In the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on terrain for Infinity, but I haven’t had a chance to photograph it yet. In the mean time, here’s a thought I had:
Judging from what I’ve seen, many Infinity players plan their purchases and design their lists based on what would be allowable in an official Infinity Tournament System event. I can definitely see the logic behind this: if you are planning on playing a game against people you’ve never played before, it helps to all be on the same page. And if you’re playing in an official event then there’s no choice anyway – you must conform.
If those are the sorts of games you are going to be playing, it makes sense to play as many games as you can with officially sanctioned lists so that you avoid practicing poorly. After all, perfect practice makes perfect, and what’s the point of being extremely adept with your mercenary company when there are some (perhaps many) games from which it will be excluded?
Infinity though is written as a very versatile game in terms of what sorts of teams you can assemble, so long as you limit limitations. It’s sometimes pointed out that one of the strengths of the game is that it can easily offer a “lite role-playing” experience. The Campaign Paradiso book really brings this out. So far the main player base, for whatever reason, does not seem to have taken it in this direction.
I’m not a particularly conservative person, in gaming or in general. Many wargamers are quite conservative however. They will err on the side of restriction and rule-following rather than exploration and freedom. Thus a lot of the potential of Infinity in terms of narrative, campaigning, creative modelling and role-playing goes to waste. If only there were a way to allow conservative players to explore all the possibilities of the game without leaving their comfort zone…
Maybe there is. It’s surprising to me that no-one has suggested this before, but how about an Infinity mercs tournament? This would be a sanctioned ITS event that allowed only mercenary companies. All opportunities for thematic modeling, experimental list design and whatever else could be exploited. I see no reason why such a tournament couldn’t be official, adding to the player’s rankings. The balance issue is not mercs themselves, it is mercs in contest with standard lists.
In my experience players who are truly interested in building thematic collections are unlikely to be too upset if they lose games, and players whose temperaments run toward experimenting with lists and play-styles to perfect their game would love the freedom to build a truly devastating mercenary company and match wits with other like-minded players.
The mercs tournament would really allow players with widely disparate approaches to enjoy a sanctioned event together. Of course there are many other ways to play Infinity, as I mentioned above, and I think more is always better than less when it comes to choice in games.
Till next time,