What is it?
HexKit is a tile-based hex mapping application designed to work with the Hex Kit Fantasyland tileset. It comes with one set of black-and-white tiles, with more (including Fantasyland) available for purchase. The Black Spot (itch.io, DTRPG) is a treasure-map-themed tileset for HexKit.
How did it get my attention?
I saw the original Hex Kit Fantasyland tileset posted on G+ and reddit, and thought the tiles were beautiful. Later, the artist launched a Kickstarter to create an app for working with the tiles, and develop more tilesets.
Why did I actually buy it?
I was GMing Ryuutama and potentially going to GM a hexcrawl of some kind, so the tiles and hex software looked useful. The Kickstarter also coincided with a sale on the Fantasyland tileset, which bumped me over the fence.
What are my first impressions?
The tiles are gorgeous. One of the selling features is how easy it is to lay down tiles with subtle variations. The software groups tiles into categories such as “forest tiles.” Each category holds variants with the same background but slightly different features, e.g. the forest tiles have a mottled green background and different numbers and placements of trees. You can select a category to paint with, which fills hexes with random tiles from that category. It’s effortless to make forests or grasslands that have more visual interest than the same tile repeated.
It makes me wish I did get to run that hexcrawl campaign.
What are my second and/or post-play impressions?
The Black Spot tileset is fiddlier to use because it has more tiles where the orientation matters. This was true of the river and coast tiles from the Fantasyland kit, but the Black Spot has both coast and beach tiles, two path types, rivers, and map travel lines. For the water bordering tiles, it also matters how many of the borders are land and how many water, but they’re all in the same category. Even a simple map looks pretty cool though: