To intend or not to intend? That is the gaming question creating a divide amongst Infinity players. I have the answer for you.
top photo by Michael Gatzke
Before you read this article, realize a few things. People can get sensitive when they find out that they’ve been playing a game incorrectly. This is doubly true when it’s a table top strategy game for some reason. Please take this article as a clarification starting point. Don’t give people grief if they’ve been playing it incorrectly or teaching it incorrectly. Just take this information and use it moving forward.
We are about to enter the 2016 ITS season, and I thought it would be interesting to approach a topic that seems to come up a lot. That topic is player intent vs playing the result. They represent two different ways to interpret how players may spend orders in Infinity. One method actually represents the correct way to do it. Let’s look at what each option and talk about their implications.
Challenger #1 – Intent
Playing infinity can be tough for new players. Everything is true line of sight and sometimes people do not want to slow game play down to walk around the table and look at it from the opponents side each and every time an order is spent. With using Intent, a player declares what their intent is before moving a model. Case in point, the active player may say, “For my first short skill, I’m intending on moving my kazak model up to the terrain and down as far as I can go within my first movement before exposing myself to the Ectros.”
This “intent” declaration is supposed to keep the active player from ever falling victim to overshooting the terrain and being blindsided by an ARO (Automatic Response Order), especially when it’s the second short skill of the order.
Challenger #2 – Playing the Result
Playing the result would still be declaring your skills, without giving you a “get out of jail free” card. The active player would declare a short skill (lets say movement) and then move the model. AROs are simply calculated after the fact. This is achieved only the active player using the naked eye and without the use laser pointers and other game aids to assist the avoidance of AROs. This method is similar to bowling without putting bumpers in the gutters to keep you from getting a zero score. This might sound like I’m very once sided in this debate and declaring “Intent” as the methodology for those under the age of 10. But that’s not entirely accurate.
Photo by Michael Gatzke
So what is the “right” way?
If you go out to the Infinity forums, there’s a lot of debate. I would argue that there’s a time and place for both methods. But there is actually an intended way according to Corvus Belli who run the Interplanetary Tournament. The correct way is Playing the Result.
An active player is not immune from making mistakes and having their models eat a bunch of AROs. The extreme avoidance of AROs with Intent or with the over use of game aids (like using 5 laser pointers to map out where lines of fire could exist – and yes I’ve seen this) actually breaks Infinity and hurts the game. The pinnacle of rules application is the Interplanetary Tournament. A world wide tournament which happens to be run by Corvus Belli is the logical place to determine what should be the method. However, to remove ambiguity, talking to Corvus Belli personnel at GenCon and learning that Playing the Result in conjunction with the silhouette templates was the whole thought process around Infinity Third Edition, doesn’t hurt either.
Wait, didn’t you just say there’s a reason for both methods?
Yes. When I play a game with a new player or I’m in tight confines in a gaming store, we will sometimes revert back to Intent. New players can be overwhelmed and over manage their moves when they first start out. Allowing them to give Intent can often get them in the habit of letting go of that stress and just play the game.
This might be a tighter space to play in. Photo provided by Alex Hagerman
If I’m playing against another veteran player and we don’t have room to move around, sometimes we’ll just revert back to Intent, but better games seem to come if we continue playing the result. If you haven’t tried it, give Playing the Result a try and keep the game from slowing down by spending orders quickly. Sometimes the most amazing things can happen within a greater simulation of the chaos of war.
If you go to a tournament and someone starts playing Intent…. call them out on it. Just play the game. I know it can be frustrating when a simple mistake like model placement can cost you a game. I can only offer one bit of advice, you are moving toys around a board not performing brain surgery. It’ll be okay.
Photo by Oren Dotan
What are your thoughts on the matter? This was the news, the skinny, and the DiRT for Intended vs Play the Results. I’m hoping people are taking this as informative and fun. I have a few more rules that get questioned with the actual answers. As always, you can reach me in the comments below, on my Facebook page, or YouTube Channel.