Color Armies

I was thinking about this in terms of the invasion phase, but I guess this can be applied in various ways to all three phases:

Can everyone at the table evoke “color” battle scenes? I mean stuff like: there’s fear in the streets after the orbital bombardment by the Hammers, and thousands are on the roads because of recent battles. Can you paint scenes like, “(Insert FoN here) stands and admires the training camps he’s set up for his hordes of “Freedom Fighters” who will rise up and start enacting anarchy.”

I’m guessing the maneuvers in the phase measure the progress of this larger conflict, while the players fight it out toe to toe w/ their personal units/bodyguards/gangs, right? So it’s OK to say, “My sappers blow up a large number of factories and bridges, sowing confusion and panic” but if you actually want that color to have an EFFECT on the game you have to use maneuvers like “Take Action,” etc?

So let’s say a couple of players say their traveling from point A to point B, and there’s background color that a lot of bridges were blown up. Is the GM being a dick by saying, “Oh, because I established the bridges were being blown up, you have a much longer route you have to take (or you can’t get where you want to go) or some such nonsense.” The players could rightly say, “Hey, you said a lot were being blown up…but not this particular one! How dare you drop one in front of us 'cause you want to be dramatic (and a dick)!”

So how does that get established, after the fact?

OK, here’s what I predict you’ll say: if it’s color, it’s color…can’t do anything to anyone in anyway unless you start to roll. If the GM had stated as part of his INTENT, “There’s a lot of bridges being blown up TO MAKE TRAVEL HARDER,” then the players could say, “Yes, oh great GM, screw us over,” or rolled and said, “A-Ha! My unit is going to oppose these saboteurs and keep some of the most vital bridges open (you bastard)!”

But, what if the whole bridge thing is predicated on the idea that it’s color armies running around blowing up the bridges? Is that a, “Slap! No go joe! You can’t color in something that is going to have a mechanical effect on the game…if you want those bridges blown up, you better have an Alpha Team of crack Vayen death commandos ready to go…”

OK, but what if it’s not death commandos…what if the Vayen converted a military faction to their cause to carry out the sabotage? Then the players would have to go up against “average” faction military units to stop them? Could the players be pussies and say, “Well, I’m an Anvil Lord, I dispatch some of my no-name NPC troops to handle this sabotage.” How would they roll that…a straight versus skill roll between the two (absent) commanders? I mean, it’d be boring to play out the whole fight (I think) if there weren’t players there (or at least their subordinates).


Don’t get carried away with color scenes. They can only involve stuff that is directly related to your character. If your character is an Anvil Captain or Circle of 10,000 or something equivalent, then freedom fighters are cool. If your character is a courtier or street urchin, then no.

For big picture stuff, stuff that effects ye olde fate of the world, you need to use the prequels, sequels and epilogues in the Infection mechanics.