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[Activation Phase] Do activations always alternate or follow numberic Order?
Activation Phase - alternating orders or not? Posted on [07/01/2015] à 06:23

I am still a bit confused by the order in which units are activated as described Activation Phase section at the top of page 7 in the v1.2b rules. This confusion arises from interpretations of these rules in other forum posts, maybe here or BGG, that are counter to my understanding. Also, its due to the fact that the rules are not stated strictly enough. I'm hoping to get some consensus so I can be assured I am playing by the rules.


Now, my interpretation is that each player independently follows their order number sequence, with the possibility that they may intersperse special orders or autonomous units in the sequence. The crux of the rule IMO is that the players always alternate orders when possible. That is, never does one player get to execute two orders in a row without the opponent acting in between, except at the end when one player runs out of orders.


Let me illustrate with an example. Let's say American player has order tokens 1, 2, 3, Special, and an Autonomous unit. Also, assume the German player has only orders 1, 2, and 3.


German players has initiative and thus the orders proceed as follows (I've placed special and autonomous orders in American's sequence to best make my point):


German 1 – American Special

German 2 – American 1

German 3 – American Autonomous

– American 2

– American 3


That seems to follow the rules correctly, though I expect there will be some disagreements based on discussions I have seen regarding killed units or removed orders. But this makes sense to me and so it is counter to the idea that order 1 must follow order 1 and order 2 must follow order 2 etc.


So here's another example. This time assume on the German's first turn, they eliminate the American Unit with order 1. I maintain the following sequence is still legal:


German 1 – American 2 (American 1 unit was eliminated by German 1)

German 2 – American Special

German 3 – American Autonomous

– American 3


I think I've seen comments that in this case German would play order 1 then immediately order 2. I don't think this makes sense give the possibility of the American having additional special/autonomous orders as I have setup in this contrived example.


The rationale for my interpretation is from my interpretation of certain phrases in the somewhat loosely worded rules. For example, on page 7 it says: "Once one player has no more orders to reveal, his opponent activates all remaining units in ascending order." This implies that players were alternating turns before the end. I have always assumed the reference to Order 1 followed by opponents Order 1 was more of an example or just lax rule writing. The special orders section of the rules could be interpreted two ways: 1) special order is played and then same player plays his regular order or 2) special order gets played anywhere in sequence, but players always alternate. Its the latter that makes the most sense to my and jibes with other rules (e.g., autonomous units etc.). Allowing two orders in a row just doesn't fit the spirit of the rules.


So again, the key requirement in activation according to my interpretation is that players always alternate, playing either their special order/autonomous units or their lowest unused order, and never get to play twice in a row uninterrupted, unless one sides has extra orders left at the end.


Anyone agree or disagree with this interpretation? If disagree, please let me know if there is some official ruling that negates my interpretation.


Activation Phase - alternating orders or not? Posted on [07/01/2015] à 07:21

From p. 7 of the v1.2b rulebook:

The player with initiative starts.

First, the player reveals his Order number 1 and activates that unit.

Once the unit has acted, the second player reveals his Order 1 and

activates his unit. Continue, following ascending numerical order.

Once one player has no more orders to reveal, his opponent activates

all remaining units in ascending order.


It goes something like this: If the player without initiative is missing their Order 1, they do not act during the Order 1 "cycle". Axel confirmed this here:

http://www.devil-pig-games.com/en/forum/?action=viewtopic&t=1172.0#postid-3845


After resolving all the Order 1 tokens, you then continue the alternation cycle with Order 2 (starting with the player with initiative) and so on in numerical order.


If one player ever runs out of orders, then the other player is allowed to finish their list. This makes sense for the same reasons, the other player has no units who can act.


Example 1: The German Player has 4 orders and initiative.

The American Player has 2 orders.



  • German unit with Order 1 acts, killing the American unit with Order 1.

  • American has no unit with Order 1, so cannot act.

  • German unit with Order 2 acts.

  • American unit with Order 2 acts.

  • German unit with Order 3 acts.

  • American has no unit with Order 3, so cannot act.

  • German unit with Order 4 acts.

  • American has no unit with Order 4, so cannot act.


Example 2: The German Player has 4 orders and initiative.

The American Player has 2 orders and an Autonomous unit.



  • German unit with Order 1 acts, killing the American unit with Order 1.

  • American has no unit with Order 1, but has an autonomous unit so has that unit act. Since this does not interrupt an activation, it is allowed.

  • German unit with Order 2 acts.

  • American unit with Order 2 acts.

  • German unit with Order 3 acts.

  • American has no unit with Order 3, so cannot act.

  • German unit with Order 4 acts.

  • American has no unit with Order 4, so cannot act.


Example 3: The German Player has 4 orders and initiative.

The American Player has 2 orders and a Special Order.


Since the Special Order can be treated as Order 0, it creates a new cycle with Order 0.



  • German has no unit with Order 0, so cannot act.

  • American unit with Order 0 (special Order) acts

  • German unit with Order 1 acts, killing the American unit with Order 1.

  • American has no unit with Order 1, so cannot act.

  • German unit with Order 2 acts.

  • American unit with Order 2 acts.

  • German unit with Order 3 acts.

  • American has no unit with Order 3, so cannot act.

  • German unit with Order 4 acts.

  • American has no unit with Order 4, so cannot act.


The one thing I am not clear about is what happens if you use the Special Order as an EXTRA Order 1. I think it would go like this:



  • German unit with Order 1 acts.

  • American unit with Order 1 acts.

  • American unit with Special Order 1 acts.

  • German unit with Order 2 acts.

  • American unit with Order 2 acts.

  • German unit with Order 3 acts.

  • American has no unit with Order 3, so cannot act.

  • German unit with Order 4 acts.

  • American has no unit with Order 4, so cannot act.


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Activation Phase - alternating orders or not? Posted on [07/01/2015] à 17:17

Okay, I'll take your word for it and change my bad behavior going forward.


Thank you for taking the time to respond with nice examples.


Its surprising that such different interpretations of the rules are possible and that such an important part of the rule-set was not disambiguated from the start (e.g., with definitive statements and examples) or updated when errata changes were made.


Activation Phase - alternating orders or not? Posted on [07/01/2015] à 19:32

I got confirmation of the Special Order scenarios from Axel… The Special Order can go before the player with initiative (causing the equivalent of "Order 0" scenario) and also can be used to get two activations in a row.


Having done some rules crafting in my time, I have to tell you it is NOT that surprising that there can be such different interpretations. English is not the most precise language to begin with, although it is one I am certainly stuck with! The worst part is that when you are writing rules down, you have a preconceived understanding which can make it very difficult to identify where there is a possible interpretive issue.


Adding an additional step of having to get the rules translated from one language to another does not help with precision either.


There are many other factors involved in crafting a rulebook (cost of materials, time to print, limitations on binding based on number of pages, etc) that all have an effect.


And don't get me started on someone in layout breaking up a paragraph and causing the meaning of a sentence to completely change. Ugh.


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[Activation Phase] Do activations always alternate or follow numberic Order? Posted on [07/01/2015] à 19:55

Thanks.


I'm not arguing with you as I accept or agree with what you say for the most part.


But I just had to comment about English not being the most precise language. My experience (limited though) is English is way more precise than French. I take that to mean, it has way more "tools" (i.e. words) to do the job, so you can get a much more specific meaning often using far fewer words. You just need to know how to use them. But, the translation problem could be going from a narrower language to a wider language, which I think is true of English (wider).


My best example is the movie "The Horse Whisperer" which when translated into French (when I was in France in the late 90's) basically meant "The man that murmured into the ears of horses". In French that would be "L'homme qui murmure à l'oreille des chevaux" a title which made my wife and I laugh. Translated back to English though it sort of makes sense: "The man who whispers to horses" but is not as precise (nor does it really mean the same thing, but that's another issue).


Edit: I'm not sure the above example proves my point or yours, LOL, but sure illustrates how difficult translation can be.


[Activation Phase] Do activations always alternate or follow numberic Order? Posted on [08/01/2015] à 02:05

Squad helps dog bite victim


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[Activation Phase] Do activations always alternate or follow numberic Order? Posted on [09/01/2015] à 20:01

Hack crafts ambiguous headline


Citizens blame the English language


[Activation Phase] Do activations always alternate or follow numberic Order? Posted on [13/01/2015] à 15:03

I am totally agree with you, translation is a difficult art !


My own feeling is that english is a difficult language because is's a very elastic language.


En recherche de stage maquettiste

[Activation Phase] Do activations always alternate or follow numberic Order? Posted on [13/01/2015] à 21:16

Yes you are right. My wife continually reminds me that French is the language of diplomacy because it's more unambiguous (precise as stated above).


[Activation Phase] Do activations always alternate or follow numberic Order? Posted on [15/08/2016] à 16:14

Since this is the best thread I found on the Details of the order activation sequence I like to post this question here:


As far as I understand it, the Autonomous unit, it can declare it's aktivating at any time in the Aktivation Phase, whitout having an order token.

So when the Activation Phase starts, can an Autonomous unit declare it's activation as an Order 0 like a Special Order?


In case the Player with initative has an Autonomous unit he should be able to activate the Autonomous unit and his unit with order one in a row, bevor the other Player has his unit with order token one aktivated.


The question is, if the Player with the Autonomous unit has not the initative, can he act with it before Order token no.1 from the Player with initative?


A Special order token played with initative as 0 will always act first in my Point of view, but the Autonomous unit gives me some Trouble…


Thanks for any advise


[Activation Phase] Do activations always alternate or follow numberic Order? Posted on [15/08/2016] à 18:23

Quote from MickMountain on [15/08/2016] à 16:14

As far as I understand it, the Autonomous unit, it can declare it's aktivating at any time in the Aktivation Phase, without having an order token.

So when the Activation Phase starts, can an Autonomous unit declare it's activation as an Order 0 like a Special Order?


Just FYI, that question was answered here. The answer is: No. Only the Special Order is allowed to act in Order Phase 0.


Quote from MickMountain on [15/08/2016] à 16:14

In case the Player with initiative has an Autonomous unit he should be able to activate the Autonomous unit and his unit with order one in a row, before the other Player has his unit with order token one aktivated.


Yes, he can do that.


Quote from MickMountain on [15/08/2016] à 16:14

The question is, if the Player with the Autonomous unit has not the initative, can he act with it before Order token no.1 from the Player with initative?


That is a good question. I would say no, because the player with initiative gets to play first thing in the order phase, and an autonomous unit "may not interrupt the current activation" (Autonomous, p. 16 of v1.2b HoN rulebook) as well as the basic rules for Activation, which says the player with initiative activates their unit first (p. 7 of v1.2b of the HoN rulebook). Once the player with Initiative has activated their unit, you are free to activate your Autonomous unit before your unit with the appropriate Order token if you want.


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[Activation Phase] Do activations always alternate or follow numberic Order? Posted on [21/09/2017] à 15:46

After receiving the Compendium and after spending hundreds of Euros on this game I'm still not sure how the autonomous units work. Autonomous is explained in the Compendium: "You may decide to activate it at any time during the activation phase (even before Special Orders)". So….


Example 1:

If I have initiative and an autonomous unit but my opponent has a special order and the activation phase begins. My opponent wants to play the special order as order 0, but at the same I want to play my autonomous unit, so I get to go first with my autonomous unit and then his special order and so on? So autonomous units always go first, even before special orders?


Example 2:

I have an autonomous unit and a special order but my opponent has initiative. I decide to play my special order as order 0, but before I activate it I decide to use my auto unit because the rules allow me to do that (..even before special orders). Or is this the case of "interrupting an ongoing activation"?


I guess the real question is: are you allowed to play your autonomous unit at any time ON YOUR OWN TURN or really at any time, for instance before the opponents order 1 if he has initiative?


And what about if both players have auto units and they both want to play them at the same time, player with initiative goes first obviously even tho the rules don't mention anything about this?


I apologize in advance if I'm asking questions that have been answered somewhere before. I thought I read somewhere about a year ago that the Compendium would have a lot of examples about different rules interpretations and game situations but I guess different activation phase examples (auto units, normal orders, special orders) were not a priority.


[Activation Phase] Do activations always alternate or follow numberic Order? Posted on [21/09/2017] à 17:14

The point of "many no interrupt an activation" is to stop someone from trying to do something like the following.


Example 1 (What not to do):


Player 1: "I activate my order 1 and move my tank out from behind the building so I can shoot at your tank"

Player 2: "Wait! I want to activate my autonomous bazooka unit to shoot your tank as soon as it comes into line of sight"

That is not how this works. If you don't have Opportunity Fire you don't get to react like that.


When dealing with the activation phase you handle it thus, "taking into account special orders or autonomous units":


Example 2:


Player 1: "Okay, I have initiative this turn, so I will activate my first unit if there are no objections?"

Player 2: "I have a Special Order and would like to take that as Order 0, unless you have something to add"
Player 1: "Ah. I have an Autonomous unit so I will go before your Order 0 if that works for you"
Player 2: "Alright then, activate your Autonomous unit, then I will activate my Special Order and then you can activate your Order 1."

Order resolved and everyone happy, no one gives away where there order tokens are located and no activations are interrupted. This is not a "slap game"… you don't get to avoid having someone go before you by managing to say "I activate my Order 1" before anyone can object.


And yes, if you have two Autonomous units and two Special Orders in your army and your opponent has initiative, you can activate all 4 of them before your opponent can go. There is no rule about alternating turns.


If there is ever a conflict, such as both of you having a Special Order to play at the same time, the player with Initiative goes first. That is a simple, common sense way to resolve such conflicts.


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[Activation Phase] Do activations always alternate or follow numberic Order? Posted on [21/09/2017] à 18:04

Thanks for the quick response Nostra. Of course this is not a slap game, and your Example #2 is exactly the way I play the game with my pals and the way it should be played. However The Compendium does not mention anything about both players wanting to play autonomous units at the same time (like special orders), that's why it is/was confusing and I thought that you could only activate auto units on your own turn.


Now that I got confirmation for this issue, it seems that having special orders and autonomous units is quite a powerful combination (damn you Clint and Easy company)…


[Activation Phase] Do activations always alternate or follow numberic Order? Posted on [22/09/2017] à 03:46

Quote from Tinippa on [21/09/2017] à 18:04

…Of course this is not a slap game, and your Example #2 is exactly the way I play the game with my pals and the way it should be played. However The Compendium does not mention anything about both players wanting to play autonomous units at the same time (like special orders), that's why it is/was confusing and I thought that you could only activate auto units on your own turn.


I was not trying to imply you did think HoN was a slap game, but you are not the only one who is going to read this thread and "…you may not interrupt an on-going activation…" keeps getting cited as a blocker to using either a Special Order or an Autonomous ability, even though the rules specifically calls out:


WARNING: Remember to take into account any Special Orders and Autonomous special abilities units may have.


While it is true that the Autonomous ability does not explicitly state that in the case of a conflict the player with initiative goes first. However the very first line of the rules for Activation Phase clearly state:


The player who has the initiative plays first.


The fact that it is explicitly repeated under Special Orders does not mean it does not apply when dealing with conflicting Autonomous special abilities. I will grant you that is in potential conflict with "any time" in that one player could try to claim they are explicitly activating "at a time before my opponent", but if there is a conflict, why wouldn't you fall back on the general rule to resolve the problem?


And while we are discussing things in this thread…

One more thing I do want to point out, although it does not directly apply to your questions but does apply to the Title of this thread.


The rules in the Compendium do not say that you alternate activation such that Player B always goes after Player A who always goes after Player B, etc. Instead, you resolve each Order number in ascending order and for each given number the player with initiative goes first and then the second player goes after. Under most circumstances that looks the same as alternating but it is not.


The rules explicitly note that if you are lose an order token, you get to do nothing during that Order number in the activation sequence. Given that, your opponent gets to activate their next Order and get 2 turns in a row. Wedging in a Special Order or Autonomous unit likewise gives you extra actions in a row.


If, somehow, the player with initiative could suddenly be altered for the remainder of that turn, then on the next Order number the player who now has initiative would get to move their unit first, and the player who formerly had initiative would move second. Nothing in the game does that (at present), but if somehow it were to happen the mechanics already exist to handle it.


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[Activation Phase] Do activations always alternate or follow numberic Order? Posted on [22/09/2017] à 07:29

Very good points. However I was hoping to see such detailed and specific rule clarifications in the Compendium because I've seen so many different interpretations of how special orders and autonomous units work and some parts of these rules have even changed since the release of the game. For the most part I have been playing "right" regarding special orders and auto units but reading these and other forums has left me (and others?) confused at times. And I hate it if I'm playing it wrong, I don't like house rules, I want to play the game exactly the way it was intended to be played.


Again, thanks for your responses, I'm glad that HoN has such a good community ready to help.


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