Friday, July 27, 2012
Infinity is a skirmish level miniatures wargame set in the 23rd century. In this setting there are a number of Human factions, as well as a faction of alien aggressors invading Human space. The various factions are based upon a number of ethnic groupings that came together into government bloks around the time of Humanities expansion into space.
The gameplay is fairly fast pace and includes mechanics which allow for action during your opponents turn (AROs). The use of an order pool gives you the ability to activate any miniature multiple times or just once in a turn. AROs give your opponent the ability to act in response to an order by shooting, dodging, hacking, etc. The catch phrase 'It's always your turn' is somewhat accurate with the ARO mechanic. Getting used to AROs can take a while, but once you see how they balance out things to a degree you may come to like them as I have.
Coming from a background that was heavily 40k influenced the ARO mechanic was completely counter to expectations until I'd played a few games. But once I got to thinking about it, this one mechanic really makes the game several times more tactical in nature than most miniature wargames I've played over the years. Having played dozens of miniature wargames over the years from micro-armor to 40k to napoleonics, the mechanics used in Infinity really shine for improving the feel of combat being more 'realistic' or 'cinematic' in nature.
Infinity also includes many skills and pieces of gear on the troops that make for interesting play, one good example is Climbing Plus which allows the miniature that has it to pull a Spiderman and move along walls (and even use it's weaponry while 'wall crawling'). No other game I've played has anything similar to that included. Another fun example is monofilament mines, which when set off will outright kill the effected model(s) on a 12 or less on d20, with no armor/cover/whatever involved to modify the roll. Not a lot of troops carry that weapon, and mines no matter the flavor are limited to 3 carried, but proper placement can seriously affect the game board. Area denial and funneling of movement due to mines and other items really helps to keep the tactical aspect of the game in focus.
Overall on the upside I've been truly enjoying playing Infinity, and my local league is starting to grow. The game is balanced yet unbalanced, which may sound odd but every faction has certain areas they excel at and others they are very weak. And even when comparing certain troops every category has variation. List building is a lot less about the 'Netlist' phenomenon, and more about personal preference. The same list played by two different people could have completely different effectiveness. It is important in Infinity to not worry so much about learning your list, but much more important to learn about the troops you put into the list as well as the special rules for their skills/equipment.
Build the list you like, and have fun. If you get hung up on building a 'power list' you're going to loose to lists that out order pool you, or out figure count you, or just loose to better play.
The only downsides I see with this game is the fact that compared to a number of other miniature wargames the tables need a LOT of terrain. This game is all about scatter terrain. Cover and LOS reducing/blocking terrain are necessary in a game like this with weapon ranges that can go to over 48 inches. So when getting into Infinity keep in mind that your typical 40k table setup would be a practically open kill zone for most troops in Infinity.
Ratings (1-5 scale. 1 worst, 5 best)
Time Factor 4 (games can be as quick as you want to play)
Difficulty 3 (there is a bit of a learning curve when coming over from other systems)
Cost to Play 4 (cost of figs isn't bad, with box sets running from $30-50, and single/2 fig blisters from $8.99-16)
Overall rating: 4