Overall Impressions of the ITS Tournament

As this was my first ever miniature/wargaming tournament, I thought I’d take a moment to take down some of my impressions of the event and the day in general. My experience was a positive one, mostly, and I really enjoyed a day of gaming with the new friends that I’ve made in the community that has been built. Enjoy the pictures of the tables. They were awesome and rather than stacking them all at the end, or beginning, I thought I’d mix them in. (Basic descriptions of the tables underneath, in italics. Also most, if not all, of the table pics provided by Woody)

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Warsenal Table

From my last experience, I can say that I’d like to make sure I pack everything in the car the night before. I had everything I needed in a specific spot inside my house, but as I was running late, it took a little longer for me to pack everything in the car, which lost me some time to be able to get there and take a “lay of the land” and relax a little. Instead, I showed up, checked in, paid my money, and went to my first table to play my first game. It happened pretty much in that order and, seemed to me, almost as fast. This sent my nerves through the roof and really affected me throughout the day.

I hadn’t experienced anything like this. Speaking personally, I’ve never been one for public speaking, or “mingling”, but I genuinely try to be friendly and a good sport when in competition with people. But, partly due to the fact that I was a little late and really nervous, it was hard for me to get started. The first guy I played seemed to be nervous too, but was very cool to play and very understanding of my lack of knowledge. This was a theme throughout the day. One of the coolest things about the Infinity community is the wiki. In a game and have a rules question? Go to the wiki. If it’s not fully explained there, go to the forums. Someone will, ultimately, give you an answer on the rule in question, or perspective that should allow you to resolve your rules question. But I digress. I think my first, and maybe second, round would’ve been a little more fun if I could’ve figured out a way to be a little less nervous.

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Shark Mounted Lasers Table

I grabbed a meal on the way, ate it during my first game with the soft drink it came with, but really, I think I should’ve brought a couple of water bottles (packed the night before, of course). I really think that would’ve helped the headache that I ended up having in the later rounds. I think that snacks would’ve also been useful. Something like peanuts, pretzels, or something healthier, perhaps. But, definitely a little something to keep my stomach at bay as by the end of the 8 hour tournament, I was very hungry.

I would like to take a moment and thank the guys who brought tables full of terrain to the tournament. We actually ended up needing 5 tables at any given time, but I think we had 7 in total. Which meant that if you were picked to go to table 5, you might go to any of 3 tables. There was a full urban landscape, replete with city tiles and Sharkslide buildings from Shark Mounted Lasers. There was an entire Warsenal table. The Warsenal table was expertly painted, with finishing touches that were amazing. The Sharkslide table was a work in progress, but had a lot of really awesome detail pieces. There was a really ingenious table that was a whole bunch of containers from a national hobby store. All of the plastic containers fit inside each other making for easy cleanup and storage, but the coverage was really nice on the 4’X4’ square area. There was another table from Texas made of foamboard that was really detailed. Turned out, the guy who made that table was an artist (or art instructor, maybe) who used his skill at cutting matte boards to make well put together buildings. Then, there was a table that was challenging for my second game, using the terrain from Operation Icestorm. A little sparse, but still a formidable table. There was a Micro Art Studio table that was a lot of fun to play (4th game for me), good coverage and well thought out. The last table was dubbed the “Haqqislam table” due to it being a desert layout with buildings that looked to be made of sandblasted stone. This table was the property of the FLGS. It’s a fun table to play, but I would’ve preferred if there was another player supplied table in its stead. All of the tables looked fun to play on, I wish I had time to play on them all. But, the tables I played on were fun, challenging and really well put together for the most part. By the end of the day, ok once I recovered sometime during the next day, I was inspired to make my table better for the next gathering.

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Awesome Foam-core board table

In the weeks leading up to the tourney, I was trying to decide what troops to take. I play Yu Jing, which gives me 3 options for sectorials, “vanilla” Yu Jing, Imperial Service (ISS), or the Japanese Sectorial Army (JSA). I had no experience with the JSA, nor did I have enough models to build a “tournament ready” army, so they were out from the word go. I had enough models to do an ISS army, but I didn’t feel like I had enough specialists. So, the only group I could use that would give me the 4 to 5 specialists I thought I needed, was Vanilla Yu Jing. This meant that I had the choice of any model in all of the sectorials, but couldn’t use link teams or have some of the numbers that are allowed in the more specialized versions. I had only recently tried an ISS list, so I was ok with that, though I knew I was going to miss my Celestial Guard link team. Inspired by Kip’s (of Mayacast fame) stories of using “Penny” in various ways on the table, I wanted to use a bike. This meant using impetuous forces. Some of you probably know what that means, for those that don’t, I’m going to try to break it down in my own way.

Basically, impetuous troops have to use some of their movement (I believe it’s the first portion of their impetuous order), to move toward the nearest enemy. In the game, it’s explained as their lust for glory, or their lack of discipline. In a nutshell, these guys (and/or gals) are crazy and want to die in a blaze of glory, taking as many of the enemy with them as possible. It’s really interesting to me that “disciplined” or regular troops get an order they throw into the pool for all to use, impetuous troops get, essentially, two. One that they have to use, and then another they can use, or they can throw it into the pool, at least in the case of the bike. My other impetuous troops, my Shaolin Monks, were not only impetuous, but they were also irregular, which basically added that they were going to use the second order, if they used it, only on themselves. But, they still got two orders each.

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Micro Art Studios Table

So, with all of that info, plus several months of “trying things out”, I decided on my lists (described in my previous entry), with an attempt to make sure I had units to do jobs that I thought I’d need. I had total reaction remotes (this means that you get your entire burst, instead of just one d20 when in ARO), spitfires (4 dice, strength 14), HMGs (4 dice, strength 15), Combi-rifles (3 dice, strength 13), Chain rifles (large teardrop template), heavy flame thrower (large teardrop), mines (small teardrop or circular template) and on one list, a multi-sniper rifle as well as a CC specialist with TO camo who was an infiltrator. I had a remote that had 360 degree visor, which means you can’t attack it “from the rear” (as I understand it). I made sure I had a bike as the full movement on that is 14” (8-6), so in very few orders, I could be in the opponent’s end of the board, wrecking the place, providing he wasn’t shot first. I wanted the Monks so that I could have a wall of smoke to move through, though I forgot most of that to start and only used smoke in defense, so to speak. I had an engineer, paramedic, doctor, hacker and a forward observer so that I could perform the classified objectives, no matter what my roll on the charts were. Utilizing this method, it meant (to me) that the other specialists would become cheerleaders as necessary. Cheerleaders, in case you don’t know, is a way of describing models that don’t move during the game. They usually hold down a corner somewhere, and contribute their order to the “all-stars” of the team. However, this can change turn by turn (for me, anyway) and as opportunities arise, cheerleaders can become stars and vice versa. The impetuous troops were, by and large, for extra mayhem (smoke, chain rifles, CCW if necessary), except for the Aragoto Biker, he was a fast weapons platform. I intended to move him up (while covering him with other models) and wreak havoc wherever possible. Honestly, that only really worked once, maybe twice. But, when it did, it was a lot of fun. Basically, I think as long as you like the models and the abilities of those models, you can make any squad work. I tried to make an all-in-one”der” list that could do almost anything and didn’t matter what I rolled on the Classified Objectives lists. To that point, I wasn’t ever in a position where I couldn’t perform the CO that I rolled. I didn’t perform them for other reasons. But I could have.

Walking in, I didn’t know what to expect. Walking out, I felt awesome. Not only did it feel like I made some new friends in the hobby, but it also was a lot of fun to play these games. There wasn’t a lot of negative smack talk, which is refreshing. There was little to no confrontation about rules disagreements. If there was a difference in interpretation about the rules, the players would either call the Tournament Organizer (TO) over, or they’d look it up on the Infinity WIKI. In most cases (on the tables I played), the disagreement was resolved before either were really necessary. But in all cases, one or the other was brought to confirm the agreement. Everyone was very cool throughout the event. They all seemed to be very encouraging to everyone else. At the end of the event, everybody seemed to get something for whatever place they came in. There was even leftovers for those in the top ranks to get an extra item.

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Plastic Container Table (Ingenious)

It was a great event and a lot of fun. I know I keep saying that, but it was true. I had a pretty good time overall. I can’t wait to do it again. After one tournament, I’m in the top 300 in the US (at the time of my typing this, I’m sitting 299), which is pretty funny to me, but really awesome too. I’ve never been nationally ranked at anything. So, it’s a novelty that I enjoy. I’m looking forward to N3 and the ITS missions that they bring. I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to do a good campaign with our group, I’d enjoy seeing what happens with something like a campaign in this game. I also want to try to make some missions and some “one-off” silly missions, just for fun. I also want to help our group bring in an awesome “Dire States” event next year. It should be fun.

 

 

Jake out.

First ITS Tournament… Mini Battle Reports.

My very first ITS tournament ever. Holy crap, was it fun (mostly). There were 11 of us in total. I was the last to arrive, due to some poor planning on my part. For which, if any of the guys in my meta or the guests from Texas read this, I am truly sorry. I got up with plenty of time, but by the time I got everything loaded and headed to get money and food (lunch), I was already late. So, driving as fast as I could stand, I got there and got everything in place.

Check in was easy. I walked in, and spoke to the TO, who took my ITS info into his tablet and, after spending my 10 bucks to the venue (awesome FLGS called Games HQ), I was set. All in all, check in might’ve taken 10 minutes.

At this point in the day, I’m still very nervous with the possibilities of the day. I hoped to have fun and wanted to win. I brought two lists, with Spec Ops (per the Tourney requirements), and I knew my lists abilities, but the game still is a little fuzzy to me. So, I nervously waited for the first game to be called out.


 

My lists were as follows my “Monk Swarm” list was : Army4 (copy the list below into the link) –

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Group 1

Gui Feng (Zhanshi Spec Ops) – Hacker, -9 BTS, Combi Rifle
Tiger Soldier – Paramedic, Combi Rifle, Light Flame Thrower
Celestial Guard (LT) – Combi Rifle
Celestial Guard – Multi Sniper Rifle
Yuriko Oda – Engineer, Combi Rifle, D-Charges, Mines
Guilang – Camo, Infiltration, Forward Observer, Combi Rifle, deployable repeater, Mines
Aragoto – Mimetism, Spitfire
Lu Duan – MSV1, Holoprojector2, Mk12, Heavy Flame Thrower
Shinobu Kitsune – TO Camo, Superior Infiltration, Combi, Nanopulser, Monofilament CCW, Smoke
Zuyong – HMG, Automedkit

Group 2
4 Shaolin Monks with Chain Rifles, Shock CCW, Smoke


 

Second list was my “Spec Doc” list: Army 4 (copy the list below into the link) –

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Group 1

Gui Feng (Celestial Guard Spec Ops) – Doctor, Mines, Spitfire
Tiger Soldier – Paramedic, Combi Rifle, Light Flame Thrower
Celestial Guard (LT) – Combi Rifle
Celestial Guard – Spitfire
Yuriko Oda – Engineer, Combi Rifle, D-Charges, Mines
-YaoZao (engibot)
Guilang – Camo, Infiltration, Forward Observer, Combi Rifle, deployable repeater, Mines
Aragoto – Mimetism, Spitfire
Lu Duan – MSV1, Holoprojector2, Mk12, Heavy Flame Thrower
Zhanshi Hacker – Combi rifle,
Zuyong – HMG, Automedkit

Group 2
Yaokong Husong – Total Reaction, 360 degree visor, HMG, mines
Pangguiling – Total Reaction, Combi Rifle


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First game, far left flank – Aragoto Biker, Lu Duan (with Holo Echos), Shaolin Monk and a Zu Yong in the pill box

 

Of the two lists, I had the most fun with the swarm, but I basically set the swarm for two mission sets and the Doc list for the other two. As this was my first tournament I sort of “hard set” both lists for this. I think in future, I may continue with the “fun” list, regardless. There were at least 5 guys from Texas there that day. I met 4 of them… Well, to be fair, I think I met all of them, but I played two and talked to two others, so I’m sorry if I forget your name in this piece. All of the guys were really cool.

First game called out and my opponent was a guy I’m going to call “E” on a mission called Lifeblood. “E” is from Texas and was pretty cool. I am not sure what I looked like, but I felt kind of weird. I’m sure I was very nervous. We rolled for initiative (I won and chose initiative), he chose the side he was on and that I would deploy first. After deployment, I said that I’d go first. The game is a bit of a blur, but I tried to stay true to the spirit of my list… With 5 impetuous troops, I moved almost everything forward every active turn. I was in his side of the board quickly and my favorite little ninja (Kitsune, deadly little Kitsune) was in his backfield by turn 2. Evan was playing Yu Jing as well. He had his Kuang Shi, the human bombs) lined up with a Zhanshi (LI). Basically, 2 Kuang Shi with 1 Zhanshi, “conga-lined” together, very nearly base to base. I found that I had LoF with one set and shot a Kuang Shi, it died, exploded and took the Zhanshi with it. The other Kuang Shi made his armor roll to the explosion! It was so cool! (I mean, I wanted it to explode, but it was fun to see the lone thing survive) I brought in my Tiger Soldier, who moved up, shot another “conga line” of Kuang Shi and Zhanshi, only this time, I got all 3 for one shot. With that, I grabbed some objectives with my Guilang and Paramedic (Tiger Soldier) and then ended up blowing up (with my DA sniper) 2 boxes. I think I had 2 boxes by turn 2 and he had 2 boxes by turn two. Top of turn 3, I spent orders facing off with his TAG. After spending the majorty of the bottom of turn 1 and 2 being very afraid of his TAG, it was a rather nerve wracking experience. But somehow, through a combination of lucky rolls for me and (un)lucky rolls for him, the TAG ended up dead, then the pilot met it’s end when it popped out of the shell of the TAG. With the immediate threat gone, my Guilang moved around and sync’d with a third box. During my turn 3, I ended up removing the last of his specialists, which ended up winning me the game 7 – 3. I couldn’t get any Classified objectives on this mission. Well, I didn’t see any opportunity to do so anyway. Perhaps I just missed it. I shook hands with him and told him I had a great time playing (which I did) and stumbled off with my win.

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Still first game – Set up on the Warsenal table.

Second game called and I got to play “C”. I have played “C” several times on our Saturday gatherings. Each game has been more difficult (for me) than the last and always a challenge. This game would prove to be no different. Quadrant Control with the swarm list, was a lot of fun. Playing with smoke and the like against Ariadna was interesting. The only thing that made it less than fun for me was the fact that “C” and I played on the exact table that he and I had played on two weeks prior. It was a different mission, though, so it made it alright. Once again, the swarm list proved to be more fun than I thought. I had a great time running forward with my impetuous troops and covering their advance with my regular troops. I moved up and around the board, but in the end it was a tie (3 to 3, I think).

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By the third game I had a raging headache in the upper part of my neck. The game was called and I would play “T”. I couldn’t move my head very well and my eyes were fairly sensitive to light. It doesn’t change what happened, though and isn’t intended as an excuse. I got stomped, plain and simple. There are no two ways about it. Everything I tried was expertly countered and, when I needed a roll, I got nothing. It didn’t seem to matter if I was active or reactive. I could not catch a break. I played the Spec Doc list and, in retrospect, given the terrain density, might’ve had a bit more fun with the swarm. But, regardless, I ended up with a 0 – 9 loss. At that exact moment, in the heat of frustration and my headache, I mentioned that I could walk away and be perfectly OK with that. I feel very bad about saying this, because “T” didn’t do anything wrong, I was just very, very frustrated and should’ve just kept my mouth shut. “T” was an excellent opponent and a good human being showing genuine compassion and concern for my frustration. Given the opportunity, I’d like to play him again as it was the first time I had ever played Nomads.

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Fourth game was back to amazingly awesome. I was playing “B”, another dude from Texas, who was a fun guy to play. The mission was Annihilation, which means you kill as many of theirs without getting all of yours killed. More fun than I thought it was initially. Perhaps, due to the nature of the game, perhaps due to the “mindless” nature of the mission, perhaps due to getting some liquids in my system, I felt a little more at ease. I played the Spec Doc list, just for the 3 spitfires, 2 HMGs and 4 mine-layers. Had a blast playing “B”. Great banter back and forth. We really created a narrative and it was a lot of fun to play. My “man of the match” was my Aragoto biker with spitfire this match, because he ran up the board and took out around half of his orders. That was a great run and caused the best surprise for me, at the end of his run, he was shot by a Cutter TAG. Well, it wasn’t going to be the end, but it was ended by the really awesome entrance when the TAG uncloaked. It was a pretty crazy and fun match, ending in a 4 – 4 tie, after the dust settled and points were counted.

Ended up 8th out of 11. Which is a pretty good result, in my opinion, considering I’ve never really played on any tournament scene.

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I’d like to thank all of my opponents for the lessons I learned and the good sportsmanship they showed. I hope, for my part, I showed at least a similar level of good sportsmanship. I hope to play them all again very soon.

 

Jake out.