I've got a couple of house-rules I'd like to try out -- but first would love to see if you have any feedback :-)
Basically, these are two alternatives to the standard IGOUGO activation.
Method 1 -- Quality Test Activation: At the beginning of each round, players take turns in clockwise order starting with the player who deployed first. Do a quality test for any unit you want to activate. If you succeed, the unit activates. After the unit activates, you can choose another unit and attempt to activate it with another quality test. Once you fail an activation quality test, the turn passes to the next player. On your next turn, you can attempt to activate a unit which earlier failed activation. This continues until all units have activated.
Method 2 -- Playing Card Activation: Use a deck of standard playing cards to activate units. Aces are higher than Kings, and Jokers are higher than Aces. Ignore suits. At the beginning of each round, players take turns starting with the player who deployed first. When a player starts their turn they can activate one unit. After that unit finishes activating, that player draws another card. If the card is equal to or higher than the previous card, the player keeps their turn and activates another unit. This cycle continues until the player draws a card that is lower than their last card, at which point their turn ends immediately and the turn passes to the next player. When all cards have been used, shuffle the deck.
I'm just throwing this out there as I saw your post and thought you'd like to have yet another type of Alt. Activation. This is the one I use and is borrowed from the miniature game Bolt Action (with a little tweaking, of course).
[Each unit has 1 die associated with it. Those dice are placed in a bag where they are drawn randomly. Whomever's die comes up gets to activate a unit of their choice. When activated that unit can do 1 of several things: hold/advance/rush/charge. A unit that is activated completes its action fully. Once done, draw another die from the pool until all are exhausted. To show that a unit has acted, simply place the die next to the unit. At the end of the turn, gather up all dice and repeat the process. If any units are destroyed, remove their die from the pool immediately.]
Pulling dice is the same thing as pulling chips/counters from a cup/bag, except that you can then use the die to mark what the unit is doing.
I've used counter pulls to determine activation for a long time, especially with Shock Force / The WarEngine. I'd put the counter down next to the unit to remind myself it has already gone. Even with OPR, we tend to forget which units have been activated, as the turns start blending together.
Very cool! I've seen that in Sword and Spear too, but I think Bolt Action introduced it (or at least popularized it).
Never heard of Sword and Spear (I assume it's a medieval game), but I agree with Bolt Action popularizing it.
For communication breakdowns or fog of war scenarios, I use something similar to what andyskinner talks about: use chits or individual counters that represent each unit, and when its chit is drawn, that unit uses its turn. So you run into situations where you're forced to activate a unit that you really don't want to yet. Can be very chaotic.
I started using activation markers in my games of GFF to denote what has already activated, as well as laying models down to denote if they are stunned. For Grimdark Future, we use activation markers and pinned markers to denote those, that way you can see at a glance who is yet to go.
stanshinn, good ideas on the activations! My only concern with quality tests is that you might end up really unbalancing things, if you had one group with mostly quality 3+ models against a group with mostly quality 5+ (e.g. playing an elite force against a horde force). But, that said, maybe that would be more realistic!
I like my tea, as I like my nights: dark, endless, and impossible through which to sleep.
After a few games, we decided to throw a dice at the beginning of each new round. The player with the highest score can decide to start, or pass. This creates a risk factor for Initiative, and add a layer of strategy for the last player who activated its units (or for the player fielding a lot more units !).
Generaly spoken less randomness leads to more strategical approach. The Quality Test activation gains an immense advantage to high Quality army lists. Additionaly to the fact that a army with higher Quality is already better because they tend to have less units and therefore can unfold their full potential earlier in each battle round. A tripple activation of an high quality army might "end" the game in the first round by crippeling the opponents army beyond recovering.
Some of the factions like TAO or ORK that have a spread of Quality in their units. This rule will lead player to abaddon the units with lower Quality and favor the units with higher Quality.
Of course you can apply more modifiers to equal the dice rolls out. But this will lead to more rules ...
I don't really agree with that. Some amounts of unpredictability mean you have to use tactics that allow you to account for the unexpected. More reason to have some reserve. I don't want to overdo randomness, either, but knowing too much takes a lot out of what you might expect to happen.