Maybe it’s the approach of Spring, maybe it’s a quasi-nautical tangent in the game I play in: I’ve been thinking about the Sandbox at sea (edit: I’m not alone, right, James?). My table-making tendencies are in high gear. But before I start in with tables and minigames, some easier observations:
Remember In Praise of the 6-Mile Hex? A hex with a height of six miles has side and diagonal lengths that are close enough to 3.5 and 7 to make calculation easy, and it breaks down into subhexes… well, it’s in the link.
If you “zoom out” at the proportions discussed there, you’re at hexes with a height of 72 miles. A 72 mile hex has sides approximately 42 miles long, and a diagonal just over 83 miles (call it 84! It’s not modern mapping!). Still fairly easy to calculate against, and has a bonus for ocean hex crawling: Large sailing ships, galleys, and sail boats cover 72 miles in a day. Small sailing ships are a bit faster (90 miles, a hair over the diagonal), but still fit pretty nicely.
Neat! It also means that my wilderness mapping hex paper- about 24 hexes long- covers more than 2M square miles. This is big enough to map a sea the size of the Caribbean and then some. When I drop down to the 6 mile scale, I can map two hexes from the larger map- enough to get several medium islands, like Jamaica, or half a large one.
But I can also use the fact that many smaller islands are less than 6 miles, combined with the Cook/Marsh dictum of land being visible 24 miles at sea (thus requiring entering the hex), to not map smaller islands on the big map at all. I can plan a few volcanic isles, or atolls, or maybe even a transient island that surfaces for days at a time on the back of an ancient turtle, and use them as chance encounters at sea. I like the idea of sailing under the decorative scrolls on your map, and finding both sea serpents and uncharted ritual islands.