1) Once you download and unpack the Hexographer Free version, go ahead and open it up. The first screen you will see is the “Enter License Code” screen. Click “Cancel” to get to the next screen.
2) On the next screen, just click “Okay”….this is just a splash screen showing you the benefits of having a paid version (which may come in handy later on, but for your first 10-20 turns, you may not need it.) Your next screen will be the Hexographer start-up screen.
3) Now….In the left hand column, adjust the Size Settings to something around 150 hexes Width by 150 hexes Height…this will give you a decent sized starting map. You can go larger if you want…it’s up to you. Just bear in mind that you cant expand the size of your map in the free version, so its best to go big at the beginning. None of the other settings on the left need to be adjusted, but you can play around with them if you’d like. Make sure the “Map Orientation” drop-down reads “True Columns”.
4) On the right-hand column, select “Solid Terrain”, and make sure the drop-down box below it reads “Blank”. This will give you a blank hex map oriented in columns, which is what you need for TN.
5) Click “Generate Map” to get started.
6) When the hex map appears, you will see that you start with your active region in the upper left hand corner of the map. You’ll want to adjust the bottom and right slider bars to bring yourself close to the middle of the map, so you have room to expand in all directions.
7) Immediately to the right of the hex grid, you will see a column of icons. Those are the map bits you will use most often, and if you look to the right of this collection, you will see that they are under the “Terrain” tab.
8) Before you do anything, click through the various tabs on the right, to see what you can do under each one. Icons, Symbols, Styled Lines, and Custom Text are the ones you will probably use the most, along with Terrain.
9) Go back to the Terrain tab and hold your cursor over each terrain icon until the label shows up….you will see what each icon is called, and that many of them are perfect for TN…..”Grassland” is what most people use to represent Prairie. “Evergreen Hills” is used for Conifer Hills, etc… On my map, I have listed the common terrain types and which hex images I use. This is fairly standard amongst players.
10) Now, click the Grassy Hills icon on the right, and then click the center of your hex grid to the left. This will place the terrain on your map. That will represent the hex you started in on your set-up turn. Everyone starts in a Prairie hex. You can then go to Icons, and place a big “X” in that hex, if you want to….it’s a good place-holder for where you started, and you can always remove it later. In fact, any feature you add can be removed later….just use the “Remove feature” button on the corresponding tab to remove Terrain, Icons, Symbols, Text, etc… it’s very forgiving.
11) Now, with your starting hex placed (and an X in it for reference if you decided to do that), you are ready to add any scouting info you got from your first turn. Just remember that scouts start from the hex the unit ENDS its turn in….so, if your tribe moved three hexes North from their starting Prairie, and encountered Prairie, Grass Hills, and Conifer Hills, the tribe would end in the Conifer Hills hex, and the scouts would leave from there.
I have found it best to assign one of the Symbols to each of my units, and place the corresponding symbol on the map in the hex where the unit ENDS movement each turn (and remove the duplicate symbol from last turn). This lets me see where each unit is located, and a reference point for where each group of scouts depart from. You’ll see the symbols on the map I am sending you, along with resource hexes, etc. Those symbols indicate where each of my units are currently located.
12) Once you have added your first turn’s movement and scouting, you may find that you have encountered a “Coal” deposit, or a “Tin” deposit, or some other resource. I usually use the Mines Icon for these (they will overlay on the terrain you select), with a Custom Text line beneath it, as you will see on my map. Play with the Custom Text feature until you find a style you like. It’s pretty forgiving, and you can always Remove or Delete each component on the map if you make a mistake.
13) When you are ready to save your map, you might want to consider saving it as an .hxm file AND a .pmg image. For the hxm version, just click “Save As” under the File tab in the upper left, choose your destination folder, and that’s it. It will save as “mymap.hxm” by default. You can change the name if you want. To save it as a png file, click the “Export Current Size As PNG” option under File, and save it. This will allow you to share your map with people who do NOT use Hexographer, as the map can be opened with any program capable of viewing PNG files.
That should get you started. Feel free to play around with the GM Only settings (allows you to export or print a map without those features you select as “GM Only” when placing them, such as Resource hexes or unit locations).
If you have any questions, feel free to ask.