Too Many Secrets

Highly Classified
We are all blind until we actually draw the cards, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do some planning.

Done at last.  Here is the final Twinfinity mission breakdown, Highly Classified

Mission Introduction

The mission everybody loves to hate is a great exercise in list building.  How many contingencies can you cover and still be effective?  There are 10 classified objectives and you’ll be trying to achieve 5 of them, drawn at random.  This means you’ll need a good array of Specialists.

Scoring

After shuffling, each player draws two Classifieds from the Classified deck.  After redrawing any repeated cards, these 4 missions are open information and become the Main Objectives.  A player gets 1 point for each Main Objective completed and gets 4 points for accomplishing more Mains than their opponent or 2 points for getting the same (provided your opponent has at least 1).  There is 1 secondary Classified Objective worth 2 points (this one is private information).  It is entirely possible to have an 8-8 tie on this mission.

Other Rules

Deployment is the 12 inch standard, with no exclusion zones.  Neither Baggage nor Intelcom are used, but Retreat is in play.  So don’t get caught up in killing and neglect pushing buttons because you might lose a turn.

Going First or Second

There is something to be said about both here.  Going first can let you grab the Main Classified points and concentrate on playing defensive.  Going second lets you go into the last turn, if you get one, knowing exactly what you have to do to win.

Need to Know

Of the 10 classifieds only one, Extreme Prejudice, can be done by any Troop.  One more, Sabotage, can be done by any Troop with D-charges.  The rest all require someone specific.  A Hacker or Assault Hacker can accomplish 4 (Data Scan, Telemetry, HVT: Espionage, & HVT: Designation), the other types of Hacker can accomplish 2 (Data Scan & HVT: Espionage), a Forward Observer can accomplish 2 (Telemetry & HVT: Designation), an Engineer can accomplish 2 (Test Run & HVT: Retroengineering), and a Doctor/Paramedic can accomplish 2 (Experimental Drug and HVT: Inoculation).  Your classified can be swapped out for Secure HVT (which you’ll probably need to get to anyway), but none of the primary objectives can.  So it is best to cover as many bases as possible.

Your Special Person

It’s worth noting that for 3 classifieds your Specialist need to either have the enemy HVT within their Zone of Control (not hacking area) or be in base contact.  Since the Secondary Classified  can be swapped with Secure HVT as well, the HVT is more important in this mission than any other.  If one or more of those three classifieds are Main Objectives, where you place your HVT is going have a big impact on the game.  You’ll want to place the your HVT where it won’t be easy to get to.  You’ll also want to put ARO pieces covering the approaches as best you can.

Last Picked for Kickball

Something to remember when making your list is that not all specialists are created equal. Obviously a Hacker/Assault Hacker is the most useful Specialist here, and all factions have access to at least one now, because of the Alive Crew.  A Forward Observer can be skipped if you’ve taken the hacking option, but they are pretty numerous and usually cheap, so it doesn’t hurt to take one anyway.  Engineers often have D-charges, meaning they can accomplish 3 objectives.  However, the Engineer needs units with Structure to be in your list (and your opponent has to cooperate by taking them down) so they can accomplish Test Run.  Killer/Defensive Hackers and Doctors are both pretty bare bones as Specialists go, with each being able to accomplish 2.  Paramedics should have no problem with HVT: Inoculation, but need a bit of luck to get Experimental Drug. This means they are the least useful of the group.  Taking anything less than the ability to accomplish all 10 objectives is risky.  Since each Specialist type covers at least two, a bad draw would reduce your max score to 8, and make those 4 points for having more Mains very difficult to get.  If 2 of the Main objectives are unattainable for you, then you’ll need to score yours and limit your opponent to one.  That’s definitely playing on hard mode.

Strategery

Since the Main Objectives are open information, there are some simple things you can do to make things difficult for your opponent.  Is Test Run one of the Mains?  Then you might rethink putting rounds into that 8 point Sniffer bot.  Are they going for Experimental Drug? Then double tap Unconscious Troops or use Shock ammo.  On the other hand, be aware that you are vulnerable to these same tactics.  When selecting a unit with Structure for your list, pick one that will be difficult to ignore.  Try to keep units in places where they will be behind cover if they fall unconscious.  Try to avoid letting models fall unconscious in your opponent’s lap.  3 of the Classifieds (Data Scan, Telemetry, and Extreme Prejudice) can be performed on Unconscious enemy models.  If you Rambo a unit up to their Deployment Zone and it falls you might have given them a gift.

The Power of Positive Tactics

Be careful not to prioritize denying your opponent over trying to accomplish your own objectives.  This type of negative play does not make for a particularly enjoyable game for either player and leaves little margin for error.  It is best (and more enjoyable) to try to score your own points and play defensively within that context.  Remember that you only get points for a tie on the Main Objectives if each player has at least one.  It is also worth remembering that killing is not necessary to win this mission.  So keep your priorities straight.

  1. Accomplish Classifieds
  2. Deny Classifieds to your opponent.

 

Bootylicious

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“Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re gonna get.” – Mamma Gump

Okay, we’re in the home stretch now.  The fourth  Twinfinity mission breakdown is Firefight.  Let the bodies hit the floor…

Mission introduction

Seven of the Objective Points on Firefight are for killing things.  So it’s pretty obvious what your focus should be.  Those points can only be awarded to one player, so every point for you is a loss for them.  There’s not much need for restraint here, as long as you kill more points than your opponent and keep your LT safe, victory should be yours.

Firefight

Scoring

Scoring in Firefight is at the end of the game, with 4 points going to the player who killed more Army Points, 2 Points going to the player that killed more lieutenants, and 1 Point going to the player that kills more Specialists.  Nothing is said about ties here, so a tie means neither player gets points.  These points are all or nothing and achieving these objectives also denies them to your opponent.  There is 1 point available to whoever acquired more items from the panoplies.  There are 2 Classified objectives worth 1 point each.

Other Rules

Deployment Area is larger than normal at 16 inches.  There is no Retreat, Baggage, or Intelcom in this mission.  Not only is there no exclusion zone, the entire game board is a Designated Landing Area, which means “Any trooper with the Airborne Deployment Special Skill can apply a +3 MOD to his deployment PH Roll. This MOD is cumulative with any other MOD provided by any other rule.”  It also means that the enemy Deployment Zone is no longer off limits.  For this mission, AD troops can come on the board from any table edge.  Specialists don’t get any direct bonuses related to scoring, but do get a slight buff on acquiring things from the Panoplies.  There are 3 Panoplies on the center line, 12 inches apart from each other.

Panoplies, How Do They Work?

When in contact with a Panoply, a trooper can make a WIP roll.  Pass and you can make a roll on the Booty Chart of your choice.  Each Trooper cannot use a specific Panoply more than once.  If the Trooper has the special skill Scavenger or Booty, they auto pass the WIP roll.  If the Trooper is a Specialist, they can roll twice and keep the result they like the best.  This means that The Unknown Ranger, Bandits, and Irmandinhos have profiles that get to take advantage of both of these rules, which can be fun (shopping spree!).  Panonplies also allow troopers in base contact to reload any spent ammo (Mines, Panzerfausts, Crazy Koalas), by using a short skill.

Going First or Second

Whether you go first or second on this mission is down to personal preference.  There isn’t much of a strategic advantage in doing either.

All You Need Is Kill

So, there’s these goodies in the middle of the table and there is definitely the temptation to run up and grab them.  What’s more, there is an incentive to go up with a specialist.  They can roll twice!  You have two rolls to get something game breaking!  Two things to keep in mind here.

1. With a couple of possible exceptions, the stuff on the booty table isn’t generally game breaking.

Most of this stuff is useful, but it isn’t really going to fundamentally change the game.  Particularly considering the skill set of the type of unit that is going to get to the center of the board.  There is the chance that you could grab something really good, like smoke, a motorcycle, or +4 ARM, but most of the stuff is just a nice little bonus.

2. Getting stuff out the Panoplies is not going to win you the game.  Having more loot is worth exactly 1 point.  However, if that specialist you sent up to grab stuff gets capped, you could lose the point you stood to gain, and remember, you get nothing for a tie on any of the kill related points.  If you lose a bunch of guys trying to get more stuff from the Panoplies, you could end up gaining 1 and losing 4.

That being said, the Panoplies are fun!  Imagine McMurrough on a Motorcycle, or with ARM 8, or with ODD!  So have fun, but remember that the little vending machines in the middle of the table probably won’t win you the game.

Headhunting

This is a tactic that I generally stay away from, but in this mission the LT has a price on his head.  So if your opponent is running one of the Sectorials that isn’t too bothered about being decapitated (Morats), you might get lucky and get a an easy shot on his LT.   If they are running an obvious LT, like any of the Strategos or Inspiring Leadership profiles they’ll likely be expecting you to come after them anyway.  Assassinating Specialists and Lieutenants get you (or your opponent) points, so things like Fidays and TO Camo infiltrators can be well worth taking in this mission..  I would be wary about putting too much effort into this with the rest of your list, though.  Kill points are still worth more.

Watch Your Back, Jack

AD Troops can walk on from any board edge and have a considerably better chance of making a combat jump with the +3 modifier from Designated Landing Area.  Make sure to keep your models positioned in ways that will give them AROs to any troops dropping in behind them.  Since coming in is a full order, any AD troop will have to survive an unopposed shot if a model can react.  That’s something most players will decide is not worth the risk.  Give your opponent an opening though, and you could be in for a short, unpleasant game.

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Special

It might be tempting to try to deny your opponent the single point for killing Specialists by not taking any Specialists.  I think this is a mistake.  There are 2 classifieds for the taking, so even if you secure the HVT, you’ll likely have given up a point to deny your opponent a point.   It’s also worth noting that Specialists are useful.  A doctor or engineer can bring your unconscious models back, denying those kill points to your opponent.  So while I wouldn’t take them just to loot the panoplies, I wouldn’t be afraid to take them if they fit your list.

Guerilla Radio

Antenna

Here is the third Twinfinity mission breakdown, Antenna Field.  I’ll have to admit that I am less familiar with this mission than the others, but the basic elements are similar to other missions, so Antenna Field is less difficult to sort out than the likes of Deadly Dance or Biotechvore.

Mission Introduction

Antenna Field is not going to give up 10 objective points easily.  Controlling an Antenna is difficult and the exclusion area means that Infiltrators and AD troops will be of limited use.  This mission is about maneuver and patience.  It’s worth noting that 5 of the 10 points available are in play on the last turn (possibly 6 with the classified).  That can lead to a lot of regrets.

Antenna Field

Scoring

Scoring in Antenna Field is per round, with 2 points given for having more Antennas controlled and 1 point for having the same number as your opponent (provided you have at least 1).  To control an Antenna you must be the only player with an active Troop in base contact with that Antenna.  Also, that Troop in contact has to be a Specialist (although a non-specialist Troop can deny control).  Trooper’s cannot be in a marker state when controlling an Antenna.  At the end of the game, controlling the center Antenna is worth an additional 2 points and controlling the Antenna on your opponent’s side of the table is worth an additional point.  There is 1 Classified Objective worth 1 point.

Other Rules

Deployment is the standard 12 inches.  There is an 8 inch Exclusion Zone on each side of the centerline and Troops cannot be deployed touching an Antenna.  Retreat is in play.  However, there are no specialist bonuses, no Baggage bonus, and no Intelcom.

First or Second

Going second is a serious advantage in Antenna Field.  I have a hard time, given the mission and the exclusion zones, imagining why you would ever want to go first.

Touching Base

There are five antennas and you can control them by touching one with a Specialist.  Because of the Exclusion Zone and the deployment rules, you will have to move up to the Antennas to control them.  The points available for controlling more is only 1 point more than controlling the same, so be careful about pushing so hard for the single point that you lose valuable specialists to a counterattack on the next turn.  Markers cannot control an Antenna.  Be aware though, that a Marker has 360 degree Line of Fire.  If your opponent has a Marker touching the Antenna in the bottom half of a round and you give them an ARO, they can reveal.  This will let them control the Antenna.

War of Attrition

Remember that there are 5 points available on the last turn, so you need to keep enough specialists alive to control more antennas than your opponent.  That also means that targeting opposing specialists should be a priority.  It’s fair to assume that you’ll lose at least a couple of your specialists over the course of the game, but you should try to limit the damage.  The center Antenna is worth an additional 2 points at the end of the game, so positioning yourself to take advantage of that is a good idea.  The single point for the Antenna on the edge of your opponents deployment zone should be weighed carefully, particularly if you go first.  In most cases it probably isn’t worth the trouble, but a point is a point.  You should also remember that your opponent will be eyeing the Antenna on your side as well.  Watch out for Hidden Deployed Troops and possibly AD on the last turn.

Safe and Sound

pilot
The new pilot rules make one of the more TAG friendly missions even friendlier.

Let’s do this again.  Twinfinity mission breakdown number two is Safe Area.  This mission is really straight forward, but with a little twist at the end.

Mission introduction

Nine of the ten Objective Points available here cannot be secured until the end of the game.  With Retreat in play, the strategy of trying to decimate your opponent can have a serious drawback for the over-zealous.  Slow and steady is best way to approach this, and moving up in good order without taking too many hits is the goal.

Safe Area

Scoring

Scoring in Safe Area is at the end of the game, with 5 points given for having more Sections Dominated and 3 points for having the same number as your opponent (provided you have at least 1).  To Dominate you must have more Army Points within the Section.  Trooper miniatures or markers both count toward your point totals.  1 point is also gained for each of the 4 Consoles that you control.  To control a Console you must be the only player with an active Troop in base contact with that Console.  Also, that Troop in contact has to be a Specialist (although a non-specialist Troop can deny control).  Trooper’s cannot be in a marker state when controlling a Console.  There is 1 Classified Objective worth 1 point.

Other Rules

Deployment is the standard 12 inches.  There are no specialist bonuses and no exclusion zones.  Retreat, Intelcom, and Baggage are all in play and can have a big impact on your game.

Retreat is triggered when a player has less than a quarter of his original forces (75 points without Baggage).  If a player starts his turn in Retreat the game ends at the end of his turn.  This means that a player going second, for example, might lose a turn altogether.  So if you are really tearing your opponent up, maybe you should move Specialists onto those Consoles and get your Classified.

Intelcom has an even larger effect on the game. Interference Mode doesn’t do much, as cancelling a model’s Specialist status will only take 1 point away from them.  Support and Control Mode though can easily change the outcome of the game and should be considered.  In exchange for giving up 1 Objective Point a player can “add the value of the INTELCOM Card to the total Army Points he has in the Zone of Operations (ZO) of his choosing, but only if he has at least one trooper in anon-Null state inside that ZO.”  Since going from a tie on Dominated Sections to Dominating more is a 5 point net swing in points, that can be a big deal.  This has to be declared from the start of the game, so it can’t be done at the last moment and it shouldn’t catch you by surprise.  Just make sure you don’t forget.

First or Second

Going second has an obvious advantage here as whoever goes first will likely have a hard time keeping specialists on a Console throughout their opponents entire last turn.  Going second also means you get to make the final moves before the game is scored.

Playing TAG

TAGs and Heavy Infantry are more useful for this mission than a number of others.  The rules for how Sections are Dominated mean that Immobilizing a TAG or HI with EM weaponry or hacking does not stop their points from counting.  You have to take them down to unconscious, which might be difficult if you lack actual anti-armor weapons (looking at you, Mutts).  The addition of Specialists profiles to the TAG Pilots (Remote or otherwise), means that these are great last turn objective grabbers.  The high points cost of the TAG will probably secure the Section that it’s in, and the pilot can easily grab the objective.  In fact, due to the way Mount/Dismount works, “By declaring Move, a trooper may Mount or Dismount a Motorcycle, TAG, Vehicle, etc. at the start of his Movement at no cost, the new troop profile will be applied during the whole sequence of the Order,” a pilot can actually use their TAG as cover while they dismount.  This is only really useful for the player going second, but with Specialist profiles at a premium at the end of the game, it’s a valid option.

I Like the Way You Move

Mobility is always useful, but in this particular mission it can be downright devastating.  Dog Warriors, Remotes, TAGs, Motorcycles, and any other particularly fast Troop can have a really big impact.  So can AD Troops, which can drop into a Section at the last second and turn the tide.  Remember that 5 point swing from a tie on Sections to having more?  Being able to sprint up the table at the end can leave your opponent helpless, but only if you’ve kept those speedy troops alive till the last turn.

Guessing Game

There’s a lot of guessing involved in this mission.  “Is this model in this quadrant or that one?”  “How many points is that model worth?”  “Do they have room for AD troops?”  This mission really rewards the ability to judge distances and a basic knowledge of what models your opponent has on the table.  Take a second when deploying to look for landmarks at the center line and in the middle of your Deployment Area.  You cannot measure for these during the game, so pick a couple out and maybe even write them down.  As for the knowledge of your opponent’s models, I would make sure to ask your opponents after practice games what different models cost.  Perhaps even browse Army when you have the time.  Knowing a Overdron is most likely about 60-75 points or that Asuka Kisaragi can move her 27 points 14 inches with one order is going to be a big help in closer games.

Stayin’ Alive

In every game of Infinity it is important to try to keep your models alive.  They are your order generators and they give you tactical options.  In this mission you also need to keep them alive so you can score.  The 4 points available from the Consoles are just icing.  To win you need to control Sections, at least as many as your opponent.  Although you could theoretically get a tie if you lose the Sections and win everything else, doing this means being able to place a couple of Specialists on your opponent’s half of the table.  That’s going to be difficult at best.  Don’t get too caught up on the Consoles.  Other than being aware of them, they shouldn’t get much in the way of consideration until the last turn.

Beating the Matrix

untitled
“You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.  You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” – Morpheus

With Twinfinity looming, I am going to break down the missions that Sean has given us to chew on one by one.  Why?  Because writing things down helps me think them through and I might as well share.  Here is my take on Transmission Matrix.

Mission introduction

With the arguable exception of  Biotechvore, no other mission is working against you as much as this one.  Each of your objectives counts as a friendly repeater to both sides, so to score, you have to expose your units to enemy Hackers.  Of the roughly 2,304 square inches on the board 1,004 of them are going to be your opponent’s hacking area (in addition to whatever their hackers would normally have).  That’s a lot to deal with.

Transmission Matrix

Scoring

Scoring in Transmission Matrix is per round, with 2 points given for having more Antennas Dominated and 1 point for having the same number as your opponent (provided you have at least 1).  To Dominate you must have more Army Points within 4 inches of the Antenna.  Trooper miniatures or markers both count toward your point totals.  There are 2 Classified Objectives worth 2 points each.

Other Rules

Deployment is the standard 12 inches.  There are no specialist bonuses, no Retreat, no Intelcom, and no Exclusion zones.  Baggage is in play, however.  As I mentioned above, the Antennas count as friendly repeaters for both sides.  I realize that it can be hard to wrap your head around exactly what that means, so check out this article and read about the Frenemy repeaters to help you with that. (The rest of the article is good too, and frankly, unless you’ve played this mission a lot, you could probably use all the help you can get).

First or Second

Going first is not ideal for this mission, but it’s not as bad as it is for some.  If you do go first you have to decide if you really need to gain that middle antenna.  It’s a bit of a trap.  Letting it go will probably cost you 2 points, but may set you up better for the rest of the game.  It will be very difficult to hold, as your opponent will have his entire turn (and his full order pool) to push you off.  Playing it cool and getting your classifieds on that first turn might be a better option.  Regardless, if you’ve gone hacker heavy you’ll want to take out as many visible hackers as you can on this turn and if possible, bait any marker state hackers into revealing.

Going second has its dangers as well.  Commit too much to gain those 2 first round points and you could face a devastating counterattack at the top of the  second turn.  Going second does put you in the enviable position of knowing exactly how much you need to do to gain the 2 points each round, or in the last round, to win the game.  Whether it’s worth it to choose to go second depends on the table, your opponent, and your strategy.  Giving your opponent deployment and first turn can be a risky move, as he will get to set up on his favored table edge with almost all of your models on the table.

Blue Pill or Red Pill

There are generally two approaches to this mission.  Go all in on Hacking ability (Red) or limit hacking targets (Blue).  This used to be determined largely by faction, but the Alive crew gives everybody the ability to go hacking heavy.  The benefits and drawbacks to both vary by faction.  I do think that the middle ground needs to be avoided.  Limiting hacking targets is pretty straightforward.  Make sure your hackable targets are in a marker state, hidden in the corner, or left at home.  Bringing a couple of Killer Hackers isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but someone who has gone all in will probably be able to overpower you.

Down the Rabbit-Hole

So you’ve decided to try to win the Hacking war.  How exactly, do you do this?  Well, it starts by taking some hackers.  You need to be able to do two things here.  One, beat another hacking heavy list, and two, use your hacking ability effectively against someone who has limited hackable targets.  Let’s look at how each Hacker type can help.

  • EVO Hackers (EVO):  An EVO hacker provides great buffs for your other hackable units and it can fend for itself in cyber combat.  I’m not going to go into all the ways they can be helpful. I will point out though that one of the more obscure uses for an EVO is bait.  With BTS 3, two levels of unconscious, immunity to Shock, and a decent ARO program in Brain Blast, this is the target I’m hoping you’ll try to take out.  Particularly in the active turn, it has the best chance to survive a nasty hacking ARO and still be functional with the help of an Engineer.  You need some way to draw out your opponents Killler Hackers anyway.  As a bonus for this mission, it has Baggage to help it hold down an antenna all on its own.
  • Hackers (HD and HD+):  Jack of all trade hackers are a good choice in case your opponent brings a list without much to hack.  They can buff AD troops, run Supportware, and Spotlight opponents even if they decided to go with the blue pill.  If they did go with hackers, these guys can still ARO Brain Blast and can stop Remotes and HI with Gotcha.  Hackers and EVO hackers do get U-turn which can help against Guided Munitions.  This is important because Smart Missile Launchers can be very effective in Transmission Matrix.
  • Killer Hackers (KHD):  The bogeyman (or woman) that everyone who goes hacking heavy is worried about.  The KHD programs are so lethal that even a lower WIP hacker is a threat.  It’s probably best to be cagey with them.  There’s a good chance your opponent might be trying to lure them out.  Even if they don’t find enemy hackers to kill they can still be useful.  A Cybermasked KHD is a great way to hold an Antenna
  • Assault Hackers (AD):  Somewhere in between the HD and the KHD is the Assault Hacker.  They can’t buff friendly models in any way and can only use Spotlight against models that aren’t Hackable.  However, they are a real pain to any model that is Hackable.  They can’t kill an enemy Hacker with any of their programs either.
  • White/Defensive Hackers:  To be honest I don’t know much about these.  I do know that Defensive Hackers can bounce a hacking attack back at the source, but they can only do this if they can hold their ARO.  White Hackers though, can hold their ARO against models in their Hacking Area, making Breakwater and Counterstrike a lot more useful.  Both of these types of Hacking Devices have built in Firewalls (Hacking cover), but KHDs ignore Firewalls anyway.

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