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10 Tips to Make Your Maps Not Suck

Posted September 6th, 2021 at 10:01 PM by superfrog
Updated September 7th, 2021 at 12:12 AM by superfrog
Recently on the discord server, somebody asked for some noob-friendly tips on how to make maps that are fairly balanced. I consider myself pretty skilled at making maps that don't suck (not an expert in making perfect maps by any stretch), so I put together my top 10 tips to make any map work.

Please note that I'm not saying all great maps follow these guidelines. I'm only saying that if you DO follow these guidelines, I don't think you can make a map that sucks.

Perhaps in the future I'll take some time to revisit some or all of these tips in detail, but for now, here they are:

mediocrefrog's tips for making a map that is at least okay
1. Try to have the highest height at level 4. 3 and 5 can work too but 4 is a safe choice.
2. Make at least two sections that are this height, but make them close enough together that figures can easily threaten multiple from a broad range of the map.
3. Put some glyphs evenly spaced from both sides on level 0, 1, or possibly 2. Make sure they have height near them (ideally adjacent height, like 1-2 levels higher), but keep them 5+ spaces away from the highest height.
4. Make sure there's good paths to attack the highest heights. This usually means it's adjacent to road, or there's a clear level 2ish path there without speed bumps.
5. Scatter some intermediate height (1 less than the max height). Don't let these be too close to the start zones.
6. Keep LoS blockers at least 3 spaces from each other, or adjacent to each other. Except if you're directly outside the start zones, treat water tiles, molten lava tiles, and the edge of a map as LoS blockers for this rule.
7. If using jungle, keep it away from height (I try to keep it by level 2 and under).
8. If using shadow, place it in spots adjacent to the next level up to protect climbing figures. Look for level 1 spots 5 spaces from the start zone, for instance.
9. Make your start zones sensible. Either everything behind a line, a 24 hex piece, all of a particular terrain type, or something else definitive.
10. Pay attention to terrain colors. I usually think of color "zones" which helps a map feel cohesive. Or try making each level a distinct terrain type if you can.

Let me know what you think!
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Typhon2222's Avatar
Honestly, this is one of the single best cartographic posts I've ever seen. YES!
Posted September 6th, 2021 at 10:41 PM by Typhon2222 Typhon2222 is offline
 
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