count up initiative / patchwork initiative

We were talking about Little Keep on the Borderlands in the other thread and I was so saddened because it reminded me of the tragedy of Hackmaster 5 and its count up, or call out, initiative. (Via Aces & Eights)

The counting up, different actions take different amount of time isn't the problem. Like Feng Shui or the board games Olympos and Patchwork and others. Our own @Rickard has some games that work similar. I can see the appeal.

The constant calling out "anyone on five?" is the problem. ??? Just use an initiative board, grab one from Patchwork, Snakes and Ladders or w/e!

Stop turning the game into some sorta auction! "Going on three, three, can i get a three?" Esp since you're going second by second, it becames so painful

In general call out methods are annoying af to me. Savage Worlds suggests similar. Even on critical role (which I otherwise love) that's how DM sorts the initiative. When I did use initiative I used 30 numbered lines and the players would all state their rolls and i'd place the pc whose player rolled 14 on line 14.

Combining the two ideas, an initiative board can work with traditional initiative as well. everyone rolls & then place their tokens.

Now, all of this is mostly a curiosity to me since i removed the initiative from my d&d. But i have fond memories of feng shui where you needed initiative because that was a big - and interesting - part of how the various powers were balanced.


  • edited July 2018
    Yeah, I use a counting system but with an initative board because counting down is tedious (Feng Shui, Deadlands):

    image image

    I wanted to ditch combat rounds, and have an easy way to show number of opponents and who's turn it is.

    The players place their tokens on the same number as their initiative and then move anti-clockwise 5 or 10 steps depending on what they want to do.


    In my strategic game, all I care about is if the players are before or after the opponents. In all roleplaying game system, initiative is only important the first round (D&D), or initiative is rerolled for every round (Feng Shui). I didn't want that.


    Instead, certain tricks (powers) are only useful if the character's are before the opponents, or they can gain temporary benefits from placing themselves after the opponents. In this case, the players control their own initiative from round to round.
  • Yeah, that's exactly what I'm talking about, the board. Like Patchwork. I really liked seeing it in Matiné

    Feng Shui added such a board in later editions

    (PS I generally do not like discussion phases in fighting systems. I want the fights to be chaotic, you make up a plan before you go in, if any)
  • I just ask one of the players to call the initiatives in systems with individual initiative, such as the varieties of D&D we've been playing over the last few years. Everybody tells that one player their initiative scores, and that player tells everybody whose turn it is next. The GM mostly needs to go "caller, whose turn is it?" on occasion.

    I could see using a board, but that's less table space for something else, as a board needs to be big to be visible (and thus useful).
  • I used a tiny li'l index card Eero!
Sign In or Register to comment.