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Turn order variants?

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Turn order variants?

Postby Tom Cahalan » Sunday May 12th, 2019 9:44pm

When I was a kid I played through the core game and the four American expansions. It was a great part of my childhood and something that I want to share with my children. One thing that bothered me about the game was that the turn order is so inflexible.

Are there any good house rules for handling turn order? I looked back a few pages in these forums and didn't see much on this topic. Here are some approaches that I've considered:

:roll1: Fixed order (standard HeroQuest): simple, fast, gets annoying when you want someone else to open the door.

:roll2: Choose order (Descent): Simple but not quite as fast. If people just say "ok I want to go now" and "sure, here're the dice" then this is ideal. The problem is that some people will want to plan out every turn in advance, which means that the tactician becomes overly influential while the weaker players become less engaged. Even if all players actively engage in planning, this could add five minutes to every round.

:roll3: Fixed turn order, but you can trade seats on Zargon's turn if there are no monsters on the board. This seems really good to me. You get the speed of fixed turns, but you aren't locked in to a specific order for long. The downside is that you have to change seats or simulate it with turn order markers.

:roll4: Initiative System (D&D, Gloomhaven): Complicated and slow. Having to generate and sort through initiative numbers is too complicated for a game like HeroQuest.

:roll5: ???

So I'm trying to figure out what the best solution is, both for HeroQuest and for a very similar game that I am designing. I'm leaning towards option 3.

Thanks in advance for any replies.
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Re: Turn order variants?

Postby Anderas » Monday May 13th, 2019 3:40am

There are some who use a rattle with coloured pearls inside to determine the turn order each turn. Zargon has a pearl in the rattle, too. So you never know when the monsters move next time.

I produced a near total party kill when my monsters had two turns directly without hero inbetween. So that can be the disadvantage.

I tried then without the Zargon pearl, giving Zargon the fixed spot and mixing only the hero turn order. That was nice.

Then I tried fixed turn order, but the Wizard can always choose to go first or last. That has the advantage of the speedy fixed turn order while mitigating the worst artifacts.

I also tried fixed turn order with the option to "wait". Heroes who wait go last. If everyone waits, the order is back to normal. The difference to freely choosing the turn order is: If you choose to wait, you lose 3 squares movement range.
While that waiting concept was well thought through, this was too complicated for real life use.


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Re: Turn order variants?

Postby Maurice76 » Monday May 13th, 2019 6:17am

We use fixed order. Barbarian first, then the Elf, Wizard third. The Dwarf comes last, but that's because we lack a player for that one so he's basically a stooge that all of us play. We distribute dice rolls among the players when the Dwarf has to roll anything - with the exception that I, as the EW, will always roll against the Dwarf in combat and any of the 3 other players will then roll for the Dwarf. The players also decide where the Dwarf goes.

This system works reasonably well for us, no complaints or annoyances so far, through the 10 quests we've played.


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Re: Turn order variants?

Postby j_dean80 » Monday May 13th, 2019 6:50am

I've always played with fixed order. It can always be switched between Quests. Never any complaints. I find the Wizard going first in order makes him the most useful. Then he can open doors without it being Zargon's turn already. The Dwarf goes second to disarm traps. The Barbarian and Elf can be either way. My group generally splits up which changes the tactics.
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Re: Turn order variants?

Postby The Admiral » Monday May 13th, 2019 9:20am

j_dean80 wrote:I've always played with fixed order. It can always be switched between Quests. Never any complaints. I find the Wizard going first in order makes him the most useful. Then he can open doors without it being Zargon's turn already. The Dwarf goes second to disarm traps. The Barbarian and Elf can be either way. My group generally splits up which changes the tactics.


This is what we do. Fixed for the quest, but we decide on that order before the quest starts.
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Re: Turn order variants?

Postby Tom Cahalan » Monday May 13th, 2019 3:06pm

So it sounds like Maurice76, j_dean80 , and The Admiral stick to the rules as written, while Anderas has tried a variety of approaches.

Anderas, I'm surprised that you found that giving players the option to wait was too complicated. Was it because of the -3 movement? To me it doesn't sound that complicated, just go around the table twice.
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Re: Turn order variants?

Postby Anderas » Monday May 13th, 2019 3:55pm

I also tried the free order. Currently I prefer that one.

Yes, removing 3 movement for waiting is too complicated. It was always forgotten.


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Re: Turn order variants?

Postby The Admiral » Monday May 13th, 2019 4:03pm

One thing I've learnt on this site is that most people use some degree of house rules. So I would go with what works best for you. I like the fixed turn for two reasons. First it's simple. Second, it makes the Heroes have to think and plan more than they would have to do with a more flexible turn.

In my recent quests I have introduced a special henchmen to each group of Heroes. They have Hero level BP/MP's, but are in effect NPC's that come ready made with equipment and skills. They can search for traps and secret doors but not treasure, and can only be given potions and artifacts. Their great advantage in our games is that the Special henchman can take his/her turn at any point during the Heroes round, which gives the group a greater flexibility. It also means I can introduce loads of interesting new characters. So far we have played with: Female Barbarian, Female Wood Elf, Wood Elf Sorcerer, Dwarf Cleric, Dwarf Slayer, Dwarf Runepriest, Princess, Halfling Rogue, Rogue, High Mage, Wood Elf Wardancer, Ranger, Chaos Warrior, Warrior Priest, Knight, Warrior, and High Elf Shadow Warrior.

Coming up are a Wood Elf Wildwood Ranger, Imperial Spy, Pit Fighter, and Witch Hunter.
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Re: Turn order variants?

Postby mitchiemasha » Monday May 13th, 2019 10:16pm

Fixed order but I did toy with the idea of using, "A Hero with the higher MIND can choose to take their turn before another a hero with lower MIND".

If I was going to add it, I'd make it part of a special artefact and stick with the original rule. Some sort of initiative charm, potion, spell or fate token spendable in quest, limiting use. It could be a perfect item for the Wizard, who usually plays last but is occasionally needed first.


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Re: Turn order variants?

Postby mitchiemasha » Monday May 13th, 2019 10:27pm

Anderas wrote:There are some who use a rattle with coloured pearls inside to determine the turn order each turn. Zargon has a pearl in the rattle, too. So you never know when the monsters move next time.


That could work without the double EW turn potential. Which makes for :roll5: Totally random turn order, decided by picking a token out of a hat, 1-5!

Edit: actually... I just realised... EW goes last, then goes first... That is the double turn, lol!!!

Which makes for :roll5: Totally random turn order, decided by picking a token out of a hat, 1-4! EW always goes last.


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