Monday, 19 March 2018

Infinity: Encountering the JSA Uprising

The world of Infinity has become even more interesting recently. Alongside the B4ckd00r event, Corvus Belli have announced a new book, Uprising. As part of the book release, it's been announced that the Japanese have risen up against Yu Jing. They've now moved to the Non-Aligned Armies, leaving Yu Jing without the Japanese.

I arranged a demo game with essexdave, one of the War Cors, who has got early access to the new JSA army box. I took an assortment of Nomad troops for a quick game of Capture and Protect.

The JSA won first turn, and infiltrated a TO camo marker into the ground floor of a building right by my Taskmaster with HRL.

Then a Unit-9 with Heavy Rocket Launcher revealed from limited Camo and shot the Taskmaster - it didn't cause the Taskmaster any damage, but it cleared off the Koalas.

Free from the antipersonnel devices, the Oniwaban ran out from the ground floor of the building and cut the Taskmaster in half  with it's Monofilament blade.

It then ran around to take out the Lunokhod, but the Lunokhod passed it's armour roll and burned the Oniwaban to ash. The new JSA biker model then rushed up and grabbed the beacon.

The JSA biker then, despite the penalty to dodging, passed all it's dodge rolls, using Kinematika to escape across the board.

Finally, it handed off to the new Heavy Infantry, and I wasn't quite able to get close enough to make it drop the beacon. I had a Lieutenant order that could hack it, but none of the programmes would put it into a Null state to make it drop the box.

All in all, I'm very impressed by the power of the new HI and biker. The Unit-9 are strong, but I had the right tools to counter them. I still need to work out how to address something like an Oniwaban hitting my lines when my opponent has first turn. Still a lot to learn!

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Infinity: B4ckd00r Challenge - The Grid

 Recently, the Infinity competitive scene has had a new addition in the form of "Challenges". In short, these are story events which are recorded internationally and have an impact on both story and ongoing play.

The first challenge is the B4ckd00r crisis. In canon, a whole bunch of incriminating evidence has been released in encrypted files and threatens the big political players of the Human Sphere. If you play certain missions as an ITS registered game, then your faction can recover some of this missing information. The faction that has recovered the most data by the end of the challenge avoids consequences - and the other factions lose access to a named character who is somehow implicated in the scandal for a currently unknown length of time.

I laid down the challenge to HATE and kaizer82 took up the challenge with his Steel Phalanx. We picked The Grid as a mission, which neither of us had played before, and I decided to take the punchy and direct forces of Corregidor.

The objectives of the Grid mission are to activate or Forward Observe as many of 9 consoles as possible, and then, from the second turn onwards, blow them up while you've got control of them. You also need to shank up the Designated Target, preferably with your own Data Tracker.

The Steel Phalanx took the first turn and opened with  a link team of Thorakitai Forward Observers running around and Observing as many consoles as possible. This was a big lead I was worried about being able to catch back up from.

With as many consoles flipped as possible, they settled into cover to await my counter attack, with at least one demo charge placed on a console to detonate next turn, and a landmine set up to impede my advance.

At the end of the first Steel Phalanx turn, they'd set up an impressive lead with eight of the nine consoles owned by them.

I decided that before I started taking too many casualties, I should make sure that the enemy Designated Target went down. I sent Senor Massacre forward with his Jaguar team under cover of smoke to get the job done. Massacre was the Data Tracker, so he'd have to be the one to get the kill in.

Clearing out a couple of the Thorakitai on the way, Massacre dropped an Eclipse Grenade to hide from the Agema sniper covering the Designated Target, and ran in to get the kill. With the target down, he took an opportunistic pop at Ajax, but missed and took an explosive hammer blow to the head, putting him out of action, but with his job done.

Meanwhile, I moved up the Wildcat Haris team to cover my Designated Target and make sure they were as protected as possible.

Phoenix decides that the surviving Jaguars need to not be surviving, and hits them all with incendiary rockets, leaving nothing but ash.

Cut to my turn two. My Intruder advances up and fills Phoenix full of holes, while an Alguacile Forward Observer starts getting some of the consoles flipped to me.

An Ekdromoi Hacker had dropped into my back field and caused some significant damage, although one of the Alguaciles caused some mischief by reacting to them by dropping a Deployable Repeater, keeping them locked down and afraid of my Wildcat Hacker melting their brain.

For the final turn, Ajax ran up to destroy some more consoles, but misjudged a second move and took a Hacking attack to the face, leaving him isolated and unable to take any further actions that turn.

My Wildcat Lieutenant and Lunokhod then headed up to the consoles, blowing them both up to scrape a win (Destroyed same number of antennas - 2pts, Killed Designated Target - 2pts, With Data Tracker - 2pts, compared to More Designated antennas - 3pts, Destroyed same number of antennas - 2pts).

I had a little moment of panic after the game when I realised I'd screwed up and thought it was one action to detonate all your D-Charges, rather than it being a separate order for each one. However, running over the order spend in my head, I could have achieved the same number of D-charges placed and detonated by using my orders in a slightly different way, so it didn't materially affect the result.

This was definitely a tough mission and game, with it really coming down to the last rolls of the dice. My learning points on this mission would be to be more aggressive with Forward Observing earlier on and to bring more options for destroying the antennas once the observing is done - D charges are incredibly order intensive!

Monday, 5 February 2018

But what about your painting, TRO?

A few of my regular readers may recall that in the dim and distant past, I used to post painted models to this blog, rather than just lots of battle reports (mostly Infinity, all unpainted).

Well, there's a reason for that, best illustrated by a picture:

The Mess has gotten worse. My wife can no longer get to the cupboard we keep the coats in because there's too much junk in the way.

What happened?

Well, I decided to sell some stuff to declutter, but didn't get it out first - which meant in turn that when I went to search for it, I made a mess. Worse, I still haven't found half the things I sold, so they're sitting somewhere in that pile with someone willing to use them!

So, rather than painting pictures, for a while you're going to get a few pictures of my quest to downsize the miniatures collection, stop hoarding, and get back to a manageable backlog.

Lesson One

Don't sell things until you've found them. Get stuff out, sort it. Box up the stuff you're going to sell, then sell it.

Lesson One A

Start on the quick wins - in this case Betrayal at Calth and the Chaos half of Dark Vengeance were big, bulky, and easy to find.

I still have some battle reports to post, but expect to see them interspersed with articles about the Purge Of Stuff.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Wayland New Year's Bash Part 2: The Rest of the Games

Moving on to the second game, and I was up against Caelcifer playing his Hassassin force. The mission for the second round was Decapitation. I had a different list this time, using the Fireteam: Core of Senor Massacre and the Jaguars, a Haris of Wildcats with a Spitfire, and a Mobile Brigada Lieutenant.

My opponent won initiative and chose deployment, making me deploy first and giving me the deployment zone with fewer vantage points. I pushed the fireteams up my deployment zone on either side.

Meanwhile my Lieutenant was at the back of the field, intending to have good fields of fire for the inevitable Fiday trying to get an early game assassination. A couple of cheap Alguaciles covered the approaches to the Lieutenant to give him a warning if the opportunity presented itself.

Looking at my opponent's deployment, he was running a twenty model list with a defensive Core Fireteam and Haris all camped up on a building with the Lieutenant lying on a second storey rooftop with no ladders...

I snuck Senor Massacre up the left hand side, but didn't have enough orders to get past the network of mines and infiltration markers scattered around Haqq's Designated Target.

I'd early on made the mistake of having my Iguana get into a gun fight with a linked missile launcher and stuffed it, and then the Operator got isolated by a Ghazi Muttawi'ah.

Once isolated, he headed up and finished the Operator off, although it took him going Dogged to manage it.

Another Ghazi Muttawi'ah went Dogged to proper mess up the Wildcat Haris.

A Fiday revealed itself to take out one of the perimeter Alguaciles. Still, he did his job and the Mobile Brigada was able to smoosh the Fiday on my turn.

Up in the tower, my Alguacile Hacker was shot up by an infiltrating Daylami.

There was no way I could drop my Spitfire Hellcat right up close to the Lieutenant without dying, so I dropped him nearby and shot dead a whole bunch of link team in the back - but didn't have enough orders to get closer.

The infiltrating Daylami had a Panzerfaust, and my Lieutenant was down...

An HMG came to take care of the Hellcat, and that was about it. It was a 10-0 loss and I had nothing left alive on the table...

Next up it was essexdave - International Number 1. He was running Vanilla Aleph and it was a nice and simple Annihilation for the end of the day. Patrocles came up to try and mush up my entire link team but I shot him in the face with a boarding shotgun and he went away.

Patrocles seems to have no luck.

Achilles then got mad and smooshed my Iguana.

I was facing a Posthuman Mk5 with Heavy Rocket Launcher, Agema Marksman with Rocket Launcher and Atalanta in good sniper spots on the other side of the table. I worked out this beautiful elegant plan. My Jaguars threw smoke to hide them from the Mk5, then Massacre snuck out and threw an Eclipse Grenade that hid the Intruder from one of the two snipers but not the other...

I then speculative fired smoke over the Intruder to hide him from Achilles . . . and realised he was in the same order group as the Jaguars, and that was my last order.

For fuck's sake.

My Wildcat Heavy Rocket Launcher got into a fight with the Mk5 and lost.

Ajax came to say hello.

And eventually, with a few casualties, he went down.

Achilles then rampaged around, taking out more and more models...

Until my Wildcat Lieutenant took him down on the last order of the game.

Sadly, I'd just not done enough damage here and lost 9-3. I finished 10 out of 14. The drop of 4 ELO dropped me another good hundred people in the rankings, and I'm now sitting at 2,191th worldwide...

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Wayland New Year's Bash Part 1: The Responsible One Learns Biotechvore

My deployment - Wildcat link to the right, Jaguar Haris
in the middle, Lunokhod and Iguana to the right.
A Reaktion Zond would be added to the right flank
as my reserve model

Last weekend I was at the Wayland New Year Bash, a 400 point 3 round Infinity Tournament held down at Wayland Games. Now, I usually do a single post summarising the games in a tournament as I can't get enough photos, but unusually, the first game I played has good photos so I'm going to go into a little more detail.

I'm also going to go into more detail because the mission was "Biotechvore", a somewhat infamous mission in the Infinity community. For those who don't play, it's infamous because every model within sixteen inches of the two player board ages takes a really strong hit at the end of their player's turn - and the deployment zones are only eight inches.

Part way through my first turn, my opponent
had used one of his command tokens to take
two orders from my main pool (top).
Meanwhile, I'd spent five orders from my
second pool on my "no brainer" orders...

That's a massive challenge because the game is one of order management. Each order allows your model to take an action. You have four command tokens (which allow you to do a variety of things - most importantly for this mission, have up to four models move from one order, with a bunch of restrictions).

Some lists also allow you to take Fireteams, which are a group of models which can all move from one order as long as they stay together. This alone meant I chose a list that allows Fireteams - the Corregidor sub-faction of the Nomad faction.

For those of you who play Infinity, you can see my list here. The fireteams are split across the two order groups to give more "spare orders" to each group. For future missions I would likely drop the Zondbots as the "Ghost: Servant" rule forbids combined orders.

My opponent is callmetom and he's running the Steel Phalanx sub section of the Aleph Faction. This means he also has access to Fireteams for order efficiency.

We rejoin the action midway through my first turn. I've used the Fireteam rule to move Senor Massacre and the Jaguars (smoke grenade throwing close ranged skirmishers) up behind the teal building in the middle of the board, and the Wildcats (a tough and brutal regiment forged from the veterans of a number of wars in Africa) up to a safe spot on the right flank.

The scattering of other models and camo tokens on the left flank then get moved up by combining orders. They aren't optimally set up for combined orders, but my opponent had the choice of limiting me to one command token or taking two orders away - so I'd had to split the models and orders so I could handle either.

Infinity, as a game, doesn't allow pre-measuring, so knowing exactly where you need to move to in Biotechvore can be a bit of a chore. However, I remember Maths. The Iguana TAG in the top left corner has a 55mm base, was deployed right on the edge of the deployment zone and had made a ten inch move straight forward. This meant the back of his base was perhaps 4mm inside the damage zone. Highly inconvenient for him, but really useful for every other model as they effectively have a big giant robot saying "you need to move past this line to be safe".

I end up using all four of my command tokens - not because I need to, but because it leaves me a couple of orders free to cause mischief. I move the Iguana up (once everyone else is clear) to rattle off a few shots at an enemy model. It turns out that it's Patroclus using his Holoprojector to pretend to be Achilles (it'll get him killed one day), but I don't manage to take him down.

This is, normally, an awful, awful place to leave your TAG at the end of the turn. He's not in cover, he's not hugely tough - he's going to end up dead. But I'm facing an opponent list, while benefiting from three Fireteams, only has ten models, and ten orders.

He will have to spend a couple of those orders moving and firing to get rid of the TAG, and it's going to lock him down to what he's doing next turn - getting everyone out of the zone and dealing with the Iguana. There will be no spare room for setting up mischief.

I have one order left - I could feasibly move the Iguana up into cover and take another shot (if I'd killed Patroclus I'd have also had the option of entering Suppressive Fire to give me more dice in his turn, but while he can still see me I'm not giving him an unopposed shot, especially as he's toting a MULTI Rifle that can select armour piercing ammunition).

Instead, I'd spotted an opportunity to use the one new model in this list - a Wildcat with a Heavy Rocket Launcher. Some model or other was poking their nose out from around a corner and the one Doctor in the enemy list was standing inconveniently close to him...

Three incendiary rockets streaked across the board, with two hitting and one a critical hit. The model poking their nose out was tough enough to pass their armour saves (leaving them wounded from the Crit but not dead) while the unfortunate Doctor was left a smoking pile of ash.

You can also see on either side of the picture some of the other models now in place - the Lunokhod on the left, with brutal short ranged weapons and annoying mobile mines called Crazy Koalas that are horrifically illegal kawaii robots filled with an explosive charge that run towards enemy movement and explode.

Meanwhile, on the right, the Reaktion Zond, a HMG toting gun platform programmed to be particularly effective in shooting enemies as they move, covers some of the lanes of advance.

So, Achilles comes around the corner, all gung ho and ready to take out the Iguana . . . who proceeds to roll a critical hit on him first go and causes him a wound.

Meanwhile, Ajax's fireteam doesn't do too well either, and another member of the team goes down to the Wildcat's brutal heavy rocket launcher.

Achilles gets his vengeance and causes another wound on the Iguana, leading to a bail out. I decided to place aggressively and force him to deal with it. On reflection, I might have done better dropping back and hiding with the ejection mechanism this turn and going aggressive next turn.

Achilles starts sneaking up and I realise I haven't sorted my facing quite as well as I should have...

I manage to hear him trying to sneak up and successfully turn around...

And in the end, the link team manage to neutralise the TAG Operator, and he's out of the game.

Meanwhile, on my right flank, Ajax and his remaining buddy have managed to get close . . . and one of them is a hacker!

My Reaktion remote is hacked and immobilised.

My turn! The Jaguars sneak up into the mid field and throw smoke so Patroclus and Achilles can't see. The Jaguar is armed with a brutal weapon called a chain rifle, that essentially fires out lengths of chain at high speed, much like a cannon's chain shot. Achilles shrugs it off but Patroclus, already wounded, succumbs and falls.

There now entails a careful game of "don't let Ajax get into close combat. I've shuffled back into the Biotechvore zone, but that's fine - as long as everyone is out by the end of my turn! One of the Wildcat link is armed with stun grenades, and he merrily lobs one blindly over the shipping crate - Ajax is well protected but his poor hacker is left blinded and unable to react.

Ajax, in his anger, surges forward, but the gap is too small for him to get through.

And a boarding shotgun, poking around the corner to the left and over the immobilised remote, blasts him into unconsciousness with repeated shots.

There is not much for Aleph to do at this point - the fireteam on my left advances, and Achilles enacts a brutal vengeance on the killing of his friend.

You will recall an unconscious, bleeding Ajax on the right flank. I have two classifies to complete - to Data Scan a hostile trooper and to gain some Telemetry on the enemy by completing succeeding in a Spotlight hacking programme. Both of these rolls need you to succeed in a WIP -3 roll. For a Wildcat, this is rolling 10 or under on a D20.

Behold my frustration at spending seven orders to do this simple task on an unresisting, unconcious enemy! Sometimes, probability hates you. Fortunately, it wasn't hating me with anything where I'd directly lose troops as a result.

Senor Massacre (a Deadpool "tribute" character) who is part of the Jaguar Haris Fireteam, decides to see who is the better fighter in hand to hand, him or Achilles.

You will notice Achilles is still on the table, and he is not.

For my opponent's final turn, he just needs to kill a three point, basically unarmed remote that allows my Doctor to heal people next to it. This would let him Secure my High Value Target as a substitute for completing one of his Classified Objectives.

It was not to be. His dice matched mine earlier, with the failure to Forward Observe and Hack Ajax - but in this case, he ran out of orders before succeeding, bringing the game to an end.

So, lets score this game up!

I had 168 points left alive, while my opponent had only 139, so we both scored 2 Objective Points for surving points.

However, I had killed more, netting me a mighty 3 Objective Points!

I had scored two classified objectives, to his one, scoring him 1 point and me 2, with me getting a bonus point for scoring more classifieds.

This left the final score as 8-3 to me, a Total Victory to Corregidor!