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"classifying types of turn order in games" Topic

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20 Feb 2015 10:38 a.m. PST
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The Epic Gamer19 Feb 2015 12:43 p.m. PST

Just a thought experiment. What sorts of turn orders (the system by which each player is allowed to move/shoot with their units) are out there? What sort of nomenclature would you use to describe them? Here's my first pass:

– IGOUGO: Player A moves and shoots with all of their unit and then Player B does the same.

– Phased IGOUGO: Player A moves all of their units followed by Player B, Player A then shoots with all of their units followed by Player B.

– Alternating Phased IGOUGO: Player A moves with all of their units, Player B shoots with all of their units, Player B moves with all of their units, Player A shoots with all of their units.

– Alternating: Player A moves and shoots with one unit and then Player B does the same.

– Alternating Luck Based: Player A moves and shoots with a random number of units and then Player B does the same.

– Random Player: A player, chosen at random, moves and shoots with one unit.

– Random Unit: A unit, chosen at random, moves and shoots.

– Simultaneous: Each player pre-plots movement and each unit moves at the same time. Each player shoots with each unit and all effects are resolved after all units have shot.

OSchmidt19 Feb 2015 1:04 p.m. PST

They are all IGOUGO, every system out there, except for a rule I once saw in Featherstone for the "truest" or most "plausible-possible best" method for simultaneous. Both sides toss a die. High score chooses which flank to begin moving on. That guy starts from his say leftmost or rightmost unit and begins moving, the other guy starts from the opposite-most unit and starts moving. Somewhere they cross over and are moving against enemy units already moved. The rest depends on if movement locks enemy units encountered etc., and is part of the mechanic.

It's the best way of solving the biggest problem in gaming, the "If you hold fast I will advance, but if you charge I will form square. For half the battle you don't get to see what the enemy does. For the rest you do.

No longer can support TMP19 Feb 2015 1:05 p.m. PST

Chain of Command is essentially IGOUGO but there is the chance for getting more than one phase in a row.

BKC is somewhat IGOUGO except that there's a significant chance that some of you units might get multiple move and shoots while other units don't get to do anything (depending on command rolls).

I'd say they are semi-IGOUGO because of the chance nature of getting back to back move and shoot phases.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse19 Feb 2015 1:08 p.m. PST

I have played so=called "simultaneous movement" games. Aside from the grim satisfaction of knowing that you plowed through all the "OK, stop and measure and …." and survived without killing anybody, I see no point in doing it again.
I don't like rules that are work. I am playing with toy soldiers, and so are you, even if you won't admit it.

cwbuff19 Feb 2015 1:10 p.m. PST

OSchmidt, Johnny Reb is simultaneous. John, guess I have never had that problem.

Steve6419 Feb 2015 1:12 p.m. PST

Event based / VLB (Variable Length Bound)

Troops strictly follow orders, and the clock is advanced until the next 'change of situation'.

Change of Situation triggers opportunities for players to react, or issue new orders.

OSchmidt19 Feb 2015 1:14 p.m. PST

The problem with most of the games like that, John, is they use written orders. Once the order issuing phase is over (or order chits are revealed) the "prevarication, redefinition, semantic debates as to what "advance means," surreptitious hiding of the order chit you put down and the taking out from under the loose bit of lichen the one you want and other forms of creative cheating phase begins.

pushing tin19 Feb 2015 1:23 p.m. PST

My rules are order card based, the cards are shuffled each turn and each order card when turned up allows one or the other player to move a corps/number of divisions depending on whether it is their order card. There is some capacity to influence this by using a CinC card once per turn to 'jump the queue'.

The number of cards can also be varied to allow less cards than the player has Corps or cards which only move specific Corps, representing for example a badly organised army, or a large army where difficulty in communication means you can't do everything within one turn, or difficulties between allies so each nationality has an order card specific to it.

This is similar to other card based systems I've come across.

cwbuff19 Feb 2015 1:58 p.m. PST

John Hill designed JR as a game to be played by gentlemen. If you could not behave that way, you were not invited back. If the moderator is good and monitors actions, your examples do not happen.

Art19 Feb 2015 2:40 p.m. PST

G'Day Gents

R&G only uses "We-GO"…VLB based

I hope to never have to play "IGOUGO" again…

Best Regards

Zephyr119 Feb 2015 3:03 p.m. PST

"Percentage (%) Priority"

Roll % dice for each unit, then play them in order from lowest to highest (ties go to the player with the "initiative" for the game turn.) If you have an umpire, s/he can use the % lists from each player to tell them which units are to play next (introduces "fog of war" because a player won't know the % priority of the opponent's units.) Also works great with more than 2 players. Game turn ends once all units have been activated once.
(This system is from a game I've been designing for years… ;-)

Lion in the Stars19 Feb 2015 3:21 p.m. PST

Where do games like Ambush Alley fit in, where one side NEVER has an 'active turn'?

One player has the initiative, the other player can only react to what the Initiative player is doing.

Temporary like Achilles19 Feb 2015 3:23 p.m. PST

There are lots of different activation mechanisms in board wargames particularly. Chit-pull, roll-to-activate, trumping, by card play, move-until-you-fail, etc. Mostly variations on igougo, but often thisgroup-thatgroup rather than strictly player 1 to player 2 or vice versa.


silver fox19 Feb 2015 3:26 p.m. PST

See Charlie Wesencraft's book "Practical Wargaming" for a short but sensible discussion on the how and whys of this. He advocated alternate movement, but with a twist! After each turn players threw a D6 highest chose whether to move first or second. As he pointed out, depending on the situation, each had its advantages. CHEERS

Kropotkin303 Supporting Member of TMP19 Feb 2015 3:40 p.m. PST

Hi all,

I use Isildur's Bane solo rules for Lord of the Rings SBG. Each group on either side has a playing card drawn and that tells you which group moves and fights, so no side has pre-selected advantage. Works for me.

Tin Man19 Feb 2015 3:49 p.m. PST

"I hope to never have to play "IGOUGO" again…"

Totally agree Art! I have played exactly two games that way and it is the most appauling idea since television reality shows.

Here it has been 40 years of "simultaneous" without ANY of the problems people claim are associated with it and without resorting to real bloodshed over the table.

If they are cheating then, quite simply, you are playing the wrong opponents. If you are cheating..well..n'uff said.

We have always played on the basis of "what would happen here" rather than "what can I get away with". We've conducted campaigns lasting a year to eighteen months with anything up to a dozen players in this way and only ever had two people who were politely (well, in one case not so politely) told to sling their hook. One for being overly argumentitive and one for invading someone's privacy in the real world during a campaign.


TMPWargamerabbit19 Feb 2015 4:38 p.m. PST

We use a different method for our napoleonic gaming.

Side One and Side Two represent the two gaming factions or sides. Note that some phases are mutually performed by both sides at the same time.

A complete game turn is "both" 8 steps or phases being completed and that some steps (#2, #3, #4 and #6) have role reversal compared to the 1st half of the game turn.

Notice that shock or assault is not immediately done but the other side has opportunities for movement and/or firing before the actual shock combat is performed.

More written about and some You Tube commentary links on blog site: link

M aka WR

Inkbiz19 Feb 2015 5:07 p.m. PST

Some interesting approaches above, and I applaud every one of them as this has always proven a difficult sort of thing to maintain.

The homegrown house rules I've been using offer no "phase" or IGOUGO type turns at all, are indeed simultaneous, and have a built in mechanism to disallow cheating. Games run as a sort of plotting/placing of pre-defined moves on unit capability, officers, NCO's and rankers, and, while it for everyone, they do give us some nail-biting during each game.


Weasel19 Feb 2015 5:15 p.m. PST

Face of Battle (if I remember correctly) had a system of drawing cards for each side at the same time.

so one of my soldiers and one of yours will activate at the same time.

Art19 Feb 2015 5:45 p.m. PST

G'Day Tim

Remembrance of Glory

1792 – 1815

Best Regards

Blutarski19 Feb 2015 5:46 p.m. PST

I have successfully run 30 years worth of games with an Age of Sail rule set that features simultaneous movement and essentially no pre-written orders.


Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP19 Feb 2015 7:33 p.m. PST

I have played in a club for years with simultaneous everything and no written orders.

Wolfhag19 Feb 2015 7:53 p.m. PST

This is what I'm working on and I'm not sure how you'd label it.

In a tank skirmish game a crew decides an action, sees how long it will take and then performs or activates that many turns (seconds) in the future. The catch is that you need to be aware of what your opponent is doing in order to respond. A situational awareness check is performed only once every five turns. If you fail and your opponent succeeds he can get a shot off before you do.

In the games we've played we've had tanks fire at a target from 1600m on turn 10 and on turn 11 the target is firing back. They both have rounds in the air at the same time as the time of flight for 1600m was two seconds.

We use historic turret rotation speeds and crew types are reflected in better crews performing their actions more quickly. As soon as one action is performed the next action is selected so there is no orders segment. You can interrupt your own action with a successful situational awareness check but you do not interrupt your opponents movement. Things like over watch and opportunity fire handle themselves without addition rule exceptions.

Moving units are marked with a movement arrow in the general direction they plan to move. Every five turns units marked moving are moved by both players at the same time with restrictions on direction moved by the arrow direction. We've had a few engagements where a target was static when fired at but with a 2-3 second delay for the round to arrive they moved out while the round was still in the air and the round missed. We can also simulate dodging from LOS before an opponent gets his shot off. It really simulates how seconds can make the difference in a skirmish type engagement.

If you are more aware of what's going on and can perform actions a little more quickly than your opponent you can get inside his decision loop and out perform him even if your equipment is not as good.

This is not an Action Point type system as there are no action points.


Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP19 Feb 2015 9:51 p.m. PST

Something we have had fun with is taking a IGO/UGO system and putting each phase on a card. We first did this with Volley & Bayonet

Whichever phase for whoever is played out, then a next phase is turned over. That might mean that the 'morale' phase came before firing, or moving etc. However, it still is "IGO/UGO", but chopped up.

The problem with chit orders [arrows and the like, though not exactly orders]for simultaneous movement in games like Johnny Reb or 1870is that you STILL have to decide who goes first in any number of situations.

I have seen military games that give each side's units X number of movement points and randomly chose who uses points first, with units that still have points when an enemy unit moves into their range being able to fire etc. using the saved points. Obviously, different units have different numbers of points depending on how fast they move.

In the end, regardless of how a turn is parsed out, at some point you end up with IGO/UGO situations to determine who gets to GO first. The closer the two sides get, the more complex the 'who goes first?' decisions become.

Tin Man19 Feb 2015 10:29 p.m. PST

I like the mix and mash idea but can see it could result in some funny outcomes?

"In the end, regardless of how a turn is parsed out, at some point you end up with IGO/UGO situations to determine who gets to GO first."

Whilst I take your point, in the overwhelming number of cases in our games it is quite obvious who goes first. In the others you just have to look at position, tactics, experience, orders etc, not that hard surely?


Houdini19 Feb 2015 11:41 p.m. PST

I do not have a bias for IGOUGO or simultaneous movement, enjoying both approaches without issues – but I do not play with cheats or in formal competition. This discussion has however made me ponder on how a game like chess (units/moves/strategy/objectives) could ever exist under a simultaneous movement regime. I suspect that war gamers who prioritise playing to win before enjoyment would struggle with simultaneous movement.

Mute Bystander20 Feb 2015 3:13 a.m. PST

THW reaction rules allow a break to IGOUGO madnesses.

Mute Bystander20 Feb 2015 3:15 a.m. PST


John the OFM seems to have a lot of "problems" other don't have… wink

Or at least as much of a problem for <fill in the blank> as he does… wink wink

Martin Rapier20 Feb 2015 3:49 a.m. PST

Back to the OP, there are a billion different ways of activating units so it is very hard indeed to classify them apart from very broadly. It becomes doubly difficult if you take combat resolution into account, particularly firing mechanisms which only affect the target vs those which have the potential to affect both firer and target (such as DVA).

No-one has mentioned shoot then move yet, which actually works very well indeed for modern combat in a turn based environment.

We've also played tons of simultaneous movement games, no need for pre-plotting or whatever, you just need to play with honourable players.

OSchmidt20 Feb 2015 5:24 a.m. PST

Dear McLaddie

For once we agree. No matter how you tart it up before hand, it all winds up IGOUGO.

Simultaneous movement is only possible when both sides are moving their units at the exact same time.

As for cheating. Nice to say you won't tolerate it, but I suspect most players don't see it when it happens. The answer to cheating is not to punish it but to make it pointless and worse- legal.

ACW Gamer Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2015 5:39 a.m. PST

"If they are cheating then, quite simply, you are playing the wrong opponents. If you are cheating..well..n'uff said."

If a man is willing to cheat in a game…then what are they willing to do in a situation where the outcome holds real consequence?

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2015 6:40 a.m. PST

"In the end, regardless of how a turn is parsed out, at some point you end up with IGO/UGO situations to determine who gets to GO first."

Whilst I take your point, in the overwhelming number of cases in our games it is quite obvious who goes first. In the others you just have to look at position, tactics, experience, orders etc, not that hard surely?

I wasn't suggesting it was difficult or less than obvious. I was simply pointing out that in wargames you can't avoid 'you go first, I go second' situations no matter how you mash up the phases or call it 'simultaneous' or not. You always have to deal with who goes first someplace in the game processes.

I like the mix and mash idea but can see it could result in some funny outcomes?

Depends on what you mean by 'funny'. How so?

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2015 6:45 a.m. PST

I suspect that war gamers who prioritise playing to win before enjoyment would struggle with simultaneous movement.

Well… first, playing to win does have its own particular enjoyment. If it didn't, you wouldn't see competitive games. Second, I am not sure why simultaneous movement would have a competitive gamer struggling with that particular type of game mechanic.

How does simultaneous movement keep someone from winning?

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2015 6:48 a.m. PST

For once we agree. No matter how you tart it up before hand, it all winds up IGOUGO


Actually, from my count, it is at least the sixth time we've agreed on something. But that count obviously isn't one of those times. grin

marshalGreg20 Feb 2015 6:54 a.m. PST

How do you catch the cheat? In simultaneous move play you are moving all you can, as fast as you can, so there is your focus.
So once again…. there must be also some sequence to this mechanic for play balance or predetermined initiative to give priority of one unit over the other who are moving to the same place or reacting to your actions. This becomes cumbersome in control of & time wise for the game play. Yes?
I do not see the draw/attraction of using cards to determine the impetus of Command&control and/or when events that are reactions to actions, are to occur…predominated in the horse musket warefare.
I have been left with some very bad taste in my mouth after play in a card base play rule system. I cannot ever go there again\! I will stick with cards with poker etc thank you.
All these games mentioned above, I have yet seen played by anyone or just are now mentioned. Clearly, not something one has been willing to put on at a convention, here in the states anyway. Otherwise, I would have tried them. So I question there ability to success for a good play? Am I wrong in that assessment?

My 2 cents, and continued discouragement/disappointment in Napoleonic rule systems available


marshalGreg20 Feb 2015 6:55 a.m. PST

@ the author of post

I think you categorized it quite well!



Martin Rapier20 Feb 2015 8:12 a.m. PST

"Second, I am not sure why simultaneous movement would have a competitive gamer struggling with that particular type of game mechanic."

Because you would need to frame rules as to how to make it work, and before you know it you are in a world of Barkerese and you still get some idiot writing twenty five paragraphs of conditional orders because "the rules didn't say I couldn't".

With gentlemanly players one just does it, and resolves any oddities in a mutually agreeable manner. Rules are not required, merely an indication of what is expected.

cwbuff20 Feb 2015 8:30 a.m. PST

Martin, yes.

warhawkwind20 Feb 2015 8:46 a.m. PST

Roll initiative. Winner opts to be side A or side B.

side A moves, side B moves, simultaneous combat.

side B moves, side A moves, simultaneous combat.

End turn.

The advantage here is that everyone gets a chance to react to their opponent's moves equally. Higher initiative ratings can give a bonus to Initiative Rolls.

1968billsfan Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2015 10:06 a.m. PST

Not said is the following. Simultaneous movement and shooting gives a much faster game

Thomas Thomas20 Feb 2015 10:24 a.m. PST

Interesting debate but very fixable. You need to combine the best of both worlds. IGOUGO doesn't work (for obvious reasons) but neither does pure simo move (you really can't have players move all units at the same time – its physically impossible).

Both Command Decision and Johnny Reb (and Space Marine for that matter) have come quite close to solving the problem.

Here is the solution:

Orders Phase
Both sides seceratly put order chits under command stands (use just 3 or 4 basic orders).

Movement Phase
Roll for who must move first (or let best quality troops decide who moves first). Execute movement Player A first; then Player B (don't use Arrows they are too hard to enforce just stick to Move/Move, Move/Shoot or Stand/Shoot etc.)

Fire Phase
Stationary Shoot First (both sides)
Moving Shoot Second (both sides)
Double movers – no shooting



So you get the best of both worlds and a naturally defensive fire. (Players of Combat Command will of course recognize the solution.)


Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2015 10:28 a.m. PST

Because you would need to frame rules as to how to make it work, and before you know it you are in a world of Barkerese and you still get some idiot writing twenty five paragraphs of conditional orders because "the rules didn't say I couldn't".

So, it's the difficulties in writing rules to cover all the possible contingencies. So the competitive gamer, who is looking for every little advantage will be finding all the gaps and loopholes in the rules. Is that right?

It would seem the struggle would be with writing the rules tight enough rather the gamers struggling to be competitive.

MichaelCollinsHimself20 Feb 2015 10:46 a.m. PST

So, games with simultaneous movement end as IGOUGO ?

If that`s the case, then clearly gamers out there aren`t doing it right.

It`s not too hard to work out points of contact between two bodies of troops – even different types of troops with different movement rates.
Actually this is quite rare if the scenario is a commonplace attack/defence situation in which typically one side defends and the other attacks.
It naturally results in phases of attack and response of a possible counter attack.

It happens more often in "encounter battles" perhaps.
But I think it`s probably more likely to be the case in games with rules that allow for free movement of units and the telepathic heroism of battalion commanders?

specforc1220 Feb 2015 2:38 p.m. PST

I'm coming out this year with a WW2 to Present Combined Arms wargame that has a very unique "asymetrical simultaneous system" of phasing that alternates in key stages of movement vs. combat phases every turn. This enables a full encompassing game that creates about as much equality in a conventional game as opposed to "WOLFHAG's" unique "real-time" method for action.

If you are more interested in finding out about it in greater detail you can contact me at ""
- Tibor

specforc1220 Feb 2015 3:18 p.m. PST

I abhor "activation" method of awarding play, because it is fundementally flawed in a key way that is almost worse than IGOUGO system because you are inadvertandly prevented from taking action even when it's clear that movement or fire is appropriate, or moreover when you decide you want to take action rather than the game abritrarily preventing you from action. There you can sit on the sidelines waiting for "your turn" while action takes place all around you without the ability to intercede. It's a stupid system. And, those that argue that this is "fog of war" are simply making an excuse for a backwards step in gaming mechanics.

WOLFHAG's is the only game, and I mean ONLY game that can really address simultaneous play – without question.

My game, code-named "Schwerpunkt" (not the real name until released) uses a asymmetrical movement turn system with this key, but, very important feature of "priority fire" system during the "simultaneous" combat phase, that rewards the more tactically astute player to trump his opponent so that every exchange doesn't necessarily result in mutual annihilation, though without any priority fire advantages being taken or awarded, opponents can fire "simultaneously" though, even this doesn't always result in mutual destruction because too many other real world factors affect that, such as, hiting the opponent doesn't necessarily destroy the opponents tank even if penetrated – as it would in real. Also, you can also miss, or simply not penetrate, or only damage but not put out of action your opponent. It's actually pretty cool how it works really. And, by positioning yourself to take advantage of the "priority fire options" if you qualify then you will, in fact, have to use genuine stealth, movement, tracking, observation, and aiming tactics to be awarded those Priority fire advantages increasing your odds in gettng a kill that also will not necessarily be able to return fire in this otherwise simultaneous fire environment.

specforc1220 Feb 2015 3:30 p.m. PST

Thomas Thomas' description of play isn't a bad system either. We've played certain home rule games with a very similar "Impulse Movement" system like that, with a slight twist. Its like this: Move/Move, or Move/Shoot, or Shoot/Move, or Shoot/Shoot.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Feb 2015 5:17 p.m. PST

I used an intel disrupted turn sequence in my Allenstein scenario to represent the fact that the Germans were intercepting and interpreting the plain voice (not in code) Russian battle orders for the Battle of Tannenburg (1914):

1) Russians declare where they will move and the areas they will attack by placing tokens on the board.
2) Germans move and attack.
3) Russians execute planned moves and attacks with a small amount of reactionary leeway.

I've also used a unit-type based turn sequence for ancients combat, similar to the one TMPWargamerabbit showed:

1) Chariots Move
2) Cavalry Move
3) Archers Move and Attack
4) Chariots Attack
5) Cavalry Attack
6) Infantry Move and Attack

Within each step, the current "Tactical Advantage Rating" determines what side (usually of three or more) goes in what order. The TAR is tracked on a nomogram/track with tokens and can change orders step to step.

RudyNelson21 Feb 2015 12:05 p.m. PST

Rack in the 1970s and 1980s , a very popular movement mechanic was the 'both players act at the same time for each phase. So there was an admin phase where all rally and order issue actons as well as weather conditions for the next turn conducted; then artillery by all players is resolved; then all non-combat movement conducted, then combat charges and reaction moves conducted; another artillery round of firing by all players, then all musketry fired and finally as close action assaults resulted.
This system was supposed to keep all players involved at all times with no dead periods. It works with one or two players per side. However if there was three or more players per side then the amount of inaction. Or dead time became a problem.

sprgeek14 Mar 2020 12:31 p.m. PST

Remembrance of Glory

1792 – 1815

Best Regards

G'Day @Art
I've read at several occasions about R&G and really intrigued by the rules and philosophy you put into it. Would love to take a look

UshCha15 Mar 2020 12:52 a.m. PST

Truth is ther are many ganes that Loosely fit Epig gamers List but it is not a definative list. Even most Computational Fluids Dynamics (CFD)code analysis are effectively IGOUGO as thet do one node at a time. But like CFD they have bits of loop code.

We Maneouvre Group is a form og (IGOUGO) which is unit by unit (with limitations) and or Element by element, with limitations but with an internal loop (with limitations) coveing vary "rapid" local effects in a firefight.

It sounds worse tha it is in realiity on the ground its intuative.

Perhaps a simple example. Tank A moved into an ambush position using a section of hill to get hull down.

i) In the first half of the enemeys move, the enemy is sighted. The hull down tank can then fire in reaction (takes a marker to be romoved later). If the enemy survives he has options,
a) Ignore it (the enemy won't get another shot attempt until his own go in this case).
b) React by fire by any folk seeing the action (incloding the trager), like one in position somwhere else,
c) Take a defensive reaction like popping smoke and retreatring.

This is an IGOUGO loop inside the main loop. It and othee interations gets rid of the most blatent excesses of simple Move and shoot.

So the basic lists in the initial post cover only vaugely the the sequences in some actual games.

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