Monday, September 2, 2013

Infinity ITS 4 NoVA Open 2013



This past Saturday I attended the 2013 NoVA Open Infinity ITS 4 tournament.  The tournament was 5 rounds and used every one of the Infinity ITS 4 scenarios, which can be found here: http://www.infinitythegame.com/infinity/downloads/its/[en]ITSScenarios.pdf

I have been practicing for the past few months with Yu Jing in anticipation of this tournament and had the two following lists to play.

The first list was designed for all the missions where objective points or items needed to be activated by a specialist.  The list was also designed to deal with camo-marker heavy forces via the Multipectral Visor, Level 2, of the Bao Troop and Hsien.  The Husong drone has Total Reaction and 360 degree Visor, which makes it a fantastic defensive piece.  The Shaolin monks are an absolute steal at 5pts a model.  They can hold a flank or throw smoke for the Hsien and Bao Troops to shoot through, potentially with impunity.  

 Yu Jing "Objectives List" | 14 models
________________________________________________________

Combat Group #1
 Mech-Engineer Engineer (15|0)
 Tiger HMG (35|1.5)
 Bao Combi (29|0)
 Aragoto Hacker (37|0.5)
 Aragoto Hacker (37|0.5)
 Celestial Guard Smoke LGL (13|0.5)
 Hsien HMG (61|2)
 Celestial Guard Lieutenant (13|0)
 Husong HMG (28|1)
 Keisotsu Observer (12|0)
Combat Group #2
 Shaolin Chain (5|0)
 Shaolin Chain (5|0)
 Shaolin Chain (5|0)
 Shaolin Chain (5|0)
300/300 points | 6/6 swc
_______________________________________________________

The second list was a bit more traditional for me.  The main focus is the TAG, a powered armor suit that one a good day can take out most of an enemy force by itself.  The other heavy hitter is an Air Droppable Tiger Soldier.  His HMG and ability to deploy in the enemy backfield have scored many, many kills.  He is in both lists for a reason.  The Bao is there for MSV-2, and the DOmaru for a little close range oomph if necessary.  Again, the Shaolins were there to guard the flanks.  

Yu Jing  "Kill List"| 14 models
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Combat Group #1
 Guijia Lt (91|3)
 Tiger HMG (35|1.5)
 Zhanshi Combi (11|0)
 Zhanshi Combi (11|0)
 Mech-Engineer Engineer (15|0)
 Bao Combi (29|0)
 Domaru Chain (27|0)
 Aragoto Shotgun (21|0)
 Aragoto Spitfire (29|1.5)
 Zhanshi Combi (11|0)
Combat Group #2
 Shaolin Chain (5|0)
 Shaolin Chain (5|0)
 Shaolin Chain (5|0)
 Shaolin Chain (5|0)
300/300 points | 6/6 swc
________________________________________________________

My first game was against Nick, who played a wonderfully painted JSA force.  Nick won best painted army at the ITS, in fact.  We played Supply Run, with my classified objective (a secret mission each player has) being Telemetry, where I had to mark a target model with  a Forward Observer or Hacker. I had the first turn and quickly ran into a wall of fire from Nick's 5-man Keisotsu link team on the building in the right rear, below.  My Hsien and Husong entered into a death struggle with the Keisotsu team, the stakes being fire superiority over most of the board.  


First my Hsien went down to the link team, however.


And then my Husong went down to them as well...so fire superiority went to Nick.


And then out came the O-Yoroi.  He took one supply crate as Nick's Lieutenant, and one of Nick's Aragoto bikes took another.


I did manage to swipe one crate, held here by one of my bikes.  An unlucky Aragoto of Nick's died to reactive fire after eating my left flank for breakfast.  Nick later added insult to injury be resuscitating that bike with a doctor and reclaiming the dropped objective.


Although I dropped in the Tiger soldier toward Nick's rear and liquidated his bike holding a crate, the Tiger died to the O-Yoroi's reactive fire.  The O-Yoroi then proceeded to storm my lines, albeit taking a wound along the way.  I did also sneak in a Forward Observer marking one of the Keisotsu.  In the end the O-Yoroi overcame all opposition, despite needing to make a few hairy armor rolls from a lot of combi fire, and obliterated my force.   Final score was 8-2 for Nick, I believe.  I only got points for my forward observer classified objective.  Although I was beaten soundly I enjoyed the game and felt i had some opportunities to swing things my way, though they did not pan out.


Game 2 was against a Nomads list but I forgot my opponent's name. (It might have been another Dan.) Sorry, man!  This mission was Frontline and my classified objective "casualty identification" aka giving a coup de gras to an enemy unconscious model.  We played on a colorful table.  I placed the Husong to cover the middle and the Hsien my right flank, prone on a building.


Like many Nomad faction armies, his had many camo markers on the first turn.  Hence I had chosen my objectives list, knowing ahead of time the Nomads like to do this!  Above and below you can see my figures but few of his.


On my first turn I had a great seam for the Tiger Soldier.  He dropped on the left side and proceeded to kill 3 models after my Hsien had used his MSV-2 to kill 2 camo dudes.  He got greedy, though, and died engaging an Iguana TAG hiding around the corner!


My opponent was game though, and with only 5 orders he eliminated both Aragotos and a few other models.  Sadly, I did not take a lot of pictures, but I managed with my Husong and Hsien to kill most of the rest of his army, including a very unlucky Iguana who was destroyed by the Husong's reactive fire. Cheers to my opponent for insisting I leave the Husong on the board for my Engineer after it took a lucky crit, as my Engineer fixed it and it went on to maul his troops in the later rounds.  I won the game 4-0 having taken two objective zones and killed over 150 points of his army.  So, hooah, a win for me!


My third game was against Scott, a local player and a good Infinity gaming buddy.  However, the TO called out that my opponent was named James, so like his camo marker army, Scott was practicing subterfuge from the get-go.  Scott played Ariadna and had an army consisting entirely of markers with the exception of one model at the start of the game.

Look ma, Scott's army has no models!  Ok, there is one dude. This is why my army has MSV-2 on two models, folks.


We were playing Emergency Transmission, which my Objectives list loves as if I go first, my Hacker bikes are more than capable of getting 5 objectives done in that turn.  My secret mission was Telemetry-marking a target with an FO or hacker.

Well, easier said than done.  In my first turn I had a hell of a time getting the bikes to actually activate the console points and ended up using almost all my orders on a few mines and getting only two consoles activated.  The Hsien may have picked off a camo marker guy or two thanks to his MSV-2.


Here is a hacker on bike who cannot press a button on a damn console.  I think he failed four "13 or less" rolls on a d20 in a row.  I was totally cool about it and not frustrated at all, though.  Scott will totally back that up.


On Scott's first turn he decided to use combat camo to get free shots on my Husong with his tankhunter.
Except he missed with a roll of 19 and 20.  And then he died to the Husong and Hsien's reaction
fire.  "No, we shoot you, Mr. Camo Guy!"  And then he tried it again with another camo model who had, I think, a Spitfire (MMG) from the center rooftop.  Same thing, he died.  And then I think another camo guy came out and got killed.  Scott lost 4 or 5 models that turn and activated one console.  Worst turn ever!  Well, he did kill one of my bikes.


I then brought in Mr. Tiger Awesome Sauce, er, Soldier, who cleared out my left flank.  Sadly he was feeling so important that he said no pictures were allowed.  He had an HMG so who was I to argue? Crucially, the Tiger killed a model with LOS to my remaining Aragoto bike, and so that bike actually could do and did do his job, and picked up two more consoles.


Scott had little left to work with and his remaining camo attacks failed.  The lucky little Husong was my MVP, for certain.  My Engineer on turn 3 activated and secured the central beacon.  Scott was in retreat on Turn 3, and to add insult to injury, his last two models died to reactive fire.  I won 8-0.  I did not make my secret misison as I did not know you could mark an unconsious target.  I would have needed to do that because Scott's troops died so fast. Scott remarked that his "troops had really wanted to die that game."  Too true.  Cheers to Scott for keeping a good attitude through a rough game for him.


I was feeling good after 3 rounds with 14 VPs.  Here's the group shot of my full army (both lists) arrayed for the painting competition. Handsome devils, no?


Game 4 was against Dan of Dropzone Games in Glen Burnie, MD.  Dan fielded an Aleph force of just 9 models.  We played Seize the Bacon, er, Beacons.  There were three beacons located in the center line of the table, one just outside of each deployment zone and one in the dead center of the table.  Once again I chose my objectives list and me secret mission was Data Scan-to succeed at a hacking roll against any hack-able model.  Dan had the first turn so I chose side and set up second.  Dan curiously set a cluster of models up out in the open so I placed my Husong to cover them and my Hsien was prone on another building (note a theme here?) covering my left flank.  I set up the bikes to run for the objectives.

Dan's unusually open deployment surprised me, but he knew what he was doing.  He opened the turn by throwing smoke in front of his MSV-3 Asura and shooting the Husong through it, eliminating it before it could fire on an of his exposed models.  Drat!


On Dan's first turn Diomedes activated both the beacon in his table half and the center.  Here we see him hiding after he did that.  I figured this was okay, though, as I had 3 turns to get the middle beacon back. Hmmm....


Here you can see my Husong up on a fuel tank, before he is gunned down through a cloud of smoke.


On my first turn my Hsien gunned down two enemies on my left flank from her prone elevated HMG sniper roost.  My Bao troop came around the corner from his hiding spot in my deployment zone, nailed Dan's sniper on the center building, and hid back behind cover.
 

The Hsien also low-crawled over to pick of a model in the center, hitting another but failing to wound it.  I advanced my bikes cautiously not feeling a need to rush the center objective, which was covered in AROs by the Asura and company.

Dan was down to 5 orders on his second turn, but he managed to do some serious damage with Diomedes.  In cinematic fashion, Diomedes engaged the Hsien using super jump (basically making a flying jump attack) to give him LOS and cover for the shot.  Dan rolled two critical hits on 3 dice needing a 9 or less, killing the Hsien instantly.  Ouch!


In my second turn I brought in the Tiger soldier who gunned down Diomedes and then went after the Asura.  She took 2 wounds to repeated HMG fire but made approximately 6 saves over several orders. I was forced to send the Aragoto on to the central objective through enemy fire, as I knew Dan was now in retreat and I would not get another turn.  My Aragoto had two chances to flip the center beacon and he failed, dying after the last attempt to the Asura's reaction fire.  In Dan's final (third) turn the Asura survived more HMG fire and Dan finished up by healing her with his doctor.  Although I had really mauled his army for little damage to mine, Dan won 6-4 for having two objectives and making his secret objective: to heal a model!  Curse that Asura!  If it weren't for her amazing saving throw abilities and her getting healed, the game would have gone my way.  Again, I did not make my objective and now that I think about it my Aragot could maybe have tried to hack the Asura.  Oh, well.  Cheers to Dan for an excellent and very tight game.


For my fifth and final game I was slated to play Todd, who had a fascinating Haqqislam Qapu Khalqi army.  I was going to take my "Kill" list with the Guijia.  Todd and I agreed to play on the awesome open table below for our last game as it just looked so cool.


Todd won the initiative roll so I chose side and set up second.  Todd had a very powerful Azrai'l link team with lots of AT weaponry, an Odalisque Haris team with bells and whistles, and some infiltrators.

Here are Dan's hard-as-nails teams set up in cover.  My sense was his list was practically designed to kill TAGs.

My Guijia and other troops delpoyed to cover the flanks and stay out of sight for the first turn.  I was really concerned with how I was going to take about the link teams, and even my famed Tiger Soldier with HMG was not necessarily going to do it for me.  We got to Todd's first turn, and he para-dropped in a Yuan Yuan and another unit  I dropped smoke from a monk.  Todd prepared to chain rifle one of my monks with the Yuan Yuan and...my wife called.  She had injured herself and needed me to come home and take care of our two small kids!  I had to concede the game then and there.  Todd and teh TOs were very gracious and I apologized but family had to come first.  And so, we don't know what would have happened, but I suspect it would have involved a smoking hulk of a Guijia.


In conclusion, I went 2-3 (One loss by default) and scored 22 objective points and 990 kills points, coming in 9th out of 19.  I also got a 50% score for painting. By NoVA Open standards this was the "Tabletop Ideal" score for a high-quality army.  http://www.novaopen.com/?page_id=1388.  I was happy with that determination as I have little painting time these days and I paint to play.

I really enjoyed the ITS.  I have voiced concerns about Infinity's flaws in my review of the game, but I had varied, interesting, and overall reasonably close games.  In none of my games did I feel I had no chance.  I did benefit from one blow out in my favor, but that can happen in any system.  I really enjoyed the variety and dynamism of all the different factions.  My opponents, to a man, were sporting and fair individuals who were great to play against.  I left the event (despite the circumstances) feeling quite satisfied and happy that I had played, and also in my investment in Infinity.  I do feel that it is the best Sci-fi skirmish game on the market at the moment, and I look forward to continuing the experience of being a dedicated Infinity player.

I want to thank the Victory Comics Infinity crew for helping me to learn the ropes and get to the point where I could give a decent account of myself at a major Infinity event.   Also I would like to thank the organizers of the NoVA Open Infinity tournament for putting on a great event.  If I had any suggestions it would be that the tables could have used more scatter terrain and probably a few less juicy sniper perches.

As an aside, a friend who started Infinity at the same time as me (about 6 months ago) came and played Nomads.  His experience was the opposite of mine: everything he disliked about the game he saw writ large at the tournament.  Specifically, he felt the AD and "rambo" mechanics, along with the camo attacks and smoke/MSV combo, were very powerful and often made for not-fun games.  He is not likely to return to an ITS event anytime soon, I think.  I really respect this friend's opinion so I would also say, as a caveat to the above, that Infinity may still not be for everyone.

My next goal is to learn the ropes of PanOceania, the deadly enemy of Yu Jing and an army that plays a bit differently.  Watch this space for more Infinity to come.