Start with a question.
Is Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons as simple as possible?
I think it’s simpler than both 4th and 3rd (and 3.5). Two things make it simpler, fewer options and fewer rules.
The best example of fewer options is character creation. Fifth edition doesn’t have the variety of books that add more and more options (feats, classes, etc)
Fewer rules is easy enough. My best example, rules for positioning – pretty much gone.
But is Fifth Edition simple enough? What could be removed and still keep the feeling of “older” editions?
How about initiative?
What about reducing it to sides. Each “side” rolls to decide who goes first (roll again for ties). PCs and the DM decide about the order within each group. If I remember, this is the old First edition way. It’s easy to alter if you want, but in the interest of simplicity, you could just stick to sides.
Lets try even simpler. No initiative. Let the story (the fiction – to steal from Dungeon World) determine who goes first. This takes a lot of trust between the PCs and DM. But, it has the possibility to match the story more than the randomness of dice rolling.
Is your group looking to simplify anything? How would they do it.
GenCon is coming up. Look for a report of my trip at the end of August.