For example, if the rules say you move, then attack, all on your go, this could happen if you win initiative.
So Ivar should be smart. Ivar shouldn't advance, and if Koko wants to fight, she can come halfway and hope to get lucky on the next attack. But still, that's not the greatest reward for winning initiative.
All right, so that's terrible.What if we fix the rules so that everyone's movement happens in one phase in initiative order, then everyone's attacks in a subsequent phase? We get this:
There's also the whole idea that you might want to wait and see what the other figure might do, stand or run, before you commit yourself. To this end, a lot of initiative-based game systems have both a forward and a backward countdown, so that an individual with initiative can go first or last, as he or she prefers. Or, the option to hold one's move until the other side has gone, which works out to much the same thing.
All this is fine for systems where the initiative roll is somehow given a bonus or penalty according to the personal attributes of the fighting figures. You don't want the high Dexterity guy or the ranger to be disadvantaged. But a lot of our games - including my own - advocate a simple roll, either individually or for each side. Straight d6 on straight d6, no bonuses or modifiers. In that case, why even talk about losing or winning initiative? Why not talk instead of high and low initiative, each of which has its own advantages; like yin and yang?
- High initiative is generally advantageous, especially with two combatants already in range of each other. It also allows seizing the initiative, taking over some point of vantage, grabbing the sword on the ground.
- Low initiative is a more passive and patient stance. It gives the advantage of being able to act second, seeing what the opponent has done and performing the move to outfox that. Especially where movement and melee attack are rolled into one action, having low initiative can be more of an advantage than having high initiative.
With all the initiative systems out there, is there one for you that strikes the balance between ease of use, strategic depth, and players gaming the system?