Sunday, January 10, 2021

Playing Infinity N4: a post about posthumans

Having finished painting my box of posthumans, I take the opportunity to talk about how to list them.


Disclaimer: I don't think the following reasoning covers all the possiblities offered by this beautiful game to list posthumans and I am 100% sure it is flawed by my tactical vision and my strategic bias. One of the thing I like the most about Infinity is its resemblance with real life, bear with me, in the elusivity of perfection, since its definition changes from moment to moment and from subject to subject. With that in mind, I'd be happy to hear any comments and objections from the audience.

A true distillate of madness: the PTS-SWC Posthumans Chart
This chart has SWC on x and PTS on y. The green dots represent two-models groups, the orange dots represent three-models groups and the stars are my honorable mentions. All possibile combinations should be listed.

Proxy Bay: this is where everything start, a sort of safe spot. The cheapest teams you can build are here. In fact, my honorable mention here is the cheapest, featuring a PROXY Mk.1 engineer or doctor and a Forward Observer PROXY Mk.5.

Leaving Proxy Bay we find the Uncanny Valley. This area hosts expensive couples in terms of SWC. I don't like them that much since you have lots of cheaper and more effective options to choose. You may be tempted to go here if you use posthumans to round your list up to a point cap, but my suggestion would be to avoid this area completely.

The Specialists' Achipelago: one of the most popular parts of this chart for sure. Here, almost every three-model group option is valid, depending on the mission of course. My honorable mention goes in fact to a group made by a PROXY Mk.1 hacker, a PROXY Mk.2 hacker and a PROXY Mk.5 Forward Observer. It means you have two or three specialists and that two of them won't waste the order they won't provide you, since they're already deployed forward.

Around 60 points, we slip into what I call the Canyon of Choices: an area with SWC and Points so high you should wonder if you really want to bet so much on models that can't join fireteams and give you only one order. For real tho, go take another look at the Asura profile: you can list up to four of those.

South of the canyon, lies Wounds Island. The two profiles in it provide you with a four wound dreadnought with an outstanding ARM/BTS of 4/3 and 5/6. It takes half of your available SWCs on a 300-points list, but it may be worth it.

Our journey ends at the fringe of the known world, where the chart warn us: Hic Sunt Leones, Here There Are Lions. A dangerous and unexplored zone rich of unpractical three-models teams, too costly in terms of points and SWC to be seriously considered. The honorable mention here goes to the WYSIWYG three-model group provided by the box: a PROXY Mk.1 engineer or doctor, a PROXY Mk.2 sniper and a PROXY Mk.3.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Inglorious Wolves - Mordheim Middenheim Mercenaries

Ciao,

this is a post I have been wanting to make for quite some time but managed to get at it only now.

Let me present you the Inglorious Wolves, a Middenheim Mercenaries warband I built and painted specifically for the one day Mordheim Pollenzo MMXX amazing event organized by VIII Legio.

This was the perfect motivation to make some good use of an Empire Militia box and some Middenheim bits which had been collecting dust for too long.

Here below a group picture including some hired swords.



Background (the fluff)

The camp was dimly lit by the embers of the dying fire, the silence disturbed by the rhythmic scraping of the whetstone on a blade.

Upon hearing the sound of footsteps, the man, who was busy sharpening an old halberd, raised an eyebrow then pulled a puff of smoke from his pipe and said: "Rich boy, can't you sleep?".

"No." Leonard answered, ignoring the provocation. He sat down next to the old soldier and let some time pass without saying anything, staring at the moon over the City of the Damned.

"Tell me about the Captain, I need to know more about who will lead us in the ruins."

Without haste, after another puff of his pipe, Juergen spoke: “A year ago a woman came to the estate, a beautiful and charming woman with whom the Captain fell madly in love. She was a cursed witch and a servant of the dark gods. She wanted to assassinate the Elector Count by taking advantage of my Lord's position. We managed to stop her plan but she escaped us and killed the Captain's son in revenge. Since then he has been chasing her restlessly. He looks for her to prevent her from doing any more harm but above all he looks for her to find her before the Witch Hunters do. He wants to be the one to execute her. But fear not, the Captain is the best commander that we could have for this trip to hell, obey his orders and you could even go home alive. Do you feel calmer now? "

Once again Leonard ignored the veteran's taunt and asked again: "What about the others?"

After having emptied the bowl of the pipe and cleaned it carefully, Juergen put it away in a worn case, then resumed speaking: “Dieter has fought alongside the Captain in countless battles. Don't be fooled by his white beard, he is the most skilled and brave man I have ever seen fight. He seeks the witch too.

Hugo and John are two ruffians, the only things they care about are fame, women and booty but they fight like furies and want to make a name for themselves."

A dark howl echoed in the darkness making Leonard shiver and instinctively brought his hand towards the axe handle. 

Juergen grinned in amusement, his hoarse laughter quickly turned into a catarrh cough then he cursed and said, “Don't fret greenhorn, this is our wolf friend telling us that everything is fine. Luckily he's out there too watching our backs, he has already saved us big troubles more than once ... The priest is called Bjorn, he appeared out of nowhere one morning and without saying a word he joined us, the wolf joined him shortly after. Every now and then he has fits, his eyes roll and he shivers all over. He says that Ulric sends him visions. Once I asked him to teach me to pray and he told me to let it go, Ulric doesn't listen.

Peter is my sister's son, he buried his father at the end of the winter and there was not enough food for everyone at home. What about you, rich boy? What mess did you cook to make your father send you to Mordheim?"

Leonard thought of Greta's raven hair and green eyes, her soft, fair skin and her sweet voice. Both he and she were far from the line of succession and there was never any talk of marriage. At the age of sixteen, Greta joined the Sigmarite Sisters and he joined the army. When he learned about the comet and what had happened in Mordheim he immediately volunteered. He had to find Greta at all costs and bring her to safety, saving her, perhaps, he would save himself too...

He got up, brushed off the bottom of his pants and as he walked away to his bed he said, “It was not my to send me here, I'm a volunteer. I want to be free, I seek happiness. "

The boy had already walked away and could no longer hear him but Juergen continued to talk, perhaps more to himself: "Of all the places in this grim and dark world, the last one where I would come to seek freedom and happiness is precisely this cursed city." then he spat into the fire and resumed sharpening his halberd...


List (the crunch)

The list is far from being optimized but I think it has some personality and I feel quite engaged and committed to play it.

Heroes

  • Gottfried von Shieffer - Mercenary Captain
    • dagger, sword, brace of duelling pistols, helmet wolf cloak
  •   Dieter Bode - Champion
    • dagger, halberd, helmet, wolf cloak
  • Leonard von Richtofen - Youngblood
    • dagger, axe, hammer, bow
  • Peter Obst - Youngblood
    • dagger, axe, hammer, bow
  • Bjorn Borg - Wolf Priest of Ulric
    • dagger, 2 hammers, wolf cloak

Henchmen

  • McEnroe - Wolf Companion (1)
  • Hugo & John - Swordsmen (2)
    • dagger, sword, buckler
  • Juergen Heiniken - Warrior (1)
    • dagger, halberd
    

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Playing Infinity N4: a list for all seasons

I have just finished painting the second box from my last shopping spree, as mentioned in my last post, so I'm very happy to present you my Yadu Troops:

Capture the objective!

However, I want to focus these posts on "playing" rather than "painting": in these regards, the Yadu Troops box features 140-ish PTS and 3,5 SWC, making it very interesting to expand an OSS Sectorial army that can list up to 5 of them.

Data Center alley

As a new player, I see these models as a shortcut to a balanced and affordable list.
I know that the concept of "balanced" is irrelevant in Infinity, since everything strongly depends on the mission being played, but as a new player I am happy to notice that lists which don't require you to buy lots of different miniatures, yet still give you some room for variations, do exist.

...talking about variations on the theme

Here you'll find one of my favourite variations on this list but the concept is more important than the list itself. The list includes: 1 Asura, 2 Deva, 4 Yadu, a Sophotect with 2 Yudbots and 1 Netrod.

Its points of strenghts are:

  1. Fireteam flexibility: everyone but the Sophotect and the Netrod can join a fireteam. You can make a Special Haris and a 4-models Core, or a 5-models Core and a Duo;
  2. NCO: this ability makes the model capable of spending the lieutenant order even if it's not the lieutenant. It also works with fireteams. I suggest having one for each fireteam;
  3. Your lieutenant is difficult to guess: this is a more of a consequence of points 1 and 2. The list I've linked features a Deva as lieutenant but also the Asura and the Yadus have lieutenant profiles with the same equipment. I don't favour the Asura just because it's the only one with 2 lieutenant order so it either reveals your deception or is a waste of points;
  4. Specialists: 3 models out of 8 are specialists and you could also tweak the list to have a 4th with the Forward Observer Deva. I favour the 23 points one so you have another layer of deception to protect your lieutenant since you have two apparently identical Deva;
  5. Affordable: not mentioning proxies and out of production boxes, you can buy all the models you need for little more than 100€ (Deva Functionaries box, Yadu Troops box, Aleph Support Pack and the Asura).
Cool guys don't look at explosions, why would they even bother facing the camera?

Of course, this list also has several weaknesses:
  1. High point density: these models are pricy so you can't really afford to casually lose one or two;
  2. Hackability: all your models are hackable. This is not a surprise for Aleph OSS but it's really dangerous considering weakness number 1. You can list 2/3 hackers with high WIP, but it's still a  danger to consider;
  3. No long range: pretty self explanatory. No multi sniper rifles here, keep scrolling;
  4. No field control: aka no camo, no mines, no parachutist nor combat jump. You play with what you have: it's very straightforward but it can become a mousetrap.
Now I only need to test my reasonings: to glory!

Monday, December 7, 2020

Playing Infinity N4: the hobby side

Some time ago I ordered a couple of miniature boxes to expand my Aleph army.
Cleaned 'em, glued 'em, primed 'em and, eventually, painted the first box.

The ring around the Sophotect is a Mother-Forge that I didn't glue to the base, choosing to make it removable.
The front gap is wide enough for the miniature to slide through it after a careful 90° rotation.

Since my brother kindly assembled and primed for me the starter box, it was a long time since I assembled some miniatures and I was happy to discover this process to be far more satisfying and rewarding than I remembered

I guess an adult life and a general lack of dedicated space force you to partialize workflow. You can't afford to start something you won't be able to finish or put on hold in the same session, so you learn to recognize and appreciate each milestone, regardless of its importance. This approach to hobbying eluded me when I was a kid so I'm really glad to have experienced it now.

The OSS taking hold of a Kaldstorm settlement.
I'm very pleased with this Scenery Pack: its 4 buildings are definitely worth every cent.
Unfortunately, the game mat is not on the same level: despite the beautiful and detailed print, it shows too much its folding lines.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Playing Infinity N4: a before/after match analysis

Checking out blogs, video battle reports and Reddit discussions on the topic, I didn’t find many before/after the game reports. 
There are lots of beautiful battle reports out there, but only few of them offer insights on what the player was expecting, apart from the list he or she came up with. 

Therefore, here are my BEFORE THE GAME comments on a 200-points game of Infinity N4. 
I will once again line up my Aleph OSS against my brother’s Tunguska’s Nomads. 

The mission is Domination, straight from the N4 rulebook. 
You score objective points each round by dominating quadrants and by having hacked consoles at the end of the match.  

Since being a hacker gives a +3 WIP bonus when hacking consoles, I can expect to face lots of capable Tunguska hackers. I have hackable High Infantry and Remotes so I definitely need something to retaliate. This way, I can also exploit the hacking bonus myself. 

Asura - 69 points - Lieutenant +1 order, Hacking Device Plus
The Asura is going to be my Swiss Army knife for this mission: costs a lot of points so she can dominate quadrants alone, is a hacker so she can hack consoles and last but not least she is a good hacker-hunter with UPGRADE: Trinity (+2 Damage). I expect a lot of resistance but the two lieutenants order she provides will help. I am probably going to use her at the end of my turn, to set up my reacting turn. 

Naga - 32 points - Hacking Device
With Infiltrate, this should grant me an hacked console with my first order. I evaluated spending less points to use the Forward Observer profile in order to avoid being hacked and still control the console, but I would be losing the opportunity to intercept early hackers running through the board. 

Deva - 28 points - Hacking Device 
When I started listing, everything pivoted around this Deva with her Multispectral Visor L2 profile. The more I thought about it, the less it convinced me. I could see White Noise popping up everywhere, cancelling my bonus. This Deva will be in Fireteam: Core with the three Dakinis and the CSU, to get that sweet +3 BS bonus. 

3 Dakini + 1 CSU - 62 points - Paramedic/Paramedic/HMG/Specialist Operative
Three models capable of scoring objectives and a support gun. I could also line up the MULTI Sniper Rifle profile but I thought this should be a close quarter clash. The CSU is a very easy to proxy model so I can’t deny this drove part of the choice, however this CSU profile is also featured in lots of Sectorial building analysis so it seemed convenient to have it. 

2 Netrods - 8 points - Combat Jump
Not enough points to secure quadrants yet I could use their Combat Jump deployment to score some easy points on the first round, forcing the enemy to advance. This way I may end up losing their orders, so their deployment position will depend on turn order and map layout.

Match day has come and passed, so here are my AFTER THE GAME comments.

We played via Tabletop Simulator due to the pandemic: it's a great tool but I prefer real minis.

First win! Luck was on my side so Aleph's operation to retaliate against the set up of a new Arachne node by Tunguska was a success.

My major takeouts, this time, are two:

Going first is difficult. 
While in I-go-you-go games likes chess going first is usually considered an advantage, it's not as simple in Infinity. I can see why players may be willing to spend a command token to posticipate the positioning of an important piece, and it's closely related to the next point. Also, this scenario allowed console stealing so the second player (me) had some sort of advantage here.

Deployment is key.
Everything comes from here and it's not just about having a good Line of Fire and being able to deliver effective AROs. Global order efficiency is affected as well: you can always rectify your positioning during the game, but you're going to spend a lot of orders.

Next, some post-games comments on my list:

Asura - 69 points - Lieutenant +1 order, Hacking Device Plus

Absorbed a lot of damage from hackers using repeaters. I had to revive her twice with my paramedic so she stalled my fire team's capability in second and third turn. Her two lieutenant orders provided all the actions she needed, despite revealing her as my Lieutenant quite soon.

Naga - 32 points - Hacking Device

Deployed too close to Mary Problems to really be effective and ultimately died by her hacking. Good thing Nomads had a slow paced advance so he could hack a console in first turn and deploy a strategically positioned mine. I noticed it's really difficult for me to keep a Naga still since it offers lots of tempting alternatives: I should be more careful with it.

Deva - 28 points - Hacking Device 

Didn't do much but led his fireteam to hack a console and hold it. MSV L2 would have been very useful against Mary and Perseus, but I really focused on the objective this time. I was worried about White Noise, but I should have thought of smoke granades too. Luckily enough, I had the Sixth Sense bonus provided by the fireteam as failsafe.

3 Dakini + 1 CSU - 62 points - Paramedic/Paramedic/HMG/Specialist Operative

So glad I bought that HMG with me! The paramedics saved my Asura twice, but I had to go base to base to maximize my chances and that took away many orders. I tried to use the CSU to get rid of Mary Problems without being hacked, but it didn't work. 

2 Netrods - 8 points - Combat Jump

I played it safe and deployed them on my border. Trying to deploy them in a safe spot, I ended up placing them close to each other and that was a mistake. If my opponent had had a model with Parachutist it could have destroyed them both with one shot of a template weapon.

I can't wait to play my first 300 points game now! 

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Playing Infinity N4: considerations of a novice

During the last months, with the advent of Infinity: Code One and the pandemic in progress, I finally found the time and dedication to complete painting my 2015's Aleph Starter Pack, assembled for me by my beloved brother.

As I finished my paintjob N4 rules came out, so we seized the opportunity and gave it a shot.

I am enthusiast about this game.
Everyone with an interest not only in wargames but in boardgames in general should try it, for its complexity gives you the opportunity to build combos both when preparing your army and while playing, a rare quality well worth to be traded for its little amount of complicated dynamics, namely fireteams and command tokens.

There are many rules, yet you don't have to remember them all at once: every action is packed with thrill, but everything is streamlined to make it easy for both players to check their options and evaluate what to do. In this perspective, using the mobile app is a must to have all stats, skills and equipments of your list at a glance.

Below are my takeouts from this match, dedicated to anyone approaching Infinity N4 for the first time:

  • Don't fear AROs: players coming from "traditional" skirmishes may be scared by the opportunity given to the other team. Just remember that the active player generally shoots better. Statistics, luck apart, are on your side;

  • Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you have to: most games force players to a limited number of options for the sake of clarity. Infinity works differently but remember that not all opportunities have to be exploited. Some examples? Infiltrating the enemy's side, spending too many orders on a single model just because it's performing well, leaving a good spot to take a last shot...;

  • Remember what you have: this is a sort of caveat or corollary on the previous point. Always consider all your weapons when declaring an attack: some weapons are better when reacting, some are better when you're close to your enemy, all are valid depending on the boundary conditions: don't sit on your choices. 

Our match ended with a sound victory for Tunguska's Nomads against my Aleph OSS: 7-4. 
It was great fun and I can't wait to play again!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Relicbalde - Episode 4 - 100 points Dangerous Goods & Hazardous Materials

Ciao,

another crazy Relicblade match decided on a late game initiative roll!

This time the battle was between two teams both following the Path of the Adversary. The Wrteched Hive Iguanas and a mix of Bone and Darkness and Battle Pigs.

We are loving this game. It is easy to learn, quick to set up, quick to play but definitely entertaining and not trivial at all. Each of the different factions and characters really feel unique and special with interesting synergies and combos to work with.

Ciao!