I've talked about Infinity a few times and you've seen posts about the models I'm very slowly painting for it.  You might also have gotten the feeling that I'm a little bit opposed to the game, which is not the case at all.  While I tend to react to the "BEST. GAME. EVAR." praise that gets thrown around, I do like the game a great deal.

So here's my attempt to give you a run down of how I see Infinity.  I'll probably put this out as a few short articles to try and give a balance of points, then move on to other gaming systems I play.  These will be fairly opinionated, but maybe they'll help someone looking at a new system make better decisions.  They'll also be very high-level, as I could write a complete article on each point but I'd not be finished until half way through next year.  Expect not in-depth reviews, but rather what I would bring up if a new club member asked me "What do you think of game X?"

We'll start with the best parts of Infinity.


Great Miniatures
I love the designs for a lot of the Infinity minis.  Like all ranges there are bad ones (especially amongst the early sculpts) but the style is consistent, intriguing and fresh.  Take every sci-fi trope that infests anime and mash them all together - you end up with the visual style of Infinity.  It makes for some damn fine minis.

Personal favourites (go Nomads!) include the Sin-Eater, Prowler and Reverend Custodier, though there are plenty amongst each faction to fall in love with.  Each faction has a distinct style (and often several distinct styles within the faction), so you're almost guaranteed to find at least one set of models that take your fancy.  I'll stick with my hack-tastic, robot-loving, gene-splicing Nomads though.

Community Support
A forum?  Well, that's to be expected.  All rules available as PDFs? That's useful.  A rules wiki with every single rule and most of the FAQ entries?  That's great.  A polished, constantly up to date army builder program that links to the wiki for its rules and checks your army for you? Oh my gosh!

Seriously, the community support from Corvus Belli is outstanding.  Not just "for a wargame" outstanding but genuinely outstanding.  The community is what gives life to Infinity, otherwise a very niche wargame in a market dominated by few (one?) big names.  Without the word of mouth Infinity wouldn't be anywhere near as big and it's the support Corvus Belli has given its community that has bought them this sales-driving  goodwill.

Balance Through Vulnerability
Infinity is balanced, at least for the moment.  There are tricks that can make your opponent weep but cross-faction balance is pretty strong.  Internal balance is lacking in some places but with a wealth of options to choose from this isn't yet anywhere near an issue (and is usually a small enough factor to be overridden by the Rule of Cool when picking a model).

Infinity achieves its balance through vulnerability.  Anything in the line of fire is probably dead.  You bring a scary man-tank with world-ending levels of weaponry but leave it in the open with no support?  Watch it get hacked, lit up by spotters for missile obliteration, glued to the floor, disabled with an EM pulse, or sliced in half with a mono-filament weapon.  Everyone has skills, weapons and equipment to render most any threat meaningless when properly deployed.

"It's not your list, it's you."
Following on from that last point, Infinity respects your tactical acumen as a general much more than it respects your list-building skills.  As long as you have a rough number of guys and a decent smattering of gear your list is probably fine.  Play it well and you'll do well.  Play it badly and you'll be obliterated.  Covering fire, manoeuvring, deployment and secrecy all play a big role in Infinity.  You can bring a list that's full of all the good stuff but a general who is better than you can probably take it apart with fewer points.  To me, that's the sign of a good game.

That said, you're not without options.  With the small number of units in a force and a wealth of models/loadouts to choose from you could conceivably play for months without using the same list twice.  The point is that you can pick what you like, not what's best, from your chosen force and still expect to perform to the same level.

You're A Big Boy Now
Infinity trusts you with some pretty nifty mechanics that rely on sportsmanship, but greatly enhance the game.  The best example of this is Therm-Optic Camouflage - the model isn't deployed on the table at all (the camo is so good even the advanced scanning systems of the future can't detect the hint of its presence) but you mark down its location on the field.  At the opportune moment you reveal the model and strike.  An attack out of camo by a model so equipped is usually pretty devastating and can turn the whole battle.

This isn't a computer game though.  You can't note down with exacting precision where the model truly is.  Nothing stops you being deliberately ambiguous.  Even if you call over a third party (if you have one to hand) you still have some leeway.  Infinity trusts you to use the rule in the way it was intended - to provide true invisibility in return for a stationary model.  So far I've not had a single person abuse the ambiguity of this rule, which has led to some tense and amazing games simply not possible if Infinity worried about such abuses.

Skirmish, not Warfare
The small number of models in a given force lets you keep real-world costs down and the quality of your painting high.  An advantage for these kinds of games and with the models used in Infinity it's an advantage not wasted.  You simply couldn't play this game on an army-level scale - the rules are too complex, the interplay of units too intertwined.  It emulates being in command of an elite strike team, and it pays off.  You might not feel like you just won the whole war, but victories on this scale have a much more personal quality.

Low price-of-entry also cannot be overlooked - you can convince a few friends to try this game out with a relatively small up-front investment.  I've had a very good hours : price ratio of enjoyment from Infinity, and I'm still buying models.  You also avoid the line trooper painting disease with a skirmish game - as long as you plan your painting you'll never have to paint the same (or a very similar) model twice in a row.  You can also give a new faction a try with another small jump, though the differences in how factions play aren't as pronounced as in some games. Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...