ThanCo – Crits are our Standard

Whelp, time for game 3 of remote Infinity with real models, real terrain, real opponent… just that my opponent isnt’ physically present. This time, we’ve got Than (zagdag), “borrowing” my ForCo to throw down against Vanilla Yu Jing. I’ve tuned the table a little more by adding some Antenocites Workshop concrete walls in an attempt to break things up a little more and to break up some of the LoF from the mountain to the other side of the table.

In any case, here are the unedited deployment zone pictures so you can see where I settled on for my game against Than.

In case you’re new to my experiments, basically here’s what’s happening:

  1. I call my opponent, Than, on Zoom
  2. I share the view of the four webcams that I have set up around the table with Than (and anyone else) via Twitch.
  3. We play a game as normal, with me moving models for Than and trying to help him optimize things by asking me for order expenditure estimates (how many orders will it take to do X), that sort of thing.

Than is always allowed to change his model placement, facing, etc., up to and including nudging models in and out of cover. I’m doing my best to enact his desires on the table, but he can’t verify everything for himself. So, if there’s a model at the corner of a building and Than didn’t clearly specify its positioning, he’s allowed to have me nudge it into total cover if that’s what he was intending, or even if he was unaware of it being visible.

And yes, I know about Tabletop Simulator. I don’t have anything against it, I’m just enjoying the challenge of building this remote play infrastructure, and I’m also trying to get reps in on this table so I can continue to tune it. Plus, this is a convenient justification for owning way too many models.

There’s a large amount of people trying out TTS now for the purposes of playing Infinity. I don’t have any data myself, but I’m told TTS games take about 4 hours, whereas these remote games are clocking in at around 2.5 hours. There’s definitely a benefit to having one player (me) being able to play at full speed, I guess. I imagine as people get used to TTS, the time there will go down, but we’ll see.

Overview

  • Mission: Acquisition
  • Forces: Yu Jing versus Foreign Company
  • Deploy First: Foreign Company
  • First Turn: Foreign Company

Than requested that we play Acquisition to keep the mental load down for our remote game. If you’ll allow me a soapbox moment, I gotta say that I’m not a huge fan of the mission. Taking second turn is so powerful in this scenario because you can just win the game 5-4 even if your opponent does all the work of flipping and controlling the antennas.

There are definitely ways to address this as the first player, like aggressively hunting down the second player’s DataTracker, but the scenario is quite swingy and in my opinion definitely favors the second player. Anyway. On to the lists.

Acquisition

DĀOYĪNG Lieutenant L2 (Minelayer) MULTI Sniper, Antipersonnel Mines / Breaker Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 32)
KOKRAM FTO (Fireteam: Duo) Feuerbach, Chain-colt, D-Charges / 2 Heavy Pistols, Knife. (2 | 48)
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)
TAI SHENG Mk12, Chain-colt, Stun Grenades / Heavy Pistol, Knife. (0 | 45)
HÚLÁNG (Fireteam: Duo) 2 Submachine Gun, E/M Grenades, D-Charges / Pistol, Monofilament CC Weapon, Knife. (0 | 41)
TIAN GǑU (2st Section) Hacker (Killer Hacking Device, Holoprojector L2) Combi Rifle, Nanopulser, MadTraps / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 27)
XI ZHUANG Combi Rifle + Light Flamethrower, MadTraps / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 20)
LÓNG YÁ 2 Panzerfaust, Heavy Shotgun, Antipersonnel Mines / Electric Pulse. (0 | 25)
WARCOR (360º Visor) Flash Pulse / Stun Pistol, Knife. (0 | 3)


9 1 | 5 SWC | 298 Points | Open in Infinity Army

Some stranger choices in this list, I’ll concede. I’m leaning on my previous experiences playing limited insertion, where board control is very relevant. I’ve got two minelayers and two MadTrap carriers, along with some nasty heavy weapons with vis mods and decent BS. I took the amazing Long Ya remote, and doubled up on engineers in the list for fun. Sadly, I forgot to deploy the Ye Mao engineer and only counted its order on the first turn, so I was playing two orders and a model down the whole game. Ah well.

Foreign Company

HANNIBAL Lieutenant (Strategic Deployment, Strategos L1) MULTI Marksman Rifle, Nanopulser / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 41)
VALKYRIE Heavy Shotgun, Grenades / Heavy Pistol, EXP CC Weapon. (0 | 35)
SEÑOR MASSACRE Boarding Shotgun, E/M Grenades, Eclipse Grenades / Pistol, AP CCW, E/M CCW. (0 | 26)
BOLT (Multispectral Visor L1) MULTI Sniper Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 27)
BOLT (Chain of Command) Combi Rifle + Light Shotgun, Drop Bears / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 27)

LAXMEE Hacker (UPGRADE: Maestro) Submachine Gun + Pitcher, Cybermines, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 34)
KAPLAN Spitfire / Pistol, Knife. (1 | 28)
KAPLAN Doctor (MediKit) Combi Rifle, Blitzen / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 27)

SIERRA DRONBOT HMG / Electric Pulse. (1 | 25)
AKAL COMMANDO Spitfire / Pistol, E/M CCW. (1.5 | 28)


10 | 6 SWC | 298 Points | Open in Infinity Army

Than took the dream team ForCo list, splitting Laxmee off with a pair of Kaplan buddies and grouping the rest of the A-Team with a pair of Bolts. The requisite Akali and Sierra joined the team for some jeep flippin’ action!

Deployment

I won the rolloff and chose deployment to secure second turn. I figured that was the correct decision. Than took first turn, as I hoped, and I made him deploy first. Given Acquisition’s 16″ deployment zones and the fact that medium infantry have FD1 in ITS11, that meant all of his troops were quite far up the field.

The Hannibal, Valkyrie, Massacre, Bolt core was on his left, with the Bolt MSR out to do some damage and the Bolt CoC in the Comanche Barracks, ready to do some button pushing. The rest of the link clustered at the base of the Barracks, ready to get some work done.

The Kaplan Haris and Laxmee went up on the mountain to secure the objective up there, and then it was my turn to deploy. I covered both sides of my deployment zone with MadTraps thanks to Xi Zhuang and the Tian Gou, and then I decided to drop some mines in annoying places.

First, I mined up the approach to the objective on the mountain with the Daoying, putting her up on the mountain to maybe fight it out with the Bolt MSR (probably a bad idea). Then, I put the Long Ya’s mine covering the Bolt CoC in the building, to be super cheeky. The Warcor got left out to ARO, I put the Hulang covering Massacre to drop an E/M grenade on the A-team members, and then I stuck Krit in a little pocket in a compromise between safety and distance to the central objective.

Than covered the central objective and most of the right half of the board (my perspective) with his TR bot, and then I covered the entirety of my deployment zone with the Hundun HRL on the edge of the mountain, fearing an Akali incursion.

Turn 1

Top of 1 – ForCo

I had perhaps deployed way too aggressively, but I needed to tie up that link. The Hulang was a real problem for Than so he decided to spend his Akali resource to remove it. You can see from the picture below just how annoying the Hulang’s position really was, a single E/M grenade would’ve covered 3 members of the link. I really couldn’t be too much more forward and still have cover/LoF, so I was forced to place the Hulang standing.

No matter. The Akali comes on the board and crit and double hits the Hulang into unconsciousness. Not an auspicious start.

Than debates what to do with the core link, and decides to chance tanking a mine on the Bolt CoC while the Bolt MSR fights for glory. On the Bolt’s first order, it attempts a discover-shoot on the Hundun, splitting burst between the Hundun and the Warcor. It fails the discover but KOs the Warcor.

The next order, the Bolt tries to discover the Daoying, so I reveal both camo tokens to shoot back. The Hundun gets hit, passes both ARM saves and the Daoying wins the roll but the Bolt passes both saves as well, failing guts into cover.

To make matters worse for me, the Bolt CoC passed its save against the mine on the first order as well. After moving Massacre up a little and securing the objective with the Bolt CoC by pushing the button and dropping a mine, Than turns his attention to the Kaplan link. The Kaplans don’t really have an uncontested path forward, so he just advances them, breaks the Haris, throws the Spitfire into suppression, and Cybermasks Laxmee.

Bottom of 1 – Yu Jing

I decide I need to take out the +3 BS bonus on the core before I tackle the Bolt MSR so I try to take out Massacre with the Tian Gou. Than crit-throws smoke, so the Tian Gou doesn’t have any luck at that.

I have an angle on the Akali within 8″, so I go after him next. Of course, I get crit again, but this time it’s with the Akali’s pistol, so I’m just helpless and floundering on the right with both of my pieces on that flank gone.

I need to respond by removing the Kaplan on the left, so I send in Xi Zhuang, figuring I’ll trade with the Kaplan in suppression and figure something out with the Hundun afterwards. I maneuver to get into position, putting the MadTraps into standby, and torch the Kaplan. The suppressive fire bounces off my armor, but the Kaplan seems to enjoy the heat.

I try again, moving the Hundun forward and the Daoying into total cover as part of a coordinated order and fail to torch the Kaplan again. Xi Zhuang survives to try one last time, with another coordinated order that brings the Hundun into position to take a pistol shot.

This time, the Kaplan crits Xi Zhuang, but the Hundun’s pistol shot bounces off along with Xi Zhuang’s flamethrower still. I’ve got one order left, so I go for broke and move the Hundun into view of both the Bolt MSR and the Kaplan, at least catching the Kaplan out of cover. I roll two hits, but the Bolt beats me and the Kaplan crits, so there goes that plan.

The Daoying recamos with one of its two lieuteant orders and Tai Sheng goes into suppression with the other. What a disastrous first turn. All I’ve done is killed three of my own guys…

Turn 2

Top of 2 – ForCo

and fed Than an In Extremis Recovery classified, courtesy of the Akali slicing the cube out of the Tian Gou’s neck. Sigh.

Laxmee still needs to secure the objective on the mountain, so the invulnerable Kaplan Spitfire manages to dodge a MadTrap and the Daoying’s mine to clear the way for her.

Laxmee pushes the button without difficulty.

Then. the Kaplans push forward to control the mountaintop, clearing out the last MadTrap in the process.

Than ends the turn after pushing Massacre up the stairs of the Comanche Barracks to protect his Bolt CoC and the objective on the second floor and moving Hannibal and Valkyrie to within striking distance of the central objective.

Bottom of 2 – Yu Jing

I’m disastrously low on orders, especially since I forgot to deploy the Ye Mao and don’t count its order at the beginning of my second turn. I decide to lean on the Long Ya again, and send it in. I manage to skirt outside the range of Laxmee’s hacking and appear in view of the Bolt MSR, which decides to discover. My response is to Tank Fist it in the face, forcing 6 ARM saves. Needless to say, the Bolt MSR is taken off the table.

I push the Long Ya into view of Valkyrie and drop a heavy shotgun template onto her and Hannibal. I manage to put a wound on both of them, and fend off Laxmee’s frantic attempts to hack me.

My last order is spent taking out Hannibal and Valkyrie with the Long Ya’s shotgun, but Laxmee succeeds in isolating my remote. Darn.

I’ve still got two Lieutenant orders though, and I spend them trying to take out Massacre with Tai Sheng before returning her to her hiding spot… in retrospect I should’ve thrown her into suppression, but oh well.

Massacre once again lands a successful smoke grenade, and that’s the end of my turn.

Turn 3

Top of 3 – ForCo

Than attempts to take out the Long Ya with the Kaplan Spitfire, but fails, so he just makes a run for the central objective with Massacre, first smoking out Tai Sheng and then the Long Ya before Massacre settles in on the central objective.

After spec-firing a Drop Bear with his Lt order to cover Tai Sheng’s advance, Than passes turn.

Bottom of 3 – Yu Jing

I send in the Long Ya and turn Massacre into paste while Laxmee pushes buttons on her comlog frantically.

I take out the Kaplan Spitfire with Tai Sheng next, and since the only other obstacle in getting Krit to the central objective is the TR bot, I decide to chance it and send Tai Sheng in after the TR bot.

The TR bot crits and I fail the mine save, KOing Tai Sheng. Thankfully, with my three remaining orders, I’m able to get Krit onto the objective, exposing him only once to the TR bot. I get hit three times and pass 2/3 saves, meaning I’m controlling the central objective with my DataTracker.

Sadly, the Akali is next to my HVT, meaning I’m not securing Than’s HVT (which was near the central objective). Since Than picked up his classified (I couldn’t do either of mine), we end at a

5-5 Tie!

Post Game Analysis

Well, I think I deployed a little too aggressively. I definitely shouldn’t have risked my Lieutenant like that. I think I got excited about the prospect of putting a mine up there. Also, the Hundun wasn’t in the greatest of spots either. I think you really need a mix of rangebands to really make use of the mountain, like a HRL + Assault Pistol or something.

I’m just lucky that I didn’t really lose anything to the Bolt MSR on Than’s active turn. Losing the Hulang very early was a huge bummer. Having it prone on the catwalk or better yet in the room with the Bolt CoC and the mine might have been better. That would’ve protected me from the Akali and would have really made things difficult for Than. It’s just too bad I didn’t have the points to take the flamethrower version.

I think I did a reasonable job at recovery after the disastrous first turn, but really that was a product of the scenario more than anything else. Let’s take a look at it from the perspective of a player going first. In order to major my opponent, I need to either:

  1. Get my DataTracker into base to base with the central objective and have it survive till the end of the game.
  2. Flip both objectives on the flank, have something in base to base that, again, needs to survive, and accomplish my classified or make my Liaison Officer roll.

Both of the above scenarios assume my opponent scores 0 points. All they need to do to deny me the major is to get a classified or make a WIP roll for their Liaison Officer. Conversely, let’s look at the scenario from the second player’s point of view, and the goal here is simply to win the game. In order to do that, all I have to do is get a my DataTracker into base to base with the central objective (and kill theirs). If my opponent hasn’t gotten their classified, that’s all I have to do to win (ignoring Liaison Officer).

In, short, I think spending orders on grabbing/controlling the flank objectives is a waste of time. It’s all about the central objective. I think the right thing to do if you’re going first is to dedicate the entirety of your alpha strike on to killing your opponent’s DataTracker and hopefully their Liaison Officer.

After this, you can simply respond to your opponent’s play at the bottom of Turn 1 and decide what the most advantageous thing is to do at the start of Turn 2. I suspect at this point you’ll want to consider the antennas, because your opponent will likely want to gun for your DataTracker as well.

Anyway. Long story short, I think I’ve been playing the mission wrong for years, and I’m not a big fan of it to begin with… but because I believe in experimentation I should probably do it again and try to make it work. Perhaps I’ll ask someone to be my sparring partner and let me go first for Acquisition.

A bit about Than’s list now. I think that this incarnation of the ForCo A-Team is quite reasonable, but it’s quite specialist light. It’s got three, but they’re all pretty delicate and by the design of the list they can’t be spread out. I think Than did an excellent job deploying and piloting the list, especially given the remote play handicap, save the one mistake of advancing Hannibal too far up. Advancing Valkyrie would have been fine, but losing Hannibal was pretty rough.

Once again, the Long Ya saved my bacon. It’s an excellent attack remote and the S3 package is just so much more appealing than the S4 for the Rui Shi or Lu Duan. I’m also very very pleased with its weapons loadout. The dual Panzerfaust is just amazing.

Anyway, this was a very messy game. A lot of things went horribly wrong for me, and I recovered mostly because the scenario heavily favors the second player. I got in my head a little on the mountain and made some bad decisions. Really I should have re-camoed the Hundun and walked behind the Kaplans. I also think that I misplaced the Daoying as well–that would have been incredibly helpful in removing the Kaplan had I had a long range shot.

Bottom line, it’s been awhile since I’ve played Limited Insertion, and it’s showing. Thanks for reading my rambling thoughts!

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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