I’ve sort have gone full circle with tools to keep track of combat. I toyed around with some different programs and found a few I liked. But of late I’ve sort have gone back to keeping track of stuff with paper and pencil. Maybe if I pick up a tablet I’ll try out combat manager programs again, but I’ve found that a laptop on the table sort of adds another divider between myself and the action.
I’ve whipped up a combat sheet and like using that. But I thought I might try using something a little more visual in keeping track of initiative order. So I made up some initiative cards that would also have some info on the PCs and monsters.
I made them to fit on an index card for some added bulk. I ended up placing self-laminating sheets over my cards. That way I could use a dry erase marker and get a little more mileage out of each individual card. I also included a format so that the card could fold in half. They can be used as stand up tents or be slipped over a DM screen. This might be more useful if you want to allow PCs to keep track of the order (the other side is blank so it can be freely written on).
One big drawback is that they do take up a bit of space on the table. However I like that I have just about all the important stuff right on the cards. I can also split the HP box into sections of 2-3 columns so I can use one card for a few monsters.
The big plus is I can turn cards sideways as I go through the initiative order indicating they’ve had their turn. Players can see where they fall in line with the turn order and know when they are on deck. Plus if I have to shift things around, it is just a matter of switching the card order (for delayed actions and such). I hope folks find them useful for their game.