Initiative in Intercept

Initiative or ‘who goes first’ is very important in Intercept so I will try to explain it in more detail than what the rules does, I will also try to explain why Initiative works the way it does. Highest initiative goes last so you will know your opponents move before you do your own, possibly putting your ship outside of your enemys firing arcs or even on his blind rear line (if he thrusted), highest Initiative shoots first and as damage effects are applied immideatelly you may very well kill or incapacitate your opponent before he gets a chance to retaliate.

The Initiative rules work in three layers that must be checked in order and for the middle layer there are three variants youcan choose to play with depending on personal preference. The first layer forces Spotted ship to do their moves on the common mapboard before the unspotted ships do their move in secrecy. If the unspotted ships decide to attack they will be Spotted but cannot be attacked this turn, the only exceptions to this is ships firing meson guns or missile attacks. The second orders movement and attacks to the advantage of smaller ships. The roleplaying variant of this adds more randomness and the deterministic version adds a tactical element to win the Initiative. The last layer handles tie breakers with skills levels of the commanders.

Unspotted ships have higher initiative

This is the first and primary Initiative rule. Regardless of other circumstances you must move first and attack last if your ship is Spotted.

Spotted ships have Initiative based on turn steps

  • In Roleplaying Initiative you roll dice to see how many turn steps you get, highest turn steps win Initiative.
  • In Size table Initiative determine turn steps from a table based on ship Size, highest turn steps win Initiative.
  • In Deterministic Initiative you read turn steps off a table based on Size and then choose to skip any number of the steps, highest skipped turn steps win Initiative.

Ties in turn steps/skipped steps are done be checking tiebreakers in order

  1. Highest Ship tactics wins initiative.
  2. Highest Fleet tactics wins Initiative.
  3. Highest crew station wins initiative (Bridge > Full > Limited)
  4. Side A wins on even turns, side B on odd turns.

Turn steps

The three ways to determine Turn steps Initiative may seem confusing at first but as Intercept can be used for very different engagements each system has its strength and weaknesses.

Roleplaying initiative let die rolls determine initiative. Each pilot rolls the ship Size or better on 2D6 + skill and the degree of success determines the number of turns allowed and this is also the initiative where higher number of turns have higher initiative (meaning the move last and attack first). This system is for those playing out roleplaying space fights where the player characters control one or more ships. To ease the burden on the referee one can use the Size table system for the NPC ships.

The Size table Initiative read the number of turn steps each turn based on the Size of the ship. It is highly recommended to use the optional table with varying turn steps for the four turns. This helps differentiate ships that only differ by 1 in Size and also give an actual result on turn steps for Hull and Crew hitlocation battle damage. This system is quick and easy for large engagements and leaves no room for chance regarding Initiative.

The final Initiative system is described in the deterministic rules but can be used regardless of how much other deterministic rules you decide to use. The rules use the Size table to get the number of turn steps but instead of directly determine initiative each ship decides the number of turn steps to skip. The number skipped cannot be used for anything besides initiative, they reduce the number of turn steps you may later use for turning or rolling. Highest number of skipped steps wins the initiative. This add a new component to initiative as ships that are already lined up right from the last turn can spend more on skipping and thus get better initiative.

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