Infinity: A 40k Player’s First Impressions

Hey everyone, it’s Adam from TheDiceAbide.com! With Reece out on a mystic journey to discover his spirit animal while expanding his consciousness in the desert, he’s asked me to churn my brain butter and produce some content to keep this page going.

I'm like 95% sure Reece's spirit animal is an anthropomorphized sexy wolf boy

I’m like 95% sure Reece’s spirit animal is an anthropomorphized sexy wolf boy.

For years now, Infinity has been sitting on my radar. I’ve played a great many war games over the years, and probably due to that, I’ve been reluctant to start new ones, but it seems that Infinity just will not die, it slowed down for a minute, and I thought it was gone, another mini game flash in the pan, but lately it just seems to be growing faster and faster. Since it passed the test of being popular for a number of years, I figure I’d better see what all the fuss is about!

A friend of mine came to town, bringing his Nomad force, as well as the USAriadna starter set. It was these neo-Americans that sparked my interest in the game, as the new sculpts are just amazing, as far as I can tell, nobody else seems to be producing models nearly this good looking. One of the things that always made me disinterested in the game is that it felt like there was no non-anime faction, and despite me not particularly caring for werewolves, I cannot deny that the antipodes just look bad ass. Since we’re a bunch of 40k players, I decided that if I’d even consider the game, I’d need to convince at least 1-2 more friends to give it a shot, which is where Obadiah came in… I figured if anyone would appreciate the amazing sculpts, it was the best painter/sculptor that I know.

infinity-usariadna

USA! USA! USA!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the game, let me describe some of the key mechanics I noticed and think that fellow 40k players would find interesting:

The Basics

As I expected, the game took a ton of terrain, which my friend assumed I wouldn’t have, since I’m “just a 40k player” though thankfully, I actually had plenty (probably because I can load up 2-3 boards with adequate 40k terrain, hah!). I quite like a board full of terrain, so I really liked how it looked altogether.

At first, I found the D20 system confusing, which seems totally understandable, as it is a system that is entirely different than any other game I’ve played. Essentially, there are two kind of rolls: Face to Face, and Normal. For a normal roll, you basically calculate the modifiers (for things like range, cover, camo, etc.), and try to roll a dice equal to or under your target, so for example, if you’re BS11 shooting at someone behind cover (-3), and you’re in your guns unmodified range band (+0), then you’re going to need to roll an 8 or less on the dice (11-3). Yeah, that’s right, you want to roll LOWER for most rolls in the game. Now, if you’re doing a face to face roll, such as you firing at your opponent, while they’re shooting you back, you both roll your appropriate number of dice, the objective being to roll higher than your opponent, yet still equal to or under your target roll. Additionally, if you roll your exact required number, then you score a critical, which is effectively an auto-win, but with some additional bonuses (critically shooting someone basically blows their brains out).

 

infinity-nomads

 

Instead of the normal I go, you g0, that we have in all GW games, WMH, and many others, Infinity has an order system. You get a number of orders equal to the number of models you have on the board, and orders are spent to let models take an action (move+move, move+shoot, hide with camo, suppressive fire, etc.). Models may perform as many actions as you have orders for, so you can effectively give up actions with some models, to allow others to do more, which creates a huge amount of tactical flexibility in the army. This system was super easy to figure out, and once we got the hang of it, we were starting to plan out multiple action maneuvers to mess up each others plans.

When your opponent performs an action, your units are allowed to perform a reaction, so someone walking around the corner in front of your guy with a boarding shotgun is in for a nasty surprise. Unlike other games, this means that you can’t walk out in the open safely firing off all your guns, only allowing the enemy to shoot back after they’ve waited their turn. Nope, you walk out into the open and if someone is pointing their gun your way, they get a chance to shoot you immediately.

One other notable difference in this game is the utter lethality of it. Getting shot with a gun really hurts, who’d have imagined it! There is no toughness value, just armour, and once a bullet is through the armour, it’s just going to rattle around in your gooey insides, causing you to have a really bad day. You do not want to rely on your armour alone, the toughest, nastiest units in the game do not want to get shot in the face. Sorry, there is no Space Marine, and if you do walk out in the open, someone is going to blast you. Your armour may be high-tech, but so is the depleted teseum slug that just entered your skull.

 

infinity-panoceana

 

The Gameplay

Despite us both playing human factions, it was clear who had technological superiority, and it wasn’t the USAriadna. I was firing what felt like a good ol’ slug firing AK-47, while he was firing recoilless machine guns, laying invisible mines, and being protected by sophisticated powered armour with advanced targeting systems. The game did feel totally balanced though, he may have had more toys, but I had more bodies, which meant more orders.

I tried to play cautiously, proving suppressive fire from some grunts, while others advanced, but simultaneously used my Maverick (motorcycle) to go up the flank and shoot her shotgun at some troops that were hiding behind buildings. My Devil Dog didn’t fare nearly as well though… I figured sending him up the middle to engage the opponent was logical, only to realize that was a 40k-player mistake… He may be a big warewolf, but he can still get riddled with bullets just fine..

haqqislam

The whole game we felt at the edge of our seats, there was tension in every action you took, having to weigh the chances of getting shot in the face for the opportunity to move between pieces of cover to get in optimal range of your weapons. Throwing smoke around to protect my advance was key, effectively giving you a bit of temporary cover while you move, though some of his models had special sensor visors that allowed him to see through it just fine.

After 3 turns, the game was over and we tallied up victory points. While I managed to scare Obi with the treat of so many guns, his advanced weapons were too much for me to handle and he pulled out a narrow victory.

 

infintiy-combined

 

The Verdict

I think this game gets two (actually four) emphatic thumbs up. We both had a great time and really enjoyed the tactical and action packed feel of the game. The rules are fairly easy to pick up, though really take a bit of practice, and there are a TON of special rules in the game. It seems like you can get by knowing what your troops do, and learning about the opponent on the fly, you definitely wont lose a game by not knowing exactly what another model can do. The biggest issue I have with the game is the rulebook, which doesn’t seem laid out well for use as reference, but thankfully there is a maintained wiki that the company uses which is quite helpful. If you are interested in the game, definitely have someone walk you through the first game or two to get the hang of it.

Talking to people about the game, there is very much a mantra of “it’s not the list, it’s you” when it comes to army construction. It appears that basically all of the units are very well balanced, and army construction is more about preference, than picking the winning unit combinations. This is a concept that is totally alien to a competitive 40k or WMH player, I can actually play with the models I think look cool, and have a totally fine chance of winning! There are definitely some nice to have combinations, like you would obviously want a forward observer of some sort if you’re bringing indirect fire weapons, but nothing on the order of magnitude of War Convocation + Blood Angel Drop Pods, or Draigo + Centurions.

I enjoyed the game so much that I’ve already ordered my own USAriadna starter pack, as well as the Combined Army starter, and Obadiah is picking up the Tohaa (and I bet Aleph). This is really a fun game, and a welcome break from the usual list-hammer of 40k. You can definitely expect to see some battle repors in the future, but probably not many painted minis until after the Las Vegas Open, after all, we still have a pledge to finish!

infinity-tohaa

 

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About Adam

Cofounder of RUMBL – player finder for Miniatures Wargames. I also run a little blog called TheDiceAbide, check it out.

28 Responses to “Infinity: A 40k Player’s First Impressions”

  1. Donzo September 4, 2015 4:50 am #

    2 points – the dice abide is a great blog, glad to see your post here. secondly, your depiction of Reece’s spirit animal is spot on.

  2. iNcontroL September 4, 2015 8:14 am #

    Reece spirit animal stole the blog. Nice to see you enjoying another game though!

  3. Warmaster_GIR September 4, 2015 8:36 am #

    Someone should paint that wolf on a banner or land raider for Reece’s Space Marines.

  4. AbusePuppy September 4, 2015 9:50 am #

    SPIRIT REECE: This power armor gives me maximum mobility- feels like I’m wearing nothing at all!

    Nothing at all!

    NOTHING AT ALL!

    • Defeatmyarmy September 5, 2015 5:30 pm #

      ??? good reference

  5. fluger September 4, 2015 10:29 am #

    “I’m like 95% sure Reece’s spirit animal is an anthropomorphized sexy wolf boy.”

    SO much lols.

    This game has been on my radar in much the same way as well. Good synopsis.

  6. Tommy September 4, 2015 11:35 am #

    This was an interesting read as I’ve pretty much had the same thoughts as you. Also my interest is more into smaller sized games that are easier to build a narrative into.

    Out of curiosity. What’s the necessary entry point and approximately cost?

    • Adam
      Adam (thediceabide.com) September 4, 2015 11:57 am #

      $40!

      The rules are all free and the starter sets are about $40 for 150 points. It seems that 150, while small is not a horribly uncommon game size. 300 points is the recommended size and most common size for tournament lists.

      My 300 point Combined army was about $80 in total, but I’ll be adding a lot to it. It seems that most armies for 300 points range from $80-120, depending on the faction, obviously if you spam cheap infantry the army will be less cost effective than one that uses heavy infantry (their pricing seems to be roughly based on model size, instead of point cost).

      • Tommy September 4, 2015 12:20 pm #

        That’s pretty sweet! So the rules for the units come with the miniatures and the core rules are downloadable?

        • Adam
          Adam (thediceabide.com) September 4, 2015 12:27 pm #

          They’re all available on the website: http://infinitythegame.com/archive.php

          That includes the core rules, rules from their 2 campaign expansions, quick start rules (definitely read those first), official tournament scenarios, etc.

          • fluger September 4, 2015 12:50 pm
            #

            Been killing time at work reading this. Looks awesome.

          • Tommy September 4, 2015 1:02 pm
            #

            Cheers I’ll definitely take a look 🙂

          • Adam
            Adam (thediceabide.com) September 4, 2015 1:04 pm
            #

            Yeah, it was discovering that the cost of entry is so low that finally sucked me in. That and the USAriadna set, haha.

          • AbusePuppy September 4, 2015 1:12 pm
            #

            The accessibility is a big selling point for the game- and while the rulebook may not be all that well organized, to be honest neither is the 40K core book. N3 (the newest edition) is a huge step forward from previous editions and is more attractive, a better read, and more clear and concise.

          • Adam
            Adam (thediceabide.com) September 4, 2015 2:20 pm
            #

            Yeah, reading the book alone is a harsh way to learn any game. I picked it up quickly after watching some how-to videos, played a small game, then read the rules.

            You’re right about the low barrier to entry though. For only $40 it’s just worth trying… that’s the price of a damn Rhino!

          • Fagerlund September 5, 2015 1:36 am
            #

            I think another point on the messy rulebook is that Corvus Belli are really good at answering rules questions these days. That really does help a lot!

  7. Jason Brown September 4, 2015 9:18 pm #

    I just got my Tohaa starter and am completely taken aback by the pure awesome that the sculpts are. From what I have seen its a much faster game where you are never really a passive dude half the game.

  8. Fagerlund September 5, 2015 1:19 am #

    It’s a great game. But the “not about models” is a truth with modification… some things are just straight up better than others. And some combinations are pretty ridiculous. And when building your list synnergy is super important, meaning if you take x you have to take y else that’s basically wasted points. Or at least a uphill battle from the start. A bit like trying to play with Thousand Sons. It can work, but…
    Also there’s this thing with turn 1 crit which can potentially end the game right there. Especially if the terrain is poorly set up. Setting up a good table for Infinity is actually something that needs a bit of practice.

    But I really enjoy the game. It makes you think a lot. It’s very tactical indeed, and very punishing if you make a mistake. I also like that each faction has a pretty strong flavour, and every faction can almost play any game style. It makes the list building very dynamic (which of course also means that the price goes up exponentially), and since it’s so quick it’s pretty easy to play a couple of games in an evening.

    • Adam
      Adam (Thediceabide.com) September 5, 2015 7:14 am #

      Hmm, you’re the first person I’ve seen say that about having to take particular units and combos… Everyone else seems to have the mantra of “it’s not your list, it’s you” when it comes to people asking what they should take differently, with some small exceptions like not enough orders, needing specialists for ITS missions, or forward observers to help your indirect fire units. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just surprised to hear that it could be on the level of playing Thousand Sons. 🙂

      • Fagerlund September 5, 2015 7:33 am #

        Yeah I’ve seen this as well, but after playing a couple of games and watching a few more I just can’t agree. Mind, I’m also new to the game but when you see two lists almost identical to each other with just 1-2 model different and you see how much more powerful one of the lists are… I think this is much covered up by the fact that everything is really dangerous though so you rarely see the advantages stack up like you see in many other games. I do however think that it is super important to have a plan with your list, and I find it really difficult to just “wing it” with some random models (which the “it’s you not the models” thing suggest is possible 😛 ).

        • Quaade September 5, 2015 2:09 pm #

          One thing you’re missing in your analysis, due to your newness to the game (welcome) is that two near identical armies in Infinity will have a percieved massive difference in power based on player ability.

          Infinity requires a different application of skills than wargamers are normally used to. That also the reason the learning curve in Infinity seem so step to some, as the “power” difference between a new player and an experienced player can seem like something straight out of DBZ.

          People coming from other wargames have a tendency to think in and utilise linear decision making, 2D area control and threat ranges. When those are applied to Infinity it’s a recipy for disaster when playing against a veteran who are more likely to think in and utilise abstract decision making, 3D area control and threat vectors.

          I personally design my armies around a toolbox approach instead of synergies as experienced players can shut those down insanely fast. A diverse toolbox will allow you to counter varied enemy forces and situations.

          • Fagerlund September 5, 2015 9:54 pm
            #

            But that’s the thing, in my example it was the same two players facing off. First a pretty even game. One player replaced two models, and he went on to crush the other player. Both players had equally long experience as well and they tend to win about half of the games each. That’s what made it so obvious really.
            I don’t doubt that the overall balance is good and that player skill has a big impact but that doesn’t stop it from having some super good options as well.

        • PrimoFederalist September 6, 2015 9:36 am #

          Kind of seems like you’re nitpicking. I honestly don’t understand your argument: are you saying that because one can’t literally randomly generate a list or pull models off the shelf at random until you reach 300 points and have a good list that … what? It’s not balanced? It’s not based on player skill?

          It seems you are critiquing The Dude’s point because some models are better than others in game-play or more points efficient … or am I missing something?

      • Marsyas September 6, 2015 11:12 pm #

        “It’s not your list, it’s you” comes into play a lot more once you’ve learned the basics of the game and how to build a list in Infinity. List building is an important skill, and it IS possible to build a terrible list, but a terrible Infinity list and a terrible 40k list are two very different animals. A terrible Infinity list will certainly be at a disadvantage, but it can still win against a really good list. It will NEVER be on the level of playing Thousand Sons. It isn’t rock vs paper, and even the lowliest grunt can still crit the most badass elite soldier.

        A huge amount of the game is determined by how well you utilize the terrain. Deploying correctly can be the different between winning and losing. Are you going to try to cover all the approaches to your side of the board? Are you going to concentrate on one or two? Is everyone going to hide with nobody exposed to enemy fire turn one? And so on. No matter what you bring to the table – unless your opponent is just plain hiding and not even bothering to contest your advance – if you advance right up the middle ignoring cover and not even bothering to lay down smoke, or otherwise in any way neglect to make that central advance into anything other than a walk into a killing field, then you can kiss your army goodbye.

        • Quaade September 7, 2015 1:55 am #

          Two models means a lot more in Infinity than it does in other games and since I have no idea about which armies they played or which models it was, all I can say is that a lot in Infinity comes down to individual play style and the tools you bring. Those two models were on their own balanced, however they brougth some tools he obviously lacked before and he was capable of using those to his advantage.

          Unless he took them to straight up counter his opponent tools by knowing what he had in his army, then “boo, hiss.”

  9. Jason
    Jason September 5, 2015 10:57 am #

    For some strange reason every time someone tries to get me into the game they lead off by saying I probably don’t have enough terrain. I think there may be a page in the book that says when trying to convince your friends to play Infinity, make sure to offhandedly mention that they probably don’t have enough terrain. All joking aside I tried a demo game recently and really enjoyed it. I also didn’t have enough terrain but that is neither here nor there.

  10. Bigpig September 5, 2015 4:19 pm #

    Holding out for dropfleet

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