Saturday, 4 April 2015

Infinity The Game - A Learning Experience

So Tuesday night was club night. And Mike (MegaMike) managed to drag himself away from his beloved DZC and agreed to have a go at Infinity, a particular favourite of mine.

Infinity is a skirmish game set in the future (Manga inspired), which benefits from a lot of scenery, in comparison with a 40K battlefield, and only requires 10 or so figures per side to play.

My fondness for Infinity is based on a number of reasons. The overall look of the game is very appealing and the models are very pretty. I like a tabletop that is interesting to look at, and Infinity game play certainly benefits from lots of terrain, be it buildings with plenty of roof access or scatter terrain to hide behind. I also enjoy the ability of the game to tell a story and for individual models to take on a character of their own. And to just round things off, the fluff and the artwork contained within the lavish rule books is superb.

Panoceania - Knight of Santiago to the fore

However, for beginners there are a couple of elephants in the room that need to be considered. 

Elephant number one; the models are indeed very good, but they are not the easiest to put together. You need a lot of patience and either a very good superglue, or a diploma in pinning, to ensure the thing stays together during the cut and thrust of gaming.

Elephant number two; the rules are not for the faint hearted. They are detailed and very, very complex. The dice mechanic is relatively easy to grasp, but the number of special rules and weapon types will test your resolve and memory skills. I suggested to Mike that we begin with the basics and if he wanted to take a closer look he could then begin the long journey to understanding it all.

(If you thought that 40K special rules were excessive, you ain't seen nothing yet! However for me the look of the game and the ability to tell a story as you play is worth the time investment required for the rules, and I like a challenge when putting a model together)*.

*As with most things there is an exception to this last statement; the Space Marine Drop Pod in 40K (Aaaarrrggghhh). I can only assume that the designer who came up with the modelling concept was touched by the warp! In that they must have had at least three arms to hold the base, the top, and the six fins together as they glued it.

However, the 'fun' does not stop there! In my experience the simple action of opening and closing the five doors causes the thing to tear itself apart over time, that's if the doors shut properly in the first place. Annoyingly I like the concept and application of drop pods so I have had to suffer the difficulties of the construction process for my Blood Angel army - Rant over.

My futuristic City terrain - Yes colourful buildings are a thing in the future - Who knew?
I must just mention the Infinity website (Infinity - The Game), there you will find the rules to the game, for free! An army builder that makes some of the army limitations (SWC - Special Weapons Costs) easier to visualise, and a complete gallery of all the models available for all the factions. They also provide their annual tournament system details (ITS). Well worth a visit, if only to see how well a manufacturer can support its game a player base.

Ariadna figures above - Yes you can have any colour uniform you like , as long as it is green.

So to the game. As I was providing the Infinity figures I went with Ariadna (my favourite) and Pan-Oceania for Mike. A hundred points served us well enough on a 4 foot by 4 foot futuristic city terrain table.

I don't intend to give a long winded rendition of the rules here, but here are my fundamentals for those new to Infinity:

1. The basic dice mechanics; the game uses D20s and you are either dicing against your opponent comparing modified dice scores (achieving the highest number, but not over the required number), dicing to score below your own characteristics to achieve an action, or dicing to score over a damage value to avoid taking a wound from a weapon.

2. Each figure has an order counter, which go towards the army's order pool. The order may have to be used by that figure, and that figure alone, or it could be used by another friendly figure. An order allows a figure to carry out movement and/or other actions, however, if this activity is observed, or within a zone of control of an enemy figure, that enemy figure can react to the action in a ARO (Automatic Reaction Order). The ARO mechanic means that even when it is your opponent's turn you need to stay vigilant as you may be able to intervene and react during his activities
3. Apart from some restrictions, you are able to spend order counters on models in any order you wish. It is possible to spend all you orders on one model in you turn. Or you can alternate between models, and even come back to a model during your turn to activate it again if you wish (this came as a bit of a surprise to Mike, being use to the DZC system of only one activation in on turn per battle group).

4. The Critical Hit. The bane of many an Infinity player. If you roll (after modifiers) the exact number required to preform a shoting or close combat attack you achieve a critical hit. Unless you opponent has done the same thing, then not only have you hit him, but any hits he has achieved are neutralised and the wound is automatic and does not allow an armour save! I fear that Mike's experience of this in our game may have put doubts in his mind on whether Infinity was for him. This will not be an unfamiliar story to those seasoned Infinity players out there. In Mike's turn, his Knight of Santiago, already having suffered a wound, approached my Veteran Kazak. It shot 4 times with its Spitfire, scoring 4 hits, however, my Kazak had AROed a shot back with his AP Rifle and scored a critical hit - result one dead Knight and one miffed Mike :-(.

Above - The Knight (who says ni! or 'it is a mere flesh wound') and Kazak duel it out amongst the shrubbery.

5. The importance of your command figure (the Lieutenant). Not as significant as in the previous version of the rules, but it does put a crimp in a game usually only 3 turns long. If your Lieutenant is put out of action this can seriously impede your abilities in your next turn. Try, unlike my game against Mike, not to forget which figure has this important role. In the game I decided to push a figure forward to show how movement and shooting works. In Mike's turn he brought forward his remote, and burnt my figure to death. Only then did I realised my mistake, doh! Of course I did that on purpose to show how the loss of Lieutenant rule worked!!!

Above - Ariadna Lieutenant about to lose more than just his eyebrows!

I hope you have enjoyed this article. Please comment if you are enjoying my first tentative steps in the world of blogging. Happy to receive any feedback or thoughts. Happy gaming.


  1. I'm a big fan of your scenary, you should put more pics of it up!

    1. Thank you Zombiestate, I shall plan some upcoming blogs on terrain, with plenty of pictures of my stuff to illustrate.

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