Infinity rules, consumed all at once, can be daunting to brand new players. This is often true for many war games. I applaud and congratulate Infinity Organizers who remove rules to streamline and simplify the game. Because with as many rules as Infinity has, it’s not difficult. It’s just different. However, as players become well versed in Infinity, it’s time to insert those rules that were overlooked back into the game. It’ll give players another dimension to their Infinity game play experience. The rules you should put back into your games we’ll look at today – Difficult Terrain.
Difficult Terrain – Why We Don’t See It Used
Before I get a flood of comments from people saying that they “ALWAYS” use difficult terrain. As I’ve traveled from store to store and state to state playing Infinity, use of difficult terrain is far from universally. And there are reasons that you don’t typically see it.
- Multitude of Movement Effects
There are three different types of difficult terrain, and 10 different types of units it can effect. Keeping track of these effects can be daunting. To illustrate the movement effects, in a well organized table, I present the table that the Infinity Wiki gurus have put together.As you can see, there’s a lot of really great information in this table, and it forces you to think about another element of your Infinity models that new players don’t typically consider. That element is whether a model is light/middle/heavy infantry, a skirmisher, etc.
- It Slows the Game Down
This is true from the fact that your TAG with 6-4 movement now has to move 3-2 and that’s if it can move at all. But the impression people have expressed about adding difficult terrain is that it increased the amount of time to play the game.
- No One Likes Hearing Their Models Got Nerfed
This is probably the #1 reason I’ve seen no one use Zero-G Impassible Terrain. In Zero-G almost nothing can move, models with Mech Deployment and Combat Jump must throw away those skills, etc.
- Difficult to Implement in a Tournament
I did not say impossible, just difficult. And there’s some difficulty, because while Difficult terrain should find it’s way back to the Infinity table, you probably don’t want to have a tournament where the difficult terrain movement chart must be referenced every round. For new players, will you discourage tournament involvement when they get rocked because they did not create a list to address the difficult terrain? Do you add and take away scenery for just the turn that has difficult terrain? Do you consider the entire table surface difficult terrain? However, if the rule is under utilized in tournaments, there will be less incentive to practice the rule.
|Where do we add Jungle/Mountain/aquatic terrain here?|
And while there are more reasons, the reasons listed above are enough to discourage players and organizers from using difficult terrain.
- Adds New Dimensions to the Game
In preparation for filming a narrative version of Campaign:Paradiso, we started playing some of the missions on “Paradiso” boards. The board had large expansive areas of jungle and mountain terrain. And it was wild. It forced me to adapt to new strategies that both my opponent was using on me as well as tactics I need to develop for my list.
- Returns Balance to Models/Sectorials
Certain models and even full sectorials are themed to be from a particular world that influences their skill selection. For those models that have terrain specialties, if you do not have some difficult terrain on the board, you are not getting the full usefulness of that unit based on its point costs. This is especially true when looking at sectorials like Acontecimento and Merovingian. But this is also true for Aleph’s Maruts TAG which also has the Multiterrain skill.
|A TAG that can move in very difficult terrain? Awesome, can we see some difficult terrain on the board?|
- Start With One Terrain Type
While there are multiple types of terrains with additional features like low visibility. When introducing difficult terrain to your group, start slow and add just one type. Also make sure the first one you add isn’t aquatic which just opens up lines of fire and forces units to trudge through it. Add hills/forest first. One provides LOF blocking, the other low visibility zones.
- Print Out or Log In
The difficult terrain movement chart that I included in this article can also be found in the online Infinity wiki. In either case make sure you have that readily available. This will help keep the game moving. Also, don’t be afraid to make adjustments to Army Lists printed out to expedite the movement considerations for the board you are playing on. As you continue to play with Difficult Terrain, it will become second nature to you.
- Let Your Opponent KnowWhether it’s a pickup game or tournament, let your opponent (or players) know that certain terrain will be added to the particular game. As players become more well versed or they are encouraged to bring “all opponents” lists that are meaningfully balanced, this may be less necessary for pickup games as you can discuss when any natural terrain feature is included how you want to use it. Next time a hill is on the board, choose to treat it like Mountain terrain. It’ll keep your model from dying from a failed climb check if nothing else.