I played my first full game a few days ago and scored a fairly lopsided win. Part of this was due to misreading the game rules (e.g., jump troop suppression mistakes) but the biggest factor, by far, seemed to be the fact that I won initiative four times in a row - despite rolling less dice than my opponent every time.
Now, I know this is a bit of a statistical anomaly and should balance over time. However, the advantage gained by winning initiative seems dramatic. Maybe I am missing something but this is how I see it.
At the end of the game turn, all units remove any reaction markers. As such, no units start with reaction markers and all may take two actions during the unit phase - at least in theory. In practice, the side winning initiative will always have the benefit of taking two actions. The side going second now has a choice - react and lose one action in their unit phase or do nothing and allow the side with initiative the advantage of an unopposed first attack or maneuver. Meanwhile, the side with initiative can react with impunity during their opponent's unit phase, knowing that all reaction markers will be removed at the end of the game turn. Thus, in practice, it seems that the side with initiative not only gets the advantage of first move but also gets an extra action.
Again, the initiative advantage should be mitigated by probability. However, given the short turn length of most games, 3 - 4 "bad" dice rolls could severely hamper one side's chances of winning.
Am I overstating the role played by initiative? Are there reliable options for a player to take after successively losing initiative? Are there other factors that mitigate the advantage of initiative?
If this is a rules problem - and I know I have not played enough to make that claim - is there a fix?
After our first game we discussed the idea of distinguishing more between command markers, reaction markers and suppression markers. As it now stand, any of these markers on a unit reduces one action during the unit phase. Our idea was to provide that a reaction marker did not reduce the number of actions available during the unit phase. Every unit could react once per game turn unless suppressed. That way, the side going second could react during the first player's unit phase and still take two actions in his own unit phase. Of course the number of actions in the unit phase would still be reduced if the unit was suppressed or issued an order during the command phase. In this way, both sides would remain more or less equal and the initiative advantage reduced.
I'm probably missing something so please feel free to chime in - especially if you have tried a similar fix and found it wanting. Also, if the fix is unnecessary (which I really do hope), let me know. Thanks.
P.S. This is intended to be a hate-free/non-critical post. I love the game (as my bank account can attest) and only want to play it to its full potential.