Infinity: Information Overload!
This article is primarily aimed new players of Infinity, but should also give some memory markers for seasoned players.
I am writing this at a time when Infinity is at the crossroads of a new edition. The new edition will probably attract new players, so it is good for them to be given some ideas of what is ahead of them. Many rules will change, so I should be careful with what I post here.
What is very likely to remain is that Infinity is a very complex game offering many options to the players. This means many rules, often more rules than one can handle at a time. The way I see it, games are often lost because a player was not aware of the options available.
In this short article, I want to present some ideas of how to deal with all those rules.
Experienced players may find some of my ideas odd, but maybe they should question themselves of how often they use rules such as combined move. I have not seen the use of combined move on YouTube; I have never had anyone use this rule on me. I have only just recently started to use it myself. Similar things can be said about alert or cautious move.
Do you use these rules? No? Why not? Because you forget about them with all the other things you have to consider and to remember? This does not surprise me. There is only so much the human brain can handle. I daresay that hardly any tabletop game is ever played without making rules errors.
In a game as complex as Infinity, it is important to have your thought processes as organised as possible. It is very easy to get lost in the jungle of rules and options.
In the following, I want to present five ways of organising your play:
1. Reduce the rules!
It has been said before; Infinity is a game with a steep learning curve. Don’t feel foolish by acknowledging that and getting started easy rather than jumping into the fire. Your slow and steady learning will be rewarded by glorious victory in future battles!
Especially as a beginner, choose models which do not have an overwhelming amount of rules stuck to them. Learn the rules of the models you use, and once you are familiar with their playing style, move to the next model.
When reading up on the rules for a model, make sure that you get all the other skills that one skill may include. (For example, Veteran includes Courage and sixth sense level 2, etc)
This ensures that you have a better understanding of each model instead of just having a limited understanding of lots of models. I know that there are many shiny toys in the Infinity range, but restrain yourself from using them all at once.
This may sound like limiting your options, but it is actually not. You are focussing on the options you chose. Even if this means that you are not using all the strengths that your faction may offer, you are learning how to bring the models that you do use to their full potential.
Some examples of models which have complex rules or which are difficult to use are impetuous troops, frenzied troops, close combat fighters, linked teams or impersonators.
So do stick to the simpler models for the beginning. If you feel the need to use the more complex models, make sure you read the rules carefully before going into battle. After a few games, you will have not only figured out how the rules work, but also how they work to your advantage. Don’t try to do this with too many complicated models at once. In my first games, I only used camouflaged models and basic troopers until I had figured out how to get the most out of the camouflaged rules. I always shied away from the frenzied and impetuous Caledonians.
2. Memorize as much as you can!
If you are not aware of a rule, you will most likely not even think about looking up the details during your game. The opportunities that it may have given you are lost.
What I observed in my own play as well as that of others is that one often forgets options such as suppressive fire, cautious move, alert or combined move. This is quite a shame since these rules can be quite powerful. Why is that people miss out on such goodies? I guess it is because the game virtually overloads one with options.
So reread the rules before a game. When checking out rules during a game, make sure you read the entire paragraph. I have lost some games due to rules misinterpretation. A victory is stale if one realises after the game that it has been achieved by a rules omission in one’s flavour.
You may even want to focus on a special rule set for your next game.
For example, you realize that combined orders are a safer way for bringing paratroopers on the board. You read up on the rules beforehand to make sure you will do this in the correct way. This ensures that you do not only understand the rules, but also that they are also fresh in your memory when you start playing. Now you will have thought of ways of using combined orders other than just bringing your para-commandos on the board. Before the battle, you fantasize about all the ways combined orders will help you destroy your enemies. In the battle, you will do your best to do just that.
The memory of your glorious victory using combined orders will stay with you, and you will keep on using them. Same goes for other rules. You may want to develop token manoeuvres that you will use again and again.
3. Memory Markers!
I will get to write an article later on how to move your soldiers around and the caveats at planning your moves.
Obviously, before moving any models in your turn, you should come up with a plan of what to do with your orders. Set priorities and do not forget about plans. One easily gets carried away and spends too many orders when working on achieving one of these set goals for the turn. A way to avoid being left without orders due to reckless spending is to put order markers slightly aside for these planned activities.
Of course, you are not restricted to the very beginning of your turn to do so. You can do this anytime of your turn.
You may forgo these ideas if a prioritised task requires more orders, but then you make an informed choice rather than just saying oops I still wanted to do that at the end of your turn.
For example, it makes most sense to lay suppressive fire last. But often the decision to lay SF can be made very early in the turn. So when you do have this idea, simply put a suppressive fire marker next to your order token to remember you wanted to lay SF.
Another example is the following: I am often in the situation that I do want to put a model back in camouflage mode for security reasons, but it is not strictly necessary to do so. Other issues have higher priority. So I delay the order for recamouflage, put one order aside for it and start spending orders on my planned operations with another model. If all goes well and I still have an order left, I use the order to recamo.
4. Develop good habits!
The best way of remembering things is to getting into the good habit of always doing them. So:
Calculate the target number needed before you decide to take a shot. Do not just think that it is important to shoot at a model and thus you should risk the shot. Often you feel that you should get a hit because you got X dice to do it and the opponent model does not seem to be too far away. . Be aware of what the probability is. Do not rely on the feeling that it looks likely to do the shot. Otherwise, you may run into some disappointments when you have declared the shot and the target number is calculated.
Micromanagement is a key to success. It is often easily forgotten to have the models facing in all important directions. It is easy to lose a game because someone creeped up from behind. Yes, the models look cooler facing in a certain direction or maybe they stand better. But do make sure that all important LOF are covered. If a model is standing next to a wall, it should never face that wall.
Analyse your game after you have played it, preferably with your opponent. You can only learn from your mistake if you are aware of them.
5. Do not miss a shot!
It is quite common that players forget a model that did have an ARO. This is annoying because this model is probably not the intended target of the active model. Such a model could try a shot at the active model. Even if the chances are slim, every opportunity to harm your enemy has to be taken advantage of!
One of the reasons why players may forget a model that had an ARO is that the opponent keeps them occupied with asking how the model(s) he/she is targeting reacts. Don’t let that distract you.
Generally, when it is the opponents turn, you have three sets of models: the models your opponent may be targeting, the ones hiding, and the ones in an ARO position.
The first set is easy to spot: your opponent is moving a model towards them and is probably already talking about how he/she wants to take them out.
The models in hiding are the models you have hidden in buildings and behind obstacles for relative safety. You do not want them to be exposed to fire and thus they are pretty unlikely to get an ARO. Whether that is a good or a bad thing is up to you.
The third set is the models you have set up to ARO. The sniper on the rooftop is a classical example.
Of course, if there is a logical target you declare the AROs of the targeted model(s) first. Once you got that out of the way, you focus on the ones who are out to ARO and always check whether those have a line of sight. These models should not be where they are due to random, but because you put them there. They are your ARO models! Check them whenever your opponent moves. It is your opponents turn, you got nothing else to do but to check for ARO, so do that!
Sometimes there are unexpected AROs across the table with them. Even when a shot would only hit on a 1, it is worth taking. You will probably not have too many models which are likely to ARO, so focussing on them should not be too hard. Don t worry too much if you forget or miss an odd ARO, the shot would probably have missed anyway.
Some AROs are a bit odd and hard to spot. I guess players miss out on a few AROs if the battlefield is dense and confusing. That only reflects the realities of modern combat.
I recently won a game because both players forgot that a very powerful sniper would have had AROs. In this case we could not redo the situation. I would have pointed it out to my opponent, but I did not see it either. Of course, it is your responsibility to see the AROs of your models. Don’t expect your opponents to be nice to you!