Saturday, 19 July 2014

Infinity the game overview

A Guest post by Evil Whoopas

Infinity is a Sci-fi skirmish game. In the Infinity unvierse humanity has colonised new planets, old countries have disappeared and new power blocs have formed. These factions are in a state of cold war, they are constantly looking for any opportunity to gain an advantage over their rivals, and protect their own interests. Despite the internal struggles taking place, the greatest threat to the human civilisation is the Combined army, a collective of alien races subjugated by the Evolved intelligence which is invading human space. The games represent small scale actions, and covert operations, anything from hostage rescue, sabotage to search and destroy missions.


The fluff and background is well developed. There's too much to cover in a short post, but I think its interesting, and a lot of time and effort has been put into it. the universe is realistic without being overly gritty or childish. What I like most about the fluff is that, despite its depth, it doesn't get in the way because the armies are all morally grey and the scope of the operations the game represents is so broad, any match up or situation can be feasible. So you can create some interesting narratives.

The Infinity art style is heavily influenced by Animé and Manga. This can make it an acquired taste, but it does suit the games Sci-fi ascetic, and provides a rich source of inspiration.

The model range for infinity is currently being updated, with the benefit of 3D sculpting, and investment. One of the most eye catching aspects of the range are some of the distinct poses, but these often create some very love/hate models, but these seem to be being filtered out of newer ranges. Many of the older models look dated, but the sculpting has improved dramatically with newer models and most old models are being re sculpted. They are much easier to assemble, and have a high level detail, and new releases and re sculpts are arriving at a steady pace, so the range is constantly expanding and improving. 

The whole range is metal and will stay that way for the foreseeable future. So models can be expensive, but building a skirmish game army from the ground up will still be cheaper than buying a large scale army from scratch. I can see people, including myself, spending money on multiple factions which will obviously raise the cost. Not every model available in the army lists is represented in the model range, and conversions are made harder because of the metal and a lack of spare parts in blisters. So converting a model to a different weapon option can be tricky. Infinity is good for painters because of the high level of detail, and quality of the models. You are rewarded for spending time on your models.

I really like Corvus Belli and the team behind infinity. They are a vast improvement over other companies in terms of their outlook and how they plan to move infinity forward. Something I especially like is that models are being released now, well in advance of the change to rules/new sectorials armies coming out later this year and the next. I think this steady pace of releases, and preparation makes the game more sustainable, as is a welcome alternative to how GW releases stuff.
Its very different from other games, so its difficult to draw comparisons. Personally I hold to the view that infinty is more like a cross between a FPS game (e.g call of duty), in how models act and react, combined with a squad based startegy game like Xcom, because of the importance of how you organise and position your models as a unit.

Pretty much all the rules and resources are updated and easily availble for free online, which is a double positive because of the state of the paper rulebook. Generally the electronic resources are accurate and useful. You need never touch a paper book if you don't want to.

There are lots of rules which can lead to complicated situations. It can be hard work and its unforgiving of mistakes. I would not want to play it all day, we played three games at a recent tournament and I think that was enough. I think infinity demands more focus on actual game play than other games that can make it hard work. That being said I find it much more rewarding when I play well. I'd also say that infinity has a strong sense of realism which runs through every aspect of the game, which helps to balance it and make it interesting. i.e bullets kill everyone.  Often in competitive warganing, list building is the most important skill, and a good list can pretty much play itself. Infinity is very much the opposite. What you take is less important than how you use it, the game constantly gives you options. List building is still important but everything has multiple counters, and what counters are available to you depend on your own initiative and imagination, as much as what models you have available. The main issue is how different rules interact and can get complicated quickly, because there are too many holes. There's always at least one 'but' for every situation. The fact that Corvus Belli are Spanish so everything is translated leads to more problems. The current rulebook is useless as reference, because there are so many rules/explanations buried in the wiki, faq that can't be found in the book. 
 For a summary I would say that Infinity is hard work but I think its worth it. Its only going to get better. If Corvus Belli make a mistake I trust them to fix it. Its refreshingly different from anything else. There are lots of variety of units/armies/etc, much more than you would think looking at it. The fluff/art is worth paying attention to. A new edition of the rulebook is due out this year (which should fix most issues without changing the basic rules), a new two player starter set is due out in about a months time, and new expansion book is due out early next year. So this is a great time to start infinity and get interested.

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