My most awesome game to date…

This is a recollection of a very singular game at the Rumble on Route 66. The last round was the one round that I dreaded the most. The mission was Biotechnovore. If you’ve played it, then you probably understand my dread, even if you don’t share it. For those familiar with Infinity, but perhaps not familiar with this particular mission (p. 34 in the ITS mission pamphlet for a 300pt game), it’s a typical 4’x4′ board with an 8″ deployment zone. No big deal right? Wrong, because there’s a cloud of death that hangs out over the first 16″ from every board edge. Most figures move 4-4, so even if you could line up on the exact edge of the 8″ mark and spend an order token on each and I’d still be screwed as you’d still, most likely, be in the very edge of the zone. So, the trick here is to use command tokens and use coordinated orders. The best way, at the time of the Rumble, to do that was to go second and use a command token to remove the ability to use more than one command token. If you only have 1 command token, instead of 4, then you’re limited to the number of coordenated moves you can make and then things go downhill from there. At the end of each player turn (within each round), any troopers still left in the Biotechnovore zone make a roll versus BTS and, at a strength 14, it’s not easy to beat. Two rolls if your trooper is a remote, TAG or anything with structure points instead of wounds. If you fail, it’s straight to dead for that trooper. Any trooper left in the Biotechnovore zone at the end of the third round, is also considered dead. As I’m mostly opposed to my troopers being considered dead, through any means, I did not like this mission at all. Every time I’ve played it, I’ve lost. I had a pretty great time losing, most of those times, but I still lost.

 

Round 4 of the Rumble was decided and I was gathering my gear for the last game and settled down at the very cool “Mesa Table”. That’s just my name for it. It was an 8’X4′ themed table based on Ariadna. We were on the wilderness side of the table. There was this really cool wall down the middle of the 8′ table, seperating the civilized side from the wilderness side. The table really felt like a canyon. There were standing stones and mesas all through the table. Whoever built it (I used to know, but can’t remember right now) put in a lot of thought and effort into building it and it was awesome on both sides.

 

I sat down to gather my thoughts and decide on the list I was going to play. The dude who sat down across from me looked very tired, but in reasonable spirits. He said he’d been up for a long while, or was up late the night prior. Turned out that he was playing JSA. I want to love Yu Jing and both of the current Sectorials that are in the game. I’m having a time finding my niche right now, but I was stoked to play another Yu Jing player and was gleefully ready to die to ninjas and fireteams.

 

We rolled for initiative and I think I won and chose initiative. He chose to stay on the side he was on and we set up. I was to set up first. One of the guys I travelled with was using Shaolin Monks as well and told me, right before the last round, about the success he was having keeping them in a bunched group. So, heeding his advice, I put all of my Monks on one side of the board, choosing to run them up to hunt with chain rifles and CCW weapons, using smoke to cover each other.

 

The first thing that struck me about Liam was the fact that when it was my turn to go first, he said that he was not going to limit my orders, nor would he take away my use of command tokens. “It was a dick move,” he said and so I proceeded to use my command tokens to move all but two of my units out of the biotechvore field. During my turn, we had a pretty good time talking about the game. But the fun really started on his turn in the first round. My Shaolin had moved, as a group, pretty far into the field, thanks to some coordinated irregular movements.

 

There were appparently a line of TO camo tokens that were just on the edge of the 8″ zone in hidden deployment. He moved them a bit and then revealed one to be Kitsune (Deadly little Kitsune)! I was so excited. I think I bounced a little bit at the thought of my favorite space ninja fighting my kung fu warriors. The scene was already starting to form in my head. I could see Kitsune revealing herself at the very last second to the Shaolin and the fight would be on. As soon as he revealed, he engaged using her long distance engage to get in CC range with my Monk. I think I forgot to ARO! I didn’t want to, really, partly because of how cool the maneuver was and partly because I wanted to see Kung Fu versus Ninjitsu right there on the table! It was the first time I had really seen serious hand to hand fighting in Infinity, most people want to shoot my Shaolin before they get a chance to shake hands and here was someone who could handle what the Shaolin could dish out. I want to admit here, that I fully expected to die. Shinobu Kitsune is the best Ninja in the game. She has a 25 CC stat, a level 5 Martial Arts skill, and a Monofilament Katana to go with her skill. She’s a killer and I knew that my little Shaolin Monk was about to die a glorious death in mortal combat with a ninja, but it was going to be awesome. It was totally awesome!

 

After some debate, we figured out that we would each use MA level 3. I would use it, because it would help me out the most (and was the highest that I could muster), he would use it so that it would even everything back out again, out of defense. (Would’ve been Shaolin 26 to 22 Kitsune, unless he used his MA3 to counter, bringing the total back to Shaolin 23 vs 25 Kitsune) We rolled, I knew I needed to roll a 17 or better to crit, but I just wanted to do well. He dropped his die, rolling a 10. I dropped mine and rolled…. a 20! I was shocked. This game has a lot of great moments in it, but one of the best is the crit. There’s nothing better than being an underdog and critting a higher skilled model. This moment was crazy weird for me, because that was the turning point, in some regards. Shinobu was his Lieutenent. He immediately made all of his units irregular, which in hindsight I don’t think is right, but in all honesty, I was trying my best to keep track of my rules and trusting my opponent to know his rules too. If I had thought for a moment, perhaps I would’ve realized the error, but I didn’t and for that, I’m sorry Liam. Due to his units becoming irregular, some of his troops didn’t make it out of the 16″ Biotechnovore area, but that isn’t where the fun of this game was.

 

When it was my turn, I started with my impetuous troops, my Shaolin. As soon as I moved the first one, Liam revealed an Oniwaban and then declared that the Oniwaban was motioning my Shaolin toward his Oniwaban. I was giddy with the coolness that was happening! The Oniwaban was challenging my Shaolin to a fight! Then we rolled again, using MA3 (I think it was Shaolin 23 vs 24 Oniwaban) and I rolled another 20. We repeated this until all of my Shaolin had matched up with the rest of his TO camo guys (which I think was at least 1 more Oniwaban and then a Ninja). Each time, my Monk would move and another TO camo marker would reveal a new opponent that was beckoning for the Shaolin to meet in mortal combat. Each time the request was answered. The whole game to me was this skirmish. Each move was cinematically met with a fun and dramatic reveal. The hand gestures of the oniwaban (or ninja) beckoning the Shaolin) were like a roleplaying game. When I think of this game, it really comes down to the Ninja vs. Shaolin fight for me. I could’ve lost every Shaolin I had to Kitsune and been happy. I mean that. I had so much fun that this game inspired a very small short story on the official forums.

 

Everything about this game was fun, but it came down to 8 models (4 from each side, approximately), some lucky rolls, and a good sport who was having fun in the game and in the moment. This wasn’t about the win for me. Because really, the scenario defeated my opponent, not anything that I did tactically. This game, for me, was about learning that enjoying your opponent is just as important as enjoying the game. I had a great time playing Liam. I can only hope that I get to play him in future Rumbles. I can’t thank him enough for changing the game for me. I’m not sure how I’m going to alter my play style, but I know it’s going to happen.

 

– Jake out.

RRRRumble!

(Note: Pictures to come later, as I’m not able to get those right now)

As I may have mentioned before, I’ve played miniature wargames for a goodly number of years. I believe, off and on, it’s been over 25 years. The results have been the same almost each time. I paint miniatures, using my fairly expensive paints based on what I come up with in my imagination, and then I set my miniatures up across the table from someone and it all falls apart. I spend my time removing painted miniatures from the table while the guy across the table from me usually has some unpainted “deathstar” that he’s cobbled together with fully unpainted figures. It usually felt over by the second turn and was most assuredly over by the third or fourth.

I went to the ‘Rumble on Route 66′ with mixed feelings. Mixed because I really enjoy this game, but tournaments and I don’t usually get along well. I don’t usually enjoy myself, because I usually run into “that guy”. The one who thinks he’s entitled to win the entire thing, but complains about this rule or that rule or this thing is “OP”, but the deathstar he’s brought is totally legit and fair and then has a meltdown worthy of a two year old because he came somewhere in the middle. I just kept reminding myself, I did enjoy the last Infinity tournament at my LFGS, so I thought it’d be alright.

Originally, I planned to drive out to Amarillo by myself, but one of the guys in my group said that there was an extra seat in his car and he’d be glad to let me ride with. I, happily, accepted. There would be a few trade-offs, but I thought it would be better than driving alone to a town that I’ve only ever driven through from the highway.

We got to the hotel by mid-afternoon and stowed our gear. I had brought a table’s worth of terrain, so that stayed in the car, but clothes went to the various rooms that we were using.

After that, we grabbed our miniatures and were off to the Table’s Edge to check out the venue and see what we were up against. I’m not a local, so I don’t know what the store looks like normally, but the store was very nice. The staff were smiling and friendly. The people there were clearly excited and everyone was talking Infinity. It was amazing. I put my terrain box on top of the table space that I wanted to put it on, which was really far away from the super awesome tables that were brought by other people.

If you’re reading this, and you were on my table, I feel like I should apologize. I saw the table density of most of the tables and felt like my table was a bit sparse. But, I was going for a decidedly more “European” table. Partially due to finances, but mostly because I don’t believe that every building needs to be 4-ish inches from the other, nor does it have to be a labrynth of corridors in order to be a fun game. Those games are fun, to be sure, but I wanted to make sure that there were open areas (with cover) to fight over, etc. I only talked to one pairing that played on my table and they said they had fun, but offered that it was “very open”, which I took as a compliment, though I’m not sure if it was intended that way. Apparently, it was great for bikes, though.

After checking out the tables that had been brought, we gathered at the Big Texan and had a great time eating. I like to eat and I enjoy a good steak. While mine wasn’t quite done the way I wanted (Medium should have some pink in the center, I think), it tasted great and the company was awesome. I got to meet a lot of people that are movers and shakers in the Dire States and Infinity community. I got to meet Darren, who apparently used to own the Table’s Edge (current venue for the Rumble on Route 66) and I got to meet Dexter (of ‘The Krug’ Podcast and Shark Mounted Lasers). Later I met Tom (from ‘MayaCast’) and Carlos “Bostria” Llagur (from Corvus Belli). It was great to meet these people, put faces to forum monikers, shake their hands and talk about this game we all enjoy.

Then, back to The Table’s Edge, for Beerfinity! There was more general wandering about, as more tables had shown up. There was beer about, but I didn’t bring any, so I didn’t ask for any, though I was graciously offered a raspberry beer that wasn’t bad. I played a guy from New Mexico. He was pretty cool to play. I learned a lot from that game. He played Nomads and I realized that they have a lot of tricks in their lists. That game taught me that I need to put more deception in my lists and figure out how to get enough figures on the board to lull my opponent into thinking that everything is deployed. As has happened to me, every time I’ve played Nomads.

After Beerfinity, it was back to the hotel and sleep. Sleep came easy for me that night and I was up by 6:00. I went downstairs and had breakfast with the Truckers and an elderly couple. I had a nice relaxing morning. I lounged about and was ready to go when we decided that it was time to go. We showed up a little before 8:00 and we were under way by 8:30-ish.

My first game was one that I asked for. The first round of the Rumble on Route 66 is open for challenges. You certainly don’t have to challenge, but it’s fun and I wanted the entire Rumble experience, so I challenged a guy from the forums. He is a Warcor (someone who’s supposed to promote the game and understand it well), so I figured there would be a high chance that I’d lose the game, but I thought I might have a fun time doing it and I thought that I’d avoid meeting “that guy” on the first round. My predictions were correct. I lost the first game and I was OK with it. The guy I played offered a little bit of advice, which I took to my next game. I thanked him for the game after shaking hands with him.

My next game was, by and large, a remix of the Beerfinity game, with slightly different models. Needless to say, I lost, but I had fun moving miniatures around the board and this game was closer than the score ended up being, but I got my classified objective, which was a small (yet pyrrhic) victory as was the fact that I kept him from getting max points. Afterwards, I shook his hand and thanked him for the game.

Had an awesome BBQ lunch from someplace local in Amarillo. The smoke was good. I enjoyed the ribs and the brisket. The sides were fair, and very edible. To be fair, the flavor was there, but they had a texture like they had sat out for a bit too long (preparation, buffet line, etc). But it was very good. Some unsweetened iced tea to go with it and a slice of bread.

During lunch, Bostria (Carlos Llauger Lorenzo) himself gave a small presentation about the coming items and answered a lot of questions. The news was really cool and there are some really nifty things that we learned that are coming for Infinity. Though I can’t say anything about the really cool stuff or Bryant dies. True story. I’m not sure how that will work all the way from Spain, but I’m not going to push it. A good majority of his presentation was already released stuff anyway.

After lunch it was time for round 3. Not so surprisingly, it didn’t go well for my little band of metal army dudes. It was a good game, but there were a few things that just didn’t go my way. Had a lot of fun with my Shaolin Monks, though. They rolled up and almost took out an entire NeoTerran Link team. 5 Medium Infantry with decent weaponry. They took out mines (drop bears) and generally ground his flank run to a halt. They were great fun to play that game. But, yet again, the score didn’t go my way. I didn’t get the objectives that I wanted and didn’t get to keep the objectives that I got. I shook hands and thanked him for the game.

I’ll be honest, by the last round, I had pretty much decided that I was just going to play like I was out of my mind. I was concerned that I was going to come in last place. To be clear, it wasn’t that I wasn’t having fun, but there’s a point where losing every game you play (as has happened so far in N3), gets a little old. I was doing my best to keep it together. I think my pat answer when someone in my group would ask me how I did after the round was, “I had fun”. Which was true, as I did have fun. I just wasn’t enjoying the loss at that exact second in time, which was usually the exact moment they asked me how I did. But, yet again, I digress.

The fourth round pairings were announced and I played a guy I believe was from New Mexico. He was awesome to play. The game was fun. There were a few things that happened that turned the whole game on its head, though. He attacked me with his lieutenant, which was bold move, but at the same time it was fairly safe because he’s attacking a 5 point Shaolin monk which should’ve been a no-brainer and I think, in any other game system, would’ve been a quick “murdalation” of one 5 point model, by a 47 point model and that would’ve been that. But, as most of you readers know, there’s always room for crits. I don’t know how, but all of my monks rolled crits in their fight. The first was with Shinobu (best MA skill in the game and one of the best CC numbers too) and then there were 2 or three other fights that, basically, took out the majority of his army. He was awesome to play and gave me my first really cinematic game. The monks doing something other than taking a model out and dying really made it exciting for me and, as I look back on it, if I lost that game it would’ve been worth it to see that 5 point Shaolin take out a 47 point named oniwaban (my absolute favorite oniwaban, to be frank). I shook hands with him and thanked him for the game.

After that, we all gathered for the awards. I started to tear down my table as quietly as possible, while they announced the winners and a little bit of question and answer from Bostria. Most of the people I came to the Rumble with placed in the top 25 and one of us came in first place! That was pretty cool. The prize support was amazing. I’ve never been to something so large before. Even though I came in 41st, I somehow contributed to our group winning an entire table of awesome stuff from impudentmortal.com. The guy’s stuff looks amazing and I’m probably going to get something of his very soon. I just need to decide.

At any rate, after that, we went to a place called “I don’t know” Sports Bar. The IDK was really good. I don’t know if it’s because of the very fresh cattle in Amarillo, or if it was because I was, essentially, on my feet for 12 hours, but the burger was awesome. I found out later that the burgers we had, awesome though they were, paled in comparison to whatever it is they normally make at the IDK.

Many thanks to the venue ‘The Table’s Edge’, all of the companies that gave prize support to this thing, the guys who ran it and all the great people I got to meet. Overall, I had a really great time. I can’t wait to do it again next year.

 

(Note: Pictures to come later, as I’m not able to get those right now)

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.

Change isn’t great… It’s not bad, but it isn’t great…

I’m a creature of habit. I’m not unique in this, but I know I am. When learning a new skill or activity, such as a board or miniatures game, I need these “things” called rules to stay constant. The trouble with miniatures games, regardless of scale, is that by and large the whole reason to play a different faction is that it gives you an advantage, or mechanic, that your opponent doesn’t have. Which means the rules change, so to speak, when you play that faction. This may be countered by something else your opponent has, that you may not, but this entire process makes learning a new system difficult. Combine that “condition” with a natural high level of skepticism and you have a recipe for embarrassment that was my last playing session.

I’ve spoken before about my favorite model, Kitsune Shinobu and I’ll do so again right now. The profile that goes with the model is a female assassin of the highest order. The character has the highest level martial art skill that is possible in the game and to boot, she’s a Thermal Camouflage model with superior infiltration, which means I can hide her anywhere I want and she’ll come out and reek serious havoc and panic for my opponent. Combine her with a total reaction remote with a 360 degree visor and you now know my top two favorite models. The thing I like about Shinobu’s abilities, is that if I can get her behind someone, they can’t turn around as I sneak her up behind them, due to her high martial arts value (level 5). Usually, this means that the model she’s sneaking up on is dead and the best li’l Oniwaban is off to her next victim.

However, I played two games last Saturday that challenged my “love” for Kitsune. OK, not really, but they were both very interesting. I played the Tohaa in one game. The mission was Frontline and his list comprised of 17 models to my 10 (+2 medbots), which I have to admit is daunting. In truth, it’s frightening, as his army nearly doubled mine and the mission dictates that I’m supposed to be moving across the board to try to take real estate on his side of the board. During this game, I learned about a special ability called Sensor, which allows the user to roll to discover anything that may be hidden or in marker form, such as my beautiful Kitsune. If the roll is successful, then my TO camo model becomes revealed. Not a huge issue, if she’s the only one out there, especially if she’s been in and out of TO Camo already, but certainly annoying if she’s still unknown and a scary marker on the table. I get the mechanic. Especially from the Alien Faction (Tohaa) that it comes from. They’re the cool aliens and they should have cool alien tech. But, to that point, I’m rolling against human factions and hadn’t run into that yet.

Then there’s the Ariadna game. I had a really great time playing my opponent, I really did. But, as I might’ve mentioned before I’m a natural skeptic and sometimes my skepticism looks like frustration or complete disbelief and I feel like it might’ve come across as the latter to my opponent. The skill was 6th sense level 1. I’ve dealt with 6th sense level 2 and that seemed weak, compared to what this was able to do. Basically, it allowed the figure to roll a reaction shot regardless where the threat was coming from. An amazing ability to have on your side of the pretend battle field, to be sure. But, as a skeptic, it was hard to deal with the fact that this “lower level” skill was automatic (i.e. without a roll) and my level 5 Martial Artist didn’t have any sort of counter to this level 1 skill.

I know I need to read and re-read rules before I get them. Then, on top of that, I need to play again and again, until it’s completely engrained in my head. I’m not quite there yet with “N2″ and with N3 right around the corner (2015, or late 2014), there’s no real reason to do much with regard to learning rules. I’ll continue to have fun with my new friends and any of my old friends who want to play this game as well. I hope I can keep everything in perspective until I get everything down.

So far, this game has had many very awesome surprises and I look forward to many, many more in the future.

Observations from the beginning…

Being a “veteran” of a total of 5 Infinity battles at the time of this writing, I think I have a little bit of perspective to give on my impressions of the game and that will be my goal in this post. Please understand that some of this has to do with my impressions of the group that I’ve found as well as the game. Having only played 3 people for the totality of those 5 games, I won’t try to homogenize the entire Infinity community, but here goes;

I’m impressed with the format of the game. Being only 10-ish models doesn’t seem to limit the amount of fun had on the board. I’m used to playing a game with 20 – 70 models on one side of the table in a fairly grimdark setting and so I thought that Infinity would akin to a snack, by comparison. Leaving you hungry for something more substantial a bit later.

What I’ve found has been both surprising to me and refreshing. First, the cost of the figures is a bit lower than other, larger scale games. Single figures are about 50% less than larger game systems that I’ve played. There may be other game systems that have cheaper figures, but I haven’t regularly played those games. Because the cost is lower, the initial buy in is lower. And the cost from “starter box” to competitive army is very low. Also, to change the dynamic of your “army” (It’s a squad, let’s be honest), only takes one or two figures. By “competitive army”, I do mean tournament ready. I’ve never been all about the tournaments, as the vibe is usually he who plays the most popular deathstar list wins.

There are guys in my group who play multiple factions. One gentleman in particular, has played ALL of the current factions in the game. He owns all but one faction and has an amazing collection of very well painted figures. I am sure he didn’t buy all of those figures at once, but I think that example speaks to the affordability of the game.

But I digress somewhat, the game has an interesting dynamic. The line you hear when Infinity is described is, “It’s always your turn” and I suppose that it always is. When it’s your turn, it is your opponent’s reactive turn and vice versa. I’m sure you, if you’re familiar with games at all, know what a “turn” is. Your turn is when you get to do the things that you expect to do with your faction. Move, shoot, claim objectives, etc. What’s different is the Reactive Turn. In this turn, while your opponent is moving around, you can shoot and perform other abilities that are in a certain category as described by the rules. Most Automatic Reaction Orders, that I’ve seen so far, are shooting reactions. Example, a figure is moved across a corridor that one of your figures is “covering”, the covering model gets to roll one die to try to shoot the encroaching model, as a reaction to the movement. To me this is, at least, a very novel concept. At most, it’s a revolution that pits the old guard of “my turn then your turn” against something that you’re reasonably engaged in during the entire encounter. There’s no checking out and waiting in this game as you’re working with your opponent to ensure all moves and maneuvers are the way they were intended. (i.e. ensuring a model stays hidden, model remains in cover, etc).

In the short time I’ve played this game, I’ve observed that this is a very collaborative game, while still maintaining a great level of competition. Of any one faction to create a group of 10 models to use in a game, there are none that you absolutely have to take. As a result, every model has a use. There are no minimums to bring in a group, though there are maximums. Three people could be playing the same exact faction and have 3 completely different army lists. I am sure that it could, mathematically, be more than that but you get my point. Additionally, there are no invulnerable troops to x type of ammunition. The lowliest grunt with a really bad rifle has a chance to wound the largest model. Not a great chance, but a chance none-the-less.

I’m very interested to see where this game goes. The release of 3rd edition is just around the corner and the changes listed are going to be very cool from my, very new, perspective. The group I, and Woody, have found seem to be a good bunch of guys. This looks to be a fairly cool way to pass the time.

 

Jake out.