Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Infinity Philosophy: What Makes a Good List?
Ah, MathHammer™…Didn't I put you aside? When did you decide to rear your ugly head in the realm of Infinity?
…or did you?
See, many people think that MathHammer, TheoryHammer, and any other term for figuring out the odds of success based purely on statistical data and equations is the key to building a good list for tabletop war-games. Regardless of whether the word "Hammer" is actually in the name of the game you're playing or not, these are the terms that have been coined for this process of defining what is good and what is garbage.
So is there such a thing as "InfinityMath"?
Of course there's such a thing as InfinityMath. This is a game where we have point limits and we want to fit as much as we can and as much of what we want into that set amount of points. How can InfinityMath NOT exist?!
I know, you thought I was going to once again sing the praises of Infinity and proclaim to the heavens that not even MathHammer can prevail against the awesomeness that is Infinity. Right? Yeah well, not this time. Even I can't ignore the simple logic that when there is a system that requires you to do math to make an army list work, there must be time spent in crunching numbers to make said lists work. I know I've spent hours playing with various lists and tweaking the numbers here or there between the simple point cost to army cap ratio, all the while maintaining the SWC cost and cap that goes along with the army total. I actually enjoy fiddling with the numbers like that, and I know many of you do as well. So yes, InfinityMath does indeed exist.
…or does it? Let's go back to how I defined the term in the first place:
Noun: A term to describe the act of figuring out the odds of success based purely on statistical data and equations on which the key to building a good list for tabletop war-games is measured.
Hmm. You know, maybe I should reevaluate the statement that this exists in Infinity. Certainly number crunching does indeed take place when building lists, as do numerous thoughts and opinions on what are "good" choices at certain point levels. But is there a hardcore benchmark statistical data, such as the ever-popular MEQ (Marine-Equivalent) in 40K, that can be defined in Infinity as how you should build your list to have maximum efficiency?
No. No, there isn't.
Unless you deliberately handicap yourself by not filling out your points as best as you can, refuse to fill out your SWC, etc., there really is no way to look at a list and say with authority "That list won't work". I've had a 13-point model take out a 50-point model before with a speculative grenade shot from behind cover, and I've had a single 19-point/1.5 SWC model ruin 4 models' day in the first turn. I've had a TAG run rampant all over my list, as well as a doctor working through G:Servants revive and ENTIRE LINK TEAM and more, denying me any Victory Points.
…Stupid Worm Doc.
I could go on, but my main point is that the main philosophy behind building building good lists that so many of us are used to in 40K really and truly does get thrown out the window with Infinity. So how do you make a good list? You play games. You screw up. You get ROFL-stomped, and then you ask your opponent how they did that to you and if they have andy suggestions for you. You try adding a figure with some rules that maybe you haven't tried before. You get more efficient with your orders and better at deploying your force.
You play the game. After all, isn't that what we are doing this for?