T’ien Shan, The High Way

In the age of COVID-19, we still gotta get games in! I’m constantly working on my Ariadna mega-table…well more accurately now that we’re all “working” from home, I have time to work on the pile of unbuilt MDF that I have lying around at home.

The better half has been infinitely patient with me sitting at the coffee table and getting it (and the dog) covered in glue and MDF dust. Still, with all of us working at home, how to get a game in while “social distancing?” One quick aside, we should learn from the Canadians and call it “physical distancing.” That’s actually what needs to happen–if anything during these difficult times we should be socially closer! So, to that end, I cobbled together a janky setup using a leftover webcam, an aging MacBook Air, Zoom, and Twitch.

Obadiah (nehemiah) is under lockdown in the Golden State and agreed to be my test subject for remote Infinity gaming. Yes, we could have done it on Tabletop Simulator, and yes, that’s probably good enough and much easier on Obi, but I’m a selfish git and wanted to try out my new MDF terrain to see if it would improve the play experience on the mountain part of the mega table.

Also, this is the perfect way to assuage my guilt at having all these armies unplayed in my model case!

Some details of how this all worked:

  • Zoom Video Conferencing
    • Obi – Obadiah called in to see things and so we could talk.
    • Webcam Tripod – Obi could see the video from the webcam on the tripod, so he had a bird’s eye view.
    • Phone View – I called into Zoom with my work phone so I had a mobile, wireless camera. This let me fly Obi around the table to see stuff, check LoF, etc.
  • Twitch – I did some janky stuff with OBS (not streamlabs) on OSX and glued together the Webcam video, and the Zoom Call video, so our friends could join in and heckle us.
  • The Game
    • LoF/Facing/etc – I did my best to show Obi stuff, but it was quite hard on the phone, so we tried to be as lenient as possible.
    • Turns – I played my turn as normal, and when it was Obi’s turn I carried him around on my work phone and we did our best.

Of course, this meant I was juggling the work phone to show Obi what was going on, then setting it down to take pictures for this battle report with my personal phone… Goodness. It was a mess. I had hoped to have a dice cam set up, and all sorts of other stuff, but holy crap the whole thing was just a mess.

I’d like to thank Obi for his infinite patience with me as I ran laps around the table to retrieve things I left on the wrong side of the table and for his trust when I was checking LoF and ranges.

Overview

  • Mission: Frostbyte
  • Forces: The White Banner Army versus Svalarheima’s Winter Force (300)
  • Deploy First: White Banner
  • First Turn: White Banner

Well, with the release of White Banner and Svalarheima, Obi and I decided we wanted to try out all the new toys!

Frostbyte

ZHANSHI Lieutenant Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 11)
ZHANSHI Paramedic (MediKit) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 13)
ZHANSHI HMG / Pistol, Knife. (1 | 19)

BLUE WOLF AP Spitfire, Heavy Flamethrower, Akrylat-Kanone / DA CC Weapon. (2 | 89)
BLUE WOLF PILOT Light Flamethrower / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 0)
TIAN GǑU (1st Section) Hacker (Killer Hacking Device) Combi Rifle, Nanopulser / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 23)

LÉI GŌNG Shock Marksman Rifle, Nanopulser, Blitzen / Breaker Pistol, Knife. (0 | 34)
YĚ MĀO Missile Launcher, Chain-colt / Pistol, CC Weapon. (1.5 | 28)
YĚ MĀO Engineer MULTI Rifle, Chain-colt, Panzerfaust, D-Charges / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 31)

HÙNDÙN (X Visor) Heavy Rocket Launcher / Pistol, CC Weapon. (1.5 | 26)
LÓNG YÁ 2 Panzerfaust, Heavy Shotgun, Antipersonnel Mines / Electric Pulse. (0 | 25)


10 | 6 SWC | 299 Points | Open in Infinity Army

I decided that I absolutely must play with the new Blue Wolf, and Adam (TheDiceAbide) was making a lot of noise for me to try out the Long Ya, so those two made it into the list. I also really wanted to find a suitable duo partner for the Blue Wolf. I struggled really hard to figure that out.

I started by trying a Shang Ji with HRL and Tac Awareness for maximum lulz, then thought about Qiang Gao Lt L2. The plan for both was to use the Shang Ji or Qiang Gao to gunfight at 32″ to move up, and then slingshot them back to safety while the Blue Wolf did stuff.

I ended up deciding against that, because both are horrendously expensive and it’s just clunky, and Pete (YueFei23) had made the observation that a super-jumping Ye Mao with missile launcher is hilarious. I knew I needed an engineer in the list, so I threw in a Ye Mao engineer, and I stuck Lei Gong in there too for funs.

Still, there was the matter of the Blue Wolf’s buddy. I decided to throw in one of those new Tian Gou. I debated between the BSG + Grenades + Jammer fellow and the KHD, and decided to take the KHD provide some protection to my TAG and be able to push some buttons.

I also really like the Ryuken-9 HRL, and (in N3 at least) the Hundun HRL is basically a better that thing. Now for the matter of filling out the rest of the list and grabbing a Lt. Well, Zhanshi to the rescue! I threw together a little 3-man core of Zhanshi built with an HMG, and that was that.

Baby It’s Cold Outside
GROUP 1 | 8 1

KNIGHT OF JUSTICE Hacker (Assault Hacking Device) Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Heavy Pistol, DA CC Weapon. (0.5 | 51)
KARHU 2 Feuerbach, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, CC Weapon. (1.5 | 38)

VARG (Minelayer) K1 Marksman Rifle, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0.5 | 30)
PATHFINDER DRONBOT Combi Rifle, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 16)
FUGAZI DRONBOT Flash Pulse, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)
FUGAZI DRONBOT Flash Pulse, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)
TRAUMA-DOC Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 14)
PALBOT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3)
WARCOR (360º Visor) Flash Pulse / Stun Pistol, Knife. (0 | 3)
NINJA KUNAI (Forward Deployment L1) Shock Marksman Rifle / Pistol, Shock CCW, Knife. (0.5 | 34)

GROUP 2 | 6

FUSILIER Lieutenant Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
FUSILIER Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
FUSILIER Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
FUSILIER Missile Launcher / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 15)
FUSILIER HMG / Pistol, Knife. (1 | 18)

KARHU Engineer MULTI Rifle, Blitzen, D-Charges / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 28)
PALBOT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3)


5.5 SWC | 299 Points | Open in Infinity Army

Obi started with a pretty normal PanO list: Fusilier link, pile of Dronbots, Trauma Doc, you know, the usual, and then added the spice. He took the new Kunai Ninja guy, the Varg K1 Marksman, and a pair of Karhu to back up his Father-I mean Knight of JUSTICE!

I like his choice to take the Karhu Engineer solo with a Palbot, and I’m also a fan of his Father Knight + double Feuerbach guy.

Deployment

I lost the roll-off and after flying Obi around the table he decided he wanted to take the side where both heaters were on a difficult-to-access rooftop. My deployment seemed fine, I suppose.

I decided my primary objective would be do some damage on the first turn and activate the back heater, so I set up accordingly. One of the heaters was in the Comanche barracks on the right side of the table, so I set up my Zhanshi Paramedic to make her way over there while the Zhanshi HMG did some gunfighting. This meant the Zhanshi core was in the center of the deployment zone due to the stairs and catwalk situation.

The Ye Mao Haris went on the left. What faster way to ascend the mountain than just jumping up it, amirite? Le Gong would be doing some ground pounding during all of this, but I figured that was fine. I left the Ye Mao ML out a little to contest a central firelane. The right side was a little light on firepower, so I left the Hundun over there. The Long Ya and its mine went in the middle as well.

One thing I forgot to do, as you can probably tell from the above photo, was to take a picture of deployment. The Tian Gou (disguised as a Shang Ji) were hanging out near the center of the deployment zone.

Obi’s deployment was pretty straightforward. He put all the Fusiliers up on top of the catwalk on his left, with only the Fusilier ML exposed. The rest of the Fusiliers hugged the catwalk prone. The scarier stuff like the Karhu double Feuerbach went on the right, paired with a Father-uhhh Knight of Justice AHD. The usual Fugazis and Pathfinder made their appearance, with a Karhu Engineer backing them up.

Unbeknownst to me, Obi deployed a Kunai atop one of the towers jjust outside his deployment zone, then stuck a Varg on the high ground. I believe the Varg was his reserve and the Blue Wolf was mine. Sneaky wolves!

Turn 1

Top of 1 – White Banner

I started things off by advancing the Blue Wolf and the Tian Gou and forcing the Fusilier ML into cover.

Next up was the Warcor. It took two bursts, but I finally dropped the Warcor. It’s worth mentioning that I forgot about Full Auto L1 the whole game, in spite of James (RomanLegion) reminding me about it repeatedly on stream.

The Blue Wolf activated the central generator thanks to being my DataTracker, and turned on the first heater. I decided to try and climb the Tian Gou up to the generator in the Warsen.al Comanche Barracks, but had to fight it out with a Fugazi and eventually lost.

Obi sprung a surprise on me as I left LoF of the Fugazi and revealed one of the new Kunai ninjas on a tower to take a shot at the Tian Gou. Thankfully I passed ARM and made it to safety. With my last order I popped Lei Gong out to have a shot at the Ninja, but it rolled a crit on its dodge and went prone.

I ended the turn with Lei Gong poking out a bit to fight off the Ninja if necessary and the Blue Wolf tucked into cover on the right side of the table.

Bottom of 1 – Svalarheima

The Ye Mao ML was watching the Fusilier ML’s spot where the Fusilier was prone. Obi decided to try and fight me and consolidated his link to be in coherency before standing up the Fusilier ML. Sadly, we were just outside of 40″ and coupled with the Ye Mao’s Mimetism were both on 6’s. I snuck a roll in and blasted the Fusilier unconscious.

Obi decided to get his Varg K1 Marksman into the fight and scooted it forward, prone on the mountain.

His intent was to use albedo to take out the Ye Mao Haris, but the Blue Wolf was watching. We exchanged K1 and Akrylat Kanone fire for two orders, with me eventually taking a wound from the K1 rifle.

After spending entirely too many orders shooting at the Blue Wolf while it floundered about, out of Akrylat Kanone rounds, Obi was down to one last order. Sadly, I had passed something like 3-4 ARM rolls against K1, which was undoubtedly frustrating for Obi.

The Varg must’ve been frustrated too, because it peeked over the lip of the mountain with Obi’s last order and emptied a full mag into Lei Gong, killing him outright.

Of course, Obi still has an entire second order pool, which he spends getting the Karhu Engineer on top of the Warsen.al Comanche Bunker, throwing it into suppression with its DataTracker order.

Turn 2

Top of 2 – White Banner

I had brought the Zhanshi HMG along for situations just like this and I used it to clear the Varg on the mountain in one order.

I then played to the objective, walking the Tian Gou into the Comanche Barracks and turning on my second heater. I figured I might as well use the Tian Gou to try and attack Obi’s Knight of Justice, so I threw two Redrums at it through the Fugazi’s repeater before I lost the face to face and got Carbonite-d.

Obi’s DataTracker was just visible to the Ye Mao if they jumped, so I did that with the Ye Mao ML. Unfortunately, I lose the face to face and get isolated.

The Ye Mao Engineer tries next with my last regular order and sneaks a Panzerfaust through, killing the Karhu.

I use the TAG’s tactical awareness order to gun down the Fugazi to prevent Obi from doing any hacking on that side of the table, and then use the DataTracker order to retreat it to safety where it had fought the Varg on the mountain… or so I think.

Bottom of 2 – Svalarheima

I forgot entirely about the Karhu double Feuerbach, and am punished severely. There’s an easy line of fire across the table, and the Karhu blasts the Blue Wolf off the table in one order. That profile is BONKERS.

My Tian Gou KHD is close to Obi’s link and he wants to remove it, so he sends in a Fusilier. I trade by firing my nanopulsar and killing it with nanobees, but Obi sends in his Fusilier Lieutenant to casevac the downed Fusilier…

who is miraculously crit-Doctored back to life!

Obi ends the turn with his Karhu Feuerbach watching a firelane, tucked his Knight of Justice AHD behind some terrain atop the mountain, and stood up his Ninja.

Turn 3

Top of 3 – White Banner

The Ninja had to go so I spent the isolated Ye Mao ML’s order and missiled it off the table against its dodge.

With that handled I decided to send in the Long Ya, mostly to try it out. It got discovered on the way in but that didn’t save the Karhu double Feuerbach. In an effort to stop the Long Ya, Obi had the Karhu drop a mine…

but that didn’t help because I tanked the mine hit and Panzerfausted the Fugazi around the corner.

I kept pushing up the table, intending to climb the ladder on the platform with the heaters and shotgun Obi’s Fusiliers, but Obi informed me that he thought the Knight of Justice could see this.

A quick LoF check later, and yep, Obi’s right. I decide to face to face the Knight of Justice’s Carbonite attempt with a pair of Panzerfausts, and paste the Knight.

I’ve got one order left to climb the stairs and shotgun Obi’s link, but we decide to call it here. It was getting late, and we had been at it for a few hours already with the additional complexities of playing over Twitch.

I don’t recall if Obi got a classified, I suspect he did by healing the Fusilier, so we’ll count it. We’d both killed each other’s DataTrackers, but most of my forces were still intact and Obi’s weren’t, making it a

6-3 White Banner Victory!

Post Game Analysis

Let me start by saying thank you to Obi for suffering through this experiment. I’m sure it was very frustrating to play through a tiny webcam window while shouting instructions at your phone. Of note also is that estimating LoF for the purposes of contesting firelanes, even with my assistance and the use of a handheld cam, was very difficult for Obi as well. As a result, I probably had a little more mobility on the table than Obi had intended, especially with regards to the placement of the Fugazi.

As we were talking through the post mortem of the game, Obi mentioned that the overhead cam wasn’t particularly helpful and lead to him trying to focus on the side that was more visible on the camera stream. Makes sense–out of sight, out of mind. We set up the camera tripod where Obi would be were he physically present, i.e. look at the table from his deployment zone edge, and he commented that that view was much more comfortable, especially for the purposes of estimating range.

I’m of the opinion that I might relax some of the rules of the game to account for the severe handicap of not being physically present. For example, I might allow someone to change their ARO if the range wasn’t what they were expecting from a shoot to a dodge. Or perhaps even allow pre-measuring if they request it. A significant amount of high level play is tied up in positioning and rangeband estimation, so handicapping my opponent in this fashion is counterproductive. The primary objective of this exercise is to share this hobby with my friends and the larger infinity community, but the secondary objective is to keep my skills honed and sharp, so I should make sure that my opponent is playing as close to “full strength”–ideally over 9000–as possible. More testing needed on this, I think, but the option is there and I’m prepared to exercise it.

Yes, we could switch to TableTop Simulator and avoid most of these problems. I intend to leverage that tool as well and even stream and write battle reports from TTS, but there’s no substitute for real models, as I’m sure we can all agree. Also, this is more of a pet challenge project for me than anything else, and a way to justify my model purchases with the better half (this is the real reason, who are we kidding).

Alright, enough blather and bluster about the remote game setup. This is still a battle report after all, with two new factions! I guess I’ll just sort of break things down into commentary of each sectorial? I’ll of course tack on the caveat that I’ve had one game so far and this is by no means a well formed study. It’s a knee jerk opinion reaction.

Svalarheima

Svalarheima seems to be about delivering firepower to exactly where you need it. You can climb a double Feuerbach to where you need it and then obliterate whatever you’re shooting at. If that’s not good enough, you can super jump around the table while setting everything on fire. Don’t like any of that? Well, you can just put the biggest, most stompiest boy on the table, and I don’t mean the Boyg, I mean the JOTUM.

From Bostria, according to the internet.

The downside is that there isn’t much in the way of lateral attack paths. Not a huge amount of spec fire stuff, hacking is solid but not stellar, you get the idea. Compare that to say… Nomads. So, a very in-character sectorial for PanO, but with some serious mobility, MSV, and albedo options. I’m personally more excited about using this stuff in vanilla PanO, but that shouldn’t surprise any of my regular readers.

I think the mobility is really showcased by the K1 Varg being able to get a bead on my Blue Wolf out of cover without really trying too hard. Part of that was the table, sure, but even on a more traditional table I don’t see a Varg or Karhu having much trouble assassinating a TAG with a gun instead of a monofilament sword or something. Pretty neat!

The addition of the Nokken is a bit strange. I suspect we’ll have to wait for N4 to really see a significant differentation between them and the Locust, but I’m entirely happy to have a minelaying Locust equivalent, and who doesn’t like a combi+light shotgun? I’m also pleased to see the Locust get a much-needed KHD profile.

There’s a lot of hand-wringing about the Boyg on the internet. I’ve tried it on the table (in a different battle report) and found it to be fine. I personally am more interested in the missile profile, but there are definitely legitimate use cases for the Mk12. I just don’t really like the Mk12. I value rangebands more than damage value, but perhaps that will change with N4.

There’s not much feedback I can give about the game itself here other than there needs to be more work done on the infrastructure to make it easier for the player. I think Obi did a great job with the handicaps he was facing, particularly the line of fire and not thinking about certain models.

For example, he could have killed the Tian Gou KHD at the bottom of one with a Fusilier, then rocketed up the Fugazi and hacked the Blue Wolf and possessed it with the Knight of Justice. If he was physically present or had a more traditional view of the table, I think this would have gone better for him.

White Banner

Wow. This sectorial clicks for me. It has a ton of the stuff I like in vanilla Yu Jing and just the right amount of flexibility in the link team composition. I think the Tian Gou are pretty rad. Let me be clear in saying that I would take the Boarding Shotgun + Grenades profile even if it didn’t have a Jammer. Is a linkable, Holo 1 Jammer good? Yes. Is it broken? No. There’s a lot of… vocal concern about this right now, but I’ll go ahead and say I have no problem with it. Everyone’s entitled to a their opinion, of course.

Found in one of the White Banner threads.

The Blue Wolf is pretty rad. I like it. I want to use it more, as I don’t think I really explored the full depth of its toolkit this game. I do like that it’s linkable and can drag along a specialist in the sectorial, so that’s a major plus.

I must say though, the Ye Mao and Long Ya are AMAZING. The Ye Mao are bonkers. MULTI Rifles are probably my favorite gun in the game, and they come with Chain-colts, MSV1, Mimetism, AND super jump? Holy moley. Talk about all the toys. And they’re so cheap for what they offer! I’m in love. I still need to get some more games in with them, but I’ll definitely be using them in vanilla, especially those Engineer and FO profiles! Amazing.

The Long Ya though. Wooooow. Until N4 drops, I’m convinced the heavy shotgun is the correct profile, at least for my aggressive playstyle. Double panzerfaust really changes the math on using that particular weapon in the active turn, especially when you can find the right position to challenge something that doesn’t shoot all that well in the 24″-32″ band. For me, I’m way more excited about it than I am about the Rui Shi. It does more of what I want in a more compact (S3 versus S4) package.

Yeah. Lots more fun to come from White Banner. I think hiding the TAG behind the Comanche Barracks would’ve been better, but then I’d have had to fight the Fusilier HMG… I dunno. Anyway, this has been long. Hope you enjoyed. Stay safe, stay sane!

WiseKensai

WiseKensai

I primarily play Infinity these days, but I have PHR fleet for Dropfleet Commander and I will eventually get my CEF for Heavy Gear built...

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