OK, I've had enough of Infamy & Deployment!

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Waterhorse
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OK, I've had enough of Infamy & Deployment!

Post by Waterhorse »

Right, this is me and Infamy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mv0onXhyLlE

Infamy has failed the "25 Mile Rule" and yet again, we have had a non game, due to one sides failure to Deploy onto the table.

I have played with the same people for nigh on 30 years, the various venues have always been 5-6 miles from where I live, for which I have always considered myself extremely lucky. However, we have long had an acid test for new rules, once given a fair trial. Would you play them every week if you had to travel 25 Miles and back to do it?

To quote Neville, "I have tell you now that no such undertaking has been received" (Why does that sound like Brexit?)

Now we are all up for a bit of friction, a bit of uncertainty, no point in playing Lard games if your not, but we have been learning and playing Infamy from July and it may be incredibly bad luck, or maybe I have pissed off Fortuna in some manner but the noticeable lack of Romans on the table, is no longer funny.

Too many games have failed due a shortage of deployment activation on one side, versus rapid acquisition of Leader Cards on the other, not to treat this as a flaw. Rapid movement of Chariots and more recently Gaul Noble Cavalry to key points long before any Romans appear, or can get moving, sealing the deal and turning things into "Who wants to play a game of how long before the Romans die?"

Frankly, I have had it! With less units to start with (and hence less Leader cards) if you miss the boat early on, by the time you get to act, its already too late. This happened with Cards and now is happening with Poker Chips.

All games have luck but not all players and for me the way initial Deployment works is a joke. Thanks to Tempus continually popping up, once more the Barbarians were fully Deployed and on the move, when the Romans still had none of their combat infantry on table and were right on top of them by the time they did.

I don't mind losing but I am sick of being a spectator!

From the next game, as far as we are concerned, every unit on both sides, will be regarded as either in, or making a deployment move from, their Zone or Deployment points. Infamy can be fun but you do rather have to have a chance to actually play it! :evil:

Neil Todd
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Re: OK, I've had enough of Infamy & Deployment!

Post by Neil Todd »

Its got to be bad luck. I have played both sides and have seen a couple of one sided deployments but the game has still often gone down to the wire. The only game I have played that appeared completely stuffed was a limes tower one where the Barbarians pretty much could deploy in contact with the tower and the Romans had a log way to go. So that was scenario generation and set up not deployment

Waterhorse
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Re: OK, I've had enough of Infamy & Deployment!

Post by Waterhorse »

Hi Neil,
Yes, luck has something to do with it, although I doubt the Barbarians I play against see it as bad! Although in fairness, the novelty has worn off for them as well.

Luck itself is not the only issue, the rules have a part to play as well. In most of our games at the start we have perhaps 4 – 5 Barbarian Leader Cards/Chips and 3 – 4 Roman ones, plus Tempus Fugit in the deck. So, for arguments sake call it 9 items in total.

If we were playing Sharp Practice where the Flags/Signa Cards are in play from the start that would rise to 17. Giving us a 1 in 9 chance of pulling a Tempus Fugit, verses a 1 in 17 chance of pulling a Tiffin (the Sharp Practice equivalent) right out of the box.

These change of course, with every Leader card (Infamy) or Leader/Flag card (Sharp Practice) drawn but statistically its more likely in Infamy. Importantly, if neither side feels the need, nor has the opportunity, to play one or more of their starting six Signa’s it can stay that way for a number of turns of the wheel.

Then we have what happens when the Leader card comes out.

First time round, you Deploy from your Zone and/or your Deployment Points. If you are the Barbarians playing at home you start with seven of these 1 Zone and 6 Points. Of course, you may lose a Couple of these DPs to Scouting but the Romans only get their Zone plus 2 Deployment Points anyway, so who cares.

Now if you don’t go mad with Ambushing you will still have four places to Deploy from of your own choosing and as you never have to reveal your original intentions, you can pour your entire force out of any of them, or combinations thereof, in any way, at any time a suitable Leader Card pops up!

Hence, any delay in Romans getting on the table is going to hurt them, as you can send off an appropriate force to attack the Limes Tower (or whatever) and another to block the Romans. Its not like you don’t know where they are coming from, is it?

Also, as you are on the table and they are not, you get to use your six Signa cards to Step Out, even if does risk a bit of straggling and the need to juggle the use of a couple of Cards to order a To Me! Action but with a quick turnaround of Cards, you will very likely get them back before it becomes crucial.

Of course, this also slightly changes the odds on Tempus Fugit happening and Romans getting on the table but omelettes/eggs and all that so, no matter and with any luck (that word again) you will have good table position by then anyway.

Finally, yes Scenario/Terrain Generation will make things better or worse but just to say the game that got me turning into Basil Faulty was the aforementioned Limes Tower and my Deployment Zone was the table edge adjacent to the square it was in!

Ben Dover
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Re: OK, I've had enough of Infamy & Deployment!

Post by Ben Dover »

I too have had outcomes where the roman get steam rolled by the barbarians. In contrast the barbarians have never been steam rolled

However, I don't think this is totally down to the rules being bad. I think decisions made by players and good rule knowledge helps a lot.

For example, in the beginning, my roman player never aggressive attacked. Instead kept spending one card for one dice when attacked. I will admit you need to activate you're leader to aggressive attack so if the card you want doesn't turn up then tough luck.

Also, he never used the warlords ability. Being able to add up to three more dice is more significant for the romans as they are less likely to suffer wounds presuming you're in heavy armour. If you're in testudo or square formation it could boost your dice so that it is divisible by 4, meaning you get the attack dice.

In contrast, there are a few things that seem unbalanced from my experience:

1.)Foot Auxillia are rubbish. They cost 19 points, +1 if you want supra numarian for 20 points
For the barbarians, you can get a whopping 20 tribal levy with a level 2 leader for 20 points. In a 2v1 fight ,par other factors, the romans get 10 dice (presuming fighting in the open) vs 14. Even if it's 1v1 and support that's still 11 dice.
I will admit that having too many levy and skirmisher will lower your force moral roll by -2, where as the auxillaries contribute +1 for more warriors than skirms.

2.)The Optio's special rule seems weak. It's rarely used and I'd rather have 2 more dice when attacking. You can get good value out of it if you use it on legionary recruits as taking shock off costs 2 commands for them. I do like the idea but it's meh.


Personally, I don't think there's much wrong with the deployment. I like the mind game that there is nothing at the start, but the quantity vs quality balance is a bit off. As mentioned, the tribal levy are 0.7 points per man vs 2.4 points per auxillia, so each auxillia needs to kill off 3-4 levy before he dies just to break even. I haven't taken their more tactical edge into account as they can move faster in skirmish order and step out with one signa. That's mainly down to my doctrine to war is more 'gung ho' than strategic master mind thus not strictly a criticism of the rules. Now it could be that we are just bad at playing the romans as Rich does win as the romans in his 'we play a game' video.

I agree that getting streaks of the same colour can significantly sway the chances of winning in one players favor ... usually the barbarians as they get more streaks.

If you really wanted, there's nothing stopping you from changing the points around. Having the levy to 10 points thus 1 point per man could be a start?

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Baldie
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Re: OK, I've had enough of Infamy & Deployment!

Post by Baldie »

Oddly in our group the Roman's are way ahead.
More games we play it is evening out but the Romans are proving why they ruled the bits of the world they thought worthwhile.

We seem to think the British/Gaul types are harder to learn maybe they will start to get better as we learn how to use them.
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Neil Todd
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Re: OK, I've had enough of Infamy & Deployment!

Post by Neil Todd »

As I said above apart from the scenario set up game that pretty much made a no contest game I have yet to experience a complete write off game due to deployment. I have experienced it in CoC but very rarely, when it has happened there we just reroll the mission and patrol phase and start again. If it was to happen in Infamy I suspect I would just reset and play a new game.

I am enjoying Infamy and regularly drive more than 25 miles to play it. That said there are a couple of people at the club who tried it but gave it up for different reasons than the deployment one.

As for Romans V Barbarian discussions I have played with both and enjoy the Romans more.

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Baldie
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Re: OK, I've had enough of Infamy & Deployment!

Post by Baldie »

I def enjoy the Roman's more though this is based more on the fact I picked up a chums painted army whilst I have a huge box of unwashed and unpainted barbarian types.
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Waterhorse
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Re: OK, I've had enough of Infamy & Deployment!

Post by Waterhorse »

As I have said in another post, part of the "problem" is that no matter how much you test rules when you sell them to a large number of people (and Congratulations to Rich for the Rules Award BTW) more and more variables will come into play than you can possibly have time to test. That's really true of Infamy where there are a lot of rules with a lot of parts and given the variations of Deployment, terrain and scenarios, a lot of circumstances to test these against.

Just for the avoidance of doubt, I don't think Infamy are "bad rules" overall but some of the frustrations can grind you down.

The points system has a number of holes, as mentioned. Although, I do think its hard to get the Romans to be value for money. Its certainly not the first set of rules I have come across where there has been a conflict between representing what Roman troops were capable of and the danger of getting swamped by cheaper opponents numbers when trying to balance this out.

I would agree the Optio rule is not really worth the trouble, or at least I have never found occasion to use it.

As to
I don't think there's much wrong with the deployment.
and
I agree that getting streaks of the same colour can significantly sway the chances of winning in one players favor ... usually the barbarians as they get more streaks.
there's a bit of a contradiction in those two remarks. Its those "streaks" that cause the problem with Deployment!

On the matter of "writing off" individual games I think its not unfair to say that the tipping point can sometimes be a matter of personal taste. In that last game and bearing in mind my force came on piece meal, due to the lack of Leader cards. I could have waited until everyone was present in the Deployment Zone/Points before moving but I tried to buy some time with the Cavalry, which got smashed (dice rolls are dice rolls). If I had stood still the Limes Tower would have already been under attack and the Main Force would have been pinned in its Deployment anyway.

At the point of abandoning things the four Roman Infantry (less one Group of archers) who had moved out were confronted with two Noble Infantry to their front and two Noble Cavalry plus one Tribal Cavalry coming round the flank and rear in one or two turns time. As the Limes Tower was in the square next to this sorry scene, the three Warriors and one Trible level attacking it could easily have joined in the fun later.

That's when we wrote it off. Life being two short to indulge in buckets of dice just to see the Romans driven off. Actually, although it may have been two close to call for all of them, the four could probably made it to their Deployment Point and vanished in a puff of smoke regardless but we considered that a waste of time to playout also.

The real key is that all present agreed that there was little or nothing, the Romans could have done to change all this.

We have given the matter some more thought now and rather than just say everyone is present in their Deployment from the off, we are going to try having a Leader and his Groups come on at Tempus Fugit, if not already activated, by paying two Signa Cards to do so. Which we feel is more in the spirit of the rules.

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Captain Reid
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Re: OK, I've had enough of Infamy & Deployment!

Post by Captain Reid »

I've used the Optio's rule a fair number of times (I used it twice in one game, which allowed me to snatch an unlikely win), and seen other people use it too.

I also don't think the auxilia are bad value at 19 points, I think it's more that they are often a poor support choice as they eat up a lot of support points. 4 x auxilia and 2 x auxiliary cavalry is pretty decent on the table though in my experience.

I do agree though that the points system is imperfect, and I think in Infamy that may be exacerbated as it tries to be more granular than that of Sharp Practice, and I'm not sure it quite comes off.
try having a Leader and his Groups come on at Tempus Fugit, if not already activated, by paying two Signa Cards to do so. Which we feel is more in the spirit of the rules.
I'd agree that fits much better with the rules than mandatory deployment but I'd say perhaps better would be the SP system where you may spend three cards to bring on a Leader and his command, but you must do so before the turn's end. Certainly two signa after Tempus seems cheap to me, especially as - unlike in SP - you actually know you have the cards available.
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Waterhorse
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Re: OK, I've had enough of Infamy & Deployment!

Post by Waterhorse »

Ha! Knew there was something in SP! Haven't played it for over a year and I don't own a copy so I couldn't check. Yes three cards before turns end would do the job. Although doing it in that fashion will no doubt mean they get played right away but I guess its the same for both sides.

On points, the auxilia are a problem as a support choice but on those occasions where you only have 25 points worth, so is pretty much else as far as the Romans are concerned, when coupled with the "only one unit per type" rule.

Overall, you are right about the granularity, particularly when coupled with some of the Characteristics.

Why is "Impetuous" limited to once a game? You either are you are not! Change the name or something. We are in fact changing the rule, so that you can use it through out the game but only when you are attacking, not if you are attacked.

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