Order Pools: Big or Small?

Order Efficiency or Order Spam. What is the best way to build lists for Infinity the game? For some factions order spam is really easy to do and often the most promoted strategy to win games, but other factions struggle to make larger lists of troops. Which style is best and why? I regularly play Haqqislam and building a 14 regular 4 irregular and 4 impetuous order list is pretty easy to do. Sometimes I feel like a bad opponent when I build lists like that though. Where is the happy medium and how should we build out lists.

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Recently Limited insertion tournaments and lists have become very popular. Limited insertion is the opposite spectrum. It is a smaller pool and it forces the player to choose actions wisely. Wasting too many orders killing enemies will drain the order pool and make taking objectives a struggle. Lets dissect some of the pros and cons of each style and come to a conclusion at the end.

Order Spam

In the lists I’ve built I feel as though I can do anything. I spend a few orders doing this and that and finally with about three orders left I decide to take on the objectives.



Losing one or two or three troops does not cripple a list with lots of orders. In fact I often expect to lose many soldiers as my game progresses when I build lists like this. This is a huge advantage over an opponent because even in turn three most large order pool lists will still have about eight to ten orders in the end, whereas lists with only ten orders will only have typically between five to six orders at the end of the game.

Total orders does not automatically win or a lose a game though. We have all played many games where it took three or four orders to push one button or open one door. It can be very frustrating, but with a large order pool that scenario is not as detrimental as with a pool of only ten. In  limited insertion games if four orders are wasted pushing one button, it is detrimental to strategies. Half of the orders are gone and the player is forced to re-think a strategy or hastily place troops in positions or decide that they do not have enough orders to put a troop into suppressive fire. It can be a detriment to any game, but with a large order pool that is only a third of the orders instead of half.

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Many more ARO options available. For example a list of ten against a list of 18, the player with 18 has many more choices of where to place troops and how to deploy them to maximise ARO availability in the inactive turn. Although the troops are typically weaker which I will cover shortly, in dice games we play the odds. More ARO’s will cause any opponent to walk carefully.


In order to build lists with lots of orders it forces you to take weaker troops. Finding the balance between low-cost troop profiles and decent load outs of tools and weapons can be very hard. Often times these lists consist of many troops with low BS ARM BTS and W and since these are the stats that keep units alive, troops drop like flies in lists with larger order pools.

With a larger pool of troops lists are limited to one or two solid troops with good stats and that makes the whole army squishy, crunchy or however you describe a troop that can be gobbled alive easily.

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Order Efficiency

For lack of a better description without saying limited insertion I will call it order efficiency because that is what it forces players to do when they only take 10 units. These lists often contain heavy hitters, but the lack of orders can sometimes limit what can be done with them.


For the most part the opposite of what I said for Order Spam is true for Order Efficiency. I will cover similar things here.


The biggest pro for these types of lists is survivability. Since these lists contain stronger models who have more wounds and ARM your troops will survive better. Often times lists of stronger troops lose fewer models than lists of weaker ones. Although not always the case since the dice and strategy ultimately determine the outcome, the odds are strongly in the favor of stronger models to survive than weaker ones.

Stronger heavier weapons. These lists often include a TAG or a link of HI troops. They will also include the fun toys that each faction has available to them. In my opinion they are much more fun to play because you get to take all the cool stuff. impersonation, TO: Camo, Airborne Deployment. Limited insertion lists get to take all of the toys.

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As I spoke of before, orders are wasted so easily in smaller order pools. Failing a roll or not killing an enemy in one order can be rough. Many players ignore the fact that they failed and continue to spend orders doing and failing the same action.

A great recommendation for this is to try to accomplish all of the actions you want that do not require a roll before you perform anything that requires rolling. This will not always be possible if you need smoke to traverse a section of the table or encounter an ARO in a spot that you forgot about, but moving and taking all of the actions you plan on doing that do not require a roll will help you be much more order efficient. You need to ask is this the best use of my order? Is there a way I can accomplish this without rolling? If not how can I accomplish this with the highest chance of success?

Strategies are mostly formed on the fly as the game changes from round to round, but thinking about order efficiency with both styles of lists will greatly improve your play style.


The Happy Medium?

Where is the middle ground. It is hard to say take twelve troops or thirteen because those two or three orders can only reasonably be used on one or two models. If you have a troop in hidden deployment then the second pool is starved of orders.  This can be countered by using ARO pieces such as snipers or by taking the eight point repeater bots, but the repeater bot is a waste of points that could be spent taking more survivable troops. (This is my opinion. Please disagree with me and explain yourself.)

That hidden deployment trooper, can really only reveal himself and take one action if you place him in pool two. Even if you place him in pool one that is fine. It still limits vastly what can be done with pool two.

My suggestion here is to place irregular and/or impetuous troops into pool two. This is the most efficient way to maximize orders if you want to take more than ten. These guys do nothing for your order pool, but are fun to take because they have fun skills and equipment, but this is offset by their being irregular so their price stays low. Troops such as the Hardcases, Bashi Bazouks, Correguidor Bandits, or the TechBee. There are many others, but I only listed a few.

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My final thoughts on the subject are this, play whatever style of list makes you feel the happiest. This is a game and we play it just for fun. It is our shared hobby across the globe. Get as much enjoyment out of the game as you can, but understand how to play effectively.

The order efficiency I spoke of earlier is very useful for both play styles. Moving and taking all of the actions you plan on doing that do not require a roll will help you be much more order efficient. You need to ask is this the best use of my order? Is there a way I can accomplish this without rolling? If not how can I accomplish this with the highest chance of success? Learn how to play efficiently with your orders and you will be much more successful in your games.

The one thing to be aware of on order efficient lists is to be aware of the effects hidden deployment troops have on your list. For example if you go first and have two troops in hidden deployment. Your first turn you have eight regular orders. Your opponent most likely will reduce two of the regular orders from your main order pool reducing that pool down to six. It is very hard to accomplish anything with only six orders.

I feel that the happy medium is somewhere between thirteen to fourteen troops with hidden deployment troops mixed between both order pools. That way both pools have access to a decent amount of orders even if your opponent takes two away. One group of ten and one of four works for many situations, but consider taking one of eight and one of six. That way your opponent will most likely remove two orders from pool one. This would leave both groups with six orders. It is also a great way to hide troops. You opponent will not know which pool hidden troops would be in.

If you like what I do here on Straight off the Tabletop please support me on Patreon.  I am so close to having enough Patrons to do a Monthly raffle of miniatures. A special thanks goes out to Frank Washburn and Arom Schults for being my first Partons.

Please be sure to comment and let me know what strategies work and don’t work for you.


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