28 Aug 2012

Tuesday Table Top Fun - Infinity Spec Ops Fears

I’ve finally got the fancy bases my Japanese Sectoral Army (JSA) so my fully painted units will finaly get completed and I’ll be a happy guy. So far my JSA are my only finished Infinity models and my Bakunin are still being gathered and getting ready to be painted.

With the long awaited release of the 3rd Infinity book I’m going to talk about some of the pitfalls and advantages of the new rules.

Spec Ops is a new campaign rule set that allows you to create a character from your faction, equip them the way you desire and upgrade them through a campaign allowing them to become a powerful model in their own right.

Games need to be slightly imbalanced. Watch the Extra Credits episode ‘Perfect Imbalance’ Season 4, Episode 22. With that aside building a game that can withstand the weight of player ingenuity is hard. Unless the game is designed to be completely free and stay imbalanced such as the upcoming game Dishonoured by Bethesda where players are given freedom and part of the fun is the finding out the various uses and combinations of the abilities given. When you start adding in other players you need to find that perfect imbalance as described in the linked video above.

Dungeons and Dragons 3.0 or Third Edition was a huge success. But the faults in the game engine, the mechanics of how things are done were quickly exploited as Wizards of the Coast released more supplements and rules. The new material outweighed the previous material and the game changed. With all the freedom the players broke the game at their whim. D&D 3.5 was a radical and much needed upgrade and this time the release of new material were much more balanced and slower in release. The changes to the core game mechanics were able to handle a larger stress. It took twice as long before players once more were able to break the game. As of now, Piazo’s Pathfinder game is the best iteration and has yet to falter under any of the new material it’s produced.

Games Workshop gave huge freedoms to build the army you wanted and to be able to customize it a deeper level then most current games. In comparison, Warmachine/Hordes allows you a single Unit Attachment and a Weapon Attachment to fix sized units, normally around 6 to 10 members, leader included. Infinity has a more complex army building mechanic but it provides limited variations of models with specific load outs at different costs. In Warhammer 40k, you’re no lonely choosing the number of models per unit but you’re also selecting in many cases the individual equipment and ability load out for each member of the unit. That’s a lot of choices and 40k is considered to be an imbalanced game that favours the newest army and broken combinations over strategy and tactics.

I’m both worried and excited about this new Spec Ops. I’m looking forward to playing the provided campaign upgrading my force with army abilities and creating my own personal soldier. I’m looking at creating a personal unit that will allow me to try out a slew of new tactical idea and take advantage of buckets of options in play. I see it being used for homebrew campaigns or even some tournaments.

I also see it putting a lot of stress on the game mechanics. I see players looking to abuse the rules to create super characters that will drastically imbalance the game. I see possibilities of gameplay suffering.

Yet the people who play Infinity are less wanker-ish. I see them simply accepting the new rule set in specific instances and taking it well. This game your soldiers will die. It’s fast brutal and very active. Models fall all the time and games are won many times after a force has been tabled by the leftovers and remnants of another players force.

Spec Ops looks good. The idea is looks sound and I want to try it out. Infinity does a good job, they’ve earned the trust to see what happens next.