Thursday, March 26, 2015

6-10 seconds to decide

Kobold Press' Howling Tower has a suggestion for making games faster and more enjoyable: give players 6-10 seconds to make decisions about what to do in combat.  The idea is that you're divorced from feeling like you need to make the "best" choice.  Obviously, characters only need to make the basic choice.  But, it helps the characters feel more like they are immersed in combat, rather than sitting around a table pretending to be.  Howling Tower suggests that, at it's most basic:
That doesn’t mean your turn can’t take more than 10 seconds. It means you should answer the basic question, “what am I going to do this turn?,” in 10 seconds or less. Figuring out specifically how your character performs the chosen action within the allowances and restrictions of the rules can take substantially longer than that, especially if a fancy maneuver, an unusual weapon, or a complex magic spell is involved. But the basic question—”What am I going to do this turn?”—should be made quickly.
One other hint:
All the infinite combat options really boil down to just six broad choices: stab something, shoot something, cast a spell, interact with the environment, go on defense, or run away. If you find yourself struggling to make quick decisions, then limit yourself to thinking only in those general terms before considering any details.
So, maybe I should try this when I'm running my next table...