Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Gratification in Gaming: The Impetuous Murder Machines.

"The goal of the game is to win.  The purpose is to have fun.  Don't confuse the two." 

It's a mantra that I espouse routinely that was coined, I think, by Mark (of Memphis Mark in the Batreps).  To that end, we all find joy in the hobby in different ways.  I like to keep the community engaged and don't mind putting in effort there.  But, I also enjoy seeing utility in something that takes effort to understand.  While it took a while to get there, I long struggled in Infinity with a particular kind of unit.
So sit back, relax, and hopefully take away a few learned lessons.

Enter my favorite Infinity unit; "The Chimera" from the Uberfall Kommando.

"Guten Tag"

It was the first unit in Infinity that I unambiguously loathed.  It was a furry reference... the sculpts, particularly the Pupniks, were odd... I didn't even know how to fit it in a list... the poses were so cheesecake.  It made me question the Infinity crowd's panderings in general.  To make it worse, she tended to die.... a lot.

Get used to this token.

But it weaseled into my heart anyway.  The last edition fluff for the Uberfall Kommandos really sold themselves to me.  The Chimera is so unnatural... she's so tragic... that she doesn't even have wounds.  She has structure points.
I'm an absolute sucker for game mechanics highlighting fluff.  (Though, They did however change the fluff somewhat in the last edition of Human Sphere.  It's significantly sanitized.  In the old edition, think furry Rei Ayanami and an unfortunate implication of the results of half human murder monsters with a proclivity to rape, an ultra religious pro-life ruling dogma, and the technology to bind it all together.)

Here they are almost 3 years ago to the day (of this post) cosplaying as T-1000s.

They were some of my first purchases, following a second hand Lizard TAG and the Bakunin starter set.  They even got painted shortly after I finished the Moderators for my Bakunin.  They even started leaving a good impression when they bagged an Asura in some of my first games and generally just didn't suck.

Yes.  This is the actual shot of her first kill, an Asura (Defiler's of the Batreps), and our terribly limited terrain.

But then the grind started.  Within any game vaguely more competent than those of 2 newbie seals feebly making attempts at clubbing each other, the Chimera died.  She dies a LOT.  Even in competent games she dies.  That impetuous move is harsh and compensating for her loss, from a newbie standpoint, is hard.  It feels like throwing away so many points.  And even when she was working; she was an order hog.  You can easily blow 5 orders on her doing shenanigans assuming she lived to see the other side of the board.  And you can spend even more if you try to keep her alive.


After a while she just felt like dead weight.  I kept putting her on the board because the fluff and models grew on me.  The Uberfall were my favorite unit and any list without them felt like I was missing the point of the game (see the mantra).  I was just loosing with her, often on the first impetuous order, and it was dragging the whole experience down.

So learning my lesson about how impetuous orders suck, I caught shiny model syndrome and moved on... to Ariadna... to Antipode heavy lists.  Because of course I did.


Did I learn my lesson?  Of course not.  I tended to field 3 sets of Devil Dogs when it wasn't the non-sectorial Antipode packs.  I liked the fluff.  I liked the models.  Screw the list.  And it's so gratifying when they get their kills.  I absolutely adore every time they got to close combat.  

No, I had not seen Dog Soldiers.

I spent a LOT of time with Ariadna.  I learned to lose and have fun but persist and get better.  Just throw the doggos in and watch them kill.  They, like most warbands, are great at cheer leader mop up.

Look at him go!

Though bagging scrubs is the de rigueur,  I'm not without ambition. I bagged a Murat once too and even a Maghariba Guard with them.  Though it's not without it's faults.  These impetuous antipode types can and will die in most of these exchanges.  But both those engagements, and the many in which they die in the attempt, are memorable and fun.  And even when they're not killing they're a hell of a terrorfex largely unworthy of the attention typically.


Though my losing streak was immense and my unit choices suboptimal, I got better.  Infinity is a wonderfully balanced game that even with the triple Devil Dog list winning is usually is up to the player to utilize his force correctly.  Every choice is impactful.  There is no "auto win".

I practiced and I got better.  As my antipodes lay dead in the field; with every game I improved.  First it started with wiping my opponent's list but still losing the scenario.  Eventually I evolved to routinely making close games even with the impetuous orders clogging the roster.

I've since gone back to my Bakunin and applied the same lessons I learned with the antipodes to the Uberfall Kommandos and, quite frankly, compared to how I used to play, the Chimera and crew absolutely wreck house.

Here are some tips that I've come to use within most games that can apply to most Very Impetuous units, but Antipodes/Kommandos specifically:

Believe it or not, she not only killed this dude, but an Aquila just off camera.

1.  "The first rule of (Duroc/Antipodes/Chimera) is the (Duroc/Antipodes/Chimera) dies".  This was the first thing I had to accept.  It started with an article over at Crits Kill People and it's resonated since.  Impetuous dudes will find themselves on the other side of the board if things are going right (good).  This also means they likely aren't going to be supported by anything (bad).  Being impetuous makes them lose cover and you can very easily spend 1-3 orders trying to save them.  Do not spend orders just to save them.  If the option comes, cram them further into someones face.

Link team says, "Whaaaaa-araraggggghhh *gurgle*"

2.  "The (Duroc/Antipodes/Chimera) has only one purpose: kill".  Odds are if the unit doesn't die to AROs in the first Impetuous order, they're not going to live long after.  Find the one target you want dead and send them after it.  Make its life miserable as early as possible.  If you manage to kill something else on the way, that's great, but keep focused.  Odds are you got 1 turn worth of orders to pump into that unit.  Make it count.  Point them at something bad and hope they get there.  It's hugely situational what that is, but link teams and TAGs are good priorities that have different methods of disposal.  Generally speaking, if it costs more than the (Duroc/Antipodes/Chimera), or is the specialist that helps them when the scenario, and you can get it in the flank to occupy it- if not kill it- it's a good target.  Make those chain rifles/fangs count.

Duroc making killing some cheerleaders on the way to a Seraph.

3.  "The (Duroc/Antipodes/Chimera) is expendable.  Get shot."  It's super easy to get protective.  Do not do that.  If they will be exposed to fire, try to get the loss out of the way early on to avoid wasting orders sending something across the board only to have it dead after 5 orders are gone.  Rip that band aid off.  Counter to that though is some caution when the models are on that side of the board.  No need to lose the models to something reckless after you burned 4 orders into them.  Once you're there, take a moment and throw smoke if it will help.  Just be aware every order spent on the killing machine is another order that could have been invested elsewhere and at some point you need to put the orders down and complete the scenario.  

Pictured:  Doing something dumb because I was dumb and the Devil Dogs were more dumber and could super jump.

4.  "The (Duroc/Antipodes/Chimera) loves dark alleys.  The (Duroc/Antipodes/Chimera) hates dark alleys."  Avoiding fire lanes is important.  To this end, find a covered flank to rush them up and, ideally, position them so their first impetuous order doesn't make them super jump/climb somewhere dumb.  In many cases the (Duroc/Antipodes/Chimera) ends up as the reserved model for this expressed purpose.  I've lost units so many times because I hugged a wall that avoided LOS only to realize the first moment they had during Impetuous was going to send them jumping over it.  In the Chimera's case there is serious case to be made of using the Pupniks as a "human shield" and letting her party in the wide open in your deployment.  Cover isn't doing anything for you anyway, might as well block LOS to the Chimera if templates aren't a thing- particularly in deployment since sniper rifles will be your bane.  For everyone else, there is wisdom in remembering what your next move is and carefully planning around avoiding scaleable walls that can still offer cover.

Though tempting to act as a living mine, this Devil Dog sits for his next turn to rush the objective.

5.  "The (Duroc/Antipodes/Chimera) is a strong independent person."  In the unlikely event these murder machines got to the other side of the board and lived through the opponents turn, you might have loaded dice.  In the event that's not the case, feel free to let the impetuous and irregular orders do their thing.  Do NOT blow more regular orders into them than absolutely necessary.  They are now area denial/ target of opportunity troops.  Spend the regulars on doing the actual scenario.


6.  "The (Duroc/Antipodes/Chimera) does not sweat the small stuff."  When given the opportunity you should always try to kill instead of save the (Duroc/Antipodes/Chimera).   When an ARO is to be shot at, template him.   Your opponent will be making a lot of normal rolls and plugging the murder monster full of lead.   That said, don't go chasing down a lone combi rifle cheer leader.  You'll lose what precious wounds you have and, more likely, lose 1 or 2 orders trying to kill the mook.  If you can avoid it, don't go after the cheerleaders directly.  They're an afterthought on the way to whatever you task them to kill.  Ideally find the cheap link team and eat their faces.

Firmly across the board, Chimera and gang wait for their next moment to die.

7.  " The (Duroc/Antipodes/Chimera) loves smoke.... and dancing."  You have a phenomenal physical value.  Chuck smoke and dodge were you can.  But really this is the hardest thing to make a universal rule for.  If it's going to affect the next order, smoke is probably in order.  But really if you can get to safety and not cause an ARO on the controller, loosing a Pupnik/Antipode in a street crossing isn't the worst.  It's not unreasonable, if holding a quarter, to spend an irregular undoing whatever impetuous move you just did.

Pictured, in a list with too many Doges, these doges hang around a link team and throw ARO smoke.

8.  "The (Duroc/Antipodes/Chimera) loves wasting time."  The worst part about these units is that they are order hogs.  If you have more than one, you should have at least 3 regular orders waiting to power them across the board each.  If you have multiple, like my mentioned triple Devil Dog, then you have to get real creative mid board positioning through the end of your first turn.  In any event, it's reasonable to throw them into close combat and forget about them.  Let them CC Attack as an ARO if you're strapped for orders.  A unit stuck in CC is almost as good as a dead one.  It's not a bad way to shut down a TAG.  Just don't let the prey escape.

I hope it helps.

PS- I did eventually see Dog Soldiers after people recommending it to me for years.  It was awesome.