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C1, Is Sniper vs Sniper the only viable option?

Discussion in 'Rules' started by Lawson, Sep 8, 2020.

  1. Lawson

    Lawson Well-Known Member

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    Having played a number of games, a few against real opponents, and good number as solo exercises (up to 25 points so far), the biggest issue I see with C1 is the tendency for the board state to stagnate due to snipers, with both sides finding themselves trading blows at range, from cover, with units that frequently have low odds of hitting one-another (obviously since most of my games have been against myself, I acknowledge that I may have a blind spot for how to play around this) - the first figure that gets a lucky shot takes out the opponent’s “sniper” piece, at which point the board becomes temporarily ‘unstuck’ for the winner of this exchange. The only alternative is to provoke easy AROs whilst advancing troops in-between points of cover or rely on a few Camouflaged and/or Infiltration units of your own to do the heavy lifting… but the majority of a team will still be locked down until the threat is eliminated.

    As I’ve mentioned before in the forums, as a Noob I’ve sought out the N3 rules/wiki in a handful of situations to help me better understand the C1 rules, including the reasons behind some of them, and the ways in which they’ve simplified the existing ruleset for better or worse. There are a few things I’ve realized in doing this that I think are directly related to the tendency towards stagnation, which relates to the lack of options for dealing with ensconced enemy units like snipers.

    So picture this: PanO vs YuJing (since I'm playing with Kaldstrom and Beyond Kaldstrom currently) - a Hundun Ambush Unit is up on a platform and behind partial cover with a Sniper Rifle or Marksman Rifle - they start the game camouflaged - so they can either pop out of camo and hit you with a -9BS modifier in their active turn (-3 cover, -3 mimetism, -3 surprise attack), likely forcing you to dodge instead, or ARO at their discretion with a minimum of -6BS to you (possibly more if you are firing from outside an ideal range band). If they are up on a tall platform, it may be possible to cover a significant swath of the board, even if there is a lot of terrain… so what do you do? Your best bet seems to be to go up against it with a similarly specced unit, like a LOCUST with a marksman rifle (and mimetism -6) or a NISSES with a sniper rifle (and Mimetism -3 and MSV2). Sniper-on-Sniper until one of them is dead. Add another sniper-style unit on each side and then you’ve got a situation where even attacking one of the opponent’s snipers might result in two ARO’s directed your way, meaning using the sniper figures on the active turn may not be ideal - so both pairs of snipers sort-of camp and try and get ARO attacks in on anyone else who dares move into their line of fire, causing the game to bog down. Maybe another one of your troops has an HMG or something else that can put out a high volume of fire to go after one of the snipers at long range, but it seems to me that a ranged engagement is pretty-much your only option, since a lot of the Infinity rules that would have normally given you some other options are not present in C1.

    I’ve previously suggested that the “Guts” roll helps C1, because it provides a chance of forcing an enemy sniper to ‘duck down’ even if your attack doesn’t kill them. This gives you a much better chance of being able to push the rest of your forces forward and get them into better tactical positions. Without the Guts Check, you essentially need to hope for a kill shot before you can activate the rest of your figures, unless you want to either risk rushing them forward out of cover and giving the opponent easy AROs, or just playing with your own infiltration/mimetism units in enemy territory and hoping they don’t get outnumbered and trapped.

    If you’re prudent in N3, perhaps you could sneak guys forward using a Cautious Move. Obviously its not ideal but it’s possible if you want to avoid drawing AROs. Oops, Cautious Move is not a thing in C1, so that’s not a good way to get your guys past their sniper either.

    Obviously we know that direct template weapons like Flamethrowers are good for, say, hitting a unit with mimetism and in cover, since it denies the bonuses, but that still leaves the issue of getting a figure with a flamethrower close enough to pull off an attack… and then of course the figure needs to be able to Discover the camouflaged unit first, since another thing that doesn’t exist in C1 is Intuitive Attacks. It doesn’t mean that it’s IMPOSSIBLE to infiltrate a unit into enemy territory, sneak up on camouflaged figure, Discover them, AND hit them with a template weapon (all while the rest of your squad hangs back and waits) - it’s just that much harder to do so without the ability to Intuitive Attack if your target chooses to remain in camouflage.

    You might be able to hit the sniper with speculative fire in N3 if you had a grenade launcher or something similar. While this doesn’t allow you shoot them while they are in their camouflaged state, it does at least allow you to take pot-shots at them from behind full cover without provoking AROs if they are not camouflaged. The -6 you’d be getting to your BS is no worse than what you’d get dealing with their mimetism and partial cover either. But again, C1 doesn’t have speculative fire.

    Finally, in N3, you could just take a risk and quickly advance multiple figures by performing a Coordinated Order. Sure one of them might get shot down, but since the sniper only gets a single ARO, the other 3 would potentially move to a more advantageous position. In C1, you’d have no choice but to push guys one-at-a-time and provoke a potentially deadly ARO for each one.

    So essentially, in C1, you have very few options for what to do, and it seems like the most feasible choice is to burn a lot of orders trading blows until a sniper goes down (hopefully the opponent’s sniper and not yours) and the board state breaks open so your other units can actually function. It’s certainly not a complete disaster to play this way, and, yes, some units, including those with mimetism, forward deployment or infiltration, parachutist, or others that can find full cover along their movement path, may get where they are going unmolested. - it just feels like too many of the options for actually dealing with sniper-style units have been removed from the game, and thus, your ability to be successful hinges to a large degree on a sniper face-off and which one dies first. Many of my games (again, admittedly solo and trying to play competitively against myself) have hinged on which sniper goes down first.

    Also I say all of this out of love because its a game system I'm quickly becoming obsessed with - so I'm not trying to be overly critical... just understand it better. I’ve been having fun with it, and I realize it is a tough choice to create a game in C1 that’s simultaneously a simplification of the Infinity rules but still IS the Infinity rules and not a fully new game system. It seems especially difficult to untangle, considering how many of Infinity’s rules overlap and connect to other rules. Coordinated orders, for example, requires Command Points, so unless you change the way the coordinated order works overall in a way that would conflict with upcoming N4 potentially, CodeOne can’t include them. I do also think that a lot of the N3 rules were too complicated for what they actually seem to do in-game (purely speculation on my part based on reading many rulebooks for various games over the years) so I do appreciate a lot of the simplifications that C1 seems to bring to the table.

    Anyway, are there any other thoughts on how to deal with a snipe-off? Or is it essentially just what I've already suggested (a sniper or two of your own, and hope you're sneaky enough to avoid AROs)?

    P.S.
    I have spent a lot of time trying to wrap my head around what/who C1 is FOR. Is it meant to me, or am I supposed to WANT to jump up to N4? The C1 rules are still more complex on their face than many other miniatures games, but in some ways they feel intentionally incomplete (note the mentions of the circular template in the rulebook, and its inclusion in the Kaldstrom game box, despite no actual usage in C1). It’s weird for a game to involve so much rules overhead and still feel like the tactical options are limited. However, the current N3 rules that I’ve gathered from reading the forums and wiki and N3 rulebook still seem very daunting - not that they’d be impossible to learn… it’s just that their complexity is such that I’d have to intentionally forget the rules to a handful of other games to free up the brain-space to hold onto them. Is the idea that everyone who plays C1 will eventually graduate to N4 or will C1 have its own meta, tournaments, and following? It seems to me that for a lot of Infinity players, C1 is just a sneak-peek for N4 and not something they plan to actually play. I know I’m rambling at this point. Thoughts?
     
  2. nazroth

    nazroth 'well known Nomad agitator'

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    Bursts is king. In active if you see a sniper posed for ARO try taking it out with high burst weapon in good range bands (HMG, or Spitfire or similar). Best if you're Camo and in Cover yourself. I advise not to try taking out enemy sniper with own sniper - low burst will turn it into a high risk situation. If enemy sniper is Camo, you move your hit piece into view and wait for aro - he shoots, you take it out full burst. He pass, you try to discover. Anyway - Snipe-off is bad. Rolling four dice against one is the way to go ;)
     
  3. Vocenoctum

    Vocenoctum Well-Known Member

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    I'd think part of the problem would be making sure that when setting up the board, you don't have some position that can control the objectives, let alone the entire board.

    Past that, sneaking up inside a range band via camo or combat jump in active turn, or yeah posing your active 4 dice vs their reactive 1.
     
  4. colbrook

    colbrook Grenade Delivery Specialist

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    Burst.

    An active Kappa or Fusilier HMG will cause a wound against a Hundun sniper ARO over 40% of the time, if you use something more competent like a KoJ Spitfire or Gamma HMG then the Hundun is in real trouble.

    Skirmishers are also a real danger, able to use Camouflage to Move-Move into the Sniper's 0-16 range, or even lay a Mine if you can get to within 9" and out of LoF.

    Terrain placement is a big deal too, you should always have your tallest terrain in the centre of the board IMO, and try to avoid too many sight lanes from DZ to DZ.
     
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  5. Lawson

    Lawson Well-Known Member

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    Yes, essentially I've found that, especially if there are multiple snipers on the board, the snipers themselves are not ideal at engaging each-other because its a crapshoot of who will win and they prefer to take ARO shots (though I do include Marksman rifles in the list of Snipers, which have an active burst of at least 3, and not just explicitly Sniper Rifles... but I get your point)

    In my armies as currently built I do roll with an ORC troop HMG on the PanO side (and sometimes KoJ Spitfire). I've also found that on the YuJing side the recently acquired YE MAO w/ AP Spitfire and MSV1 seems like a good sniper hunter as well. I guess the core of the original question/issue is that going after the snipers FIRST before doing anything else usually seems like the only option because they can completely lock down the board otherwise without the additional tools from N3 that allow you deal with them in other ways. Also maybe I've just had bad luck on first active-turn strikes against a sniper nests backfiring and causing me to lose my high value HMG and Spitfire-toting units which are costing me precious SWC... whereas I feel more like I can rationalize the risk of losing a LI with a marksman rifle early if things don't turn out in my favor. Maybe I'll give the high burst weapons another chance, or at least attach one to a cheaper unit like a Fusilier, so it feels like less of a loss if they die.
     
  6. Lawson

    Lawson Well-Known Member

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    EDIT: I forgot about SMOKE as well, which obviously helps hide advancing troops in N3 but is another thing not in C1. Thank you to the several people have pointed out that high Burst weapons can be useful against snipers (and obviously good terrain placement). I think my EXISTENTIAL issue remains, though, which is that it seems like the way of interacting with snipers in C1 is limited to going toe-to-toe with them and trying to win in a direct shootout before doing much else. In that sense, snipers are essentially a delaying tactic to slow an opponent down and force them to burn orders, which perhaps is the point (?) But with all the other options in full Infinity, is the best choice still usually to sic a high-burst figure on the sniper - or is that just the result of the limited choices in C1?
     
    #6 Lawson, Sep 8, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
  7. miguelbarbo84

    miguelbarbo84 Well-Known Member

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    Basically, yes, Burst is king also in N3 and probably N4. Of course, best when adding your own MODs/negating your enemy's.

    This is because its generally less order-intensive than many of the other options you mentioned, except maybe smoke which can be tossed "for free" by means impetuous orders.

    Then you'll have more niche solutions like impersonators or infiltrated skirmishers...
     
  8. ijw

    ijw Ian Wood aka the Wargaming Trader. Rules & Wiki
    Infinity Rules Staff Warcor

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    Could you post a photo of one of your table layouts? It’s possible that you’re running a bit light on terrain if snipers are dominating the games that much.

    Also, basic Infiltrators can do a reasonable job if they can get within 16 to put the Sniper on +0 range MODs.
     
  9. Sedral

    Sedral Jīnshān Task Force Officier

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    It's the point yes. Once you have a bit of experience you realize that very few AROs can hold their own against proper active turn firepower: A swiss guard or Kriza Borac HMG will just shred almost anything that stands against it, and fireteams can bring in even more absurds numbers. You might sometimes win games because your missile launcher or sniper got a streak of good luck, but the most likely scenario is that your ARO unit will get obliterated in very few orders and will merely be a speed bump... but that's okay, because it still burns orders.

    At least that's the theory. For many players though, this is a dealbreaker, and they'd rather give up the board and focus on close range defense, unless they have access to very, very cheap and disposable units (one of the reason why the lowly 3pts warcor with his flaspulse is often considered the best ARO unit in the game, though it might change with new 15-troop limit in N4).
     
  10. helsbecter

    helsbecter Ultrademocratic subSenator, #dominion Module

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    Most of your counterplay is missing from C1, so I'd say what's left is to:
    A. batter them down with your elite HI backed up by doctors, and
    B. sneak cheap infiltrators into combi range.

    A is better - you'll have natural order efficiency because you don't need to spend any time moving into position.

    I'd also check the rooftop levels of your boards. If they're all about the same height you'll have sniper problems since they will own the rooftop level. You're gonna have the best time if you have like 4 different height levels for folks to sit on. This is a sensitive issue in the regular game and I can only imagine it's worse in C1
     
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  11. Lawson

    Lawson Well-Known Member

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    This is representative of what I'm working with... IMG_5391 3.jpg IMG_2923.jpg

    A couple of different setups of the same terrain. It includes the minimal amount of terrain in the C1 box, along with a Battle Systems terrain set, as well as some sci fi containers and walls that I've built previously.

    I have found better luck based on grouping the two story bits of terrain in the center of the map more recently (no photos of that). The max number of levels I'm working with is 3 if you count the ground floor.

    FYI these are currently 25pt games of YuJing vs Pano based on a combination of Kaldstrom and Beyond Kaldstrom, with the addition of the PanO Dronbot REMs and YuJing Tiger Soldiers (that I got intentionally to try out the Parachutist and Combat Jump mechanism). The board I'm playing on is 36x36 square instead of the recommended 32x48 for 25 point games. HOWEVER I've reduced the deployment zone to 6" deep, from the recommended 12" so the figures generally start the game the same distance from each-other.

    I'm generally starting with the reactive player in full cover, except for the dedicated ARO pieces meant to mess with the opponent. These images are from games in progress I believe, though, so I wouldn't try to over-analyze the positions of the figures TOO much in relation to first-turn maneuvering.
     
  12. Tourniquet

    Tourniquet TJC Tech Support

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    The best way to stop Snipers from dominating would be to have the tallest terrain towards the middle of the table, and avoid the sniper towers of doom that can see 2/3rds of the table from being in the DZ's, especially ones at the back of the DZ.

    but you still want to leave a couple of meaningful long firelanes here and there so as to not invalidate the weapon.

    you also seem to have the 4" ring of death that you should probably do something about. a good rule is to have at least one item of S2 full cover touching each board edge.
     
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  13. Lawson

    Lawson Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, it's hard to see but in the bottom image I solved the outside edge issue by putting some pieces of fully blocking terrain around the midpoint sides of the map. The deployment zones are clear, but only because I figured that unless I put objectives in them, it's unlikely that engagements will be running straight down the line in those areas. It's not a perfect solution but I've started to refine the way I build the terrain to reduce sight lines as much as possible, and I'll likely build some more tall terrain to block LOS - for the time-being, unless I want to put medieval castles on my maps (would there be a canonical way to excuse this?), I won't have quite enough sci-fi terrain to do a full 48" map ;-)
     
  14. Greg23

    Greg23 New Member

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    I haven't played C1, but my favorite way of dealing with them in N3 is AD: combat jump troops and hit them at short range with a boarding shotgun. Is there something in C1 that would invalidate this?
     
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  15. Lawson

    Lawson Well-Known Member

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    The Tiger Soldiers that I have for YuJing can do Combat Jump or Parachutist, and they've been very scary and effective at getting behind enemy lines. My main sniper issues in solo play, however, is PanO being harassed by the YuJing snipers like the Hundun Ambush Unit... Up until now I've generally been trying to 'lean into' what it seemed to me the style of the different armies are, and since Yu Jing felt sneaky, I wanted double down on that 'feel' and not end up with both sides feeling identical. But maybe I need to get some Combat Jump PanO troops to even the odds!

    I still do feel like I will give N4 a try when it comes out, just because... even having never played Infinity before C1, I do feel like I'm missing things like grenades, smokescreens, group orders, and etc. which seem to give more options for countering.
     
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  16. SpectralOwl

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    Grab a Swiss Guard, a Nisse or wait until November for Code One TAGs. Akali are decent drop troops, but PanO's specialty has always been direct top-end shooting power and I feel you miss out on that with Kaldstrom's odd unit selection.

    Also, if you're planning on going further with PanO, they don't get Smoke even in the full Infinity. You really do just clear things by shooting harder.
     
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  17. Lawson

    Lawson Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the advice - I've had a hard time really figuring out what the flavor of the armies is supposed to be with the troops that come in C1, and the fact that Infinity's variety of units is already much more subtle than many games. As a long-time Battletech/Mechwarrior fan I can't deny my attraction to mechs, so if PanO is the go-to faction for TAGs I might very-well wait for that.
     
  18. helsbecter

    helsbecter Ultrademocratic subSenator, #dominion Module

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    I think your table looks fine in terms of density and variety. As others have said, you'll benefit by stretching the terrain out to the edges of the map, since by leaving an empty ring around the edge like that you're discouraging infiltrators and AD guys.

    It's very normal for the reactive player to be mostly hull-down. It's not usually practical to try pinning your opponent down in his DZ, so the player going second has to pick what real estate he truly wants to hang on to. The only guy in Code One who really has that "lay prone on a pillar and ARO everyone until he dies" going is the Noctifer missile launcher, and that's been his gimmick in Infinity for years.
     
  19. Mahtamori

    Mahtamori Well-Known Member

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    The meta I started playing in (those few players have quit Infinity in favour of skirmish games with less obtuse rules) also came to the conclusion that snipers easily dominated the tables if you gave them so much as an inch to work with. We spent a lot of effort to make sure snipers didn't have good sniping spots and came up with some nifty rules of thumb for table deployment.

    Then we sort of drifted away from that.

    The meta merged with a larger local meta as it was forming in Stockholm area and we kept the general guidelines we made up, but stopped worrying so much about snipers. The thing with snipers is that they're fairly easy to deal with once revealed and being burst 1 in ARO sort of limits their capability for damage. Once revealed you have a skirmisher walk up and take them in close range, you drop an AD troop on their position, or you more commonly just hose down the position with an HMG. Anyway here are some of the guidelines we're often using:

    • Never deploy a grid perpendicular to the board edges, always angle all buildings about 30º to 45º. This will naturally result in breaking up lines of fire in a more organic manner; there will be fewer perfect defensive spots and there will be fewer areas where the defender is forced to stack up in a conga line.
    • Create few Avenues. An Avenue is a long line of fire and typically a place where it's order efficient to move up.
    • Avoid having Avenues go from DZ to DZ. Generally speaking this typically means one player will establish a lock down on that lane and it will divide the board unnecessarily.
    • When making Avenues, try to have them go diagonally or perpendicular to the play direction. These sniper lanes are different than those going from DZ to DZ because they tend to be narrower (allowing Cautious Movement (N4 rule) to cross) and also tends to be much, much, easier to flank.
    • Try to break LOF along some of the table edges in a few places. You don't need to do this to all table edges, but this will increase the tactical value of Parachutist greatly while also reducing the risk of being completely wiped out by a flanking unit.
    • Billboards are great. Smack a huge commercial billboard down on a sniper's nest and utterly destroy its best view of the table and whabam - you've made a nice piece of highly functional terrain that adds a lot of colour to your board. I personally love these sniper's nests myself, particularly when playing a faction with 0,5 SWC snipers, as they tend to afford me the ability to have a sniper on high at oblique angles defending my DZ but I've noticed most people will avoid them because they don't allow for much other sniping.
    So applying those rules to these setups:

    1. Twist all buildings and terrain features 30º.
    2. Try to reduce the number of plazas and X-intersections
    3. This might seem like a weird suggestion, but try playing your boards left-right instead of up-down.
    4. Make or buy billboards. Try to design them so they cover fully below what they're hanging on.
     
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  20. Mahtamori

    Mahtamori Well-Known Member

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    I should further note that making the board...crooked... will promote all sorts of gameplay. I find with a traditional grid that units often have two fronts; forward and rear. With a slightly twisted terrain set up that's not all 90º angles, you'll typically not be able to get cover in all approaches and you'll typically not be able to cover two corners, making it more possible to flank units, while at the same time often creating some almost perfect hiding spots that'll be as much trap as safety.
    It's possible to set that up using a straight-angle terrain grid as well, but you typically need more, smaller, pieces and you typically need to put them more chaotically
     
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