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Subject: Alternative Mechanic for initative/turn order? rss

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Matthew Fletcher
Canada
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Hi everyone!

I'm encountered a bit of snag in my playtesting, thought I'd put out the feelers to see if anyone has some ideas..

I'm building a fantasy gladiator game. Players recruit, quest, shop, plan, train ect. You get the idea.

Throughout the course of the game, players tend to have 1-3 gladiators.
They all have their attack, defense, hp, special move, speed, range ect.

Combat works beautifully, except for one thing...initiative!!

As it stands, I have it as a value between 1-20. Faster guys are closer to 20, and your tanky characters are closer to 1.

It works, but is a little cumbersome. Table of 4 players, average of 2 gladiators each, usually an npc creature as well. 9 values for initiative that need to be sorted, which usually ends in me breaking out a piece of paper to track turn order.

I'm looking for something a little more fluid, that won't slow the game as much while we get it sorted...but still allows for slower and faster characters. Anyone have any ideas or see something that handles this well?

Thanks!!
 
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Laura Creighton
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You can get this with dice. A tank gets 1 die. Dude with a shortsword and ringmail gets 3 dice. A speedy leather-clad net specialist gets 5 dice. (You will need to adjust these numbers. You may also want some version of 'roll X select Y'. A d8 or 2d4 may be more in line with what you want than a d6. It takes experimentation.) But at the end, everybody rolls, and you resolve turn order right then by 'what you roll is what you get' -- modulo any 'roll X select Y' that is going on.
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Jeremy Lennert
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Mice and Mystics uses cards as an initiative track--get a card for each character, arrange them in the proper order, and then just go down the list. If any abilities move someone up or down in order, just rearrange the cards. Also allows for randomizing order via shuffling, if you want.
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Antonie van der Tweel
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a numbered counter per gladiator could work. Place it with the gladiator (or its hit record if present) and remove the counter as the gladiator takes its turn.
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Matthew Fletcher
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That's interesting! I had considered using a turn tracker (just a number) like others suggested or a little banner (Turn Order 1, Turn Order 2) that you could hand out. The problem was that figuring out that turn order was still slowing the game down.

Assigning randomly would be neat, I'd have to do some adjustments, but you could thematically say you never know who's going to swing first, regardless of how much armor they're wearing.

And dishing out the cards randomly would be MUCH faster then figuring it out. 9 guys? Just deal out the top 9 from the initiative deck and get to the action.

Thanks! This will definitely see a few trial runs
 
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LautreSault
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If you opt for a random turn order, you may add a "blind" or "semi-blind" turn order.

Meaning, have a bag with a token for each gladiator and draw 1 token.and he plays. Then another, etc, etc.

This ,normaly, avoids AP.
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Adrian Pillai
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Would it be faster / fairer if every player had an initiative deck of their own to draw from? That reduces the luck factor of someone always drawing low or high numbers, since the decks would cycle through the same numbers, a high number in 1 turn for 1 player will eventually result in a low number later and vice versa.

The player with highest initiative gets to draw the initiative for the NPC.
 
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Geoff Watson
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Cards with the Gladiators name and speed. Put them in order.

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Quentin N.
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non-equivament number of actions:
3 cards for slow gladiators, 4 for the mediums, 5 for the fasts. draw and play.

equivalent number of actions:
slow, fast or medium attributes. 1 card per gladiator.
Draw them after a shuffle, so there is always 2 revealed. If the second one is faster than the first one, it plays first. The opposite works the same. Cards play in order, without moving in order more than once.

or another crd system:

1x3AP for heavys.
1x2AP + 1x1 AP for the mediums.
3x1AP for the lights.

Draw after a shuffle.
 
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Geoffrey Burrell
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Cedar Rapids
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Shadowrun Anarchy uses the first person to the left of the GM goes first. So it depends on the seating arrangement. That may or may not be a viable alternative. I know that Shadowrun Anarchy isn't a board game but was used for context.
 
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patrick mullen
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It sounds like you have a lot of spread where you might not need it. 1-20, but then you describe it as fast or slow. Why not just have "fast" and "slow" units. Each player moves their fast, and then each player moves their slow. You could probably fit one or two more levels in there if necessary. Instead of sorting the list every turn, you just go around and say "move your speed 1s", "move your speed 2s", etc.

You could have everyone roll dice for the first player to move, or have a first player token that changes hands each round.
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Gary Gray
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All players have their own initiative deck with say 1-9 cards. You play the card you want, but then that card is out of your deck. High card wins. find a way you like to break ties. There may be a way to buy cards back into your deck, but this will force you to chose how bad you want the initiative that turn. I know other games use this kind of mechanic but off the top of my head I can't think of any.
 
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Andrew
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saluk wrote:
It sounds like you have a lot of spread where you might not need it. 1-20, but then you describe it as fast or slow. Why not just have "fast" and "slow" units. Each player moves their fast, and then each player moves their slow. You could probably fit one or two more levels in there if necessary. Instead of sorting the list every turn, you just go around and say "move your speed 1s", "move your speed 2s", etc.

You could have everyone roll dice for the first player to move, or have a first player token that changes hands each round.


This is a pretty intuitive suggestion. It would make sense. A player full of tanks dudes would sacrifice moving in the "fast" turn and the "medium" turn to gain a real advantage during the "heavy" turn. Seems like strategic depth to me.
 
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Derek H
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Fletcho wrote:
As it stands, I have it as a value between 1-20. Faster guys are closer to 20, and your tanky characters are closer to 1.

It works, but is a little cumbersome. Table of 4 players, average of 2 gladiators each, usually an npc creature as well. 9 values for initiative that need to be sorted, which usually ends in me breaking out a piece of paper to track turn order.

How about a D20 next to each character?

Then you could also color the numbers in sets: light blue = 1 to 4; white = 5 to 8; yellow = 9 - 12; orange = 13 - 16; red = 17 - 20. At a glance you could quickly see who are the fastest and resolve their moves first (and having a die means if there is a tie, just pick up the dice and roll for the highest!().

If you want to simplify it more (smaller range of initiative), switch to a D12 and use white, yellow, orange and red, with sets of 3 numbers in each color.
 
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Eldon Wilson
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Wisconsin
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I've been mulling over a similar situation with my wip game. So far I'm acually using a system like the OP originally used, but then I saw Star Wars: Legion's Command Card system.

It's like the minigame mentioned by Gary Gray above, where you build a deck of cards that give you "priority" (getting to chose moving first/last?). The twist is that unit activation order is random unless you use a command token assigned to that unit by the command card. Generally speaking, higher priority cards means less command tokens assigned, but you have more "initiative" and with a simultaneous command card reveal it makes a pseudo bidding game in the game. Furthermore, special effects are added by certain units (commanders) adding their cards to your command deck.

The similar idea I've been rolling around is thus; Have a set categorial schedule of initiative, modified each turn by the command strategy of that turn chosen and revealed by both players simultaneously. Maybe I'm ok with moving all my units last to have a bonus to defense? Maybe I'd like one unit to perform an overwatch action? Allow two units a double move this turn to help secure an objective? A command to charge, rallying cry, etc, and options available depending on what units you have.
 
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Stefan Daniels
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There's also more 'euro' type initiative systems such as German Railways.

Or, you could label each action as Heavy, Medium, and Quick (call them something else) and this would place them on a 'next turn order track'. Something like American Rails (geez, train-games must be on my brain today). This would have the effect that the more powerful a move a gladiator just did would put him lower on the track for the next turn/move. The Heavier an attack the more damage it does but the longer it takes to recover. Similar attacks done by different characters a single player controls or by different players are stacked on top. Just flip the stack when it's time for that stack to do their turn.

The reason this really works is because the Heavier a previous attack, the later they end up going for their next attack as Quicker opponents/characters attacks allow them to act before the Heavier attacks and so on.

just saying it sounds kinda cumbersome
 
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Quentin N.
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3 cares for a slow gladiator, 4 for a medium and 5 for a light one. Shuffle, draw and play in order, draw until everyone has played his turn.
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Paul Wagner
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Why not give each character an "initiative" value/skill/attribute, much like they have attack, defense, hp, speed, etc. values?

Then have each players' "team" of gladiators add their two initiative values together. Teams with the lowest total value gets to go first. This is because a team with many characters in it would have a tough time coordinating all their actions, while a team with fewer characters wouldn't. And, of course, a "team" with only one remaining gladiator could pretty immediately do whatever he wanted to do.

This could act as a bit of a catch-up mechanism, if having the initiative is a "good/helpful" thing. That way, when someone loses a gladiator, his remaining gladiator will have pretty consistently low initiative rating compared to the "whole" teams that are still fighting, and will thus consistently get initiative.

Also, you could have wounds cause a character's initiative value to go up -- the more wounded he is, the more wary he is, and less likely to show initiative.

Finally, if you have "leveling up" in your game, you could have certain skills lower an individual character's initiative rating. The skills could be things like Battle-wise (-1 to your initiative value), leader (-2), captain (-3), warlord(-4), veteran (-5), etc.
 
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