There is a tradition―an illegal tradition―which has crept into Infinity from the best of intentions: and that is intention. Infinity players across the world make provision for themselves to break the rules of the game because of a gentleman’s agreement to play their intent, rather than play the results. Yet the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and the non-rule that is intent, no matter how well loved it is, actually leads to slower games, ungentlemanly play, and is at its basal level a violation of Infinity’s rules.
This is an unpopular observation, but I don’t care, and neither should you. Unpopular ≠ untrue. Let’s kill this sacred cow and eat it.
Before going any further, let’s go straight to the rules. The rules as written in both the N3 Rulebook and the official Infinity wiki say:
Each time the Active Player decides to use an Order (of whatever type) to activate a trooper, follow these steps:
- Activation: The Active Player declares which trooper will activate.
- Order expenditure: The Active Player removes from the table, or otherwise marks as spent, the Order Marker he uses to activate the trooper.
- Declaration of the First Skill: The Active Player declares the first Short Skill of the Order, or the Entire Order he wants to use. If movements are declared, the player measures the movement distance and places the trooper at the final point of its movement.
- Declaration of AROs: The Reactive Player checks which of her troopers can react against the activated trooper, and declares AROs for each of them. If a trooper can declare an ARO but fails to do so, the chance is lost. If movements are declared, the player measures the movement distance and specifies where the trooper would be at the end of its movement.
- Declaration of the Second Skill: The Active Player declares the second Short Skill of the Order, if applicable. If movements are declared, the player measures the movement distance and places the trooper at the final point of its movement.
- Declaration of AROs: The Reactive Player can check whether new AROs are available, and declare those. If movements are declared, the player measures the movement distance and specifies where the trooper would be at the end of its movement.
- Resolution: Players take measurements, determine MODs, and make Rolls.
- Effects: Players apply all effects of successful Orders or AROs, and make ARM/BTS Rolls.
- Conclusion: If necessary, players make Guts Rolls and apply their effects.
Check the page for yourself. Hit Ctrl F and search Intent. No results? No worries, you all know that you can slice the pie with intent, no worries. It must be clarified elsewhere.
Well―it’s not in Ballistic Skill Attack Declaration. It’s not in Ballistic Skill Attack Resolution. It’s not in Visibility Conditions. It’s not in ARO rules. It’s not in Line of Fire rules. What about “intent” in the entire database? Nope, the only entry for “intent” is a fluffy definition of E/M. Well, what about “intention”?
Yes indeed! “Intention” is mentioned solely, once, in the move rules. It’s exactly where you would hope to find it, if you play intent. But it doesn’t exactly say what you might think:
The sequence of events would be: Move declaration, clarifying the direction and the intention of the trooper’s final location, measuring, and declaration of the real movement’s ending point.
Intention matters in your movement because of measurement rules. Intention matters here because you might intend to move your model further than it can actually go. It matters for the same reason that declaring your intention to use a Flamethrower BS Attack ARO instead of a Pistol BS Attack ARO matters, because the Flamethrower template might whiff air and miss, after you measure with the actual template.
Intention, as detailed in the move skill, does not actually mean that you can just say, “I move such that X cannot see me.” It means that you can say where you move. You declare the intention of the model’s final location, but your intention doesn’t resolve who can and can’t see your model. You don’t get to decide that. The models we bought, the scenery we put down, and the table we hunch over decide for us where our models are and whom they can see.
The illegality of intent has spread all over the community. Look at the otherwise excellent battle reports by Ash:
You can clearly see at 6:30 that, regardless of Ash’s wisht to slice the pie” and see only the Aron’s Agema Marksman, the Thorakitai may draw Line of Fire past the trees and into the parachutist.
Getting your pie slice just because you want it, is as absurd as switching your Grunt’s -12 Rifle ARO to a Heavy Flamethrower ARO, just because you wanted it. It takes a while of playing the rules get that gut reaction of absurdity at what Ash did to Aron, but it’s nonetheless absurd.
What should have happened is what actually happened. Ash moved the parachutist model moved out as a first skill, Aron would check for AROs and see that the Agema and Thorakitai could draw Line of Fire, and Ash’s could declare his parachutist’s second skill. Intent was irrelevant and should not have affected the table actual. Line of Fire is decided by the table, not the mind.
If I were Aron, after Ash had said, “We’re going to move just so I can slice the pie and see the Agema right here,” I would have responded, “Okay, let’s see if you did.”
“Well, that’s just how we play.”
That’s fine, but that’s not Infinity. If you just like to play intent in friendly games, there’s nothing wrong as long as both players agree to play that way. But that kind of intent has no business in tournament or otherwise “official” play.
Intent play and the wishy-washy arguments and backtracking it provides are so silly, I made a whole cartoon satirizing it. Of course, as a younger and greedier player, I tried to squeeze my way into every order I executed. But such duplicitous play is not allowed. Again, the sequence is Activation > Order Expenditure > First Skill > Any ARO > Second Skill > Any ARO > Resolution > Effects > Conclusion. There is no > Intent >.
“Well, I prefer intent.”
Well, I am sorry. Infinity is a permissive rule set. That is to say, a thing is illegal unless the rules say the thing is legal. This is why you cannot voluntarily fail ARM rolls, or Sensor in ARO. A permissive ruleset is opposed to a restrictive rule set. Restrictive rulesets, like many roleplaying games, are designed around the assumption that “everything is legal unless the rules say that it is illegal”.
In D&D, you can try what you intend, and invent things with your Dungeonmaster. You can say in D&D, “I backflip out the window and shoot my hand crossbow in his eye, and I try to grab the windowsill there as I fall.” But Infinity is not Dungeons & Dragons. There is no provision for intent to fudge with play. You can’t use your PH attribute to do a Dodge-CC Attack cartwheel kick, even though your Shaolin model looks really cool and a Dodge-CC Attack cartwheel kick would be awesome. By inserting my magic word > Intent > where I want, I would make myself the Dungeonmaster of my turn, and violate the physical representation (models, scenery) for which you and I payed to play.
Watch this Holoprojector interaction from Bostria’s recent Infinity promotion. Watch and listen carefully to how Bostria resolves the order on the Kotail:
Bostria says, “I am not going to get into the intention or not intention debate. If you see that there is no Line of Sight…”
Killian responds, “No, I can’t see him at all.”
“And if I put a Silhouette 2 marker?”
Killian again, “No, I can’t see.”
Bostria: “Then, it’s true.”
Unpopular ≠ untrue. And this is not new news, which is why I am running out of patience with this argument. To those who were genuinely confused, it’s all gravy. I’ll defer even in a tournament to intent to be civil, but I won’t pretend it’s Infinity’s rule. You’re not actually allowed to slide your model across the table, and say, “I look at your Fusilier but not your Sierra.” The model and table and scenery and silhouette will tell you whether my Fusilier can see you and whether my Sierra can see you, thank you very much.
Veteran players may persist. Some may argue that playing by intent is the best way to introduce new players. I would disagree: if you teach a new player the wrong way to play to make it easier for them, you will have to unteach them later, and make it harder. And people are smart, they don’t need to be coddled.
Even so―even if it is true, that intent is a superior way to teach new players―the argument holds an empty sack, as we who are arguing this are not new players, nor are we playing our “better” Infinity, but Corvus Belli’s Infinity.
Put your fantasies in a wishlist thread or a blog (like me 😀 ). If you want to create a shadow ruleset or a homebrew rule, create a shadow ruleset or a homebrew rule. But tell your fellow players that you are playing your shadow ruleset or your homebrew rule; because you are not playing Infinity when you play intent.
So play the result. You will find that is not so scary, no more scary than Chess. Your rounds will become faster, because you cannot backtrack your decisions. Your decisions will become more decisive, because your mistakes and your bad habits will be punished. Your eyes will become locked on the board, not wandering over your phone. Instead of playing a reverse terraced game of Slice the Pie, lining up ARO troops like pool balls, you can just play Infinity. And ultimately you will have a more gentlemanly game, because the terms of the game you are playing are no longer subject to anyone’s subjective whims.
And there you have it. Well! In my better version of Infinity, AD works in ARO, Automedikits and Regeneration give a free go at the end of each player turn, Morats get the Tazurat, Yu Jing gets the Chain Huo, PanO gets the Nanorifle, and Tohaa gets the Kekeul. In your better version of Infinity, we draw of fire by intent. But our “better versions” of Infinity are imaginations. The one version available to play is Corvus Belli’s Infinity.
Love your vids, Vaul 🙂
As there has been much further discussion on various forums about this topic, I think it is necessary to address the root that the intent argument stems from:
Say we have troopers A, B, and C. A is the active turn player’s trooper. He wants A to draw Line of Fire to B, but not C, and to shoot B. He looks at the table. He’s not sure where he should move his trooper to do that. But it’s conceivable that he could draw Line of Fire to B, but not C.
So the active player gets out his silhouette, and laser, and puts the silhouette forward.
“Nope,” says reactive player, “both B and C could see A if he moved there.”
So the active player withdraws A’s would-be silhouette back a bit.
“Nope,” says reactive player again, “both B and C could still see A.”
This continues on for some minutes until A gets his perfect sliver of Line of Fire, shoots B, and goes on his merry way.
However the reactive player didn’t really like that exchange, and didn’t like the minutes spent craning over the table and lasering each other’s eyes, so he says, “Hey, next time, just say you only want to see B but not C, and I’ll roll with it, I don’t want to go through with that again.” I think that’s fine and fair, and it’s up to our reactive player to offer that.
The problem I have is that our hypothetical active player seems to be every player―we aren’t being offered goodwill, we are demanding such goodwill from our opponents. It is the difference between the girlfriend who loves to be brought flowers versus the girlfriend who demands to be bought flowers. The first is a pleasure, the latter a chore.
So: Do you think it is acceptable to spend several minutes to try to find your perfect Line of Fire?
If you think yes, then I understand why you’d advocate intent.
But I think no.
I think it is unacceptable to burn time during our evening game to do that. So there is no need for intent. Yes, I could do it. But why? Do I need that badly to beat you?
So I suppose a corollary is necessary: Play the results, and play like an adult.
some year-later edits