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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Guest Article: Infinity Introduction

With a lot of people understandably looking for alternative games to play with Games Workshop doing it's best to piss off Australians (and those Kiwi guys) and having everyone on tetherhooks about 6th edition (please don't suck, please don't suck), we've seen an increased amount of chatter about these altnerative games. One you hear a lot about but isn't covered much in-depth here on 3++ is Infinity. Firstius gives us a brief run-down of what the game is and what it's about so anyone interested can give it a look.

What is infinity?

Infinity is a 28mm sci-fi skirmish miniature game produced by Corvus Belli.

Why would I be interested in Infinity?

First and foremost Infinity is excellent for simulating rather lethal tactical fire fights. Corvus Belli have done an amazing job creating a rules system that makes gun battles exciting while also rewarding clever tactics and manoeuvre.

It also helps that the minis are top notch ( with a few exceptions), the game is well balanced (the usual optimal and suboptimal options but things a generally tight) and the rules are free. Oh yeah it uses 20 sided dice which makes probability maths much easier for the likes of me!

What is it like?

Typically you have around 10 miniatures per a side fighting it out in densely packed terrain. As point costs go up the quality of troops tends to improve rather than the quantity. The games can takes a moderate amount of time to play but unlike a lot of mini-games both players are almost always involved. This due to the Orders, ARO and Face to Face Roll mechanics.

An Order allows one of your troops to perform an action/s, either two quick (move and shoot) actions which occur simultaneously or one extended one (run). Each player gains a number of Orders equal to the number of troops in their force (capping at 10, in which case they need to create a another battlegorup). Unlike WH40k or WM/H the only limit in how many times you can activates a single miniature is the number of unused orders you have. Your order pool is recalculated at the start of every turn so casualties matter.

ARO (Automatic Reaction Order) means that if one of your troops witnesses an enemy combatant use an Order then they get the chance to react. If an enemy pops out from behind the wall in your miniatures LOS then your guy/girl can take a shot at them, attempt to dodge, go prone and etc. As a result combat is rather fluid and facing and firing lanes become the key to victory.

Face to Face rolls occur when two or more models engage in conflicting actions at the same time. If Trooper John wants to shoot Trooper Bob and vice versa then a face to face roll is conducted. Both players roll their dice and the Trooper with the highest roll under or equal to their relevant stat + modifiers wins and the opponent's action is cancelled.

Note: These mechanics are balanced out by various limitations and subtleties in the rules, aggressive play is rewarded but smart play wins games. If you are interested watch the rules videos linked at the end of the article.


You get the fluff when you buy the rather beautiful rule books (optional, as the rules are free). The general idea is that humanity in all its diversity has spread to the stars and various factions have formed as a result. An alien threat called the Combined Army have discovered human space and have begun to invade. If Dune, Halo, Blade Runner, Appleseed and Ghost In the Shell somehow had a love child it would be the Infinity setting.

Any downsides?

The minis are all metal and not particularly cheap. The rules are rather different to GW or PP systems and as a result might take a bit of getting used too. The game requires good communication between players and the downside of the increased interactivity is that if your opponent needs a biobreak or a smoke then your game needs to stop. Scenario support is also a bit thin at the moment, but CB are working on it.

How do I get started?

There are a number of excellent resources available to try Infinity but first a few tips:

Download the rules or the quick-start-rules

You need terrain. Lots of terrain. If your table isn't 80%+ LOS blocking terrain with an extra helping of cover granting terrain then you are doing it wrong. Terrain should be set-up fairly and you want to avoid having any commanding views of the battlefield anywhere your opponent can not contest. I like to base my terrain on maps from FPS video games but I started by stacking up CD and DVD cases.

Start small. Infinity starter boxes are excellent but I would advise learning the ropes with 3 or 4 basic infantry on each side on a 2 by 2 table. After a game or two move up to a 4 by 4 table and add more variety to each side eventually building up to a starter box.

Close combat happens. But it is situational. Just because you can build an army of cyber samurai doesn't mean you can get away with charging blindly across the table. Don't take a sword to a gun fight, take a sword and a gun.

Avoid Sectorial forces until you have got the mechanics down. Sectorials are the equivalent WM/H tier lists, they grant advantages but at the cost of options. Thus they are not the best option for a new player (that being said most Sectorial Starter boxes are not bad for an introduction).

New players often get a shock when they realise you can spend all your orders on one uber trooper. The Infinity community call this going Rambo. Believe it or not it actually is actually easy to counter with competent use of your cheap grunts and specialist options like mines or camo-troops. It just takes a bit of practice.


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