I’ve been wanting to try out infinity for a while now. It’s a skirmish miniatures game where you command a small squad of individual soldiers. It seems pretty big in parts of Europe, but less well known here… and pretty much unknown in my town.
Well, a month or so ago, I managed to get my hands on some demo squads (4 models / approx. 100 pts each) for a few of the factions, which meant I could finally give it a try. As interested as I was, there didn’t seem to be much point in buying into a game if I was going to be the only one keen on it. With a bunch of demo squads, though, I just needed to track some guys down who were interested in trying it out. And 80% of my semi-regular pathfinder crew came through (the fifth guy wasn’t available last weekend, hence us not playing pathfinder).
We decided to just dive in with the quick start rules, and limited ourselves to the ground level for now, just to avoid overcomplicating things, especially since a couple of the guys have never really played a straight minis game before. That said, I think our now fairly extensive pathfinder experiences probably helped to ease the transition.
The quick rules include the basics, plus some minimal information about some of the special skills like camouflage and alternate deployments. For our initial game we ignore all of the special skills and just focused on figuring out how the Order system works, including infinity’s own ARO – Automatic Reaction Order, like perpetual overwatch. As there were 4 of us, we paired off to form teams, and simply treated each player’s models as an independent squad (orders could be shared within a squad, but not between two different players’ units). Mostly we pretty much just advanced within the terrain and shot at one another. Not the most brilliant tactics, but it really gave us a solid idea of not only how the Orders and AROs work, but also just how valuable cover is.
Each model supplies an Order to its Squad’s total Reserve. These Orders can generally be spent on any model, meaning each model could move a little and maybe fire a shot, or one model can go screaming across the battlefield, emptying its heavy machine gun down every alleyway. AROs allow a limited number of options that can be taken by a model when an enemy model passes within its line of fire, or within its Zone of Control (within 8″); these options include things like changing a model’s facing, dodging incoming fire, or firing shots of one’s own. This means that while you can run a solo model all over the place, it will likely result in that one model being the target of a *lot* of enemy fire over the course of the turn, and if it does survive, it will be all alone and an easy target. Orders need to be used fairly carefully (the system reminds me a lot of Valkyria Chronicles on the ps3), and with an eye towards the end of your turn, and the ability of your models to provide effective AROs during your opponent’s turn. You’re really involved all the time, despite the active turn shifting from one player to another in the usual fashion.
Cover affects both the aggressor’s ability to shoot and the defender’s armour value, so a solid defensive position can bring a very cheap unit statistically into line with a significantly stronger model. This especially benefits a model making an ARO attack, as these are executed using a reduced number of shots in most cases (a given weapon might fire any number of shots when used by an active model during its regular order, but all weapons are limited to 1 shot in ARO mode).
An additional factor of cover – and one that I particularly like – is that you need to be both partially covered *and touching whatever is providing cover* in order to gain its benefits.
Our second game we introduced way more special skills. We all limited ourselves to ground level movement, but we each read up on the skills and weapons possessed by our own squad and put them into action. Camo, thermoptic camo, impersonation, combat jump, grenades, mines, close combat, and so on.
Despite all the extra rules, this battle went a little faster, mostly due to the fact that we had a better handle on the basics. I had a great time, and really enjoyed Infinity. But, as I mentioned previously, there’s no point buying in if I’ve got nobody to play with, so the real question was how everybody else felt. “So?”, I asked, after the conclusion of our second game. The immediate response,
“So how many points do we all want to shoot for?”
That’s right, I’ve got a semi regular Infinity group now, we’re just waiting on our armies. I’ve decided to stick with Ariadna; I like the look and feel of the faction, and selected them from among the demo squads because I was already lacking towards them as my first pick. Kyle demo’d Panoceania, and has opted to stick with them. Tyler demo’d Yu Jing, but on doing more research has bought into the Nomads (my own second choice, so I can hardly blame him; they look very cool). Finally, Wayne fielded Haqqislam during our demo but has abandoned them in favour of the the Combined Army; he will be playing as the alien menace (and seems to feel it will provide him with some slack where painting is concerned. Grin).
We’ve each ordered a fairly sizable force (150-300 points each), and I am hoping they will arrive this week. Here’s to a wonderful new miniatures game, and the broadening of my pathfinder cohorts’ geek horizons!