Durgama Takeover: Cheating? Or Clever Use of Game Mechanics?

Campaign Introduction

We are in week 2 of the really neat Durgama Takeover Global Campaign for Infinity. For the uninitiated, this is a campaign that has slightly modified tournament rules (honestly, it could be used in a real tournament, that’s how solid and normal most of the missions are) where the players join a faction and fight for control over territory and regions for that army. Political Alliances have formed and changed over time as the various powers fight for power, betray their neighbors, and help move the narrative along. At the end of each section of the campaign territory gets locked and it is used to help further the actual fluff of the Infinity universe. The method for measuring success boils down to how many victories each faction gets in a specific territory, and this is reported by players in battle-reports, and the cooler the battle report the better (at least in terms of street cred).

What could go wrong?

The Potential Problems

First thing you might think is that self reported games are always going to be problematic, and of course you’re right. I am sure there are many games that never happened, where people set up a table in their living room and break out 2 armies and take some pictures and make up a battle-report for what happened. Outside of using official means, there’s not much you could do to stop this.


And if you are thinking about doing that. Just… don’t. Go play a game with a friend and have some fun. These campaigns are just for funzies and don’t waste your time and energy on this when you could be doing something productive with your life. Like literally anything else.

But that’s not what I am here to talk about today. Today I am here to report on allegations of shenanigans committed by one or more factions in an attempt to game the system while not technically cheating.

Rumors are abound that certain factions have been conspiring to play 150 point games instead of the standard 300 points to get more games in, and as a result, get more wins for their factions. Remember that the way the campaign works is that you don’t have to beat a specific faction, you just need the most wins in a sector to win it, so as long as the 2 people playing aren’t the enemy faction currently in control of the location, it is a net positive either way. By playing 150 point games, these players can get close to double the points than players doing traditional 300 point games.

This….feeeeeeeels wrong. Taken to its extreme level, players could collude to play 15 point games, and pit Zhanshi against Fusilier, write a quick but accurate battle report for their 6 order game, re-rack, start again. Now I am not sure that a 15 point battle report would pass muster and get counted for points, but the 150 point games are being counted for full marks.

There have been other rules complications, like do all bikes get mimetism in this campaign, among other ITS specific rules, but those are typically symmetrical and really don’t matter and most importantly, aren’t really being used to gain significant campaign wide advantages.

But back to the main topic at hand, is playing smaller point games to increase throughput of games to gain a factional advantage cheating?

No. But its also a little bit lame.

It is also far from the worst kind of cheating that I am sure is happening here. I am certain people are setting up tables and playing themselves with fake accounts to pump up their factions numbers in specific locations. This is the worst form of cheating in this campaign for sure.

The Solutions

Here’s the real deal for this, you should be playing games for your own personal enjoyment and ignore the noise around you. Sure it can be frustrating but ultimately you cannot control what other people do all around the world, so why worry about it. Play your games, write dope battle reports and get into the fluff of it. Use the fluff books and novel as inspiration for how you write your reports

The more satisfying solution to those of you who are angry about this situation would be for 150 point games to be worth half as much as 300 point games. This raises all kinds of questions with what to do for the other point levels but I think the big concern is that 150 point games are likely much quicker than 300 where 200 and 400 point games are roughly similar in duration to 300 to not be concerning. Honestly I would have just made it so games are set to ITS standard 300 points and be done with it. I have played so few games that aren’t 300 points that I really don’t see any problem with it.

But………

Wait, but what About TTS?

TTS has taken off in a post Covid world. It allows people to stay safe from infectious diseases, play while sick with colds, flus, and Covid-19, and play with friends from all over the world. Truly it has been a great addition that has helped many people fill those social gaps left behind during this global pandemic.

But, most of all it is quick and easy to get more games.

Take my situation. I live about 45 minutes away from the game store I typically play Infinity at. That means my typical games, including setup, waiting for a table, playing the game, takedown, packing up the car, and driving, typically takes me about 4-6 hours total. My last 300 point game for Durgama on TTS took 1.5 hours, and had no risk of missing table space and all the other drama that goes along with in person gaming.

So that brings up the next question, should my 300 point TTS game cost half as much as a 300 point in person game? Does that mean that a 150 point TTS game should count for 1/4 of that same in person 300 point game?

No. That is way too complicated and doesn’t add to the player experience.

Conclusion

To sum up my thoughts on this. Yes people are probably playing smaller point games to get more games in to give their faction an advantage, but people are also playing games on TTS to get more games in as well.

Weighing scores based on this seems like a lot of effort and really isn’t worth the squeeze. Just play your games, have fun, continue to write awesome battle reports, and see where the campaign takes us. If you find you aren’t having fun anymore, just stop participating. At the end of the day we should be playing games to have fun, and use this narrative campaign to flex some of our creative muscles to help make these games even more fun than they usually are. When gaming becomes work it stops being fun almost immediately.

Play games. Infinity is the best miniature game out there and we should be having as much fun with it as we can. Fretting over fair and balanced global campaigns being totally fair all the time is probably not worth spending your emotional capital on.

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