Gotta love the scale variation on the WAW map:
Real life straight-line distances v. In-game distance (counting the originating hex)
Delhi-Kathmandu: 500 miles, 4 hexes (125 miles/hex)
NYC-Washington DC: 230 miles, 2 hexes (115 miles/hex)
St. Johns-Port-aux-Basques: 300 miles, 4 hexes (75 miles/hex)
Tangier-Fez: 130 miles, 2 hexes (65 miles/hex)
Lisbon-Lagos (Portugal): 115 miles, 2 hexes (58 miles/hex)
Chengdu-Chongqing (Chungking): 170 miles, 4 hexes (43 miles/hex)
Beijing (Peking)-Tianjin (Tientsin): 73 miles, 2 hexes (37 miles/hex)
Hamburg-Bremen: 60 miles, 2 hexes (30 miles/hex)
Luxembourg-Amsterdam: 184 miles, 6 hexes (30 miles/hex)
I mean I know why they do this (i.e., for game-play purposes), but just eyeballing it you wouldn't know it varies so much even in some cases within the same continent (e.g., India seems to be on a diferent scale to China, the Low Countries and northern France seem to be on a different scale to Iberia).
As I found out to my chagrin trying to precisely locate certain places on my 20k map, the use of hexes means that the resulting hex grid distorts distances-any distances along the diagonal axis will appear longer than they would along the short axis (perpendicular distance), even if in the game the effective distances in hexes traveled will be the same.
In addition because of the use of the mercator projection here, E-W distances will be longer the farther north or south of the equator you go.
Yup. Until a war game simply goes and implements an actual globe (which I understand is mathematically impossible to do only with equally-sized, equilateral hexes BTW, though there are implementations where the globe is a multi-sided 3D polygon with pentagons put in on the corners) it's impossible to accurately model all of this. And likely no wargame ever will do that because it's way more effort than it's likely to be worth in terms of improved gameplay, and in the case of the 20-sided polygon map in the above link, is likely to cause weird problems with 1) pentagons having to be accounted for somehow amongst the hexes and 2) big long fold-lines right across the map making everything look weird.
However the scale-switches along similar lattitudes are a choice of the designers - an entirely fair one given they want to model fighting more in some areas than in others.
For my map, I gave up on trying to scale distances super-accurately along the map early for the same reasons you give. Instead I focus entirely on getting co-ordinates and relative locations (i.e., is a town north/south/west/east of its neighbours?) more or less correct, keeping in mind that often towns etc. sprawl between two or more hexes and so you can choose where to put them.
EDIT: ..and bringing us back round to the original point - the player can't easily work out that scales are changing just by eyeballing things so if you do have changing scales across the map it won't be too jarring for the player.
< Message edited by FOARP -- 8/26/2020 8:49:18 AM >