Sunday, May 26, 2024

Mission 013: Going Loud

Okay, here’s a potentially unpopular opinion piece turned into a Bromad Academy mission. I went through a reasonably long stint of playing exclusively LI across a bunch of factions. The thing I found was that I simply didn’t have the orders to “buff” units with suppressing fire, smoke + MSV2, gadget programs, etc.

These buffs definitely provide some utility, but always at a cost of spending orders or some other resource (command tokens in the case of the EVO gadget programs). As always, I want to focus on a specific topic for these missions, so we’re going to talk about Suppressive Fire.

The Mission

Ordinarily I suggest folks use a new tool, rule, or unit for Bromad Academy missions. This time, I want you to think about the why of the tool, as opposed to the “what happened” aspect. So, for this month’s mission, when you’re playing your games, think about Suppressive Fire. You don’t have to use it, but if you write in with your thoughts on the game, please write in with a justification of why (or better yet, why not) you used suppressive fire on one or more of your units.

Did it work for you? Did your opponent run into the machine gun nest and win you the game? Did you wish you had spent those precious resources differently on your turn? Was it a “had nothing better to do” sort of decision? Or was it the right call, locking down an objective and draining all of the orders?

Write in with your thoughts and observations about suppressive fire to [email protected] to get entered to win a blister of your choice! Remember, if you don’t write in, you don’t get entered! Replies on social media or anywhere else don’t count! All factions are welcome to participate, we love to hear from the entire Infinity community!

Musings on Suppression

Infinity is such a purposeful game that I find suppression is often either a mistake or should be used sparingly and in very specific situations. We can easily engineer the perfect context, but on the table rarely does this perfect storm happen.

Suppression burns the candle at both ends, so to speak. You spend orders/tokens to throw things into suppression. Generally, the point of suppression is to leave something out to contest a firelane. Which as we all know is pretty much a death sentence, so you spent an order to lose an order. Your opponent doesn’t even need a special tool like spec-fire. To make a straw man argument, all they need is a guy with a rifle outside of 24″, and they’ve almost certainly got one of those.

My observation is that many players use suppression as a cognitive load reduction tool. Yes, it creates a zone of area denial, improves your dice odds in the face to face, and your opponent (often) groans when you do it. That sounds good, but I find that more often it means you weren’t thinking into your next turn, just your opponent’s next turn.

Since you’re likely not thinking about positioning on your next turn or preserving orders, it’s sort of a mental blank moving forward. “Who knows what will happen in my opponent’s next turn, I’m just going to make things annoying and pass turn.” I think it’s like reading ahead in games like chess or go–the more experienced you are the farther you can see ahead in terms of moves.

Suppression is a tool, and like all tools can fall into the “I have hammer, all is nail” fallacy. I think that suppression is usually a sub-optimal tool for most situations, but sometimes works, so people can overuse it. In general I’d rather move things up to support an overextended unit, retreat said overextended unit, or advance a specialist with my last few orders.

It’s important to evaluate this opportunity cost. If you’re spending the order to throw something into suppression, what are you giving up? Could you have made another attempt to push a button? Put a camo specialist back into camo? Pick up someone with your doctor/engineer? Adjust your link into a better position? Retreat your TAG?

If you’re going to be blowing command tokens on models, consider the wise words of Natetehagressar:

For what it’s worth, I think the most powerful use of a command token is a coordinated move + move, that can do so much to improve game stat, and scoring potential. There are some other powerful coordinated orders such , recamo, or 4 mooks with panzerfausts shooting at something good. There plenty of awesome uses for command tokens that are not dealing with links or suppression.

I guess the big picture takeaway here is to remember that Infinity is a purposeful game. If suppression serves your short and long term needs, by all means, use it! It’s a great tool and can really make your opponent miserable. Always ask why though.

Come back mid-month for some more concrete discussion of uses of suppression, when to use it, and when not to use it!

Good hunting, Bromads!

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