A week ago I was playing +Justin Halliday 's Hero Kids (Rats in the Basement adventure) with my daughter and our next door neighbors. For anyone who doesn't know "Rats in the Basement" is a really combat heavy short adventure that is more or less designed to introduce kids to the game.
In our case it wasn't as I've been doing on the fly Zelda'ish adventures with them for a good three months. However, they weren't really used to big combat sections and quickly things got tedious for them as they were bad. Things looked to be going bad when into my head popped up the most annoying Tactical RPG I ever played "Lord of the Rings Tactics" for the PSP. I let the round end and introduced a new bit of rules that while a lot more time consuming kept the kids happy.
1. Everyone (heroes and villians) declare your actions
2. Everyone rolls for initiative place
3. Combat goes forward automatically with only to-hit and damage rolls being done.
4. Repeat the above for the next round.
What this did was create a situation in which the board changed in unexpected ways. For example:
Hero A: I'm going to run up and attack rat E
Rat E: Is going to move forward to attack Hero C
Hero C: Is going to move back and cast a spell the damages rats B & C (who were right next to her and hurting her)
Hero A Init: 3
Hero C Init: 2
Rat E Init: 6
The rat rushes forward, hurting hero C and taking her down to hurt status. At the same time Hero A rushes forward but no longer has a target. Hero C jumps back and casts her spell inadvertently catching Rat E in the spell, killing Rats B, C, & E.
Now I'm wondering how well this sort of initiative rolling would work in systems like Swords & Wizardry or even Dungeons & Dragons. Would the pure amount of abilities and things a character can do in combat overwhelm it or would it make everything just a tad more crunchy but also more natural in movement?
Another note: I mean no disrespect to +Justin Halliday and both my Kids/neighbors and I love the system. If anyone is at fault is is me for giving boring descriptions of the combat.