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Infiltrate is a problem for scenario/mission design and board setup


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So I can't help but feel the book mission/scenarios really missed the boat with not limiting infiltrate in any way. 

 

So I want to make it clear, my issue is not with infiltrate itself as a concept or rule, my issue is the lack of limitations on how many detachment can do it in a mass battle game. A few units doing it probably is fine, half an army doing it, can get very egregious, especially in the context of progressive scoring. 

 

Some people may not realize how easy it is to access infiltrate, for starter solar auxillia have formation that allows its infantry to infiltrate. Currently army construction is very open, there aren't really any limits on how many formations one can field. Raven guard are in a similar situation. 

 

 

My issue is, whether designing a mission or mission packet for an event or just coming up with a cool fluffy story based scenario, infiltrate smothers the hell out of it. Not just mission/scenario design but board design as well or hell even needing transports. What good is it setting up a cool river down the center of the board with 3 bridges as choke points if both sides just start at each other's necks or one side claims it all at the start of the game? Why build cool rocky outcrops and choke points and difficult terrain to create interesting tactical situations when players don't even have to contend with any of it can and just deploy in no man's land on objectives? Why play or even follow someone else's campaign if the story every time is "solar aux/raven guard hid under some blankets and popped out to reveal themselves, real cheeky".

 

 

 

So how to limit infiltrate without feeling too punitive, I'm not entirely sure. My thought is to start simply by limiting the overall number of detachments that can infiltrate to 3 and see how that goes. That may ultimately control or alter very little and require adjusting, especially considering its per side. The answer may ultimately be indexing how many units can infiltrate to the points levels being played. 

 

 

Other solutions I've heard is instead of infiltrate, giving those units forward deployment instead. I myself prefer just a limit as it can be tuned to point level, I don't want to change too much. 

 

Similarly, I think whether someone is playing book missions with progressive scoring or their own missions with end game scoring, the problems of too much being able to infiltrate are sorta there for everyone to have to contend with. It may plague every game, it might not come up at all, but I dislike that it's out there. Things like outflank and deep strike are very strong in LI, but they're not as top loaded as infiltrate. 

 

 

 

 

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You could use an event rule where Infiltrate is limited to certain places on the board. For example in Epic: Armageddon players can garrison suitable detachments forwards on their own table half outside of their deployment zone if they are within 15 cm (6") of an objective marker. Done this way, if you want to plan terrain layouts a bit in advance, you can at least mitigate the number of optimal places to deploy those infiltrators.

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It's not about limiting the places as that's a bit of a catch 22/too specific. It's just about capping something that entire armies could do otherwise. Even if capped at 3 for example I'm concerned it doesn't ultimately do much if both sides infiltrate 3 detachments anyway, so not quite sure what the solution is past a detachment limit for infiltrate. I'm almost considering just saying infiltrate = forward deployment period. 

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I think the intention may have been for the Legion Ability to apply to a single formation because I think the idea was also to promote soup; so you'd have an infiltrating raven guard formation backed up by an accurate IF formation, with jinking white scars supporting you etc.

 

It's very much half a game though, hopefully the next expansion will actually expand the system. 

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33 minutes ago, Valkyrion said:

I think the intention may have been for the Legion Ability to apply to a single formation because I think the idea was also to promote soup; so you'd have an infiltrating raven guard formation backed up by an accurate IF formation, with jinking white scars supporting you etc.

 

It's very much half a game though, hopefully the next expansion will actually expand the system. 

 

That's something else we'd have to limit in addition to capping formations to probably 4. Most people here don't like the prospect of super friends lists, so thought is 2nd legion comes out of 30% allies. I sorta don't want everyone's flyer formation to conveniently be white scars imo. 

 

Even if the infiltrate only applied for a single formation it wouldn't limit very much unfortunately. I'm already concerned that capping at 3 detachments infiltrating already sorta feels like it doesn't limit much. 

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I think valkyrion is right that there were some rather large assumptions by the people writing the rules. The only thing that makes sense to me is that due to the 0 restrictions on access to infiltrate, the balancing thoughts were "why don't you tech in some of your own" and "also maybe take some space Wolves to push them out of charge range of your deployment zone". The game doesn't really seem written under the assumption that people will build mono legion when presented with an 8th Ed 40k soup option. Unfortunately, the people that tend to like 30k really like big armies of their chosen faction, so everyone just thinks in terms of Raven Guard vs Ultramarines or whatever. There's no other way to explain the unlimited formations, unlimited marine mixing, and near formation-wide infiltrate that comes from RG, AL and Pioneer. 

 

Narrative missions, ya, they can easily break the structure of the mission/board.

 

Progressive scoring too; starting from turn 1 allows a lot of infiltrating to get on the objectives and position very easily to reinforce the points and maintain the lead.

 

But this also isn't anything new in GW games. We've had a lot of potential for infiltrating for a very long time in 40k, and the missions largely balanced this by being end game scoring and player placed objectives. The first means infiltrators don't have snowball potential; the second means you can put the objectives in really terrible spots for your opponent and prevents castling. And I don't mean stuff like 3x 10 pathfinders for eldar; i mean like alpha legion 3.5, marines being able to buy it on all their units with in 4th with the right chapter trait, master of ambush as a warlord trait in 7th giving it to 3 infantry units of choice, raven guard and alpha legion in 30k stock before going into the special units/special characters that handed it out. Pickup games and tournaments never crumbled under the pressure of mass infiltrate in the past under the pre-8th objective/scoring stuff, even when you could slingshot a charge out of it pre 7th. 

 

Why take transports when infiltrate is available? Well, they protect you from getting charged, and you can just drive out of engagement if they dont get a full wrap. They protect you from getting bombed out by rapiers, as the 30" 2 shot 4+ -1 barrage is deadly to infantry, but Light makes vehicles immune to it. They also act as a slingshot for units to get places; lurking a backfield rhino unit to march+disembark+march it's unit onto an objective late game is a valid tactic to score in end game, as is Master tactician flipping the march or whatever into a charge. You trade initial board control for protection and the ability to react as the game goes on. In progressive scoring, transports can also act as more unit strength to prevent a flip if they're backing up the infantry on the objective (though of course, infiltrate is way better in progressive as well). Honestly, transports are more important the more there's infiltrate, not less. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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So pulling number out of my ass, max two detachments per side may infiltrate. 

 

I don't think the 40k stuff is relevant tournament wise because we all know what those boards looked like with the homogenization. It's still a problem as the game scales up to 3000 points and beyond, but also just a problem not even with terribly fluffy missions, just purely mechanically why make a mission with a river and 3 bridges trying out the river and bridges rules if again infiltrate isn't least contained. So imagine that as the context, you're reading 6 objectives, player placed but still 2 2 2 I'd say, like 2 have to be deployment 2 no man's 2 other deployment ect. And imagine only 2 detachment max can infiltrate. No one is entirely locked out if they're willing to take solar aux allie formation, or marines can take another legion in this context but it takes the allie slot. 

 

2 still means potentially 4 units overall mixing it up, but you're not drowning no man's land in units and making the bridges as choke points less relevant. 

 

 

 

Side note but possible sugar to help with what some may perceive as the bitter pill of being limited on infiltrate, I do think I'd like to add a normal reserve option for a scenario/mission. Something like half of your detachments rounding up not including flyers or detachments in flyers can remain in reserve. They can come on starting turn two, if a detachment waits until turn 3 it may outflank, like others stuff they need to be on by 4 or are destroyed ect. I also worry that that may be too much access to outflank, at least it costing them missing two turns, but it too could be liability to the scenario vis a vis chock points/river/bridges ect. Could see it also still being limited in some way. Thoughts? 

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Ya I didn't even mean infiltrate in any post 8th edition context for 40k; I meant like, classic 3rd-early 6th and all of 30k. We know what it looked like in non narrative play and know whether it caused some sort of mass imbalance with end game and player placed, which it didn't.

 

For a narrative mission based with a specific board layout to suit, ya totally limit mechanics that will undermine the point of the mission and board. But for just generic pickup games? Like let's say you limit infiltrate and make that river board; what happens if your opponent has a whack of terminators to just circumvent the choke points as well, or flying transports? We know the detachment slots don't really limit anything, so it's only model accessibility that puts a limit there. What about outflank from the alpha legion? You easily bypass those center-board choke points and can get 3 outflanking detachments per formation. And realistically, what about forward deploy? It's your favoured replacement for infiltrate, but it can still result in that same infantry unit way up the field and past the bridge on turn 1 if in a rhino; forward deploy 9", march 18", disembark 2". Add in a deployment zone of 8" and that's 37" before the infantry unit has even been activated. 

 

The only thing i don't think you can recreate through some transport/forward deployment trick is getting tanks up the field as far as you can turn 1 (and able to shoot) when infiltrating them with AL. It sucks to say, but terrain is very easily trivialized if you decide you don't want to spend a few turns moving around it. The more people round out their collections the more apparent thisll probably be with air forces. 

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 Fundamental shifts in mechanics just mean you are playing a different game. For your home brew scenarios you do you but for general use removal of core powers you don't like using seems like you just want to support your play style at the expense of someone else's. The game is designed to play fast and lots of stuff can zoom around the map in a variety of ways.  Bridges and choke points may only really apply to the units that don't have deployment and movement shenanigans. That's the game for better or for worse. Infiltration is a feature not a problem.

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"core powers you don't like using seems like you just want to support your play style at the expense of someone else's. " That's certainly not it, I want boards and terrain to actually matter, which it won't otherwise. This affects campaigns fluff missions and more traditional wargame style missions ability to even exist. I'd argue its not just unlimited infiltrate that does that, unlimited outflank/deep strike can have similar problems, but they're less top loaded. I want a game that isn't over by turn 2, and its soon to add drop pods. I want to avoid everything that made 30k worse. 

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That is interesting if GW did envisage players using superfriend lists, and would also certainly explain the disparity in how effective some of the Legion traits are.

 

I suspect you'll see a level of self moderation within gaming groups if infiltrate is that effective (and in fact Crablezworth you aren't the only person saying this from what I have read in the social media groups); no-one wants a boring game or it to be over before dice are rolled, so we'll probably see some limitations in that case. And also we'll see restrictions coming into tournaments and the like.

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46 minutes ago, Pacific81 said:

That is interesting if GW did envisage players using superfriend lists, and would also certainly explain the disparity in how effective some of the Legion traits are.

 

I suspect you'll see a level of self moderation within gaming groups if infiltrate is that effective (and in fact Crablezworth you aren't the only person saying this from what I have read in the social media groups); no-one wants a boring game or it to be over before dice are rolled, so we'll probably see some limitations in that case. And also we'll see restrictions coming into tournaments and the like.

 

Yup. Epic scale games should allow for proper movement, usage of transports that actually matters and so on, as befits the combined arms nature of the whole ordeal. Trivialising the ability to mush deployment lines so close together that this actually interesting part of the game is de-emphasised takes away from the game, so reining that in will probably be on the radar of both any more competetively-minded event organisers like Crablez as well as for the narratively minded garagehammerers, who don't want to see that every game either.

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3 hours ago, Crablezworth said:

Here's an example, it doesn't to much to stop units that have outflank or deepstrike but it's attempting to make a mission that isn't top loaded. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’ve got some sympathy with you, @Crablezworth. There are some narrative games where infiltrate really doesn’t help the story and it’s worth limiting. But I’d be careful not to overdo it. Think about your board above with no infiltrate, outflank, flyer or other crafty tricks to get over that river. It would be a very boring scrum on the bridges. “Choke points” sound cool, but aren’t always fun in the game.

 

When I read the LI rules I was worried the rivers were too extreme, so I can see there is a big incentive to get across them for free. The alternative might be to tone them down and give the ordinary units more of a chance.

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It's a bit like playing whack-a-mole but if people could imagine a permissive system for outflank/deepstrike/infiltrate/forward deployment ect where if a mission like doesn't have that keyword or has it with a number in brackets indicating max amount of detachments able to do it, it would at least help with more narrative style missions. Sorta just getting people used to being told no. Even if all of those were for whatever reason disallowed for that scenario it wouldn't prevent solar aux or marines from taking planes, and we have just seen the previewed 8 plastic arvus box. 

 

I think people may even protest to being told maximum 4 formations, so who knows. The scenarios in the book are built for speed and large point levels, they don't always feel right at lower point levels so plenty of wiggle room for different amounts of objectives ect. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Rather than limiting by number of detachments, it might work limiting by number of formations. A single Alpha Legion or Raven Guard formation isn't all that many units, and would feel less limiting for those who are hoping to play those Legions for thematic reasons.

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33 minutes ago, Scealfada said:

Rather than limiting by number of detachments, it might work limiting by number of formations. A single Alpha Legion or Raven Guard formation isn't all that many units, and would feel less limiting for those who are hoping to play those Legions for thematic reasons.

 

I'd much rather limit the total number of detachments that can infiltrate and tell the rest they get outflank if put in reserve tbh. It's much less destructive than like 5+ detachments on both sides infilitrating. The reality is with solar aux having pioneer company which allows all the infantry to infiltrate, without the mission limiting anything that itself will become feel a common counter play to other armies infiltrating anyway. It's a bit of a race to the bottom in that the counter to a lot of infilitrate is having a lot yourself and it's rather inexpensive even just as an allied force to take pioneer company. 

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