5 Reasons I love Infininty
Infinity is a miniatures game by Corvus Belli. If you are here, you probably know about it already... but if you just stumbled on my page via the rabbit hole that is the internet, well it's a war game kind of like "Warhammer 40k" by Games Workshop or "War Machine" from Privateer Press. There are a ton of mini games out there from Battletech, X-wing, Malifaux, Dropfleet Commander... you get the idea. Infinity is getting more popular, but is still a pretty small community compared to other bigger games.
Reason # 1: Metal Minatures
I love metal minis. I started my hobby back in the mid 90's with Batteltech, back then they used metal as well. The mini's were not as finely detailed as they are today, but metal allows the sculptors to pull of some really cool and incredibly detailed models. Working with metal is a bit different than plastic and can take more prep time and be a bit more frustrating. But the result are beautiful. And with Infinity... there are A LOT to collect.
Reason # 2: The Reaction mechanic
Almost all table top games from Monopoly to Warhammer are played in a your turn/my turn format. In some games you can get up and have a drink, stare at your phone, take a poop, while waiting for your opponent to finish their turn. Well in Infinity both players are always acting. When it is your opponents turn you get to react to everything they do. If they move one of their infantry units across one (or more) of your troops line of sight you get the opportunity to declare an "automatic reaction order" or "ARO".
There are a few different ARO's, and I honestly don't know them all...but the most common are shoot or dodge. Your opponent then gets to react to your ARO by choosing the second half of their order..by shooting, hacking, moving, dodging, throwing a grenade of some kind... Then you both roll dice, whomever is closer to their target number without going over wins. depending on how many dice beat your opponents dice are the amount of success you have. It's very interesting and creates an very tactical game where every decision you make gives your opponent choices.
Reason # 3: The game is insanely balanced
You wouldn't think that a game with 9 main factions and 29 sub-factions (with 2 more on the way at the time of this writing) and with an uncountable amount of units profiles broken down into different load outs that the game would have great balance... but it's amazing how balanced the game is...and how it incorporates many different play styles between the different factions. There are core elements to the game the make it easy to balance compared to other games.
First all the unit rules are online including point values. Which means they can introduce balance changes if needed. I've seen 2-3 over the past 7 months I've been playing.
Secondly, there are special weapon point values limiting how many big guns or fancy pieces of equipment you can take. Sure, heavy machine guns and sniper rifles can be dominating. Hacker spam could create a negative play experience... but with a secondary point value (restricted to 6) you need to limit what you can take.
Third, trooper profiles have availability limits. Aside from unique "hero" units, almost every troop profile has a limit on how many of that troop can be taken. PanOceania has a troop called the "Croc Man". He is one of many troops in the game who can deploy in a "hidden state" which means your opponent has no idea where he is! The Croc can reveal himself suddenly and attack it's opponent by surprise and do some nasty damage. Would make sense to take a handful right? Sorry, in "vanilla" PanOceania you can only take 2.
Fourth, you can only have 10 models/orders in a group. Only the models in that group can receive orders generated by that group, and it's not easy to move models between groups. Essentially you need to manage resources (in the army building step) to give your troopers enough orders to do their jobs.
Finally, the objective format lends a lot to balance. You need a good mix of guns/support/specialist troops to win a game. You can't just go in guns blazing and win. You need to complete the objectives which can be anything from controlling a console with a big stompy robot (aka TAG) or activate a console to reveal a civilian that you have been sent to assassinate. If you are playing a tournament (3-5 games) your squad will need answer to as many scenarios as possible.
Together they can manipulate those core fundamentals to control power creep. Not saying that there are not incredibly power pieces out there that are able to dominate, but there are ways to counter them.
Reason # 4: The communities and the designers
Infinity is a smaller community game than most others out there, its just a side effect for not being a media/marketing power house like Games Workshop. They are a small, independent group from Spain that makes their models all in house. This allows the designers of the game to be more in touch with the community than other games out there. My very first tournament I was surprised that the face of the company did a video (with q&a) directly for our tournament. Some of the swag was also signed by the developers! Very cool. But that showed me that the company cares. They have discontinued a few factions physical models, but still update the rules and points for those factions to keep the fans happy.
The player community itself is also mostly devoid of power gamers and overly competitive players, even online. I don't know if it's because how balanced the game is or what, but I have not really had a negative experience with being bullied by other players net lists (you don't even really see netlisting in this game) or rule lawyering play. In fact I have yet to play someone who hasn't allowed you to change a decision once learning how bad the decision is. Ie: I was unfamiliar with the "natural born warrior" skill today, I ran up with a samurai and wanted to stab him with my sword. My samurai has a ton of special skills that make him an incredibly deadly close combat specialist... but "natural born warrior" nullifies all those skills. My opponent let me take it back me running towards his troop and allowed me to just poke around the corner and shoot him instead.
While in a game another game I play there is a podcast that directly tries to break the game by trolling rules as written. There are now rules in that game where they have put in 'missed opportunity' rules. If I "forget" to shoot with my model there is no going back even tho my turn isn't over yet if I passed that models order... in infinity as long as the other player hasn't started their turn they would still allow you to shoot if you remember after you've done everything else. It's a very nice casual environment that makes the game more enjoyable.... especially since the other game that I'm speaking of even has an unofficial mantra of "fly casual".
Reason # 5: Proxies
Proxies are allowed, it's in the rules. In fact there are models out there that have never been printed, therefore you need to proxy to use those units. Unlike other games where "what you see is what you get" (ie: that trooper has a missile launcher, so its accompanying model must have a missile launcher too.) In Infinity it's actually fairly common to not have models with the weapons that are in their profile. Some models may not even have that weapon on any of it's prints! Of course there are people out there who modify, but there is nothing wrong with you bringing a group of trooper with various weapons but they are all actually armed with the same gun.
This is great because it can save you money. You may want to run 3 Tanko Missile Launchers, but there is only one model with a missile launcher in the box of 3... imagine having to buy 3 boxes of about $40 each to get 3 of the models you need while the other 2 models go into storage. Not with Infininty.
This goes for troopers too. You are playing Tohaa, a faction which has largely been discontinued. You want to use a drop trooper. Well the drop trooper model hasn't been printed for 3 years. Feel free to use any other trooper that your opponent can easily identify to fill in for the drop trooper you probably don't own (I use an Akalis from a different faction for example). And it's 100% legal!
Bonus reason: It's cheap for a wargame
No wargame is cheap, lets get that out of the way right now. I will do another post showing all the hidden costs of a few different games. But Infinity overall is fairly inexpensive to get going if you are just starting out and you have a friend or friendly gaming store that has terrain. You can go down to your store and buy a 300 point starter box, a bottle of super glue, clippers, file, and a measuring tape and be ready to go in a few hours. $120ish Canadian and your good to go! For miniature games that is super cheap.
The rule book is free online. Tokens are free to print off the Corvus Belli website.
Even then, Corvus Belli's official terrain is cheap cheap cheap! It even comes with the tokens. But I'll save that for another post.
Welcome to Infinity.