Monday, July 13, 2015

Ian!!! plays Infinity

A  special treat for me last week. I got to try the miniature game Infinity.  All five of the little scenarios in the Nomad vs. Pan Ocean starter set.

I was the red guys!

All I knew about infinity was that it was a mini game, it looked sci-fi, high tech, with a lot of anime stuff (Ghost in the Shell, Appleseed, Armitage and stuff along those lines)and had smaller and still detailed models.

A quick run through the rules. Hmmm…..a D20 system where you roll under or over a certain number (depending on the task) to succeed. Multiple “orders” that can be given to your force. Said “orders” that are based on the number of guys in your force. A lot of terrain. Supposedly a combat system that is brutal and unforgiving. We start the five game starter set.

After about 2 ½ hours we were through all five scenarios. Holt crap snacks! This game is as unforgiving, a bit unpredictable and seems to move pretty fast.
With five games in I only came out ahead twice. That being said I had one other game damn near in the bag, and then in one turn it all fell apart. The other two games I was given a pants down spanking.

Descent amount of stuff for a starter set

 Thoughts on stuff that happened.

The shooting in this game is brutal. If you can see it you can shoot it. If you can be seen, then you can be shot, by everyone! I completely get why cover is so important.

The need for terrain is real. if your guys are in the open, they are likely being turned into bloody bits.

Being able to shoot when a model , with anyone who has line of sight to them, when it moves into the open is crazy. Sure it is only one shot, but if it hits then you have that armor roll to make to survive. Speaking of armor.

Sure you have armor, but it really isn’t effective. When you get hit you roll and have to score above a certain number and get a bonus for armor. In this set it was mostly 13+ to save. Yeah getting shot was comically fatal.

You have as many orders as guys. Seven guys nets you seven orders. These can be used one for each dude or go nuts and have one guy do seven different actions. That is insane!

When you have a leader (Lieutenant guy) and he dies then your guys kind of suck. They can only have one order and there goes the crazy action stuff. Don’t let your leader die!

Leeeeeeroooooooy Jenkins!!!!! Was actually a viable strategy a few times and hilarious when it works. It is even more funny when it fails.

The game can shift, and did, from near victory to defeat so easily. One bad round of shooting or poor movement can ruin your force.

Therm-optic camouflage seems really awesome and might be in the real game. Here it felt like a cool trick, but on a sub-par model.

Air dropping a guy into an unprepared deployment zone is awesome. Even better is when he fails and has to deploy on the opposite side of the board. Twice!

Is close combat viable? Here it really wasn’t. Maybe with real melee units it might be?  The few games we played when it was tried it just wasn’t all that impressive. Shooting really felt like the only real option to taking out the enemy easily. 

Needing to roll under a set number on a D20 is great! I roll low all the time during D&D games. Well that is until you change the game system and now you roll consistent 14+. I get it universe! You don’t like me rolling dice!

The rule set is a bit confusing and I’m sure we botched rules, especially the “Face to Face” roll off bit. Plus the offsetting or negating successes seemed a bit wyrd too. We probably were doing something wrong, but whatever. We were in agreement and still had fun.

There is a lot going on with this game. Well maybe not with the starter set, but looking at the same models and all the extra rules/gear they have seems pretty hefty.  I think it would make just knowing or memorizing what your opponents’ army is armed with (and what they can do) damn crazy difficult.

ARO, BTS, TAGS, ZC...what is all this?

The models are metal and look really sweet. However, they are smaller and have a lot of fiddly bit details. The whole anime/manga look is cool. However, there are so many choices and I could easily build a force I find ascetically pleasing. The unit names leave a lot to be desired though. Some of them are fine while a lot are just terrible to pronounce.

After five games I don’t dislike Infinity. I don’t love it either. The ranged combat is pretty brutal. The close combat was really poor. The rules were not super clear and we had a few questions that there wasn’t a good answer. It would really help to see seasoned players or get an official demo of this game. The game play seems really unforgiving. The learning curve is still a bit of an unknown too. We got the basics and then we didn't. The games didn't get harder, We just got more guys to throw into the mix. 

I am neutral so far with this game. I like the look of the models. Even the insane amount of terrain is new compared to other games. I am not really impressed with the rule set and game play. It might be really fun, but after five games I wasn't super pumped to try it again. 


  1. Hey Ian, Infinity vet here, stumbled across this go though HoP's blog roll.

    As for the hard to pronounce unit names a lot of the them are not in English. Alguaciles is Spanish while Nisse is Norwegian. You would not like Yu Jing one bit. Try Guilang and Yan Huo out for me and I'll give you the pronunciations later :D

    Armor: With Icestorm the LI units (Fusiliers and Alguaciles) are not going to take bullet well out of cover. These guys are cheap points wise in the real game so they aren't exactly tanks. The MI units (Akal, Nisse, Grenzer, and Revered Healer) are a little better but not by much. These guys bring more interesting skills and equipment to the table though. The HI (Mobile Brigada, ORC, and Father-Knight) are a lot better off with the higher ARM but also additional wounds. Means they can survive a lucky ARO and keep on moving. Cover is your best friend in Infinity though. That +3 ARM and -3 BS for other guys to shoot at you is to good to pass up.

    Yes Infinity is deadly but I wouldn't say comically fatal. You can make it that way if you make your guys run willy nilly out in the open with another guy ready to shoot back. You'll have to approach that guy and dispatch him before you can move across the street. There's multiple ways to get that guy as well. Infinity is deeply tactical.

    Yes, TO (Thermo-optic) camo is in the real game. The unit in the box set is the Spektr who is a very plain TO unit. There are many other TO units like the CC monster that is the Oniwaban to the durable Dasyu.

    Talking about CC the only real CC centric unit in the box is the Father Knight. Even then like all of PanO's knights shooting should be the first option and CC second. There are some more purpose built CC units though in Infinity who can cause a mess of things like the Oniwaban I mentioned above, to the Myrmidons, or the Antipodes. CC in Infinity is an option but not a go to. In todays combat it is the same way as it's better to drop the guy before he gets close.

    As for the FtF (Face-to-Face) system it's pretty simple. You try to roll under a units stat (after modification from range, cover, etc.) and the ARO unit does the same. Say the attacking unit is a Fusilier, in his active turn, is shooting at a Grenzer. Both are in cover and in +3 for their weapons. So the Fusilier is looking for 12's an the Grenzer 13's. The Fusilier gets 3 shots while the Grenzer gets one. The Fusilier rolls an 11, 6, and 1. The Grenzer rolls an 8. With the FtF and how it works is that a higher roll beats a lower roll and it doesn't matter how many. So the Grenzer's 8 beats the Fusilier's 6 and 1. The Fusilier 11 beats the 8 though. However that doesn't mean the 6 and 1 get to come back in. If a roll is higher then the other it is gone for good no matter if a higher number beats it out. So only one shot is hitting the Grenzer and he now has to make an ARM roll.

    The extra rules and equipment in reality is not hard. It's helpful that the majority of factions share the same equipment, weapons, and special skills. There are some special stuff for some factions like plasma for Combined Army or the Symbiont Armor for the Tohaa but these are special cases (read: aliens).

    As for extra rules like the ARO (Automatic Reaction Order). You guys were already doing that when the reactive player was shooting at an active players model when activated. Nice thing is you don't have to just shoot as an ARO but you can also dodge or drop a smoke grenade at your feet if you have one.

    TAGs (Tactical Armor Gear) are giant robots. Google PanO Cutter and you'll see a TAG.

    As for the others I suggest reading the main rule book. Icestorm is the bare bone basics of the game with some advanced stuff sprinkled in like Air Deployment and camo. Nice thing is the main rule book is free and you can find it on Infinity's main website in the download section.

    1. Holy crap snacks! that was a wealth of knowledge in one comment!
      Thanks for taking the time to run through stuff.

      We were doing the face-2-face rolls all wrong then. We canceled out rolls and any remaining went through. It made shooting disgusting. That rule in the starter box is muddy and your explanation makes a lot more sense.

      I still don't get the names but knowing this is a translation to English makes some sense as to why.

      I really need a few more games and some experienced players before I can really decide Infinity.

      I really like the look of the game and that is a huge factor for me.

      Thanks again for the review and for stopping by.