Tohaa 302: The 16-Inch Eyeball


An important skill is to be able to appraise the distance between targets, before measuring.  Most of the time, when an opponent calls me “smart”, I’m not being smart, I’m just setting myself up for good ranges for me, and bad ranges for him.  It’s good to be able to appraise distance, generally, but specifically 16 inches is the most common and perhaps most important range band in Infinity, and particularly with Tohaa and our various Combi Rifle flavors.  Here are some tips for finding that all-to-often-crucial sweet spot for the Tohaa arsenal.

Newsflash, this eyeballing the 16-inch range is actually easy, and you can probably already do it.  Not to be like Obi-Wan, but, this trick is mostly learning to listen to your instinct.  Your parietal lobe—if you didn’t already train your brain growing up and helping your dad hang doors and patch drywall—should naturally train itself to judge distances, over the course of your wargames.  You won’t often consciously be able to work out the 16-inch range (though you can, more on that later).
sep.gifSo, take a look here.  You’re standing over a table at your recent tournament, deploying your troops and planning your orders.  Your Forward Observer Kotail here is right on the edge of your deployment zone.  Where his Combi Rifle’s 16 inch range end?


Take just a second to look that over, the Kotail, the console ahead of it, the barrels, the ramp… you should be able to guess it decently.

You guessed right, right?

If you were way off, start paying attention.  Train your brain, and learn to trust it and not second-guess yourself.  You’ll begin to shock yourself with how accurate your subconscious is.

Even if your eye has a ±3 inch play, you can still use that to your advantage.  Spitfires and HMGs stay green when Viral Combis go red, for example.  As long as you can approximate it, it will be better than if you can’t intuit between 16 and 26 inches.  A surprising number of players can’t.

But if that is too difficult, there are other ways to start eyeballing distance.


The various Infinity objective rooms have a standard breadth of 8 inches.


Nice.  Even if you can’t parse difference between 16 and 26 inches, you can see right there how long the objective room is.  It’s not hard to imagine 2 objective rooms next to each other.  And of course 2 objective rooms next to each other is 16 inches.


For little MDF buildings, I routinely find that they are either 4 inches or 6 inches long.  You can make a pretty accurate estimate on ranges if you see a couple little buildings spaced out.
sep.gifAgain, the reason you want to pay attention to that is that that 16 inch zone is crucial for gunplay, and not just your own gunplay.  One thing newbies don’t immediately realize is that the 16 inch margin doesn’t just add +3 or take the +3 away.  The net effect, when you add the usual Cover modifiers, would send your Viral Combi Sakiel from BS12 to BS6.  It’s a drastic dropoff in your odds, and the more you can squeeze out BS12s with out wasting orders repositioning from your BS6 mistakes, the better.

You can also start paying attention to the distance between objects on the table that you already measured.


Take this setup here.  Say you already measured from purple tree on the left to the caution-striped door on the middle-right.  It measured at 15 inches.
sep.gifThat should mean that from the rooftop above the purple trees, it should be about 12-16 inches to the corner of the rooftop above the caution-striped door.  Obvious, right?  It will be obvious if you paid attention when you measured the first time, yes.


Here’s an old illustration of that, a game against Chris.  The red thing in the middle with the two teal lines coming out, that was a Suppressive Firing Hsien.  I had previously lost an HMG Sukeul where it says “23.5”.  So, with a Gao-Rael off to the side, I guessed that the Gao-Rael must be about an inch beyond that.
sep.gifSure enough, at 24.5 inches, the Hsien’s Suppressive Fire failed, and the Gao-Rael was able to snipe him off the table.

One thing I absolutely don’t recommend—and it’s the kind of behavior that will get you banned from a tournament—is planting little markers for yourself along the edge of the table to mark ranges.  I have never been around people doing it, and I am sure you wouldn’t do it either, but I have heard of the behavior, as some people really want to win.  Don’t start being clever and measuring your arm and using that as a yardstick, either, you don’t need to cheat.

Mostly, you just need to:

  1. Trust your instincts.
  2. Pay attention.

Seriously, you’ll start saying, “Eh, that looks like 15.5 inches”, trying to outshoot the enemy HMG, and you’ll be right.  Then you’ll really ramp up your game.

Scroll back after that first picture.  You can still see the 16-inch zone, right?


3 thoughts on “Tohaa 302: The 16-Inch Eyeball

      1. I can edit your comment, if you want, but I understood what you were saying.

        Yeah, it’s actually really easy to develop spatial instinct when you start paying attention. Nobody has to be a carpenter to learn to do it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s