Table Mechanics:I have done a lot with tracking things on paper, the chessex battlemat and even a white board and a flip chart. The initiative tacker pictured here came from the Fortune Cards: Shadow Over Nentir Vale from Wizards of the Coast.
I just lay them out (in the order of initiative) with the player/character name and the initiative order and other defense notes on it. Then as we go along during the turn I move the card in and out of its place to note where we are at in the order.
It seems so simple but I tell you that since I started to use this method I have not really had to tell people to pay attention to the order and they are ready with their turn right away. I have the card in sleeves so I can use a wet erase marker on them. I found any color other than black works well.
I will also be handing this over one of the players to keep track of now that we have it established as a table mechanic.
Another change to happen is the institution of the party leader role. Not just the character type but I have placed a player in this role to keep the party in order and so that the group actually has someone to say yea or nay on things. Prior to this we had issues with the Druid running off and getting beat down by Goblins and killed by the party's wizard or bickering about the direction to head in. Not a new mechanic but something needed to be done, frankly we do not even do that in my normal group I play in. It is mob rule at that table with taking the path the the most to argue for it. Some times the simplest things work
Table Mechanics: Will be a feature I do detailing things I use at the game table.