Gaming Thoughts – Keeping YAMS fresh

Simple: tupperware box; cool, dry place; Job done.

Store in a cool, dry place, consume within three days.
Store in a cool, dry place, consume within three days.

Only kidding, of course – I’m talking about YAMS, or Yet Another Mission System, written by stalwart UK Infinity supporter and retailer, The Wargaming Trader.

Yet Another Mission System by Wargaming Trader
Yet Another Mission System by Wargaming Trader

The small group of Infinity players I belong to decided to take up YAMS quite quickly after we started playing the game. As I’ve mentioned before, YAMS is just one of the many ways to play Infinity, and just recently we were described another way to play it.

A comment by Certs over on the Infinity Reddit group (or subreddit, or whatever the terminology is) mentioned his slightly different method from the usual ‘Draw six, Discard two’ way which we were used to. In this modified version, you are still dealt six cards, although instead of discarding two of your choice and keeping the rest as your own secret objectives, each player actually shares two of their hand, giving an overall mission for both players to achieve, while keeping two ‘secret’ objectives for themselves. I was keen to give it a try – you can read a more in-depth discussion of it over on Certs’ Blog.

I’ve seen a fair few comments from various people on forums that they don’t like YAMS in its current form because of its random nature. Each to their own, of course – I actually enjoy ‘pure YAMS’ a lot of the time. However, this new method almost makes the mission feel a bit more like an ITS scenario, or any other kind of mission from any other tabletop wargame – both sides are attempting to carry out a specific mission while trying to stop the opposition, while having some secret objectives to try and score the win.

One of the more interesting things with this new method that we really liked as a group was the little ‘game within a game’ that happens when deciding which of your four cards to share and which to keep secret – do you share the one that you can claim easily and can attempt to stop your opponent from doing, or do you share a really tough one that neither of you are likely to achieve in the hope that your opponent goes for it and wastes time/orders? Also, you can tailor your mission to your list – got some speedy models and lots of Aerial Deployment options? Go for that objective where you need to be in the enemy’s deployment zones! Got the mission to kill a Hacker, Doctor or Engineer but lack any of them in your list? Share it for an automatic point that only you can score and deny your opponent the chance! There are many combinations of lists and dealt/shared/secret objectives which could come up that should ensure that no two missions will ever be the same.

For the ‘tl:dr’ crowd, I’ll some this up in a list of pros and cons of this new way to play YAMS for you:

Pros:
You only actually need one set of cards as opposed to two – The standard way to play YAMS is to have a full deck of each cards per player, and they each draw their objectives from their respective decks. This can be useful as it means there’s the possibility of some overlap between the objectives, but it’s by no means guaranteed. Having a single set of cards and sharing four of the objectives means there’s no duplication in the shared objectives.
Games feel more like a fight for something rather than a chance meeting of patrols – While I do like the unknown aspect of my enemy’s plans, I can see why there’s more appeal in a shared set of objectives for both players to attempt.

Cons:
Luck of the draw – A bit of bad luck can leave you with a duff hand of cards with which to decide what to keep, share or discard. This can mean that you’re on an uphill struggle from the off, while your opponent may have an easy ride of it. Granted, you can somewhat mitigate this with the fact that the game may be over so quickly you can fit another one in, so it’s not a huge issue.

In short, I do think that this feels like a natural evolution of the YAMS system, but I think it’s better suited to intermediate players who are more used to the rules. Pure YAMS is great for the newer players who are still getting to grips with the system, as it enables them to concentrate on their own objectives a little more rather than having to worry about some of the nuances of the rules which are more apparent to more experienced players when fighting over the same objective. What’s good is that this isn’t a total re-write of the system, merely some tweaks to an already great set of mission cards!

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3 thoughts on “Gaming Thoughts – Keeping YAMS fresh

  1. Craig Roberts (Certs) says:

    Yes, the system works! Someone’s actually read about my YAMS mod. 1 person down, 5,999,999,999 to go.
    However, that post linked to in my blog actually describes an old draw method used. Currently, we’ve moved on to both players doing one draw of 6 cards, with 2 shared, 2 kept secret, and 2 discarded. Same results, but the process is a little simpler.
    Anyways, I’m glad you like the mod and appreciate you passing the word along here.

    1. Leeman says:

      It was a great way to evolve YAMS, we thought, so we figured we’d give it a try!

      Oh right – so are you talking just 6 cards in total drawn out and shared/kept, or do you mean 6 each? We’ve been going with 6 each.

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