Can Savage Worlds be played effectively on a Square or Hex Grid? And if so, what sort of resources are there for converting Savage world distances (move speeds, ranges, blast sizes) to fit the grid?
Savage Worlds Deluxe edition is designed to be played with miniatures and battle map.
The rules are written for the table-top because that requires exact measurements and precise rules. That’s why all the weapon ranges and movement values are listed in inches (rather than yards or some other unit). Using miniatures and terrain or a battle-mat can really help your players understand the tactical situation and better interact with their environment, and we highly recommend this style of play for most games. But miniatures certainly aren’t required, and you’ll find rules for “guesstimating” ranges, how many foes are caught in a blast radius, and other issues on page 65. If you do decide to use miniatures, check the Pinnacle website for metal miniatures for our games as well as cardboard and cardstock variants.
They refer to distances with inches, since most standard square grid are made of one inche squares. So you can easily swap it to an hex grid keeping the 1 square = 1 inch. You can even play with rulers in a grid less manner.
Hope it answered your question.
Yes, you can play on a grid effectively.
A hex grid doesn't require much effort to play on. You can just treat any mention of "inches" as "hexes" instead. Playing on a square grid takes a little bit more conversion, but not much. There are a few gotchas though:
For squares, you have to decide how to handle diagonal movement. The "3 inches for 2 diagonal squares" rule from d20 works well enough, though counting each diagonal as 1.5" may fit into Savage Worlds's assumptions about continuous measurement a bit better. There are enough places in the rules that use partial inches that it will fit with those well.
And remember that in Savage Worlds you don't round down movement when using a tape measure! Consequently, when using a grid you should keep all your half-inches, and only round down to the nearest hex/square at the end of a movement.
You have to decide how to use templates. The easiest is to directly port over the standard rule, except replacing figures with squares/hexes: "Every [square] under (or partially under) the template is affected." You have to decide how templates can be placed, too. Normally you can centre them anywhere. If using squares, I'd be tempted to either say that they have to be centred on a square, or say that they have to be centred on an intersection. Mostly I'd do that because it would speed up play by avoiding too much fiddling and arguments about whether covering tiny slivers of squares should count as "covering".
Drawing lines that aren't aligned to the hex grid (straight walls being the most common case, but also meandering lines like rivers or chasms) means you have to decide how partial hexes work. Can figures stand in a half hex? How about less than half a hex? Does it make a difference if it's a solid wall in the way or if it's just empty air?
I find it a bit of a pain to convert dungeons laid out in 10-foot or 5-foot squares to a square mat when 1" is 6 feet. It's simply not worth being precise and trying to draw an exactly-10-foot corridor onto a grid of 6-foot squares; drawing it aligned to the grid is much, much preferable. But then you have to pick one: either tell yourself that the 10-foot corridor in your notes is actually 4 yards wide, or that when you're inside, 1" on the mat is actually 5 feet instead of 2 yards. Either works, and won't break most dungeon modules or the combat system.
Myself, I use a gridded battlemat to run combats when I use figures, but I only use the grid for laying out the terrain or dungeon. (I have a mat that's squares on one side and hexes on the other for this.) For the actual movement and ranges, I ignore the grid and just use a tape measure, a ruler, or a 6" piece of string or strip of paper. I find that goes faster than counting squares (especially for long range shooting), but that's just me – what's most important is to use what works for you and your group!
Almost every measurement in SW is listed in inches. Movement, range of shot, blast radius, etc. Because of this, I would recommend using a square grid with 1-inch squares.
Handling diagonal movement will be your biggest challenge. You can either disallow diagonal movement, or use a ruler/tape measure to find the closest square and move your character there.
Typically, I play SW with miniatures but no grid. A meterstick and a few cheap tape measures are enough to calculate everyone's movements.