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.
Well, we continued our Forgotten Pacts campaign last week, and it was *insane*.
Three of us again (Chris and I, plus Alex joined us for his first game of Frostgrave!), so we settled from the corners.
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).
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.
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.
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).
I’ve been avoiding my Blackjack because I haven’t wanted to deal with the extra packs, plating, and fiddly foot bits, but I finally bit the bullet and started dealing with it. Paint-wise so far, I mostly used Vallejo Olive Grey for the major stuff and Citadel Warplock Bronze for the machine parts. Did some cleaning, fighting, and gluing as well, and got all those extra parts on now.
I’ve been purely focused on the areas involving the extra parts, so the arms got no paint this time. Finished or not, I gotta get this fellow on the table soon. I haven’t even tried him yet and I’ve got his HMG buddy on his way.
But the big news?
I finally got one. This particular Limited model drives me a bit nuts. Not because it’s desirable (which it is, it looks amazing), but because the regular version when it was announced was awful. I’m sure not everybody would agree on this, but I had zero interest in the non-limited Unknown Ranger. Heck, let’s do a quick recap for the folks that don’t know what I’m talking about.
Corvus Belli do lots of limited edition miniatures. Most of them are alternate versions of existing models, and since those look great too it’s really just an opportunity to change things up a little.
Gencon Limited Editions on the left:
Maybe I’m unreasonably thrown by it, but I have yet to meet anybody that prefers the regular one.
Anyway, I finally tracked down an LE Ranger for less than a bajillion dollars and snapped it up. Haven’t really started painting him yet, but he’s built and ready to field.
February brought me my new Saga books along with some viking dice, wire spears, and a couple of new units. The wire spears meant I finally finished assembling all of my previous units (I’d been holding out, avoiding those soft metal spears they came with).
All of this also got me jazzed to paint something for the local shop’s historical miniature painting contest, so I picked out a hearthguard that was already prepped and primed and got cracking.
You’ll notice I’m also using my citadel painting handle for the first time. I picked it up a little while ago, but I’ve only painted cars for gaslands since then so this was my first real opportunity to try it out; colour me impressed. Even using the non – beveled Renedra base, it kept a good grip throughout the project.
Flat Earth for the ground, Red Leather for the helmet, Golden Yellow for the hair/beard, and a Game Colour orange for the tunic. It was a very bright orange (I think I’ve previously just used it for Escher gangers), and I had doubts right up until the final clear coat.
The pants are a Heavy Opaque Blue (I love the coverage the heavy Game Colours provide) and mostly Gory Red on the shield.
Oily steel for the metals, and I mixed some of my Red Ochre pigment into my gore to get it a bit chunkier and I liked the results; I’ll definitely do that again.
And that’s my first Viking Hirdman, all painted up and waiting for me to paint up some fitting compatriots.
In anticipation of Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago, I’ve been browsing around for fun and appropriate miniatures I wouldn’t generally have a use for. Freebooter’s Fate came up in one of my searches; I was leaning pretty hard into the Amazons. Shipping them was going to be a pricey option and the shop I’m at doesn’t have any easier access than I do, so I did some research and lined up a couple destinations to hit up while I was in Toronto a couple weeks ago. They had most of what appealed to me in stock, so I spent some moneydollars and got me some Amazons.
First off, they come with interesting bases. Square plastic bases with a recess that holds a molded metal piece. I was originally planning to put these minis on round bases, but these looked interesting enough that I decided to give them a shot. Annoyingly, they stick out significantly as is, as they’re a little taller and wider than really fits in the recess. This might be intentional (I suppose I could have glued them in place and then used green stuff to bevel/fill the base edges), but I opted to trim and file them until they fit in nicely, generating a little more of a defined edge.
The first one I put together was Canita, who stands on one leg and has a sizable headdress of sorts. The mounting hole in the molded metal base piece was a little on the large side, so I had to green stuff her into place. Unfortunately she’s pretty top heavy, so I had to get creative to keep her aligned (she kept falling over when left vertical).
Next up was a paired set which went pretty smoothly. I pinned the limbs (most of these Amazons are pretty slender, so the majority of these minis were pinned with staples) and the feet fit much more snugly into the base piece. Chicomeh and Matqueh complete.
The Atl-Atl pair is what things got frustrating again. The miniatures themselves are very clean, super minimal moldlines and almost zero flash. Unfortunately, every time a piece is attached to the ‘sprue’, it’s attached at a joint (you can see this in the initial Canita image as well). This means a whole mess of garbage metal in all the spots you desperately need to fit together cleanly. By the time I’d trimmed, filed, and cleaned a given part, I was left with some annoying gaps.
Given how many parts these are (Occepa is a *7 piece* miniature), this got old fast. Fortunately a lot of the pieces were arms, hair, and other forgiving joints, but it would have been far nicer to see the flash/sprue on the actual part, where I can clean and file it without obliterating crucial surfaces.
The end results generally looked great, but required a little more work to make fit properly than I think they should have. The arms had bumps and divots at the joints to allow for solid non-pinned connections, but then there’d be so much garbage metal burying the ‘bumps’ that it served zero real purpose anyway. I always ended up filing and pinning anyway.
Occepa is my personal favourite. She’s big and powerful, and wears armour made from a crocodile. But 7 pieces! Arrgh! Torso/legs, left arm (shield), right arm (hand weapon), hair, upper croc jaw, lower croc jaw, and croc tail.
Part of me was pretty tempted to paint some parts before assembling, but I ended up deciding that with this many finicky parts, I’d be better off putting everything together first, so I could be a little rougher during the process.
Painting is going to be a pain, but I’ll figure it out, no doubt. Lots of the trouble spots are going to be pretty hard to see, anyway. The tail and loincloth covers a lot, and the shield blocks much of her left side. Frustrating as I expect all aspects of this to be, though, I am super excited about it. I never realized I needed this miniature until I put it together, and now I want a dozen like it. It’s going to look great!