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.
We’re running a miniature league right now. Basically, each session is a single ITS mission, we escalate the points a little each time, and at the end of the sessions we score it like a tournament. It just takes us three months is all, grin. So far it seems like a good option for us, providing the time to get in proper matches while fitting into our Sunday evening availability.
Our most recent Infinity night saw us playing out session 2 of 3, and the ITS scenario assigned to the evening was Rescue. Group consensus? Once was plenty, let’s never play Rescue again.
Rescue felt like one of those overly complicated ITS scenarios where you keep losing track of what you’re supposed to do. Not as fiddly ss some, but still a lot of extra stuff to keep track of. We had two games running (only 4 of us that night), and we finished with scores of 0-0 and 6-0. Almost nobody was able to get effectively through the massive difficult-terrain exclusion zone.
I had the 6pts, and even that pretty much hinged on the fact that I brought Uxia with me and managed to drop her into Pan-O’s dead zone, halving the distance she’d need to travel. If she’d failed her deployment, I’d have done significantly worse.
We played Hunger Games last weekend. There were four of us, 2 Nomads, a Haqqislam, and my Ariadna . One of the Nomads is pretty new to the game, and Hunger Games made a nice light introduction for him, since he only needed a few miniatures put together for it. I brought Van Zant, an SAS, and a volunteer; the volunteer was the only model that wasn’t new to me.
I won, but that was as much luck as anything else. I fielded the SAS poorly and he wound up facing off against Trevor’s Nomad sniper before my turn even rolled around. With a chain rifle and an assault pistol, he didn’t last long. I also lost the volunteer during the first round, but she took out 2/3 of Tyler’s Nomad force with her light grenade launcher before getting shot, so I’m calling that a win. It was a very quick and violent game, and by the time Van Zant arrived in turn two there were only a couple of soldiers left and everybody was charging around whooped up on their metachemistry rolls.
The other thing I’ve done hobby-wise is put together a desperado.
Lots of pinning, of course . Most of the major bike parts, plus a few in the desperado himself, and one linking the two together . That one’s not fully glued yet; I’m thinking I’ll paint first and then combine them afterward (there are a *lot* of contact points between the rider and the bike and I feel like painting them afterward would be a nightmare).
Lots of assembly the last couple of weeks. After winning a random draw prize at the last infinity tournament, I used said credit to finally order traktor muls. They’ve been a part of my wish list for ages (if only because they’re so cool looking) and I figured there would be no better time than when I had $50 in store credit burning a hole in my pocket.
I attacked the muls with a certain vigour, and rolled straight into the cost and a couple other models that have been sitting here for far to long, my hardcase and my druze hacker.
I got a bit of an assembly line going, which talked in me finishing a few at a time over the last couple seconds. Trim and clean everything, scrub everything, drill any holes, and finally pin and glue them together.
The second devil dog and a flamethrower guy were ready for assembly at this point, but I was out of time. They’d be the next evening’s project.
In keeping with my usual technique, I pinned an unreasonable number of joints (practically all of them), but they came out pretty well (I’m getting better at lining up the holes. What do I mean by too many? Well, how about this guy?
The devil dog antipode and the flamethrower both got finished in the same quick session.
And tonight I watched a couple episodes of jpod while I finished up three more! I’m on a roll!
Hunger Games are coming up in a couple weeks, wonder if I’ll find room for any of these guys?
Didn’t take any pictures, but we ran a 150pt tournament the other day. We got six, which is pretty solid these days, especially since a couple of our former regulars are super busy these days and haven’t had much luck getting out. It is my personal short term dream to have everybody make it out simultaneously and get an 8-man tourney. So many of us are adults, though, and adulting often interferes with miniature gaming. Grin.
Lots of sectorials again, folks love their link teams! From what I saw I may have been the only vanilla army. A couple of rough rolls with paratroopers in my first game meant a big loss right out of the gate (shotgun spetznaz and mirage 5 equal a *lot* of points in a 150pt game and they didn’t kill enough to justify their losses), but I can’t complain too much as my second and third games went much more smoothly for me, landing me in third overall.
Felt good to get out and play; I think we’re going to take a break from ITS formatting in October and see if we can’t get Hunger Games running a little more smoothly. Maybe on an interior map.
Got in a few Infinity games over the past couple weeks, and it felt good. This past Sunday saw me face off against a friend’s Haqqislam army twice. The first game mostly went well for me until the end.
Between my Tank Hunter and my HMG Spetznaz (mostly the Hunter), most of Haqq’s impetuous phase involved bikers getting shot off the board. I had a couple big angles covered and had good luck with my rolls; probably less than half the smoke worked out for my opponent. The high movement of the bikers worked in my favour here, as my lines of fire weren’t overwhelming so much as the bikes advanced right into those lines.
My first turn went into picking off the non-bikers. The Tank Hunter took out a distant missile launcher (down the long alley in the first image), and then the HMG Spetznaz worked his way around the buildings and across a catwalk to take care of the rest.
In the end it all came down to a couple of dice rolls in a single order. His last biker came up against my Tank Hunter and my Minuteman in a suicide charge and nobody made enough armour saves. I went from a little over 100pts to a little under 50, which put us in the same annihilation bracket, and he had his Secure HVT objective complete already, so he won 5 to 3. A very fun, and very fast-paced game.
We played Quadrant Control next, but that was a bit of a mess.
I missed almost every roll, and often by only 1. I couldn’t hit anybody, and failed pretty much all my Armour saves. Tactically I felt good about my playing, but luck-wise I got hammered. Still fun to be out playing Infinity, though, and I assembled the Minuteman just for the occasion (I wanted those twin flamethrowers in case I was battling Tohaa again).
I also got in some Frostgrave this weekend, but I’m hoping to give that its own post.
This past Sunday saw our first Hunger Games Tournament. It was also or first streamed infinity event, with mixed results. Unfortunately it was pretty choppy, but still pretty cool. One of our regular players just moved down to Michigan for a job, and he was able to check in on our games from afar; hopefully we’ll have it running a lot more smoothly by the time our August tournament rolls around. It’s potentially still in the ‘previous broadcasts’ at http://www.twitch.tv/thundergamesandgifts, if anybody wants to take a peek. Nomads had a very strong third round (their bshot bounty hunter rolled a multi sniper rifle as booty), but Tohaa took the day with a very strong showing. My Ariadnans did okay the first round, but might as well have been absent for the second and third; I had my worst tournament ever. Which is fine, but wow. Second game I was blown away in my deployment zone before doing anything, when the Tohaa ran up, marked me, and hit me with smart missiles, catching everybody in two shots. Third game the Nomads killed me before the Tohaa had even come out of hidden deployment. I was actually rolling plenty of successes, but they were all super low – like rolling a 1 to dodge a 4-round HMG burst, and so on.
Bright side? I didn’t go home empty handed; my Ariadna force was voted the best painted three man Hunger Games Squad!