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Infinities: Defiance of Fate» Forums » Rules

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Steven M Berry
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I N F I N I T I E S - 1 . 1

Since early March, we have been hard at work to address the feedback and expectations of testers and potential players of our game. There are elements of the game that have persisted in working against the grain in terms of what players infer when assessing the components of the Infinities box. When these unmet expectations were then paired with fairly complex and front-loaded information to learn before a first session, many new players gained the impression that Infinities was far more complicated than it truly was. This seems to have affected the communication and clarity of the game’s flow to reviewers, new players, and backers during our Kickstarter campaign. We concluded that this disconnect presented a significant challenge toward the scope of our potential audience and the success of the Infinities brand. The changes we are sharing today have been formulated to further streamline the experience of Infinities and smooth out the learning curve to make the game more accessible while losing as little depth and strategic potential as possible. We also set our sights on removing exceptions, unintuitive rulings, niche mechanics, and other obstacles from the game which added complexities with minimal apparent value to our players. Let’s get into the updates and the design philosophies behind them. Note that the full changes plus design notes are a long read and a summary is provided at the end. I've hidden our design notes in spoiler tags if you just want a quick glance over the changes only.

New Rulebook: www.vatales.com/rulebook

GAME FLOW
ROUND PHASES
Start phase: All players lock in a die matching their tile’s type icon.
Action Roll phase: Players in turn order roll 3 dice with 1 reroll (all or nothing). Dice are then locked in for all players.
Main phase: Players use one action then pass the turn to next player. This is done until all players have finished their actions.
End phase: Players manage their hand (see Card Management below), then the Rift event occurs. Afterward, check for objectives and check Influence for turn order.

Notes:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
This shift in operations is meant to minimize the segments of continuous time that players are not actively interacting with the game. This is particularly important with the reduction of Triggers (see Triggers below). Additionally, changes in the game state are smaller between your turns, meaning drastic swings in momentum and the need for massive strategic corrections are mitigated by the constant ability to respond to other players’ actions. Because dice are locked in by all players before acting, each can observe the potential actions of all players to prioritize their dice spending. The player going last has the most information to work with, but they are the slowest to be able to respond. With that said, since players are not using 4 actions at a time, the significant advantage of turn order has been reduced as well. In other words, in a 4-player game, you don’t have to wait for 12 actions to occur before you get to do something. Another benchmark we hope to achieve is that think time for slower or deep-thinking players is spread out instead of all at once, which can often test the patience of other players.

DICE
BASIC ACTIONS
Now only 4 basic actions on dice: move up to 2 spaces, play a card from hand or timeline, roll a Power check to destroy a unit, change another die to any face.
Many old and new actions spread across units and leaders.

Notes:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
We’ve reduced the base action amount for simpler turn flow and learning. Each die face with an attribute on it has only one basic action choice to begin. When learning the game, a new player must only learn the few basic actions up front rather than the 10 they had to before.

DIE FACES
Die faces now have an icon and number. Star (1), Power (2), Energy (3), Fortitude (4), Boost (5), Boost (6). No more Gambit or Circle faces.
Star is no longer purely wild. It can be used for any of the 4 basic actions or a unit action requiring a Star die.
Boosts are used to power up many unit and leader actions. You can also spend a Boost to change another of your action roll dice to any face.
Dice checks now rely on the new numbers on die faces. Dice checks will refer to either a number in parenthesis or a unit’s defense value (see Units below) to meet or beat with the total result.

Notes:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
We have reduced the attribute track, triggers, and other complexities available to help mitigate dice luck. Most luck mitigation is provided from the Boost action and the free die from your tile. The “tile die” provides a deterministic element so you can at least plan for actions using that die before your turn begins. The shift of a face-oriented check system to a numerical one should help smooth the real and perceived luck curve on checks.

LEADERS
LEADER (RE)ACTIONS
No more Gambit keyword. The die face is gone and the tokens are now reaction tokens.
One trigger per leader—the reaction—with one guaranteed effect and another based on a Fortitude check. All leaders share a trigger condition for this: “After an enemy resolves an action which destroys your card or token during their turn.” To activate the reaction, spend a reaction token and make the check.
Once the triggering action finishes, you may react once per asset you lost.
Each leader has two actions. One single die action and another with a different die face and a Boost die.
Begin the game with 5 reaction tokens. No automatic token income. Each game mode provides ways to earn tokens, and the Energy tile’s event always grants 1 at the start of a round.
Notes:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Gambit was a keyword that was more appropriate to previous iterations and now only serves as a distraction. As for the triggered leader powers, rather than unique, very particular triggers which compete in token spending, all leaders now have a single reaction. With the trigger for that being universal, all leaders have an equal opportunity to activate them, though the effects differ according to each leader’s lore and strengths. Leaders’ actions which used to spend a Gambit die face now spend dice based on the type of action (e.g., Power is usually for aggressive actions), again based on their lore and strengths. Since tokens are no longer auto-generated each round, using your leader’s actions is the primary way to continue enabling your reactions and tile control (see Area Control section).

ATTRIBUTE LEVELS
Attributes are now increased by controlling tiles rather than playing units. Levels are gained when adding a token and lost when a token is destroyed or replaced.
Now 4 levels, down from 5. Each tier has a mechanical theme: 2 grants dice check buffs, 3 increases limits (reach, timeline, group), and 4 adds an event to your current tile at all times.
Notes:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
The attribute track was a major offender in new player comprehension. Normalizing the benefits of the attribute track and reducing the over-reliance on it as a means of dice mitigation and any die actions means significantly less iconography and types of elements to remember as you level and de-level throughout the game.

BLOCKING
Blocking has been removed from the game.
Notes:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
After a long and honest look at the mechanic (which has been present in some form for most of the game’s development life), we determined that it was not an inherently fun or compelling mechanic for either the attacker or defender and served only to add to the time of turns. The only way to respond off-turn is now through your leader’s reaction.

THE GAME MAP
AREA CONTROL
Control tokens are the reverse side of reaction tokens.
Players may spend one of their reaction tokens upon entering an uncontrolled tile to place a control token on it. When a control token is destroyed, it returns to its leader as a reaction token.
Notes:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
A common piece of feedback we received about the world tiles was that players expected more exploration and bigger maps. Our response had typically been that Infinities was more of an “encounter game” than an exploration one. However, these two ideas need not be mutually exclusive. As such, we are including a map control system which rewards players for both exploring new tiles and moving through existing ones to maintain the greatest area control. Control brings along with it improved attributes and hand management. Many actions aside from movement allow for control, but they still require a reaction token to be spent to do so unless specified (“for free”).

TILE TYPES & EVENTS
Tile types are no longer 7 unique icons. Now only 5 tile types which match the icons on dice.
Event amount reduced from 7 to 4. Tiles with events have a text description on them.
Notes:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
The list of seven complex tile events have proven—similar to the wide array of dice actions—to be problematic for the new player learning curve and memory bandwidth of the game. The four remaining events are of course fewer but also simpler. In an effort to reduce the visual language of the game, we have changed tile types from concepts like Stealth or Travel to die faces. This significantly cuts down on the number of icons new players must learn and remember during play, but does not dramatically affect the variety of mechanical types, story elements tied to types, or art on the tiles. For example, we can associate the story properties that were part of Stealth tiles with Power ones or Sacred tiles with Star tiles.

REACH
All mechanics in the game now require reach to target unless specified by the phrase “any ____ tile” or “anywhere.”
Enemy pawns no longer obscure reach.
Notes:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Another mechanic with unintuitive and niche components was the reach system. Previously, only a handful of actions and abilities required reach and everything else was fair game. So, we are keeping the reach system and actually making it more important. Our goal with making reach more important is to keep the map size reasonable in a paradigm where controlling tiles is so important. If there was nothing encouraging players to be near each other, maps would likely sprawl out to the edges of the table quickly. Enemy pawns obscuring reach was a niche rule that was not obvious or intuitive without a thorough combing of the rules.

FLIPS & BURIAL
Flipping has been altered. All tiles now have two sides with differences in type and/or Influence. Walls are the same on both sides. When a tile is flipped, it is turned over in the same orientation and everything that was on the tile stays on the new face. Flips do not force movement. Your tile being flipped does not count as entering or controlling a new tile.
Tiles cannot warp on top of, or bury, each other.
Notes:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
With the introduction of tile control, we are also making two important changes to the way players interact with tiles. The removal of widespread player flipping that included forced movement is primarily because the order of operations often caused timing issues and could result in dire reach situations. Another reason is the comprehension factor; some players reported confusion about whether or not flipped tiles could be “unflipped” with a flip action rather than moving back into them. Similarly, burial from warps created niche rules that were not intuitive and often not even covered by players until one was imminent and the “what ifs” began.

CARDS
UNITS
Units no longer contribute to attribute levels.
Base group size is now 3. Expandable to 4 with level 3 Fortitude.
Removed health and damage system. This has been replaced by units possessing a defense value. This sets the difficulty for a player using a Power action dice check to destroy the unit.
All units now have unique dice actions rather than passives and triggers.
Now 2:1 ratio of units to action cards, up from 1:1.
Notes:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
To answer the question we sometimes received of why someone would want to make sure they keep units in their group, we have transitioned all units from niche triggered abilities with passive attribute gains to purely offering new dice actions. A perception players had about units, rightfully so in some cases, was that they were merely “stat sticks” until their narrow-scoped trigger occurred. Your units now clearly reflect increased options available for your major resource in the game: your action dice. Maintaining a large group presence means maximizing your flexibility on-turn. The defense system replacing health and damage causes units in Infinities to behave closer to those in a wargame: it’s all or nothing to destroy them. This means no more chip damage to wear units down and no more rules on how healing and damage/destruction work. Quite frankly, we found that damage was typically not dealt unless the attacking player knew it would be enough to destroy the unit. A secondary benefit of moving away from a health tracking system is a reduction of physical accounting (or, “fiddliness”) required to play the game, which is a net benefit for game flow and asset management.

CARD MANAGEMENT
Removed hand limit.
Removed drawing via spending dice.
Hand management system: at the end of your turn, you may prepare a card. You must then discard all of your hand except 1 per Boost tile you control. Finally, draw back to 3+1 per Star you control.
All cards cost 1 Energy.
Cards in a full group or timeline being replaced are now drawn, not destroyed. This also applies if your group/timeline size is lowered.
Timeline cards can be played in the same turn they were prepared. Base timeline size is still 3. Expandable to 4 with level 3 Energy.
No longer “abilities” and “actions,” just actions (i.e. action cards).
Notes:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
To increase the amount of options a player has through the game, we are no longer placing a hard limit on hand size or requiring the spending of dice to draw cards. Previously, players seemed to prefer playing with an empty hand rather than “wasting” a die action on drawing, but at the same time lamented that this resulted in them being limited in meaningful card-based decisions. We’re introducing a much more fluid hand management system that takes full advantage of the Timeline mechanic. The Timeline’s purpose as an exposed, secondary hand is now able to be managed without the burden of added resource and opportunity cost. Our end goals here are that players a) see more cards through the course of a game, b) feel they can maximize their Timeline where before there would often only be 1-2 cards in it, and c) don’t feel stuck with the cards in their hand or trapped in a “top deck” situation. Furthermore, there are now only actions rather than a division of abilities and actions, which was another prior point of confusion.

CORE RULES
TRIGGERS
Significantly reduced triggers in the game. Now mostly comprised of 4 events, 1 leader reaction, and end of turn bonuses.
Removed Queue timing rules. When a reaction occurs, its effect is resolved once the triggering action finishes.
All Prepared effects on cards are now passive rather than triggers.
Notes:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
There are now only a few trigger conditions in the game, rather than a multitude spread across different units and cards. This tidies up the flow of gameplay with fewer interrupts and timing disputes. To that end, we’re removing the Queue element since there will very infrequently be a demand for it; instead, triggers occur and resolve immediately when their condition is met. We’ve designed the mechanics that are performed after trigger conditions are met to make the chaining of triggers unlikely. As a related component of this shift, all Prepared effects on cards now act as passive bonuses to various game mechanics rather than providing additional triggers to interrupt game flow. While players may find there are fewer things they can do off-turn, the active player should also feel as though they have more agency and priority on-turn.

SETUP
We are simplifying the setup portion of the game in some ways and adding limitations in others. Players now must choose the faction matching the world tile they laid at the start of the game, and there must be at least 1 player per faction in all games (for disputes of who gets to pick a tile first, a d6 roll can be used). Players then choose their leader, add 5 reaction tokens, set attribute levels to 1, and place their tile along with their standee next to the rift. At this point leaders may choose to spend a reaction token to control their starting tile. No additional tiles are laid during setup. Initial draw is now 3 cards. Rather than using dice, each player simply plays any units they wish, prepares remaining cards they wish, then draws back to 3. We feel we have alleviated the time-consuming aspects of setup to get you into the game faster without reducing starting tableau presence.

SKIRMISH MODE
No longer a wide variety of scenario cards. Only a single skirmish that matches up two factions/worlds and includes thematic objectives.
Score begins at 0 and only moves forward. No more point loss or objective gating.
Objectives: One neutral and faction specific objective earns reaction tokens. Two others gain points. End of Round points are earned by controlling tiles in both worlds and card presence.
Notes:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Based on feedback, we determined that players often felt “programmed” by the gated objective system in Skirmish mode. That is, they felt they had to roll a certain combination of dice and spend all of them toward the very specific objectives with little consideration for how they actually wanted to play the game. Concerns were also raised regarding the balance of certain leader and scenario combinations which we often answered with “play competitive rules and draft the scenario cards for the most balanced experience.” Finally, reviewers and testers who only played skirmish mode did not feel immersed in the world of Infinities or its themes. While we want to deliver much of the story through the adventure mode of the game, we hope that the factions and worlds come through a little clearer in their skirmish objectives. This also positions us well for future content with a firm faction-based precedent.

PLAYER COUNT
(Stay tuned!)

SUMMARY

Only 4 basic actions (move, attack, play, change), new die faces with numbers, attribute checks use numbers not icons, now one global reaction trigger, no blocking, leader actions use attribute faces on dice, very few triggers/chains remain, end of turn prepare/discard/draw for fluid hands, all cards cost 1 Energy, units give new actions but no attribute levels, no more damage/heal system on units, tiles are controlled by player tokens, tiles have attribute icons rather than old types, level up attributes via tile control, new double-sided tiles, no movement from flips, no burials, reach is applicable to nearly everything, attribute levels have 1 category per tier across the board, simplified setup & deployment, skirmish now only has one non-gated ruleset with added flavor for the worlds involved in base game.

You made it! These are the major core changes to the game. We’re actively testing these to make sure we are meeting our goals of simplification and smoothing of the learning curve while still allowing for strategic depth and paths to mastery. Of course along with these changes come new leader and card text, so our veteran testers will find themselves in some unfamiliar territory once again. This version of the game is available to play now in Tabletop Simulator. If you play a game under this new paradigm, please take 3-5 minutes to complete a feedback form at www.vatales.com/feedback so we can see how we’ve done.
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Adam McLean
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Awesome ... thanks for the update and rulebook. I'll have to check it out on Tabletop Simulator.

Looking forward to the reboot .....
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Steven M Berry
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Good to hear from you, Adam. We should set up a time to demo! Contact me if you're interested. Also, in case you missed the big Kickstarter update: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/vatales/infinities-defi...
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Adam McLean
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dyslogy wrote:
Good to hear from you, Adam. We should set up a time to demo! Contact me if you're interested. Also, in case you missed the big Kickstarter update: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/vatales/infinities-defi...

I'd like to do that .. maybe meet up on Tabletopia some time. And yes, saw the announcement on Kickstarter, looking forward to it.
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Jonathan Challis
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I hope a lot of the removed items will come back in an expansion... I desire complexity, not simplicity, which seems to be the route you have changed to.
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Steven M Berry
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Thank you for the honest feedback, Jonathan. Do you have Tabletop Simulator or Tabletopia? I'd love for you to try the game to see if it has enough depth for you as it is now! You can visit our Discord and set up a game with someone.
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Jonathan Challis
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dyslogy wrote:
Thank you for the honest feedback, Jonathan. Do you have Tabletop Simulator or Tabletopia? I'd love for you to try the game to see if it has enough depth for you as it is now! You can visit our Discord and set up a game with someone.

Thank you, but I don't, no - and I'm afraid online games isn't really something for me. I've read the current rulebook thoroughly though, and will probably back it anyway - the price point is pretty attractive.

Some changes I can see as improvements for smoother play, but some, I find myself wishing for the older, more complex version that apparently lost new players. For me, if it isn't complex and brain-burning to learn, it probably isn't complex enoug for teh long haul. But it's intriguing.
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