Infinity – Preparation vs Tactics

Before I get started here, I would probably mention that the meta I play in is relatively casual. We’re competitive, we play to win, but the vast majority of us would rather lose an interesting game than win a boring one. With that in mind, the following thoughts and opinions might get more or less mileage based on your own community, but I think the core sentiments stand.

One of my favourite things about Infinity is that it’s not a list-building exercise. What you bring will totally impact your game, and your ability to react to situations or complete specific objectives, but the miniatures you put on the table are far less important than what you do with them. There are totally benefits to preparing ahead of time, but that isn’t enough on its own. [Aside: the primary reason I could never really get into Warmachine/Hordes is that it always felt like the opposite; the outcome seemed determined before the game even began, because no amount of skill seemed able to overcome a ‘weak’ list.] I feel like one of Infinity’s strongest selling points is the necessity of *playing* well. In a straightforward Annihilation scenario, a really skilled Infinity player could do decently with a list provided by their opponent.

That said, in ITS and other scenario based formats, a well planned list can still be a huge benefit. This is usually my weakness. Life makes a lot of demands, and I don’t always make time to sit down and prepare lists. I often set up the tournament and then just select a couple of appropriate lists from among my past creations. This generally serves me fairly well. I play vanilla, and tend to like well rounded ‘toolbox’ lists that provide me with an appropriate response (albeit a limited one) to just about every game-based situation that’s likely to come up. I’m usually short on specialists, so I have to both play well, to make up for those shortcomings, and really pick my early targets carefully (I often lean towards trying to get second deployment in these cases, since my ability to respond effectively in the early game becomes particularly important to me). In Direct Action tournaments I generally do really well; Operations tournaments are harder but I can usually eke out enough minor victories to place in the top half (we’re a pretty small community, so that still usually means I’ve placed). It’s a bit of a slog, though, and I sometimes feel like I play too slowly when I have to lean so heavily on tactics. I can speed myself up by using Limited Insertion, but I’ve had mixed results with that so far. It definitely keeps me fast, but I wind up really feeling the paucity of orders.

The last couple of tournaments I’ve tried to prepare my lists around the declared scenarios. The first time was a very small tourney where I had a pretty rough day with the dice, so it was hard to tell whether the lists were working or not. A couple weeks ago was the second time. 3 rounds: Nomads (can’t remember if it was vanilla?), Qapu Khalki, and Military Orders.

Round 1 (Acquisition) – Nomads

This was the scenario I didn’t plan for, and was my best game. Controlled everything, and even got the Classified objective (I *never* get my Classified objective), so it couldn’t have gone much better. I played a strong tactical game. I had to, since my list didn’t provide any really advantage.

Round 2 (The Grid) – Qapu Khalki

I lost this one, and I shouldn’t have. I brought a list that should have crushed it, and then focused on all the wrong stuff. Tactically, this one was a tire fire. I brought a Limited Insertion list with 7 specialists (I think 5 were Forward Observers). Peter’s QK went first; he had no useful specialists for this one, so his only hope was to kill the Designated Target, and to kill me before I could tag some Antennas. He did indeed manage to take out the target with his Datatracker for 4 points, then got into playing some long range tag with me. We were pretty even, dice-wise, and both lost a couple units. On my turn, I neglected to respond to the situation. My initial plan when designing the list was that I’d wait for the second turn to start attempting to designate antennas; this would avoid wasting orders on antennas that my opponent would just flip back anyway. You see what happened there? I let my preparation trump my tactics. Peter *couldn’t* flip antennas. Designating even one would have netted me a guaranteed 3pts. Half my list or more had Anti Materiel weaponry, so another 3pts would very likely have followed in my second turn. Instead, I focused entirely on trying to remove some of his units, thus giving him 2 full turns to reduce my numbers before I even attempted to *fulfil the scenario objectives*. He eliminated most of my specialists during his second turn, and took out the last one with an ARO during mine. I managed to kill the Designated Target, but not with my Datatracker. I lost, 2-4. Peter approached the scenario with a nearly useless list, but played with his weaknesses in mind and prioritized eliminating my strengths before I could put them to use. I failed to respond to the situation at all, and let my preparedness be a hindrance. Well played, sir.

Round 3 (Rescue) – Military Orders

80% of this list had terrain rules, and I selected one of the other 20% as my Datatracker out of habit (I often use the Unknown Ranger because I find he survives very well). That’s about how this round went. I spent about half the game’s orders dealing with 2 *very* hard to kill units (ignoring them as much as possible would have been a much better plan), and then made a bad call in my last couple orders of the game. I used an order or two to try and clear a path when I should have just triggered AROs instead. The orders used up trying to remove threats meant that my Datatracker couldn’t get his civilian to my DZ (to add insult to injury, I also failed to remove the threats). The extra order worth of movement would have gotten him there, which would have resulted in a major victory instead of a minor one, and that would have won me the tournament. Our first kit ever, and I was so close… but so far. I put too much faith in my lists, and let my preparation get in the way of my tactics.

It was an eye opening experience. I still came in second, and I had a blast, but it hurt to be able to look at the games and see so easily what I’d done wrong. If only I’d opened my eyes earlier, while playing. Hahahasigh.

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Frostgrave – Enemies Without Number

Well, we continued our Forgotten Pacts campaign last week, and it was *insane*.

Less frosty this session…

Three of us again (Chris and I, plus Alex joined us for his first game of Frostgrave!), so we settled from the corners.

My warband, ready to go

Alex fielded a bunch of Chris’ spare miniatures

Chris’ warband at its most threatening

Three of us meant 9 treasures, so the board started with 9 barbarian berserkers. Every dead berserker spawned two more, and they started to add up fast. My warband killed about 10, and while Chris and Alex were less overwhelmed by barbarians than I was, they still took out a few each. Never mind appropriately armed miniatures, I had to use almost the entire bestiary I’d brought with me (we had boars and dogs counting as barbarian berserkers by the end).

One of my first altercations with a berserker.

This berserker was responsible for a *lot* of Alex’s casualties

Chris had a few berserker issues of his own…

Pretty typical of this particular encounter… 4 berserkers converge on my poor demon hunter

Ah, Katie the Wolf. A veritable monster in her own right.

Katie the Wolf was trying to get into this watchtower (there was a treasure on the top floor) when fresh barbarians started spawning on the nearby board edge. It was probably the most ‘popular’ spawning edge by a significant margin, and it meant she never made it to the tower door. She did manage to stem the tide for a few turns, though, and was responsible for about half the berserkers taken out by my warband.

My early game is often about sending a few fast soldiers to grab the treasures nearest my opponents. Playing this scenario again, I’d probably worry less about grabbing those treasures and instead focus on getting to those in the middle of the board. I definitely underestimated how quickly the berserkers would pile up (9 to start plus 16-18 double respawns means over 40 barbarian berserkers even *without* random occurrences), and I’d be pretty wary of those board edges in the future; every barbarian you take out near a spawn edge has basically a 50/50 chance of putting another one right on you.

Oh, and I lost another dog.

Infinity – Yojimbo WIP 1

I must really like Infinity, because I don’t usually buy into multiple factions for the games I play, but here I am.

The arrival of Uprising brought a variety of new factions/sectorials, and since they include a mix of regular units and mercenaries, I already had a bunch of appropriate miniatures. My old Yu Jing demo list has been given a new purpose, as the Keisotsus, the Wu Ming, and the Ninja all have homes in the new Ikari Company, along with my Desperadoes and a few others. I probably had more models for StarCo, but the pull of Ikari was strong, especially because it gave me an excuse to track down Yojimbo.

No shortage of finicky bits on this thing. The baggage is suspended off the back of the seat, which is in turn pretty much suspended in midair. It looks cool as it comes together, but at first glance, the parts don’t even clearly indicate which end will be the front, haha. He also came with a pair of CrazyKoalas, which are significantly less finicky. Just a head to glue onto a body, and I feel like even that was probably not especially necessary. These guys probably could have been one-piece minis.

The most brutal bit of multi-part cruelty is the right handlebar, which is this super tiny piece that you’re supposed to glue on and then (I guess) hope never brushes against anything? Can you say Further Adventures in Pinning? For this little project, I broke out the 0.6mm bit and a staple.

The fact that I used a staple should give you some sense of scale where these pictures are concerned. The left handlebar is actually a part of the torso, and is molded into Yojimbo’s hand, but of course the right had to stand alone.

It has to stand alone because it needs to hold an insanely long sword, which I fully expect to cause problems forever. I’m tempted to leave the blade unpainted so that there’s no paint to chip when the blade inevitably bends.

But dang, it’s pretty.

Gaslands – Hot Wheels ’69 Pontiac Firebird T/A WIP 2

Seriously, I don’t know why I paint these when I’m planning to weather them.

When last we visited the Firebird, she was mostly built, sanded, and primed.

I went with a bright orange for the body, and added a couple of primered doors. Bright red for the fuel barrels (all of which will become increasingly subtle as I continue).

At this point, the car was pretty much complete, if a little too bright and shiny for my team.

Let the weathering begin! A heavy wash with Reikland Fleshshade and some bullet holes in the windshield (pin vise plus some scratches with a blade for the surrounding cracks), and we’re on our way. Really, I could probably leave stuff at this point but the team I’ve built this far is *very* heavily rusted out, so I’m gonna keep going.

And there we go. Some Vallejo Burnt Cadmium followed by a pair of weathering powders, plus some Agrellan Earth for dust and dirt. That primered door is almost invisible now, even if you’re looking squarely at it.

The bullet holes are a little less clear on this one than the corvette’s were, but they’ll do. I did notice at this point that some rust had crept onto the glass, but it scraped away pretty well after this shot was taken.

So, there we go! I have mixed feelings about this one. I like everything I did to it, but it sorta feels like I spent a lot of time doing nothing. I mean, the barrels have no game effect, I didn’t add a ram or weapons of any type… This is literally just a baseline car that I spent a bunch of time on, haha.

I like it anyway, and I suppose it will make a good car for campaigns. I can use it for the baseline model, and then swap it for something with weapons after I’ve earned some cans…

Or just try it as a baseline car? Might be a good opportunity to see just how helpful upgrades really are (or aren’t)?

Gaslands – Hot Wheels ’69 Pontiac Firebird T/A WIP 1

Another Gaslands project of course begins with another stock internet photo, because I once again got so excited to start chopping it up that I forgot to snap a photo beforehand.

I got a bunch of new bits courtesy of Curtis at Ramshackle Games, including some of his new barrels and gas cans and such. My immediate desire was to drop them into an open trunk, Interceptor – style, but I couldn’t find anything that would lend itself to such a modification (I have neither a Dremel nor a proper jeweler’s saw, so I’m limited to straight cuts at the moment).

Lacking an easily removable trunk, I opted for the next best thing; I am very into chopping the tops off these things lately.

I went with this Firebird because I could actually work around the trunk entirely and drop my extra fuel tanks into the backseat. You know, once I was rid of the backseat…

Again, just a combination of straight cuts with the razor saw. I actually built a box out of tread plate for this one but it was probably a pretty big waste of my time. By the time I’d incorporated some fuel lines into the design and tucked the barrels in, the box is pretty invisible. You’ll see.

This being one of those hot wheels with an entire extra piece in the middle (and holding the wheels on place) meant getting a little more creative. Note I opted to keep the original wheels on this one. I love me some off road tires, but these just really seemed to suit the car so I kept them.

I actually did some sanding of the body this time. I was planning to repaint (no interest in keeping it emblazoned with Hot Wheels banners) and in the past I’ve noticed you can sometimes see the shape of the decals through a coat or two of paint (my Frazetta fantasy van has faint fireball outlines if you look closely). Those are the barrels I’ll be converting into spare tanks; I think the scale is pretty good on those.

Barrels/tanks are in place along with fuel lines (the same wire I use for pinning, but with the insulation left on), and I’ve bent and trimmed a Stan Johansen gunner into a more driver-y shape. Plus he’s got a pin in his butt, just so he doesn’t end up glued merely to some paint over fake chrome (I don’t want him snapping off later).

And here we go. The body’s riding a little high because I haven’t snapped it down into place, the windshield hasn’t been put back in yet, and the driver is drying elsewhere. This is a pretty decent indication of where I’m headed, though. ‘Til next time.

Gaslands – Matchbox ’70 Pontiac GTO WIP 1

I’m generally pretty annoyed with the way the local Value Village handles the toy cars (and they’re not alone or anything, I’ve seen lots of stores in other cities do the same); the cars get bundled into bags and then tagged at $3.99 or $5.99 or something similar. It’s annoying because there’s usually not enough in a bag to justify the price regardless of what the cars are, and doubly so because there’s always one good car, one potential scrap car (good tires or a cool engine or something), and a bunch of chaff. Which is made worse by the fact that – based on the inevitable holes torn in the sides – other folks just yank the good car out and leave the rest. You occasionally find something worthwhile, but you have to buy a bunch of garbage at the same time.

Vent complete.

Miracle of miracles, I occasionally find a bag that’s pretty okay. One time it was a bag of 3 Monster Jam trucks, another time it was a DeLorean time machine, a Firebird, a pretty sweet GTO, a 50s Chevy of some ilk, and a Silverado. Okay, I have no real need for the Silverado, but it had a to-scale bike in the back, so we’ll call it a win. This weekend I started messing around with the GTO.

Stock, this is what it looked like at one point. Mine was in rougher shape, with the roof a little squashed and the spoiler broken, plus lots of paint chipping (never a problem for Gaslands). I started by cutting off that roof.

I opted to smash up the windshield and put some of it into place. Looks okay.

I was originally thinking about putting a floor in the back, so I cut the rear seats out, but changed my mind one things got under way. I also repaired the spoiler; probably pretty unnecessary, but it will help maintain the ‘car feel’ a little.

I am also, of course, a sucker for big offroad tires.

Add a ‘ram’ made from 40k centurion parts and a bit of plating on the back, and we’ve got a solid baseline!

Doesn’t look much like a car anymore, though, does it?

Infinity – Mavericks WIP I

So. Unlike the Maverick from the USARF box set, the pair of Mavericks come with little cargo containers that hang off the rear of the bikes. While they’re actually designed to have a fair amount/variety of surface contacts, they still struck me as pretty doomed without a bit of help, so I broke out the pinning gear again.

Look at these monsters…

The 3-surface bond actually made pinning a little trickier because it meant each surface was a little smaller, but left me feeling really good about how solid the joins are now that they’re done.

And who am I kidding? I was always going to be pinning this miniature…

I cannot picture these exhausts staying attached otherwise.

With all the finicky stuff out of the way, they do of course shape up into great looking units.

Personally, I particularly like this one, the fellow reaching for his sidearm. It’s such a dynamic pose that I was actually surprised not to find a heavy pistol in the profile.

The resin bases are from Antenocitis Workshop, purchased through Warsenal a while back. I went to look into getting some more (the USARF box set means I have 5 bikes, and I only have the 4 forest bases), and I guess Warsenal has been clearing out the AW stuff; the 55mm bases were extra cheap so I snapped up another forest set and a badlands set. While I was at it I grabbed a set of 6 ‘Access Terminals’ that I’ve been eyeing for years. Definitely happy with those.

Simple but effective, and they seem a lot sturdier than the fancier stuff we’d grabbed in the past.

Back to the forest bases. They look great, but the level of detail makes them pretty brutal to get paint coverage onto them. Lots of hard to reach nooks and crannies, but they pick up drybrushing like nobody’s business.

(That’s a Desperado and the USARF Maverick, I haven’t washed/primed the bases for the new ones yet, since I was waiting on that order to come in before I could base both of the ones from the boxed pair).