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.

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.