a hybrid board game, card game, and turn-based RPG tabletop game. Take control of one of the many available champions who want to conquer the throne of the fairy world. The game’s art assets, music, and character design make it feel like you’re fighting in a world taken straight from your favorite fairy tale universe.

Armello has had a lot of tweaks and new content added over the years, so you’ll have a lot of fun playing this game. It also has cross-platform multiplayer support, meaning you can play on PC, PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo Switch.

7 Tank Corps 2

Part of the main map in Panzer Corps 2 showing tanks and Washington

Panzer Corps 2 is a turn-based strategy game set in World War 2. You can play as every major power that participated in the Second World War. Over 1,000 different units in the game are highly realistic to their real-life counterparts.

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Panzer Corps 2 also features over 60 campaign scenarios and four multiplayer scenarios. Once you’ve completed all the scenarios, there’s a powerful editor that lets you create and share your content for even more fun.

6 Gloomhaven

A character attacks an enemy in an adjacent dungeon tile in Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven is a faithful adaptation of the award-winning turn-based dungeon crawler and features an expanded campaign, 17 mercenaries and over 1,000 different abilities. You’ll take control of two to four mercenaries with your own set of skill cards to explore the world around Gloomhaven.

There is an additional paid DLC that adds another campaign and additional content. It is recommended that you purchase this DLC after completing the second scenario of the base game. It features single-player and online co-op modes, and can be played by up to four players.

5 King’s Bounty: Crossworlds

Screenshot in King's Bounty Crossworlds showing enemies and highlighted tiles

King’s Bounty: Crossworlds is a turn-based strategy RPG. It is a standalone expansion for King’s Bounty: Armored Princess. This expansion includes an enhanced version of Armored Princess as well as new campaigns, creatures, items, quests, abilities and spells.

It also features a new in-game editor that lets you create new content for the game. This entry is a sequel to King’s Bounty: The Legend. In it, you take on the role of Princess Amelia, who travels through Teana in search of the famous knight Bill Gilbert.

4 Scythe: Digital Edition

An in-game screenshot from Scythe Digital Edition showing the tiles and the map screen where you can select different options

This digital recreation of the best-selling board game is an official adaptation. He does a fantastic job bringing the world he created to life. It takes place in an alternative history in the 1920s in Europe.

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Your goal is to achieve victory for your people over other factions through classic 4X gameplay (explore, expand, exploit and exterminate). The base game includes five factions, five specialties, and three levels of AI. Additional paid DLC adds more content to the base game. The game offers single-player, online PvP, or co-op/split-screen PvP.

3 Excellent work

An in-game screenshot from Opus Magnum showing the orbs around the edge of the hex

Opus Magnum is a hex grid puzzle from Zachtronics. They are perhaps best known for Shenzhen I/O, Infinifactory and SpaceChem. You take on the role of Anataeus Vaya, who has just accepted the position of Chief Alchemist of House Van Tassen.

You will use the transmutation engine to solve open-ended puzzles to reveal the history of the house’s dark past. The game also features a multiplayer mode, Steam Workshop integration, and a GIF exporter to display your in-game puzzle solutions. Opus Magnum also has a fun solitaire minigame that uses the core game mechanics.

2 For the king

A look at the hex map with enemies and other encounters you can discover in For the King

Because King isn’t in the same vein as the other hex games on this list, but it’s still worth mentioning. Battles take place on a separate field where each character follows the order. This challenging, fun multiplayer RPG lets you navigate a hex map with various encounters or events that you can ignore or jump headfirst into.

The game is a roguelike, which gives it a ton of replayability and new events to discover. You have a lot of options and freedom, but the difficulty of the game makes it difficult to do everything at once. With a sequel on the horizon that recently finished closed beta, testing For the King will be able to eliminate any turn-based online game.

1 Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

a close-up map in Civilization 6 showing soldiers and a nearby city

Although Civilization 5 holds a special place in everyone’s hearts, the latest Civilization VI is undoubtedly the best version of the legendary series. As always, you take on the role of a chosen civilization, from their beginnings as a tribe to advanced civilizations in the space age. As you progress in your civilization, other AI civilizations will do the same.

The game has several win conditions and it is completely up to you which one you want to fulfill. You can ally with other civilizations or go to war depending on your play style. Civ 6 retains the hex grid from Civ 5 and added to the experience extremely well. It’s streamlined, and despite a bumpy launch, a lot of content has been added over the years.

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