Zac has not retreated from his call that IIEE (intent, initiation, execution, effect) is the "beating heart of the activity," and Manu - the very soul who prompted this discussion at the Forge fifteen years ago - is still on task. Armed with these stalwarts, we embark upon another Monday Lab to investigate best practices.
Zac began it with this message:
My question is basically this:
Given how consequential ordering is, both in the fiction and in the actual experience of play, what are the best practices in design and execution?
I understand the answer in game design is almost always, "whatever the game needs"/"whatever fits with what the game is doing", but I think the above question still badly needs fleshing out because:
- Some ways of doing ordering are just bad (the "initiative roll" in DnD et al) and most games work that way.
- I'm not convinced all the different kinds of ordering have been explored, let alone exhausted (choosing the right ordering model for a game is difficult when there's only 1-3 major techniques on offer).
- Enemy and player characters don't need to have symmetrical design when it comes to ordering techniques (especially in GM-less/GM-full games).
I can't vouch for how far we got, but we definitely hashed out a number of shared and contrasting experiences, and Zac arrived at, if not a library of "best," at least a starting taxonomy.
Before you begin - it takes us a while to hit a really good discussion groove, and fair warning, there is one (1) minor dust-up concerning the merits of apocalypse-ia. If another person had started it, I probably would have edited out the whole thing, but I didn't want to favor myself with that method. I was careful with headings throughout for those who want to skip it. I do think the majority is a solid piece of discussion work.