Thursday 28 February 2019

Tales from the Practice Games: A Couple of Scarface Errors

Before last week's excursion to Beachhead, I tried out my more experimental 200 point list in a game of Annihilation down at HATE with one of our newer players. They were running a Corregidor list, and had the first turn.

Can you spot my initial error?

I had left Scarface looking in one direction, leaving me incredibly open to a Hellcat Airborne Deployment, which is exactly what happened. Luck meant I was at least able to get Scarface to turn aroundo on the drop, but they were armed with a Boarding Shotgun, so it wasn't going to go well...

Cordelia died in the first blast, and Scarface took two wounds before finally a lucky critical hit took the Hellcat down. But Scarface now had no Engineer, one Wound left, and had entered a Frenzy state because he'd killed the Hellcat, losing the benefits of cover.

I managed to keep him alive for a while, but then spotted an opportunity to take out Lupe Balboa, who'd entered Suppression Fire under smoke in sight of Scarface. I used the Assault special role to make a ten inch move and charge into base to base with Lupe, and cut her down.

Unfortunately, I'd forgotten about two Crazy Koalas just around the corner, and they ran over and blew Scarface to pieces, costing me the game.

Lessons Learned:

  • Remember that drop troops are good this edition, and stop leaving gaps for them to kill your best units
  • When your opponent drops Koalas off, remember that the activation area is in all directions from them. I'd got into my head they were marking the entry and exit into a canyon, but they're perfectly capable of running over and blowing a TAG away by jumping up the canyon wall...
Hopefully my daft mistakes will have either amused or educated...

Monday 25 February 2019

HATE Infinity League 2: Firefight vs JSA

The latest Hackney Area Tabletop Enthusiasts Infinity League has just kicked off, with a massive 27 players! The honourable Riker is once again taking on organising duties. We're split into three groups of 9 players with one Mysterious Masked Stranger making sure everyone gets a game every cycle. I've been placed in the middle group, which at least reassures me I won't simply get my teeth kicked in for nine games!

My first game was against a player who's coming back to Infinity after a few months break, and this was going to be his first game with JSA. It being Firefight, though, I was taking no chances and took the first turn when I got the opportunity.

On the right flank, I placed my core link, with the E/M Light Grenade Launcher forward and the linked Brawlers a little further back. Saito Togan was in Hidden Deployment by the right hand Panoply.

On the left hand flank, I deployed a Duo of Hackers (Killer and Assault) to deal with any Heavy Infantry shenanigans, and also intended to advance and pick up the "Net Undermine" Classified.

The game started off pretty well - the HMG neutralised a couple of the JSA core link who'd been left out for AROs, then Saito revealed to throw smoke for the absolute classic "smoke trick" of an MSV2 Sniper shot to take out a Total Reaction remote that was pinning down much of the field.

At the end of my first turn I'd caused a good bit of damage, but there was still a lot of the JSA force left. I'd left out an aggressive number of ARO pieces because I was worried about being over-run by a swarm of effective close combat units.

Yojimbo, being proxied by some other bike model, charged into the teeth of a heavy flamethrower, but someone tanked the armour save and got smoke down.

He then charged forward through the smoke, again tanking the flame hit, to pin the Peacemaker down in close combat.

What appeared  to be a bike mounted hacker rocketed forward to take on my sniper, so I went to shoot...

Only to discover it was a Lu Duan using a Holoprojector, which had just advanced into Heavy Flamethrower range. I also utterly whiffed my shooting so the blasted thing wasn't even scratched!

An Oniwaban then revealed and jumped into Saito Togan, who was overcome by surprise and cut neatly in half by the Monomolecular blade of the Oniwaban.

And then the Lu Duan comes around the corner and sets the link on fire, taking out my Data Tracker and HMG...

The game then got very close and serious and I didn't take any more photos. The basic summary is:

  • Mushashi picked up an injured Tanko and CASEVACed him into my table half for a bonus classified point
  • I was over-aggressive with my Lieutenant and got them killed when I really should have left it
  • The Hacker Duo advanced up and managed to Isolate the remaining Tanko to stop it going on a killing spree, before gunning it down with a Combi in my turn
  • On the final order of my last turn, my Assault Hacker ran up onto a roof to shoot a Domaru hiding at the back of the field, and he rolled a high dodge. "Well, I need double crit to take him down" - and lo, did I roll a double crit, it turned out to be his Lieutenant, winning me the game.
The final score was 5-4, with 98 and 45 points of troops left alive respectively. I scored "Killing more Troops", "More Panoplies" and "Secure the HVT" for a Classified, while he'd scored two points for the extra goal on his Classified, one for killing my Datatracker and one for his other Classified.

Definitely a win due to luck rather than skill this time around, as that final double crit changed the score from 6-5 to 5-4! A really good game, and super close. Definitely need to up my game, as the club has a lot of excellent players in it.

Thursday 21 February 2019

Kickstarter: Artis Opus Brushes

My friend James has asked very nicely if I'll mention his new Kickstarter that's running at the moment. As I am a benevolent Responsible One, I thought I'd obliged.

For clarity - I have not received (nor do I expect) any payment or free product for this recommendation, but I do regard at least one of the people behind the project as a friend.

The Kickstarter is for a second series of painter's brushes by Artis Opus. I backed their last Kickstarter, for the "Series S" brushes, and I've been using the Size 1 brush from that quite a lot since the house move. It's a really nice brush and I rather like it.

The new Kickstarter is for a second range of brushes, called the "Series M".

The idea behind the Series M Kickstarter is that some painters prefer shorter bristles, particularly for detail work. Short bristles are really not my cup of tea, but I don't do a lot of display level painting. What I can vouch for is that my stuff turned up within a reasonable time (I'm not sure how reasonable, as my builder accidentally put the parcel in a kitchen cupboard and forgot to tell me for a while), and the quality is really good. They are on the pricey side, but that can be a thing for higher end brushes.

Brushes are definitely a personal thing, but if you are looking for new brushes, go check out the Kickstarter, because you may like them. And if you prefer longer brushes, you can still order those from their website instead.

Monday 18 February 2019

Infinity at Beachhead: The Friends You Make Along The Way

I'd originally not been planning to go to the Infinity tournament at Beachhead in Bournemouth. However, a club mate had the use of a car for the weekend, and was offering links. And that was how I found myself entering into a small 200 point Infinity tournament last weekend.

Beachhead is a small convention held in Bournemouth. It seemed to have a high historical contingent, a few traders I recognised from Salute, and a handful of tournaments. There was also a union event going on elsewhere in the convention centre on the same day, but the venue was easily big enough for both events and I didn't see any problems with over-crowding or attendee mix ups.

Quite a few clubs had put on demo games of one sort or another. This one particularly impressed me - a large scale ship and harbour game, although sadly I didn't have time to stop and find out more about it.

Game 1
Frontline vs OSS
Playing Epsolon921

It's always a bit of a worry when for the first game you get drawn against the tournament organiser! He was playing the Operational Sub-section, a new Sectorial of the ALEPH faction. I didn't get the first turn so was super worried about the damage that might be caused. I left some flash pulse remotes out to try and hold him up and put out two "bait" pieces that were possible to kill in the first turn, but not easy - the Peacemaker with Boarding Shotgun and the Druze with E/M Light Grenade Launcher.

Epsolon's dice failed him and he wasn't able to dislodge the E/M Grenade Launcher, but I decided to go on the attack with the Peacemaker. It took out the Sophotect and most of the Dakini Link Team, finally getting obliterated by a Heavy Rocket Launcher as I struck the killing blow on the link. In particular, the dual shots of the Heavy Flamethrower and the Heavy Shotgun left no good options for the remotes.

I felt like I was a little lucky here, but not hugely so - I'd planned a good attack run with the remote and

I managed to sneak my Xenotech up the board and plant the tracker down, using the custom marker supplied as part of the tournament pack - a really nice touch. (The admin of the whole tournament was really slick - all the paperwork you needed - which pleased my nerdy heart.)

In the end, I'd done too much damage and I managed to hold the middle and near quadrants to me, which along with securing the HVT and placing the Xenotech marker, earned me a 6-2 win. I was really pleased with my performance, as Epsolon is an excellent player, and while my dice had been a little lucky, it was off a good plan and good decisions that gave me solid odds.

Game 2
Decapitation vs TAK
Playing dementis

I won initiative and tried to blunt the Kazakh violence by taking the first turn . . . but it was not to be. Everything I tried to take out the Line Kazakh Missile Launcher pinning my Data Tracker down away from the Designated Target failed until my very last order...

And then the Veteran Kazakh started killing everything...

The game was super busy and I only managed to get these couple of shots (and this one blurry) of the end game as the Kazakh link came after my poor Lieutenant hiding under some stairs. He didn't make it, leaving me with a 10-2 loss.

I'd run an experimental link without the Druze core link due to a lack of points, but bringing a TAG. Sadly, I didn't have a good answer to a strong ARO game and an open board as a result, so maybe that idea can be shelved.

Heading on to the third game, I was keen to try and get a win, as one of my goals for the season is to try and get two wins in a one day tournament, and I've not quite managed it yet.

Game 3
Annihilation vs Tohaa
Playing johnny6whiskers

The table requires a little explanation here. Normally, Infinity uses "true line of sight", and a table like this would be quite literally unplayable. However, it used a house rule that all the jungle terrain could be shot into or out of, but never through, and this meant that it was actually quite a dense table with a few tactical challenges.

My opponent debated with himself a little bit, and decided to bring his TAG list. I was very glad to again manage to win the Lieutenant roll and choose to go first, as I have previously been tabled by a Gorgos at a Totally Crit tournament, and I wanted to at least get a few orders in!

I reserve deployed my Peacemaker for a suicide run in the hope of setting all the Tohaa on fire. I was not successful, and spent a single order, failing to cause any damage to the Tohaa. It had been a high risk gamble, but if it had paid off, I might have crippled the Tohaa with a single order, so I felt it was worth the sacrifice.

One of the link couldn't stay with the others without getting gunned down by the Tohaa Sniper, so I moved up a four person link anyway. I managed to speculatively fire an E/M grenade onto the Gorgos and landed a crit, leaving it Isolated and Immobilised. The HMG then managed to take out both the Sniper, and most importantly, the Kumotail Bioengineer, who could have fixed the TAG and got it back up to full working order...

Before my opponent had his first turn, we talked through what E/M ammunition did and what his model could still do. Tohaa's Symbiont Armour is practically the only thing in the game that had a way out at this point - it would already have been as good as game over for any other force! As it was, the Makauls started running up the board, and the Gorgos shrugged off her Symbiont armour and ducked down behind some rocks, keeping most of the points safe.

The game was an absolute massacre, and basically everything died. By the start of my turn 2, I just had my Lieutenant, a Doctor, two Repeater remotes and a WarCor left. The Lieutenant soloed up the field, gunning down Tohaa left and right as he went. With one order left, he tried to kill the Gorgos out of her armour, which would have won me the game . . . and she survived! (I looked up the odds later - just over a 60% chance. Right move, bad luck!)

And that was it. The Tohaa managed to gun down my Lieutenant, and the Doctor was too far back to do anything to change the result as I was in Loss of Lieutenant and had spent most of my Command Tokens. A 5-3 loss (a lot of Tohaa were dead), but if the Gorgos had gone down, it would have been at least 4-0 to me, with a possibility I could have taken it up to 6-0 hunting down the Data Tracker.

But I didn't mind.

This game was one of the best games of Infinity I'd ever played. My opponent, johnny6whiskers, was friendly and a very good player (he was a little rusty on rules due to having not played in a while, but once he knew his options he constantly made the right tactical choices). While I lost, it was down to one dice roll - and that's not to take away from the man across the table from me! He'd taken an awful situation first turn and led a breathtaking fight back to leave me with one last throw of the dice to save the game. Frankly, it's stuff like this that's why I play Infinity.

I'd also like to shout out to Epsolon 921 and dementis (who went on to be third and second in the tournament respectively) for also being great opponents who gave me enjoyable games. It was the players who made the games here. I felt genuinely joyous after the tournament, irrespective of coming 9th out of 10 players.

A final thanks to Riker for the lift and seb for company in the car. HATE represented itself really well at the weekend, and I'm really proud of how we took our club ethos of making sure everyone has fun down to Bournemouth.

Monday 11 February 2019

CanCon Tables

 For those of you who like your scenery, here's pictures of all the Infinity tables at CanCon...