Saturday, 25 February 2017

Teaching N3 - Small Steps. Cautious Movement if you Will.

My crusade to bring Infinity to the masses continues. An open invitation to members of the club lead to my Infinity chum Nathan and myself hosting 6 Infinity newbies. I had brought along three tables worth of terrain (including my new Japanese layout) and a selection of figures for those who didn't have any of their own. Let the teaching beginning.

Above: Setting up terrain before we begin.

A quick check around the group indicated, that some had never played, and the others had very limited experience. I started with the basics (see my checklist below), and made sure everyone understood each stage before we moved on to the next. We had three hours on club night (and I needed a little time at the beginning to set up, and to pack away, at the end), so I halved the time between teaching and playing.

The teaching went well (the players asked lots of questions - always a good sign). Appreciating the limited time I did set some ground rules and explained what areas we were not going to cover in our first bash:

- You are not going to learn this game in an evening.

- Be nice and helpful to your opponent. 

- State your intention before you move/activate a model to clarify exactly what that model is going to do. e.g. 'My model is going to move to the edge of this wall, remaining in cover to get line of fire to enemy model X, but to stay out of line of fire to enemy model Y. (I promise you, doing it this way avoids confusion/trouble later on).

- But if you, as the active player, miss that you opponent has an ARO, it would not be in the spirit of the game to retract your decision, once you have declared your intention and moved your model e.g. 

Player A, 'My guy is going to move the first half of his order across this street'. 
Player B, 'My model is going to shot your model in ARO'. 
Player A, 'Wait a minute. I didn't see him there, I am not going to do that......'

- the active player should only declare their models first action and await the inactive player to declare their AROs before declaring their second action.

- Due to our time constraints we are not going to be covering:

- Close combat.
- Link teams
- Hacking
- Specialists
- Command tokens
- HVTs
- Missions/Classified objectives
(I'll stop now. This could be a very long list!)

For this introductory session I did set myself a couple of objectives:

- Teach the basic rules.
- Provide a varied selection of tables to show off how good a game can look.
- Everyone must get to roll dice and play at least one game.

Above: Overseerer Nathan keeping his beady eye on the initial and tentative moves in game one. The participants, from left to right, Dave C, Michael (his first time at the club), Stephen, Alex, Richard, Nathan and Lee.

Above: All change. Game two, and everyone gets a new opponent and plays on a different table.

Above: More of the game two action. 

Above: And again.

The basics (this is not a definitive list, and I am sure, as we went along, I covered things in a different order). 

1. Troop profiles (Move, BS, WIP, PH, ARM, W).
2. Line of fire
3. Silhouettes
4. Order structure
5. Face to face dice rolls
6. Ballistic weapon profiles
7. Modifiers
8. AROs (Automatic Reaction Orders) - in line of fire or within Zone of control. anytime during an active model's activation. BS vs BS happens at the point the most beneficial for each player. Dodging. Shooting at a model carrying out a skill. One shot in ARO. 
9. Critical hits. 
10. Armour saves (need to roll above your target number).
11. Guts Roll
12. Special ammunition. E.g. Double Action, AP.
13. Order pools. Calculating at the beginning of a turn (Regular, irregular, and lieutenant) 
14. Effect of loss of Lieutenant. (So that the guys could play to the bitter end of their practice games I didn't cover retreat). 
15. Starting a game. Turn order or table sides/deployment order. Only 3 Game turns.

Having passed on some of the basics, we braved the waters of a game. We had 6 players and three tables. Excellent. I paired the players off and Nathan and I wandered around as they played, checking all was well, as they dipped their toes into a battle.

Some players had their own figures and others borrowed mine. I quickly came up with a plan:

- They all took 5 figures, one of which they secretly nominated as their lieutenant.
- Each figure had the same stats, Move 4-4, Ballistic Skill 12, Physic 12, Will Power 10, 1 Armour.
- Each figure was armed with a Combi Rifle, Burst 3 (Burst 1 in ARO), Damage 13, which had a +3 modifier up to a range of 16 inches.

For game two we swapped players around, each played someone new and played on a different table. We also introduced a few more rules:

- The Lieutenant gained an extra wound, plus a second Combi Rifle (Burst 4 in the active turn and Burst 2 in ARO).
- The Combi Rifle range modifier changed - Any shot over 16 inches had a -3 modifier. 

It was during the second game that I came up against my only tricky moment of the evening. Dave C is a very able wargamer, but unfortunately, his dice were all askew for game two (brilliant armour rolls, when you need low numbers for shooting, and visa versa). This can be a real pain, and very discouraging for a newbie, when you are trying to keep someone's enthusiasm for the game. All you can do is explain that sometimes the dice are naughty, and to look forward to the next game. If I run another evening like this, I would make that point at the start when discussing the dice mechanics.

Otherwise I was really pleased how the evening went. Everyone was very eager to learn and the tables looked great. I must thank everyone taking part, especially Nathan for being my able assistant, and Michael, for not only learning a new game, but that it was also his first ever trip to the club.

Keep having wargaming fun you all.


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