I am looking to start a GURPS game. I also have caught the DM crafting bug. I'd like to use my gridless material, so far used for minis and Savage Worlds, with GURPS. Has anyone used GURPS tactical rules with measured inches instead of hex grids? It seems the Range Ruler will help, but hexes are used a lot for determining shapes of things. Facing can easily be set with two lines on a mini, but what other adaptations are needed?
It can be done...
But one caveat, young student! When you tread that road, you turn your beloved RPG in several aspects into a tabletop wargame — if you want to retain most of the rules aspects.
First, you've got to convert your movement in hexes to a movement in inches or centimeters. Easy, just measure the distance between each hex centre. That is the movement scale. Take 1 increment of movement per hex you may take... and then probably round for convenience. Convert likewise all the movement reductions from turning, and moving sideways and backwards into reductions of this reach.
Second, indicate a facing on each miniature: one area on the base that clearly indicates where the "front arc" of the miniature is, then the adjacent areas in a different color as "sides". I tend to like using white, red and green if I need to indicate front, port and starboard (left and right) sides of a miniature, leaving the rear arc black. Also, mark the front centre, as you'll want to have a good point to see if a turn is costing you one or two units of movement. Whenever the rules indicate to check if somebody is in front/back/side of the hex, take a straight line from miniature center to miniature center and check if it passes through the correct area of the base.
Third: Templates. Take all the original rules for templates and make templates for the cones, lines and blasts that are roughly similar sized. You'll have to compromise on the conical ones, but once you do, you get out of the wierdness of the spread hexes cause, where sometimes some firing angles cover more area than others. I suggest using a piece of acrylic, as you can see through it and can gauge the battlefield below through it.
As you are making your templates, you might throw in one for checking how far you've turned. Just your standard arc shaped thing with a few markers for "cut movement by X".
Fourth: Enjoy your "TTG"-style combat. Remember, that players should indicate their path, describing their facing along it to calculate the reach accordingly, but you'll be amazed at how much the added freedom of movement does change the game.
In my last GURPS group we used pencils, a lot of erasers and plain paper on which we drew the action and measured the distances with a ruler, it works really well!
We represented actors (Monsters, PCs, NPCs) by a circle with a symbol, letter or number in it for identification and a small arrow for front direction. Minis work even better.
Movement paths should be acted out so everybody can react to them. Otherwise there is no need to change rules.
Bonus: because most humanoids tend to build square buildings, you don't get these annoying half or quarter hexes.
I have not done this - I usually run GURPS combats without a map or miniatures - but I can see how it would work. Page references are to the 4e Basic Set, mostly in Chapter 12, "Tactical Combat."
Movement point costs for going backwards or sideways (p386-7) will be a bit difficult without a grid. You may want to simplify them. You'll probably want to make some movement templates.
If you're making miniatures with facing marked on their bases, you may want to mark the arc of vision (p151, p389) for the character they represent as well.
You'll need to simplify the Opportunity Fire rule (p390).
You'll need to give the miniatures for large creatures appropriate size bases (p392) but that should not be difficult.
You'll need to make a Scatter template (p414) but that may well be easier to use than a grid.
I'd advise doing as much of the work as possible in advance, and trying out some sample combats, so that the actual game session runs smoothly. Have fun!
I been running GURPS since the late 1980s. And yes all you need is a tape measure and something to mark facing to use GURPS without hexes. I used D&D Tiles for Wilderness encounters so I have to use a tape measure that was liberated from my collection of Mage Knights.
The only thing you didn't mentioned was area effect like in GURPS Magic. Just measure out from the point of origin and consider each ring of hexes a true circular ring.