One player always has INITIATIVE, a distinction used to resolve timing conflicts. During setup, the player with lowest squad point total chooses who has initiative. If both players have the same squad total, one player rolls one red die. On a hit or critical result, the player who rolled the die chooses who has initiative. On a focus or blank result, his opponent chooses who has initiative. The player with initiative places the initiative token next to his cards.
- During the Activation phase, if both players have ships with the same pilot skill, all of those ships belonging to the player with initiative activate first.
- During the Combat phase, if both players have ships with the same pilot skill, all of those ships belonging to the player with initiative resolves the phase first.
- If both players have effects that resolve at the same time, the player with initiative resolves all of his effects first.
If you have the choice of who gets initiative, here are some things to consider:
- Do you share pilot skill with any of your opponent's ships?
- Do you want to activate first with your ship to block your opponent?
- Do you want to activate last to use re-positioning abilities, such as boost, barrel roll, Navigator, etc? This allows you to keep the foe in arc, and/or dodge their arc.
- Do you want to activate first/last for abilities like Target Lock, Spacetug Tractor Array, Black Market Slicer Tools, etc?
- Do you want to attack first and apply conditions or crits (e.g. Blinded Pilot) or other effects before your opponent returns fire?
- Simultaneous Attack Rule lets them return fire even on death, but you can greatly impede their attack with the right effects.
- Conditions like Suppressive Fire can take the edge off the foe's attack.
- Certain crits like Blinded Pilot or Weapons Failure can prevent or reduce the enemy's attack.
- Your attack could move them to deny their shot, e.g. Tractor Beam (get your ships out of their arc, or put them on an asteroid). Or your attack could trigger an ability to move yourself or an ally with a barrel roll or boost (e.g. Turr Phennir or Airen Cracken).
- Do you have any abilities that would trigger at the same time as an opponent's, where order matters?
- Example: Old Teroch is in an enemy Manaroo's arc at range 1 at the start of combat. Old Teroch wants Manaroo to have initiative.
- Example: "Wampa" or a ship with Crack Shot attacking "Countdown". Wampa wants initiative.
- Example: Wes uses Snap Shot on a TIE Defender with TIE/x7, hoping to strip x7's evade token. Wes wants to give his opponent initiative.
- Do you want to place the first obstacle? Last obstacle?
Initiative Bid Edit
When a fleet costs fewer points than allowed, this is called an Initiative Bid. For example, a player may only spend 98 of 100 points, creating a two point bid in hopes his opponent will spend more.
The value here is if you happen to spend fewer points than your opponent, you avoid the random chance and get to assign initiative. A stronger bid has a higher chance of consistently choosing initiative. For a fleet that cares about resolution order, this gamble can be very valuable.
For example, consider an Arc-Dodging Aces fleet: relatively delicate, high-PS ships that rely on activating last to escape enemy arcs. This fleet could win or lose on the initiative bid, because its arc-dodging tactic loses its strength if its ships must activate first.