The more I research turning the entire globe into a sandbox, the more I realize that turning the entire globe into a sandbox is fucking nuts. Anyone who was considering it can have that testimony; Fucking Nuts. The world is stupidly massive, and it’s massively stupid to imagine that your puny brain can put enough things into it to make a decent game.
But here I am, and I still want my players to be able to go to America and fight robot Henry Ford, or go to the African jungle and fight leopard-man Colonel Kurtz, or go to Japan and fight Godzilla. And so I soldier on, as doomed as the player characters.
The main reason I didn’t throw the idea out totally is modern transport. According to Google Maps, you can cross america in 2 Days – 4 with sleep. That’s minuscule. The current fastest time around the world is about 2 days. Today, you can get anywhere in the world in under a week. The 1920′s period my game is based in acts less like road-runner, but the globe is still shrinking by the year. Zooming in much more seems ludicrous with such fast travel. I’m stuck in a paradox – the party can crawl through the hexes at a rate of one per week, or jump in a car and get through one in an hour.
Here’s my solution; I’m going to go for the quaintly inaccurate scale of a board game. You’ll notice Antarctica is the biggest continent on earth. If you get a run-up you could almost jump from South America to Antarctica! How does anyone stand on Japan without falling off? Even though each hex is technically hundreds and hundreds of miles across, I’m going to treat them like they’re the smaller chunks of terrain that make more sense to our tiny brains. Each land hex will have a single interesting thing in it. There’s only one monster battle per hex. A city fits on one hex, as does a mountain.
Treating this as a representation of a space that’s millions of miles across would inevitably lead to my brain falling out my eye-sockets. But treating it like a 1-to-1 replica of some ridiculously proportioned globe - that, I think I can do. And with the Pulp theme I’m running with, that kind of colloquial scale should work well.