Infinity is a science fiction wargame played with 28mm miniatures. I have watched this game with anticipation for years, and with the new 3rd edition of the rules set to be released in the next month or two, I am delving in even deeper. This article summarizes my thoughts on the game, the background, the rules, and the miniatures.
Infinity is a squad-level wargame by Corvus Belli. A decade ago, CB was a miniatures company, and they made very beautiful “European” style miniatures. When I say “Euro” I mean the way features are sculpted leaves very sleek and long female models, very bulky but lithe male models, and more dynamic posing than you will find in a more Americanized miniatures offering (which I would count Games Workshop’s style as Americanized, despite their location in England. This is also in contrast to an Asian style, with oversized anime eyes (like you find in Krosmaster Arena, for instance).
But then, they made a game. Over the last few years have refined it as a premier rule set. It has a lot going for it, and I will be picking up some minis and tyring some games in the coming weeks. This is part one of what may be a series on Infinity.
Lets break down some key components here:
Miniatures: Anime inspired and beautifully sculpted, the existing line of minis is outstanding. Standing as tall as a Warhammer 40k figure, but much more detailed (due to art style and the fact the minis are metal instead of plastic or resin) they look extremely good. On the downside, they are metal, which is a little harder to work with, and will require a slightly higher level of artistic talent to make them look great.
The new sculpts are now done digitally, but you can’t tell other than the consistency of scale, weaponry, and details. They are often multi-part metal miniatures, which can be a little less friendly to assemble, but once done they look phenomenal.
Cost of Entry: This is a big category for miniatures games, and Infinity lies somewhere between X-Wing (with tournament level forces costing about $75) and Warmachine (where you need a couple hundred to reach organized play level) but well below Warhammer. You can pick up a force to play 200 point battles (7-8 miniatures) with for under $100 and 300 point battles (10 miniatures) are good with around $140. A starter box (Operation Icestorm) is available for $125 and has roughly 175 points each of two factions.
The rules are free, army building is free (see Support, below), and apart from terrain
Background: Infinity began as a home-brew roleplaying game setting that a handful of artist and graphic designer friends played in. This means, the art direction is on point and the background is rich and well-defined. To me, the fluff is “brighter” than the Grimdark of Warhammer, but there are still ample adversaries and conflicts to be found.
Rules: the rules are very meta. There are a lot of rules. No, more than that. I place the ruleset on par with Magic: The Gathering, if you played with all of the cards available rather than by blocks. For an example, from their Wiki, is the list of weapons in the game:
I will have a more in-depth exploration of the rules later, but this is the barrier of entry for new players. There is a lot to take in, and while solid and well supported, not to mention free, there will be a lot of stumbles along the way to mastery.
You can bring a TAG (a giant mechanized suit) but your opponent can have a hacker able to shut it down unless you have your own hacker or maybe a sniper posted to take that nerd out before he can hurt your giant suit of death, but camoflage troops can be used to close on your sniper and eliminate him, but special X-vision goggles on support troops can sometimes see through camo… you get the point.
The core of the rules is the ARO, the Automatic Reaction Order, which means its always your turn. You can react to opposing characters darting between cover or opening fire on you. Attacks are often Face to Face rolls, with the attacker rolling two or more dice and the defender rolling one (usually) and comparing results.
But then, skills, equipment, special order types, and everything else adds to the rules (again, much like Magic). I have to score the rule set just a bit above average to reflect this. With the new edition coming out very soon, this may change to become more streamlined in which event I will rejoice.
Support: here is where the veteran Games Workshop players will lose their minds. Not only are the rules available for free, but there is a free army builder, which is also available to be downloaded to your tablet. Any new models that come out are added to Infinity Army as soon as they are released, so you don’t have to purchase anything other than the miniatures to play the game.
They have a Wiki for rules clarifications, also updated quite frequently. And, rather than squashing smaller companies who want to design scenery for markers for this game, they link to these other companies (partners) to promote the mutual prosperity of each other.
Summary: I’m excited to try this game, and while I don’t think it will scratch the same itch that 40k does, it is a faster game with different strategies to learn, supported by a great network and using top notch miniatures that I get to paint.
Have any of you played Infinity? What do you think?