First reaction to Infinity
by midwestwargaming · Published · Updated
Infinity has always vexed me. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the gameplay but the models are unreal gorgeous. Look at these Aragoto Senkenbutais.
Also, check out these Kameel Remotes.
Look familiar? Maybe this image of a Tachikoma from Ghost in the Shell will jog your memory.
Infinity is full of sweet nostalgia bombs like the ones shown above and the quality of the sculpts is outrageous, especially for being so small (average trooper is 28mm as compared to Warmachine’s 30mm small base).
But is the game actually fun? Well, rather than rely on the opinions of others I tried out the game myself (at 120 points). I will briefly talk about my experience and give my first impression of the game.
NOTE: This is not a post about “How to play Infinity”, for that you can download and read the rules here. They are free!
In my 120pt demo I was given seven models that looked like a mix between Halo’s Master Chief and the Gorillas from Planet of the Apes. I wasn’t kidding about the nostalgia bombs. These Gorilla-people (Morats) were from the faction called the Combined Army and were facing off against a handful of monks and gun wielding-ninja from a faction called Yu Jing, or as he dubbed “Space-Asia”.
Right away, the game is an aesthetically pleasing experience. In addition to the sweet models the full terrain table is just as cool.
I come from a Warmachine and X-Wing background of wargaming where terrain is typically six pieces of flat terrain. Flat terrain certainly has its benefits over 3D terrain but it doesn’t compete when it comes to visual experience. With all these alleys, ladders and stairs to cross my brain was fully engaged. Here’s an image of one of my Morats getting shot to pieces by two Yu-Jing who took better advantage of cover than me.
So aesthetically, Infinity has it in spades. But are the rules also fun?
The short answer is no. The mechanics felt clunky at times and the measurements were less precise and more subjective than I like in a miniatures game. For example, line of sight relies on actual line of sight from the models. So each time I wanted to shoot someone I had to crouch down, stick my nose above the figure’s head to get its perspective, squint and point laser to verify. It’s not that big of a deal for casual-play but if I was playing in an all-day tournament my back might explode.
Another mechanic that didn’t add to the fun of the game was the simultaneous actions. Simultaneous actions are kind of the brand-identify of Infinity and I understand the intent is to simulate a real-life fire fight but as a game mechanic it’s not very intuitive. For example, if I want to shoot another model and then retreat back to cover, one would think I would move my model to the desired position, shoot, and then move behind cover. This is wrong. If I did this in actual game play it would be considered foolish because of something called an automatic reaction order (ARO). An ARO is a the non-active players reaction to the active players model and it can be announced, essentially, whenever one of the active player’s models makes a movement that is in the line of sight of the non-active player’s models. It helped me to think of an ARO like an instant spell in Magic the Gathering.
In order to prevent multiple ARO’s I was advised to not try and shoot the enemy models on my first activation but instead just move around and respond to my opponent’s ARO’s. If they shoot, shoot back. By holding my hand, my opponent helped me avoid a constant barrage of ARO’s on my turn. Unfortunately, there were other unintuitive stones for me to trip over.
Stupid armor rolls. All rolls in this game are based off of a model statistic and a d20. When trying to hit someone, dodge an attack or heal a buddy you are looking to roll a number lower than your skill. Simple enough. However, when breaking armor you are taking their armor stat (and modifiers) and trying to exceed that number with a d20. I can’t tell you how many times this one variance tripped me up. I still don’t understand why this needs to be different.
I’m sure with more frequency these rules will become muscle memory but I can safely say that these rules are not as fun as X-Wing or Warmachine. Are they clunky enough that I think Infinity is a bad game? No.
Don’t be fooled by my critiques on the mechanics. Even now I am thinking about how I want to build my Haqqislam army. My first impression of the rules may have been negative but I’m sure it will get better with more experience. Besides, the terrain and models are frankly too cool for me to not want more.
I hope you will consider trying Infinity rather than echoing what you’ve heard from others. I’m glad I did.
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