With no reasonable end in sight for social distancing, my group has been experimenting with a variety of ways to still game. The hardest has been miniatures games as precise measurements and custom models/terrain are hard to replicate. We decided to try a different tack, starting with “Tentfinity”.

Under an open air canopy tent, a masked friend and I tried out some backyard-gaming. We started around 9am and wrapped up by noon and finally got a full minis game in, my first since March.

Being our first outing in this new environment, we’re still learning the new norms. We’re wearing masks like good little citizens but it was difficult to stay 6 feet away. Some changes will help that as we put additional tables up for non-map items. Sharing one table meant we’d frequently be there to look over our stuff or roll dice or whatever.

Wind was another issue. Clipboards helped but we still have a lot of older Corvus Belli paper terrain. The boxes and flat paper tokens were particularly susceptible to even the lightest breezes (which was non-existent when we started but picked up halfway through the game).

The new line of cardboard terrain from Corvus Belli was solid though so I built up the rest of my remaining set after the game. Blu-tac can keep the smaller pieces down too but wind over the “gentle” category may pose bigger problems.

All-in-all, it completely worked though. Bugs decided to constantly investigate what all this new human activity was and were annoying at times but nothing more. No mosquito swarms or wasp encounters to derail the experience.

We decided to ease back into things with 200 points and the ITS Power Pack scenario. This featured three Antenna that needed buttons pushed, a Console for each side that would control things, and a Multi-scanner that needed a special civilian xenotechnologist to set up.

Going through my collection, I knew exactly who the best Xenotech in the sphere was: fat Yuan Yuan. His Xenotechiness is only matched by his noodle-slurpiness, and both are at the top of his game.

I won the roll off so I chose to go second while the Pan-O decided which side to set up on. Turn 1 saw Pan-O get into better positioning and get his Xenotech’s multi-scanner in place. Pan-O ended their turn with four figures in suppressive fire.

To start off, I burned orders to keep my Kuang Shi conga line in check. The whole left flank was filled with suppressive fire hostiles and I know they just get immediately gunned down. I wanted to bank their orders for a later assault so I started getting things going with my Mowang.

Pan-O’s Nisse sniper was in perfect position to ruin most of my movement day so I sent Mowang out to deal with him. It took a few orders but the constant barrage of Redfury bullets took him down (on a crit). The shock ammunition ruined the medic-doc’s plan of ever reviving the downed soldier.

I decided to push my luck and sent Mowang out into the open to take care of a suppressive fire figure that was blocking some of my running lanes. Another crit takes him down and Mowang is just tearing through Pan-O hostiles left and right.

With the fire lane clear, I get my Xenotech out to the saturation zone to set up his multi-scanner as well, which he easily succeeds.

My damage done and with things well in hand, I turn it over to Pan-O. I have three forward observer Zanshi out in the middle of the board because they have forward deployment L2. They actually don’t but the single Kanren with holoprojectors does. I’ve never tried this out and while pretending to be 3 mooks was kind of fun, it would have been easy to spot that they couldn’t deploy that far up so something was definitely afoot.

Pan-O realized this on my turn because I have to mark that something silly is going on. They run some combatants past and make the discover roll, revealing the Kanren operative. I make a potshot at him with my boarding shotgun but his armor stops it. Pan-O is able to get a figure out to start up an Antenna (another of the mission objectives) and then retreat all into suppressive fire again.

I decide I can’t sit on the Kuang Shi all game so I duct tape two of the three down, winding up the third to let her run out into oblivion. Pan-O was waiting for this and revealed a decoy trooper to be wielding a rocket launcher.

Pan-O tries to catch the Kuang Shit right when she turns the corner so as to catch my Celestial Guard with the blast. Luckily, the shot goes wide and no harm is done. The other two suppressive fire stooges easily gun her down though.

I want to use these Kuang Shi more effectively so I decided to try some smoke grenades out in the open to give them cover next turn and all out assault those Pan-O brutes. Even though I’m using my best range band, I can’t peak out to see where the grenades are going and end up wasting 3 orders trying to get one of them to stick. They never do though and I’ve burned too much time trying to get this little trick to work. I would say that doing this for just the Kuang Shi is a total waste as the smoke would go away at the end of the turn but my sniper and Kanren specialist are pinned down from all the suppressive fire overlaps and this smoke would be critical to getting them into play without taking rockets to the face.

I turn my attention back to the hero of last turn, the Mowang and find another friend to blast at. I play the odds against this suppressive fire tool: I’m throwing 3 dice at target 10 or lower vs his 2 dice target 6 or lower. Some how, the Pan-O soldier crits me instead. No big deal, I have 2 wounds on this guy and I don’t even go down after I take them.

I open fire again. Crit again! This Pan-O basic dude is no joke. Luckily, I can stay up to fight when others would drop with this many wounds. Surely, he can’t do it again. Pan-O finally fails a roll but totally aces his armor roll (which is a silly 1). I need to put this guy down so I can get my specialists up to this side of the map’s Antenna (since the other side is a killing zone). I go for it again. Crit! but not for me. This little Pan-O jerk crit Mowang three times and puts him down and out. I realize my mistake, the Mowang dude was so happy he took out those other guys last round, he took off his helmet and ran across this Nisse sniper flunky (who still remembered all his sniper training). Oof. 7 orders wasted on just nothing but losses (and I spent 3 command tokens just trying to reroll failures).

To try to salvage the turn and get something going, I run my Kanren operative to an antenna and watch as he just burns orders failing to get it to work. Sometimes dice just kick you in the nuts.

Pan-O’s last turn has him turning on a second Antenna and dropping an Airborne unit to kill off my Kanren operative. Through some gross misunderstanding of the rules, I thought that getting down to 124 points left on the board (which dropping the Kanren soldier would do) would put me in Retreat. Pan-O pulls back now knowing this and keeps the kill lanes open for more slaughter.

We again misunderstand things and I roll a WIP check to see if I can rally from Retreat (you aren’t supposed to do this but I guess we’re also playing that losing 40% of your army puts in you in Retreat, it should have been losing 75%). It doesn’t matter, I fail the roll and everyone goes into retreat, which means they can only make move orders.

I have one command token left and use it to keep my Guilang Skirmisher from retreating (the only thing we did get right about Retreat). I send him up and over the rails of the crosswalk and down to the other side of the first antenna Pan-O turned on. Being in a Camo state meant all the enemies could do is try to discover who I was before dropping behind cover and trying desperately to flip the Antenna state to the Yu Jing news feeds. Pan-O doesn’t care and I luckily make the fall without killing myself. The dice try to apologize to me and I successfully flip the Antenna, tying the game in Mission Objective points.

Everyone else just hangs out because they can’t do anything else while in retreat. The points are tied up 5 to 5 but Pan-O wins through kill points. Being an ITS mission, they don’t talk about kill points as secondary scoring unless specific to the mission (which this had none). It is interesting that this would be considered a tie game through ITS but that is lame so kill points (and the fact that we had my guys in retreat) ultimately had Pan-O ruling the day.

It was good to get an actual minis game in and fun to try some of the figures I painted up in April. Hopefully we can keep this going and improve not only our understanding of Infinity (even though the new edition, N4, is just around the corner) but also a way to really make outdoor Tentfinity work better.