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Varsovian

Mines, TO Camo troops etc. - how do they work in real game?

Question

Hello!

So, I'm reading through the main Infinity rulebook learning the rules (I haven't played yet - just painting at the moment). And here's something that got me puzzled today: mines and similar objects / troops with Camo / TO Camo.

Basically: I know the rules state that they cannot be targeted, reacted to etc. when Camoed. The opponent's troops treat them as not really there. But... what about the opponents themselves? They *do* see the markers marking Camo / TO Camo units. And they do see when they appear on the game table...

I mean, let's say I use my Naga to lay a mine. Sure, my opponent won't see the mine itself - but he / she will see that the Camo marker appeared when I activated my Naga. So, it will be obvious that there is a mine there... Sure, my opponent won't be able to do much to destroy it - but he / will be able to circle it around etc. So, what's the point?

The same goes for the TO Camoed troops. They might be "invisible" from the in-game ("in-story") perspective, but the opponent is able to see that something Camoed is moving around the board. So, where's the surprise?

I'm curious: how does it all work in the game, then?

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6 answers to this question

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Knowing there's a mine might mean he won't run face first into it but you can also use to close off certain areas, force him to either deal with it (which will take up valuable orders) or find another way around (again taking up orders better used for something else). They also don't really know what there - could be a mine or a repeater. Are you bluffing him or not? And is it worth the risk?

Same with camo troopers. First he doesn't know what soldier it is (since there are a bunch that can camo and this is private info until revealed) and with which gun. Thus he will be worried and has to decide if he ignores the camo (and probably get shot in the back at some point) or deal with it (and possibly lose troops and definitely use orders). For example my opponents usually know a camo marker in their half of the table means a daylami, chances are good it's the one with the panzerfaust. Ignoring him will bring a lot of hurt, dealing with him can still hurt - once an opponent wasted his entire first turn dealing with a lousy 8 point daylami who didn't even kill anything that turn but kept the whole enemy army immobile with his mere presence. 

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So when you deploy your camo troops, they start off under a marker. This means your opponent doesn't know what it is! You can play that to your advantage, hiding points and strong pieces under different markers. And, when you reveal the trooper under the marker during your turn, you get the benefits of Surprise Shot or Surprise Attack, which penalizes your opponent's roll.

Additionally, if you want to move past a big threat, you can use the marker as a way to get a free non-lethal ARO out of your opponent. They have to choose to Discover you to be able to attack you later, or hold their ARO if they think you are going to reveal yourself. If they declare Discover, they can't also shoot you with the same ARO, so you can just keep on moving past them to where they can't see you, even if they succeed the Discover roll. Or, you could choose to reveal and shoot them, and their Discover is wasted, meaning you get a free shot. On the other hand, if they hold their ARO, you can just keep moving, and their ARO is wasted since you chose not to reveal yourself.

With TO Camo, you can start in Hidden Deployment, which means there isn't even a marker on the board. Imagine what looks like a totally open path for a big nasty to charge down, when suddenly an invisible sniper reveals on the roof out of nowhere to blow his face off.

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Or the big bag TAG suddenly finds there was a TO hacker waiting in that area. And the second TAG finds that one of the mines it decided to brave was actually a repeater and there is now a hacker doing things to it.

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As far as mines go, if you have a random trooper drop a camo marker and then walk on, yeah, your opponent knows it's a mine. Your trooper has 3 mines, there's a camo marker, and now he has 2 mines. It's kind of a nudge-nudge-wink-wink situation. However being in a marker still provides some protection for the mine, it won't be able to be just shot and rendered useless from across the map without someone wasting time on Discovering it first.

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You have to declare the "drop mine" skill in order to drop a mine.  There's no legal declaration for "place a mysterious camo marker".

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Yeah, most of this can be rationalized in game terms.  If you think that both teams have "eye in the sky" support, it's easy to imagine someone informing your troops "okay, we see suspicious activity in quadrant X.  We can't see the mine itself, but the behavior that the hostile contact is exhibiting looks like he's deploying an antipersonnel mine.  Be cautious."  

So yes, while you as a player, and by extension the units you control, certainly know that there's a mine in the area, it still has a strong impact on how you and your opponent can play the game.  Rather than someone walking into the mine unknowingly and having his legs blown off, he has to acknowledge that there's an area that's dangerous.  He can walk into it and take his chances (Dodging, or relying on Armor to mitigate the mine's damage.)  He can be more methodical and cautious (attempt to Discover and shoot the mine.)  He can also call in specialized support (a unit with Sensor, very good at Discovering mines, to reveal it and help you destroy it.)  In addition, the "unknown/surprise factor" of the mine is reflected in the penalty opponents suffer when trying to Discover or Dodge mines.  

The challenge for the player dropping the mine is to put the mine in a place that's relevant.  Once you're playing missions or scenarios that have objectives, mining up that objective is a great way to deter your opponent from achieving his mission.  Yes, your opponent knows that mines are present, but he still has to find a way to deal with those mines safely if he wants to achieve his objective safely.

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