Post-Game Talk #2: Back to the Game Board, New Blood, No Fury

Game Theory, Stupid PanO

After a month or so of being off the saddle, I returned to good ol’ Mox yesterday.  I was ready with my satchel full of Tohaa again, but a recent conversation on the official forum about Infinity’s least-loved faction had me curious.
Acontecimento Shock Army Starter Pack

As the previous post-game talk, this is a stream-of-consciousness article.  If you like run-on Infinity discussion, this is for you!

If you’re a newer player, or just peeking under Infinity’s hood here in my blog, I must say; one of the coolest things about this game and its communities is that proxying models is actively encouraged.  In official tournament settings, Corvus Belli’s actual models must be purchased and represented to the best of your ability—but “try before you buy” is our general attitude.

—ASA vs NOMADS

So, yesterday, I proxied a standard 300-point army of PanOceania’s Aconticemento Shock Army.  Since it was a new experience, and I hadn’t yet tried YAMS, I decided to bundle the novelty.

Here’s a summary of my list and the battle, as I shared on the forum:

• 5-man Bagh-Mari Fireteam with Stephen Rao
• 3 Acontecimento Regulars
• 1 Shotgun Bulleteer
• 1 Pathfinder Dronbot
• 1 Shotgun Akal Commando
• 1 Spitfire Guarda de Assalto
• Kerpal Singh

Dylan won initiative and kicked it off with horrifically good table control with “Sparky” the cherry-red Reaktion Zond, a Sin-Eater, and a Grenzer Sniper.  A Custodier hacker, Alguacil Hacker, a pair of forward observers, a Clockmaker, and a meaty red Mobile Brigada scatted the various windows and rooftops on the north.  Two or three camo markers flanked east and west.

My 5-man Bagh-Mari fireteam took to a building on the southwest, out of which a Bagh-Mari sniper stinkeyed the Grenzer.  The bots, Guarda de Assalto, and Regulars hunkered behind various walls.

NOMADS TURN 1: As Dylan won the initiative roll, he went first.  Several coordinated orders coated the battlefield in new camo markers, uncovering Zeroes with E/Maulers and antipersonnel mines.  The Grenzer dueled with the Bagh-Mari sniper and sadly lost.  Sparky then tried to sprint across the sniper’s field of view, volleying as he went, but again the Bagh-Mari prevailed.  The red Mobile Brigada marched forward and began suppressive fire.

A Hellcat tried to drop in upon my flag, but the Pathfinder dispatched him.  A second attempted to drop, but failed in his attempt, and limped in on the backfield behind the Mobile Brigada.

ASA TURN 1: The Bagh-Mari doubled their efforts into the Sin-Eater, who covered the entire east and west flanks.  Two rounds in and four blood splats later, the Sin-Eater was defeated.  They swam around to the east, ousting a Zero on a rooftop, eventually taking cover in a stack of barrels.

An Akal Commando parachuted in behind a Zero and his castle of E/Maulers, and he braved the lot of them with his Boarding Shotgun, defeated the Zero and becoming Isolated in the process.

The Guarda de Assalto opened a firefight with the Mobile Brigada, scoring a few hits but no wounds.  The Pathfinder clambered forward to scout and suppress the area.

NOMADS TURN 2: The Reverend Custodier exchanged rounds with the Akal, who, while dodging and deflecting to his best, was eventually defeated.  The Custodier stepped down from her perch, setting up a White Noise field to disrupt the Bagh-Mari as she duly defeated one of its members.  Dylan tried to move the Clockmaker into the Custodier’s group, but learned then that that must be done at the start of the turn. :mellow:

ASA TURN 2: The Bagh-Mari poured their efforts toward the Custodier, and the visored Heavy Machine Gun ripped her open.  As the Regular was too many seconds away, a Bagh-Mari paramedic stepped up to heal his downed mate, but killed him with poor aid.  The remaining 4-man team then moved up to the center building, piling bullets into the staggered Hellcat and suppressing Mobile Brigada, dispatching them both.

A camo marker and Alguacil received hostile fire from the Pathfinder who ultimately failed in its attempts at both of them, and retired to suppressive fire once again.

VICTORY: Dylan shrugged, and announced that he was now suffering both Retreat and Loss of Lieutenant, conceding defeat.  Final YAMS score was 3-0, Acontecimento Shock Army.

—NOTES ON THE NEW BLOOD

It was a very good experience.  While Tohaa was the first army I purchased, I played fairly extensively with Ariadna and Haqqislam before deciding to purchase a faction.  Nobody played aliens at the time, and Tohaa looked less ugly than the Combined Army (sorry, Combined Army players), so my choice was about as simple as that.  How far I’ve come…

…but rather, full circle.  Two defining features of the Tohaa are their Symbiont Armor and Tohaa Triads, which grant additional “wounds” and unlimited fireteams to the faction.  However, there are a number of restrictions on both, one of which being that Tohaa fireteams can never exceed three members.

The Bagh-Mari fireteam was probably the first full five-man fireteam I have run in about a year.  The +3 bonus to Ballistic Skill received from a full fireteam was very noticeable this game, and it swung at least 3 or 4 gunfights in my favor.

Additionally, most “good” Tohaa units cost around 30 points apiece, or about 10% of your army.  In the Acontecimento Shock Army, Bagh-Mari, my mainstay, clocked in at a modest 22 and brought a cocktail of benefits to bear.  I found listbuilding in ASA to be a very comfortable experience.

Because Tohaa’s units often require a bit more investment, I tend to play a bit protectively with them.  The ASA’s Akal Sikh Commando was also a humble 21 points, and I was able to use him both bravely and (pardon the Machiavellianism) disposably.

There were a few things I neglected to use or elsewise forgot—the Bagh-Mari sniper came with mines that I never deployed, the vicious Bulleteer never budged, my rambo Guarda de Assalto did no ramboing—but I recognize that I have also become a more prudent player over the years.

In my old days with Ariadna troops and links of Wulvers or Greys or Loup-Garous, I would have placed them rather foolishly, trusting good luck instead of tactical thinking to win the day.  I would have been shy as I parachuted in my commandos, fearing to lose their investment (and failing to understand what I’d gain by the risk).  I would have played for the present turn, instead of trying to think to the third and final turn of the game.

In many ways, the Tohaa have made me deeply appreciate the value of trustworthy, generic, accurate linemen, and the wholly missing MULTI weaponry that PanO and others enjoy, that Tohaa has never gained but through one lonely mercenary

—NO FURIOUS MEN

Something I have begun to candidly hate in Infinity are my Impetuous troops.  If you are new to Infinity, Impetuous and the umbrella “Fury” trait effectively forces a trooper to charge headlong into enemies and their gunfire.  All the while, the trooper foregoes his ability to use cover, which is an utterly crucial part of the game, so much so that the rulebook qualifies cover rules as “an essential part of Infinity gameplay… recommended that you make sure the table has plenty of scenery on it, so that trooper can use Cover to maneuver and advance”.

Thematically, it has worked great and I have more or less liked it as a rule, but there was always something about Fury and Impetuous movement in Infinity that irked me.  Chatting this evening with my friend Big Chris, I finally pinpointed why I dislike my furious troops:

“So:  one of things that appealed to me about Eurogames in general is the layered agency a player gets to enjoy in the games.  Infinity is little different in that regard, especially in contrast to abominable games like Risk.
“When I have a troop who cannot keep his head down, and often cannot help himself but charge forward, I see a disobedient fool, and hate him.

The Acontecimento Shock Army has no furious troopers, and I adore them.

Incidentally, if you are interested in the ASA, Fran Arjones posted an ASA article on Corvus Belli’s website detailing a favored list which is quite different to the one I showed above.
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