The IGOUGO (I Go, You Go) method for turns in wargames has been a traditional approach used in many tabletop and digital wargames for a very, VERY long time. IGOUGO method has a fair number of drawbacks that have led to rightful criticism and a desire for alternative game mechanics.But Scott, you ask, why does IGOUGO needs to evolve or be set on fire, and then the ashes get placed on a spaceship that is hurdled into the Sun:
What exactly is IGOUGO? This pimple on the ass of the hobby is pretty simple. You determine who goes first, and then they do all of their actions before another player can. Games Workshop is probably the worst offender here since they insist on doing IGOUGO.
So why does IGOUGO suck?
Lack of Realism: In many wargames, the IGOUGO system grants one player complete control over their turn, allowing them to move and act with all their units before the other player has a chance to respond. This is wildly unrealistic and artificial since units are not able to react to changing circumstances, leading to less dynamic and strategic gameplay.
Imbalance and Sequential Play: The IGOUGO system can lead to an imbalance between players, especially if one side has a significant advantage in terms of resources or unit capabilities. Additionally, sequential play will undoubtedly create long periods of inactivity for one player while the other is taking their turn, leading to reduced engagement and potential loss of interest. Watch a big 40K match. People can take naps during their opponent’s move phase.
Lack of Interaction: With the IGOUGO system, players often don’t have the opportunity to respond to their opponent’s actions until their own turn comes up. This limits the depth of strategic decision-making and can result in a less interactive and engaging experience.
Reduced Player Engagement: The IGOUGO system can sometimes result in long downtime between turns for each player, which can lead to disengagement and decreased player interest. Waiting for an extended period can disrupt the flow and immersion of the game, making it less enjoyable. See also Imbalance and Sequential play.
Initiative Imbalance: In some wargames, the player who goes first or has the initiative has a significant advantage. This can lead to a snowball effect where the player who moves first gains a dominant position, making it difficult for the other player to catch up. This can be frustrating for players and reduce the overall balance and fairness of the game.
To address these limitations, alternative turn systems have been developed, such as simultaneous or alternating activation systems, where players have more opportunities for interaction and reaction. These systems aim to provide a more realistic and dynamic experience, increase player engagement, and reduce the impact of the “I go, you go” structure. Probably one of the best examples of a good system is Bolt Action which uses a random dice pool to select. It’s very random but also a good balance between realistic and fair.
It’s worth noting that the preference for turn systems in wargames can vary among players, and different systems may suit different game designs and player preferences. Ultimately, the choice of turn structure depends on the specific goals, mechanics, and desired experience of the gamer.