Operation Icestorm review by DarkLink
Operation Icestorm is here. After a brief delay due to overwhelming demand, my preorder finally arrived. And I can tell you right now, the wait was 100% worth it.
For those not in the know, Operation Icestorm is Infinity’s new two player starter pack. For a little over $100, give or take depending on sales, shipping, taxes, etc, you get everything you need to play basic games of Infinity, including dice, rules, and even terrain.
Before I get into the details, up front I want to state that the models are the heart of this release. The new sculpts for Panoceania and Nomads are simply amazing. Corvus Belli had some delays getting the release out, and the reason is because the models are so awesome that I’m pretty sure every single person who saw the pics immediately went and preordered.
Icestorm has some nice artwork, no doubt there.
First up is the rulebook. For those who don’t play Infinity, this isn’t actually necessary, as all of Corvus Belli’s rules, including a wiki and official armybuilder, are all completely free. No need to buy an expensive codex, supplement, dataslate, and formation rulebook just to play your army here.
Infinity is, however, a bit of a tricky game to learn for some. It’s extremely simple in practice, but each action comes with a wide array of branching options with dozens of modifiers and reactions. Once you learn what your options are, the game flows incredibly well, with even the most complex of interactions consisting little more than rolling a few dice and determining successes and failures.
Because of this, the rulebook is a very nice touch. It contains a stripped down version of the full game. It’s a great place for beginners to learn the fundamentals of the game. Once you’ve played a few games out of the Icestorm rulebook, you’ll be more than ready to start picking up the full game with ease.
Infinity makes fairly heavy use of game tokens. A sheet is included with Icestorm. It’s nothing fancy, just a sheet of thin cardboard, but it’s enough to get you started. A common trick is to take the printed tokens and glue them onto spare bases for ease of use. Numerous companies make third party tokens perfect for Infinity as well, if you decide to go that route. The cost would be prohibitive to put high quality laser cut plastic tokens into a starter set, though, so while these are just thin cardboard I’m not going to complain.
The included cardboard terrain is one of the more unique aspects of this release. Let’s be clear, this is just thin cardboard, this won’t provide your FLGS a source of high quality terrain that will last for years, but it is a significant amount of terrain. Infinity is highly reliant on having plenty of LOS blocking terrain, and numerous companies produce extremely high quality made-for-Infinity terrain, but this stuff will do the trick while you’re still learning. It’s not particularly fancy, but it looks a whole lot better than using tissue boxes and beer cans as cover for your army. Just like the tokens, this is a very nice touch without jacking up the cost of the starter set unnecessarily, and considering how important terrain is for Infinity, Corvus Belli pretty much had to include terrain in some form.
Now, to the best part:
The first thing I did after getting my set was to pull out the Panoceania Father-Knight and the Nomads Mobile Brigada, assemble them, and start painting (WIP). I play Panoceania, and I prefer their aesthetic, but the Mobile Brigada is sick. Since I don’t play Nomads I’ll probably sell off that half, but I’m keep Mr. Stark for myself.
The rest of the models, still unassembled because I’m lazy busy, are of equally high quality. These guys look like near-future sci-fi badass soldiers. I don’t have a high quality camera to really capture the details, but these models are phenomenal. The faces in particular are of incredibly high quality. The men look real and the women look like actual women rather than men with certain… assets. It’s not just that there are a couple of really good models and the rest are also cool, but every one of these models is awesome. In terms of consistently high-quality single models, Corvus Belli is easily one of the best model companies out there right now. Some of their older stuff, when they were just getting off the ground, is on par with GW’s old models (a.k.a. something only a mother could love), but I haven’t seen a single model released over the last year or so from them that wasn’t stunning. There are no Taurox Primes to be had here.
That’s pretty much it. A bunch of extremely high quality models, some nice little bonus items (the faction dice are a nice touch), and everything you need to play the game, though a real measuring tape would definitely come in handy. For reference, each of these forces adds up to roughly 160-170 points, which is roughly equivalent to 1000-1250pts of 40k. Infinity’s rules scale much better to smaller games as well. You could play a fully functional, albeit very short, 10pt game as easily as you can a standard 300pt game. Beginners should be playing 120-150pts to get the hand of things, and it only takes a few key purchases to bring these armies up to the “standard” 300pt game. Add an HMG Aquila Guard, a few Auxilia, and a Sierra Dronebot, and you’ve got a solid Panoceania army for cheap.
All in all, Operation Icestorm is a great way to get into Infinity. It’s worth mentioning that 3rd edition (called N3 by Corvus Belli) is getting released later this year, and it’s looking like it cleans up a lot of the complexities and minor imbalances in the game pretty well.
If you play Infinity already, this is a great deal for what you get. If you’re interested in Infinity, this is a great place to start. All in all, 10/10, would buy again.