Infinity – Intent vs Playing the Result-The DiRT

Dirt

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.

12308735_10153790066829508_6464756381645777037_nPhoto 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.

WP_20151121_15_20_06_ProThis 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.

12301628_10205629676290353_1937980576386430596_nPhoto 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.

 

  • greenskin

    Infinity looks and sounds amazing. I wish I had the time and spare $ to jump into it. Not even sure if it’s played in my neck of the woods.

    • Tor Swanson

      The models you need to start Infinity don’t cost that much, Some factions you can get a complete list for less than $100, and start for much less. The money and time it takes to accumulate enough terrain for Infinity is a totally different story

      • shadow_fox

        A simple and cost effective of infinity terrain is the mototronica scenery packs. While simplictic and boxy it is an incredibly useful set to purchase for new players. I believe it also comes in the operation icestorm boxset. Each set costs as little as between £5 – £10 depending on where you pick them up from.

        • Andrew

          Not to mention giving your board a little variety with some other papercraft stuff you can find online, a lot of it totally free.

          • cudgel

            Great Point !

          • Andrew

            What’s weird is that dudes I’ve played with knock the paper stuff, but they play on unpainted MDF and even worse. How does that look better?

          • cudgel

            They are probably just trying to justify the money they spent.

    • WellSpokenMan

      If you have $100 and the time to paint 10 models, then you can fit Infinity in. The rules are available as a free PDF and there is an updated Army builder on their site (with links to a rules wiki in case you need to know what “mimetism” or some such does). Pick a faction and a starter set, ad another box of something cool (like a TAG or some heavy infantry), and bam you should be near 300 points.
      The scenery doesn’t need to be that hard either. Tupperware, Paper towel centers, packing foam, and check boxes have all spent time on my table.

      • greenskin

        Very encouraging, actually! Thank you 🙂

    • Shawn

      I’ve played a few demo games at my local game store and local conventions and had fun. Unfortunately, but it just never picked up steam around here. It’s a pretty cool game and the combat with orders is kind of neat. Like you I don’t have the spare money for half-a-dozen different hobbies/games.

  • WellSpokenMan

    Playing the Result makes for a much tenser and enjoyable game, imo. Unless I am playing with a youngster or someone brand new, I will always use the Results method.

    • Sorry, if i wanted to play with people nit-picking over mistakenly putting a model 1/32″ out of where I thought they were safely out of LOS from what I could see… I’d go back to playing 40k.

      • WellSpokenMan

        I would confirm LoF from whatever model you ask about, I’m just not interested in taking over the responsibility for guiding your models across the table. As I said in other comments on this post, both sides are assuming the worst of the other (in classic 40k fashion). This was my first comment on the matter, before I got a better feel for where the intent crowd was coming from. So if you want to bust out the snark cannon (also in classic 40k fashion), fire away, but you’re just sniping at a Holoecho, because I’ve moved on.

  • NeonPhoenix

    “If you go to a tournament and someone starts playing Intent…. call them out on it. ” … NO just plain no, this is infinity, not a h-core 40k d-baggery. let it go have fun. playing intent is widely accepted as far as i’ve played (wayy back in the early days – i started at the release of N2). seriously don’t bring this hyper competitive crap into this great game. it’s game with line of sight, things WILL be all sorts of gray and not black and white all the time. playing the result was implemented as a time saving measurement, so you didn’t get the 50 “takes backs” a turn. if you seriously want to win by being a dick about “well sorry duh hur, we have to play this result even though you clearly expressed your intent, now youze dead i win”. for shame, good sir, for shame.

    • Brandon Anders

      Playing the Result seems more consistent with the rest of the game’s design (such as declaring a BS Attack before measuring range). And if CB themselves said that’s how it’s supposed to be played, I’m not sure calling someone a dick for wanting to play that way is fair. The author even went so far as to specify multiple times that Intent is acceptable under several circumstances, too.

      Now, someone who acts fine with it one way one turn when it suits them, then turns around and tries to play it the other way to gain an advantage would be a different thing entirely.

    • WellSpokenMan

      As long as both sides have the ground rules down ahead of time, I don’t see an issue. If you know there are no “take backs,” then you don’t push quite as close to that corner. I play the game the way I find it more entertaining, so in my opinion, the guy constantly trying to wring out every little advantage by eliminating the consequences would seem to be the “dick.”

      • NeonPhoenix

        the 5 laser pointer dude problem is a direct consequence in my opinion, of play “the result” that guy is specifically checking every angle 5 ways to sunday, because of the punitive nature of the “the result”. i’ve run many Tournaments in my area, intent eliminates the 5 laser pointer guy, day in and day out. he’s not going to spend time eliminating every consequence of possibility, if you relax, and accept that intent works and it goes both ways. the game is more relaxed and fluid as it’s meant to be, as opposed to tense and argumentative. one day prehaps you find winning through a punitive “as the result” method, is just as unsatisfying as losing as a result of it. take moment to always consider the human element in table top games and you will never go wrong.

        • cudgel

          Wouldn’t it make more sense to just time turns. I am not sure if that is logistically possible but it seems like a player that knows they have a limited time wouldn’t waste time with such things.

          • Severius_Tolluck

            I can get behind that, I am guilty of taking forever fearing every little move I make will result in me dying on my own turn.

        • WellSpokenMan

          It sounds like your gaming environment is fairly toxic. Tense should not equal argumentative. Most of the people like that where I live still play 40k. I think people can take advantage of both methods in annoying ways. If someone isn’t going to be “that guy,” then I prefer Results. Odds are though, he’ll still find a way to be “that guy,” no matter how you play.

          • Severius_Tolluck

            That’s true enough. Just the game is brutal at times, at least in second and first eds. If I do anything there was always a chance I would die, be it performing medic moves, spots, shooting. If it ever became an aro most likely I was going down. Or if I have a heavy mg, and I fire on someone 9/10 times I will hit all four times, and 9/10 times he will crit or at least beat mine. Chalk it up to dice rolling + curses

          • cudgel

            Medics kill….

          • Severius_Tolluck

            LOL oh they so do. I am almost afraid to heal my own guys, Luckily I play Haqq and they have some of the better medics. Including one that has armor 3, regen, etc.

    • Richard Mitchell

      I would say intent and then if they move their model and you think the intent is there ask them before or after they move. Keep the game a conversation about the action rather than a poker game. If the conversation is both ways everyone is going to have a good time. This goes for ANY game, I do this with Warmachine and it keeps the game competitive but fun. “Oh okay so you’re moving your models over here to avoid…”, “Ya, whatever, what a minute are you sure? I was trying to avoid line of sight”. “Oh okay, ya that is why I brought it up, maybe you can move him here…etc. etc.” My rule of thumb, I want to beat my opponents with everyone knowing the rules and what is going on in the game. Not because I rule ambushed them. At the end of the game everyone is a better player and person.

  • cudgel

    Playing intent never made sense to me (past teaching of course). The whole point of infinity to me is how dangerous it is. Its all about tense decisions, its hard to have those when you can just ask “Are you going to shoot me if I move there?”

  • Dawson Zornes

    Excellent thoughts, thank you so much for posting a proper article about this topic. Playing the results is in fact the more gentlemanly and exciting way to play. Playing intent ultimately creates sloppy habits, and rewards unsportsmanlike behavior.

    • cudgel

      I am just pleased as punch that we got an Infinity article that isn’t just about model releases. More of this Please BoLs!

    • Rob Bent

      I could not disagree more not playing with intent rewards unsportsmanlike behavior. The whole idea behind intent is you can play a game with sportsmanship so you are not having to have 3+ hour rounds while people open buildings again and again and walk around the table again and again to check LOS or where someone has their figs. not playing this way I think is much more unsportsman like where playing within a time frame.

      • WellSpokenMan

        So, would I be able to declare whatever I want and it would be your responsibility to tell me if you are going to use an ARO in response? This sounds like WAAC nonsense. If someone takes 3 hours to take an Infinity turn, then that person needs to have a beer and chill the heck out.

        • Rob Bent

          Its not my responsibility to tell you if I am going to ARO or how I would ARO, however LOS is open information so it is my responsibility to tell you what could ARO you that is on the table. It is sportsmanship then to relay this information in such a manner so that when I say, I am moving out so only that first trooper of yours can see me and not the second you can tell me where that point would be and I am not having to run around the table to get the best angle on a table filled with terrain. What you do with your AROs or anyone hiding off the board in TO cammo is up to you once the final position is set with LOS agreed by both players. That what intent is really for to stop LOS arguments after a move but to have them agreed during the decleration of the order and not have a fight over it after.

          • WellSpokenMan

            I said this in response to someone else, and I think Ash summed it up pretty well. I think we are talking past each other here. I am not going to withhold any info if you ask. I’m not going to make you check my models LoF yourself. I don’t think this as black and white as it sounds at first. Intent is still part of the game, even if we are playing Results. Also, I’m assuming that if I was wording my intent in a way that removed me of responsibility for my moves you would call me on it. People arguing for both sides are probably imagining the worst. The truth is we all probably play with a little bit of both.

          • doremicom

            WellspokenMan, absolutely Well Spoken.

      • Dawson Zornes

        Your mileage may vary, but I have seen in my meta and heard in many others the frustrations that are born from “What if I do this? No, then, I’ll do this instead. Nope, actually this. Nope―this actually. Okay.” I am not a fan of tournaments though I would trust TOs to do what they think is best, but even in friendly games I find a brisk pace and a commitment to declarations to be the best way to play.

        Chess is very clear about committing to your moves, and while it’s “harsh”, it really does force your hand to be more tactical. See: handwriting a letter versus typing a letter. If you type it out, you always have that BACKSPACE button staring at you to undo and tweak and retweak your entries. But if you write in pen, you’re going to think before you write, which naturally leads to more thoughtful words.

        Your friends may be more friendly in than the players in my meta, but playing by intent inherently enables abuse.

        • Rob Bent

          One playing with intent is meant to do one thing establish line of sight. On a chess board you can also clearly see where things could or could not move to that is not always the case in a game of infinity. That what playing with intent is meant to clear up.

          If you like playing with a brisk pace then you should like intent even more because it is meant to speed up the game in determining who can see what where.

          The player not wanting to make a move or checking 3 different LOS when playing with intent, or taking back moves as you said, most likely is not going to play faster with out it. In fact he will more than likely take 3 times as long as he checks everything himself without your help.

          Playing with intent is meant to do one thing more than anything else confirm LOS and posible ARO’s with both players so the board can play more like a chess board where both players know they are looking at the same thing.

          Just like on a chess board a player may mover several pieces around the board to get a better look before removing his hand from one and thus declaring a move. Intent is meant to do the same thing establish with both players who could ARO before the first part of the order is set and the player ask for your AROs. Once AROs are being declared their should not be a back button as both players should know everyone that could ARO.

  • thebouv

    Every video battle report I’ve watched, and every podcast I’ve listened to has always, ALWAYS emphasized how this is a game where you declare intent. That it is intrinsic to the gameplay.

    To hear this call for “playing the result” is completely strange to me and breaks how I think the game works.

    • Severius_Tolluck

      that may have changed with third ed, i have seen people switching to that and just living with the consequences, like forty k and fantasy did with guess weapons. However you are right, it seems peior in older editions we always played with intent, that being said there still was a chance of screwing up if you did not pay close enough attention. There was no checking lines of fire until we stated our intent and made or moves and then we would verify if thoughts were correct or not.. I haven’t played much third, could be to be more concise and to speed the game up.

      • thebouv

        I’ve only ever consumed N3 content. Maybe if the producers of said content started in N2 and it was different, but specifically it has been mentioned on MayaCast (OFTEN mentioned) and Personal Flashpaper.

        I want to say intent has even been discussed by Carlos from CB in his N3 video bat reps with Beasts of War. I’ll search and try to see.

        • confoo22

          I remember him discussing that too, I think it was in the demo game where he played the new USAriadna started against PanO starter.

        • Severius_Tolluck

          I believe you and watching carols play against ben they certainly playing with intent. Carlos was fairly funny to watch playing and how he would keep mentioning how valuable his models were based on their sexyness.. funny but can be off putting or offensive to some.

          • cudgel

            It certainly explains some of the models….

        • NeonPhoenix

          was my thoughts as well. i pretty sure tom and kip even back in the days of battelfoam’s 0-12 (the pre-mayacast podcast) start-up, Intent was endorsed and communicated, as far back then.

      • quaade

        You have to state what you want to do with your order and if you mess up you have to live with the result 🙂

    • doremicom

      Having made Infinity batreps, it’s really difficult to do. Games span many hours that would normally take 50 minutes. Intent gets used a lot here, as I recommended in the article for teaching purposes. I think I might have to write another article about this next week where I clarify more about what I mean by stopping ARO nerfing.

  • confoo22

    LoF is open information, therefore, if your opponent asks you if your model has LoF to a certain point on the table, you’r obligated to tell them if you do. If your opponent doesn’t ask then you’re not obligated to inform, but otherwise you are. Declaring intent is simply short form so you don’t have to be, can your model see this spot? Ok, how about this spot? Ok, here then?

    Also, can someone please cite where Corvus Belli stated that Playing the Result is the official way? From what I understand, a major goal of N3 was to reduce “Aha moments” where you spring surprise AROs on your opponent.

    • doremicom

      N3 was set to reduce the times that a model was inable to defend itself. But I think people confuse Aha Moments with nerfing the reactive players ability to defend themselves.

    • cudgel

      I just checked the wiki and it basicaly says this ^

      http://wiki.infinitythegame.com/en/Open_and_Private_Information

    • WellSpokenMan

      I think the article is making a harder line of this than normally exists. People adapt to whichever way they play. I would hope that someone isn’t going to just say that they are going to cross an open area and then take it back when they get shot, but that’s what intent sounds like to me. On the flip side, if some one is creeping around a corner and the Silhouette shows a small corner peeking out, I’m not going to make a big deal of it. Which is probably how people are perceiving results.

      • confoo22

        Well, if you’ve already done the move without declaring intent or asking if a model has a fire lane, I would not let you take it back in a tournament setting. A friendly game, whatever, but not in a tourney.

  • Rob Bent

    “If you go to a tournament and someone starts playing Intent…. call them out on it.” YA no this is just plain wrong it is more vital than ever to play with intent at a tournament. One I would say this is the way the game was intended to be played. And Covis has said so before despite your I talked to them at gen con. Secondly if you want to play the without intent in a tournament the problem will be time. You may only literally get one turn in by the time both players take all the time they need setting up. walk around the 20′ long table again and again to see where things are. and only have about an hour and 45 min to get the game finished. You will never finish the game and more than that your hurting everyone at the event by making everyone take so long. Playing with intent is not meant to avoid AROS and things like that as much as it is meant to help speed up play. If you want to play Gotcha infinity great play it with your friends that way and take 3 hours to play a game. Leave the rest of us out of it. So remember if someone is not playing with intent at a tournament teach them how they should be playing the game with intent to help speed thing up and make things more enjoyable for most people.

  • euansmith

    It looks like UPS have been leaving peoples packages in a secure location again.

    • Severius_Tolluck

      would that be a dumpster or at an unattended doorstop, without ever knocking. I always find mysterious notes on my door when i was sitting in the room waiting for them. Ninjas the lot of them.

  • Guerrilla Miniature Games (Ash

    Intent is in the rules. You need to declare your intent during the resolution step. It was put there to try to smooth out the ‘Aha’ that existed in previous intentions.

    People aren’t perfect though, and explaining intent doesn’t alter reality. That’s why Silhouettes were introduced. We usually place the Marker at the intended destination then check AROs. At this stage you are playing the result, because regardless of what I say my intent is, I’m not omniscient and may have missed something.

    That’s the part where you play the result.

    These two things together are order resolution in infinity. They aren’t mutually exclusive.

    The INTENT is that the game is played quickly and amicably, the RESULT is a that by doing both and communicating well both players have a good game.

    • cudgel

      Best Infinity Battle Reports on the web are by this guy, Ash rules !

      He does lots of other games too !

    • confoo22

      Maybe I’m reading this wrong, but it sounds like you don’t play by intent at all other than declaration. Your second paragraph sounds like your philosophy is, “Declare your intent all you want, but your result is going to be all that matters.”

      Example: If say “I’m going to declare my second move short skill up to this corner, but I’m going to stop while I’m still outside of your LoF.” Under your philosophy You say ok, let me make my move then say, “Oh, well you intended to stop but it looks like you went just a little too far, so now I get an uncontested ARO.” That’s totally a “gotcha” moment and is not the way to have an amicable game.

      In fact, according to official Infinity rules wiki, you’re actually obligated to tell me that your LoF would disrupt my order if I ask. However, asking “Can you see me now?” over and over until I get to a point where you can’t would slow the game down, so it’s simply easier for you to say “You hit my LoF when you come to this spot,” so that I can complete my move as intended and we can get on with the game.

      • Guerrilla Miniature Games (Ash

        No, I’m not. What I’m saying is that declaring your intent doesn’t mean that you can do the impossible. Simply saying ‘I expose myself only enough to see X’ doesn’t mean that it’s possible to do so.

        Likewise, not declaring intent at all and simply moving models can lead to wasted time, arguments and is frankly, poor communication in general.

        What I’m saying is that these things aren’t binary. They’re BOTH an important part of order declaration but that neither exists without the other.

        • confoo22

          Ah, see, now I’m glad I lead with “maybe I’m reading this wrong,” because I totally was. I agree that you can’t say “I’m only intending to see this one model,” and then ignore that or do a take back if a second one pops up that you weren’t aware of. Sorry about the confusion, my bad. I no read good.

        • doremicom

          The slippey slope of intent has really gotten out of hand at my area where people talk about approaching a well bunkered 5 man link team, and their intent is to move up just enough to only be in line of sight of one of those opponents.

          • thebouv

            Once you get to “well, because of Geometry, I can split the pie like this” then I shake the opponent’s hand and go find someone else to play.

            Yep, even in a tournament.

      • doremicom

        not sure how it disrupts your order. the wiki page was actually talking about orders that could be disrupted, like a model using cautious movement or camo being reapplied. you can’t be disrupted by being shot at.

        • confoo22

          ah, thought shooting was part of disrupt. My bad on that one as well. Think I’ll just cut my losses here and stop commenting, lol.

          • doremicom

            Confoo, never stop commenting. I like making sure that I’m addressing concerns.

  • Gavin Bateman

    You gotta play with intent. This game needs players to play together.

    • nurglitch

      Pretty much all games need players to play together, particularly competitive games.

      • Gavin Bateman

        I totally agree. But infinity in particular to speed it up intent is important. If you say my intent is to crawl this model up to the edge the building and only being in lof of the tag. Instead of having to keep moving and walking to the other side wasting time. You can move until.your opponent says yep you are good there. Infinity isnt about those gotcha moments where you nail someone there for peaking out slightly too far. Its about nailing them with a TO hacker that pops out of nowhere to nail their tag

  • Alessandro Azzone

    what about checking the rulebook?

    “GAMING ETIQUETTE

    Checking all possible Lines of Fire for all figures and Markers

    on the table can be cumbersome. It is perfectly acceptable

    for a player to ask their opponent whether existing Lines of

    Fire could disrupt the declaration of a given Order before

    declaring it. Players are expected to share this Open Information

    in a truthful and sportsmanlike manner. Honesty

    and fair play are conducive to a better gaming atmosphere,

    and all players benefit from that.”

  • Certs

    Way it’s been played here for years, both at the LGS and for the tournaments at the NOVA Open which CB’s rules writer was a guest for:

    Both players openly share mini/marker locations and LoF. Player A decides to move a trooper, Player B alerts him to what AROs would be triggered, if desired Player A readjusts trooper to an agreeable position before finalizing movement, Player B then declares any AROs still triggered from those previously described (plus any appearing from hidden deployment).

    It’s a courtesy thing. Nothing wrong with a Player A who decides to always stick with his initial movement regardless, but discord usually crops up when a Player B wants to skip straight to declaring AROs without confirming Player’s A movement was fully informed first.

    • Certs

      Should also add, when I’m player A at least, as a return courtesy, I then help Player B work out what all the possible modifiers would be for his AROs and my potential second action. Helping to make sure that his ARO declaration was also an informed decision.

  • Rob

    The problem with playing the result is that you are using models as a result and cannot reflect that in an actual life the person your model represents would be slowly walking down the alley peering to ensure they remained in cover.