This is the first article in a series that focusses on Infinity on a more philosophical level. Using the theory of ‘Flip-Thinking’ I hope to dig deep into the complexity of Infinity and show you what, in my mind, really makes this game tick.
In this article I am going to focus on showing you the basic idea of Flip-Thinking, explaining the theory as well as showing you how it works.
You ready? Let’s go!
The Flip-think technique was created by the Dutch company ‘Yes-But’, and I have to credit them for providing me the basis to work with.
(verb, flip*think*ing; flip-thought; a (thinking) technique which is used to transform problems into opportunities; synonym yes-and-thinking; antonym yes-but-thinking, thinking in terms of threats and limitations)
Flip-thinking is the art of creative thinking; transforming problems into opportunities. It focusses on transforming the ‘Yes-but’ to a ‘Yes-and’.
With this philosophy you look at reality the way it is and what you can do with it. You use the problem’s energy to create something new.
The basic of the theory is actually quite simple, and consists of two steps:
Deconstruction – You turn the problem into a fact. By that I mean you take the problem, and remove ‘what should be’, so you’re left with ‘what is’.
Construction – From those facts, you create new opportunities.
Simply put; if you start with a fact instead of a problem, your mind can make wonders out of it.
Flip-thinking is a form of psychological jiu-jistu: you use the energy of your opponent, and turn it against him. If you can learn to use this technique on your opponent, you can also learn to use this technique on your problems. Flip-thinking is a paradoxal approach of a situation.
Instead of trying to counter the problem, you let the problem counter itself.
That reaction is unusual. Normally when we something happens that we do not want, we encounter on friction; the so called ‘Yes-But’ reaction.
A Yes-But reaction applies a confinement to reality. We impose terms to which we think reality should hold. We try to force the situation, and push it into a previously created concept of ‘how the situation should be’. We might even try to ‘fix’ the situation.
What is happening here?
Our own ideas and terms allow a situation to be transformed into a problem. The problem isn’t the reality, but our own conception of this reality. It’s all in your head.
Our ‘Yes-But’s contribute to this problem, and not only that; they also maintain the problem.
To counter this reaction, you have to train yourself to think past your limitations and confinements. You have to think out-of-the-box that you created with your ‘Yes-But’ about reality.
That isn’t weird. It’s not as if someone somewhere decided the situation really needed to be like you desire it should be, right? 😉 Are there laws or rules for a situation to uphold to?
Out-of-the-box is the start of letting go of ‘what should be’ and start seeing ‘what is’.
No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it – Einstein.
The trick I want to talk about in this series is to acknowledge your ‘Yes-But’, and turn it into a ‘Yes’.
‘Yes’, this is the a fact. This current situation is a inescapable reality. That might be the best option to look at it. Reality tends to be hard to ignore, and reality always wins.
The key is to strip the problem, and turn it into a fact. You deconstruct your problem, until you’re left with nothing more but a fact. Believe me, you can work with a fact.
Now we get to the important step:
Transform this ‘Yes’ to a ‘Yes-and’. Make from that fact a possibility. What you do is you pick up the pieces. You take the facts into account, and construct a way to work it.
Infinity favors those who can adapt to the table with a ‘Yes-and’ approach.
Welcome to the world of endless possibilities!
Flip-thinking is amazingly easy at some times and can lead you to some kind of ‘Aha-Erlebnis’ or a ‘Eureka-moment’; the feeling when it suddenly dawns on you. It might even overwhelm you a bit, about how simple the solution has been for all that time.
But flip-thinking isn’t a mathematical theory or something that can applied with ease. And while every problem can be ‘flip-thought’, this doesn’t mean the situation will solve or go away.
Flip-thinking is something that has to be learned, to be earned by hardship and it takes time to master. Only by practice can you really earn mastery of the technique of flip-thinking.
Flip-Thinking is a technique, and like any technique you need tools to use it. In this series I’ll take you on a journey through different tools that you can use to flip-think.
Yes, but…Flip-Thinking and Infinity?
Recently it dawned to me that Infinity might be one of the few games I’ve seen that requires its players to flip-think a lot. Rarely have I seen anyone succeed with plan A.
Infinity is the game where you start with plan A, go over to plan C halfway through the second round, and succeed somewhere along plan F.
In this game, you need to flip-think on your feet, constantly. Even when it is your active turn, the ARO mechanic can let you see your plan fall apart within seconds. And when plan A is out of the window, what will you do then? In Infinity you need to use your whole list to succeed.
Luke, use the Flip.
This technique is even very important for the veteran players! With an edition change you not just need to adapt to the situation on your table with a set of tactics that you know. You also need to adapt your tactics to the new rule system. You need to flip-think the new system, in order to see what’s possible.
Right now, N3 is ready for the ‘Yes-and’ approach. ‘Yes’ to the system, ‘and’ look what you have to work with.
All our ideas of limitations, are confinements to the new system based on our experience with 2nd Edition. This is a ‘Yes-but’, ‘Yes’ this is the system, ‘but’ in 2nd edition, I could do… I could run… I used this combination… I would use this unit for this role…
Some options even asked players to houserule certain new rules. By changing the system (houseruling) you will only take away your chance to adapt to the new system, and make it impossible for you to play with a larger groep of people.
With a ‘Yes-but’ approach, you will never be happy with Infinity or the N3 system.. It takes time to adapt to a new system. Apply the ‘Yes-and’ mindset and take this time to adapt, to learn new playstyles and to reshape your understanding of the game and your own army.
Infinity is complex, and has many variables going on at the same time. Theoryhammering works as a base-line reasoning; rolling on a 12 has better changes of success than rolling on a 11. But as an argument for performance on the table, these reasonings tend to fall apart as they only work within their own set boundaries. Their own box. They can’t withstand a change in one of the set variables, so they only have merit if that situation actually does take place on the table. Without that situation on the table, the theory operates in a vaccuum, and therefor basing the ensuing argument on the outcomes is flawed by nature.
How do you take into account the myriad of optional enemy responses as these fall outside the range of your set values? How do you account for unopposed rolls by multiple AROs? At what range? With which weapons? Carried by which unit? Or even more simple: how many?
And then we are still left with the notion of chance; will you pass the roll, even if all the odds are in your favor? I failed rolls that looked like they were meant to be. They just weren’t.
Learning Infinity is a continuous process of tweaking and revisioning yourself, your army build-up, your tactics, your choices and breaking down your assumptions and ‘Yes-But’s.
In the end, you have to master all these things in order to be satisfied with what you took and what you did, not by what other people tell you to take and do.
Don’t take this as an attack on theoryhammering. Those reasonings have a certain value, and should be taken into account as a starting formula. But when that box becomes the reality in which you bounce all your thought off, you’ll limit yourself, and therefor you’ll limit your understanding of the game.
Argue for your limitations, and be sure they’re yours.