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Lessons from Shane Hensley’s Con Game: Initiative

After having reviewed how Shane Hensley set up his con game and his technique of using miniatures, I’ll now review how Shane handled initiative.

Initiative

Dealt initiative cards

Shane used the normal sized Savage Worlds action card deck, not the over-sized style of cards. I’m a fan of over-sized cards since I have a hard time seeing the cards amidst all the clutter on the table. Not to worry — Shane used the technique of counting down initiative. He’ll simply start saying ‘Ace, King, Queen, 10…’ and counting down until people raise their hand or otherwise signal they have an initiative card that makes them up for their turn. If a couple of people raise their hand, Shane would adjudicate ties based on reverse alphabetical suit order per the standard Savage Worlds rules. After that player finished their turn Shane would glance at their card to see where the turn countdown had last left off, and resume a new coundown: “9, 8, 7…”.

Initiative card

Savage Worlds ‘Action Cards’ used for initiative — very Pulp-style!

Shane also used a technique of having the player flip a card over if that player was on hold to flag their held action. After the player finally acts later in the round he’d have the player flip the card back up to the regular side with suite and number.

On hold

An action card on hold

Another thing I noticed was Shane placing an NPCs card on a top corner of his GM screen. He could balance up to two cards up there and it made the cards easy to see and not get lost in the clutter of the table or in the clutter behind the GM screen.

I’ve seen some GM’s turn in the cards after their turn is over, but instead Shane waited until everyone completed their turn, then he asked for people to hand in their cards. At that point if a Joker had been drawn he’s shuffle the deck.

Dealt initiative cards

At the end of the turn we handed our cards back in.

Coming next: an analytics of Shane’s overall GM style and some of his in-game tricks!

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