GHQ Terrain Maker hex kits

GHQ Terrain Maker hexes with rubber terrain pieces from Miniature World Maker in the left front and center.

Among my few regrets in my life was my short-sighted decision to sell off my collection of 300+ custom-made GHQ Terrain Maker hexes I finished in the 1990s. Making those hexes gave me hours of entertainment and pleasure, particularly on those cold Cleveland winter nights when the wind whipping off Lake Erie made it too treacherous to do much except stay home by the fireplace.

I used the hexes for many hours of gaming with my sons and friends, but in a poor decision during a mid-life crisis, I sold them and shipped them away. Every now and then, the urge hits me to place another order with GHQ and get back into the hex-making business, or to cut my own from insulation board from the local Lowes or Home Depot.

Back when I was into making and finishing hexes, I got to the point where I had beaches, plowed fields, islands, fords, streams, oat fields, wheat fields, sunken roads, hills, gullies, and many other terrain features to recreate just about any Civil War battlefield exterior to New Mexico or Arizona. I made all my non-hill and non-shore hexes two-sided (for example, with a road on one side and an oat field on the reverse). That saves space and doubled my collection at little extra cost.

At one time, I had a lot of the large 8″ hexes from GeoHex, but they were hard to transport to gaming conventions or that monthly game at the local hobby shop in Madison, Ohio. I switched to the 4″ GHQ hexes, which were much more portable, and frankly, they didn’t chip as easily or require as much maintenance.

On my website, I maintain a page with a few tips on making your own 4″ hexes (or any other size you wish).

Any Charge readers use a hex-based terrain system? Which one? What are your respective likes and dislikes for GeoHex, GHQ, and the other contenders?

Photos taken by Doug Rogers at the HMGS-Great Lakes convention, Advance the Colors, held near Dayton, Ohio, at the Holiday Inn-Moraine.

Categories: Civil War wargaming, Terrain, Wargaming in general | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “GHQ Terrain Maker hex kits

  1. Darrel Rodger

    Years ago, I invested in a large quanity of Geo-Hex. At first I was very happy with how functional it was, but over time, I found the set-up and repair to damaged hexes to be a pain.

    I have looked at the GHQ system a few times, but it always struck me as alot more work, as well as being more finicky to game on.

    I have found I enjoy creating 2’x2′ or 1’x1′ 5/8″ Particle Board Terrain Tiles. I do next to no convention gaming and the majority of my groups games are played at my house, so transportation has never been an issue. The 5/8″ thickness reduces warping down to nothing and they store very well in my garage, as well as being darn near indistructable.

    I have a standard set of plain tiles that can cover 2 – 4′ x 6′ tables and I created speciality tiles (Hills and Rough Terrain mostly) and rely on latex river and roads and mounted tree sections with lichen to add to the modular aspect of my system.

    Darrel Rodger

  2. Thomas Beach

    I have only recently taken the plunge and chose GHQ Terrain Maker. I will admit there is a much more pleasing aesthetic surrounding the 2’x2′ or 4’x4′ foam sheets as opposed to looking the very noticeable 4″ hexes of GHQ. However, storage and transportability are important to me and, in the end, I am willing to look beyond that negative. Like Scott, I too have throughly enjoyed my time spent so far making these hexes. I have also made the decision to go 10mm, opting for Old Glory miniatures. Question: Short of Johnny Reb III (which I really really dislike — no offense to anyone), is there another set of rules which accommodates 10mm?

    Tom Beach

  3. Darrel Rodger

    I believe Guns at Gettysburg encorporates 10mm in their rulesystem. I have never played it, but it is a reworking of a General de Brigade, a popular Napoleonic Rule Set. I have watched quite a few games of General de Brigade and I could see myself one day getting into Napoleonic Game – General de Brigade would be my rules choice.

    The scale is regimental, with a 1 Figure equals 20 men.

    Yours truly
    Darrel Rodger

  4. You might also want to check out Scott Monsour’s new Rally Round the Flag rules. I believe they also can be used for 10mm ACW gaming.

  5. Thomas Beach

    Thank you Scott and Darrel. I will go foraging for them.

    Tom Beach

  6. I still have mine(homemade) that I use from time to time. I m=no longer use them for convention or outside gaming as it takes too long to set up. For those I’ve made some custom terrain pieces for quick set-up. I still like the flexibility of the hex concept and have many double sided hexes with plain on one side and road, stream, swamp, etc on the other. I even made some “flat” ones for depresseed swampy areas with and without cordouroy roads.

  7. Larry Morris

    We always use the 12 inch GeoHex terrain. And it worked great for us at the regular meetings since the little ding and chips are not that big of deal to us. And they store rather easily in large quantities. So we think we got a good investment 15 years ago or whenever we bought it.

    Now that we run at the cons some of the dings should be fixed…..well i’ll get right on that 🙂


  8. John Stallaert

    I never liked the Geo-Hex system when they first came out for a number of reasons, one they were rather pricey, two, they were easily damaged and due to their size, and opponent was able to calculate approximately the distance my troops could travel to oppose him in a given number of turns, also their lightweight nature made them difficult to keep aligned on the field of battle.

    I opted to creating a number of 2′ x 4′ x 5/8″ MDF boards instead which I created a rolling storage cart for out of stock 2″ x 2″ and 1″ x 2″ clear pine lumber, and put the whole thing on casters that could be moved about and even transported to local wargaming conventions. And as was discussed before by Darrel Roger, in one of your posts on here, they are virtually indestructible, resist warping, and are fairly heavy so reduce shifting during a wargame. Also they fit together perfectly and due to the size have a minimal amount of seams unlike the Hex system.

    Forests, fields, hills, buildings, rivers and roads were always modular and easy to allow many different battles types. I create my roads with Acrylic brown caulking which can be painted and terrain flocking etc. can be added to them. Large forests can be created quite realistically with branches that are arranged two rows deed onto a Foam core base which is later covered with another Foam core layer which is covered in Lichen, and Sponge flocking to represent a tree canopy. Since I wargame in 6mm scale this works out perfectly in visual appearance and the center of the forests are left empty so when the canopy section is lifted off troops can be concealed in the woods. Fields I make from small corrugated cardboard sections which I flock or place small vegetation or static grass clumps. Buildings are all single pieces which can be placed as desired on the board. Rivers are the same as the roads, with a water being painted on them and the Acrylic caulking takes well to paint and texturing of ripples in the water, alternatively, hot glue can also be applied to these to represent transparent waves or ripples in the water. Smaller treed areas can be represented by means of single or a few trees arranged together. Stone wall and fences I also create from wood dowels 1/32nd” diameter and Foam core or out of thin sheets of Styrofoam on which I engrave embossed stones and paint them. Cobblestone roads, can be created from 1/32″ sheet plastic cut to size, on which I glue 3D textured vinyl wallpaper that resembles cobblestone available from any paint and wallpaper store… You get the idea.

    I have enough boards that can cover a 6′ x 24′ table with this method, but most often only use a 6′ x 12′ table area for most battles.

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