Posted by: markfender | January 19, 2011

Infinity

I and a friend have been playing Infinity lately. And I have a few impressions.

First off, I really like the look of most of the factions. Some of the best artists in that sorta anime-style are from Europe, so they’ve got the look down. Also, the sculpts are really amazing (but I guess I’m used to that “heroic 25mm” style, because, man, they are tiny little guys). So, yay.

Second, I really prefer sci-fi and this game scratches that itch well. It walks a fine balance between being “realistic” future warfare (i.e. guns are deadly as hell and can shoot all the way across the battlefield – you really need to practice good tactics to do well) and over-the-top anime. The way they do this is quite ingenious. Every model grants an Order to the Order Pool. But, you can spend the Orders on whichever figure you want (there are some limiters, but not really important for this example). So, you could advance your entire army into cover and hunker down, or you could have one figure go charging across the battlefield, inflicting as much death as possible. It’s kind of a neat balance.

One thing I’m not totally comfortable with yet is that stats matter less than I thought they would. The basic game mechanic is to roll less than your applicable Stat on a d20. If you’re involved in an ARO (Automatic Reactive Order), you and your opponent will both roll with the person rolling less than their stat but higher than the other person being the victor. This sorta downplays the difference between, say a 12 Ballistic Skill and an 18 when you both roll less than, say, 8. Obviously, there is a difference here, but, when originally looking at the book, I thought those broad differences would make more of a difference in regular gameplay.

Another interesting thing is Armor. When you take damage, you have to roll higher than the damage rating on a d20 to not be damaged. You subtract your armor from the damage rating before rolling. However, most Light Infantry have an Armor of 1, with Heavy Infantry having a 2. But, being in Cover grants a +3 to your Armor. As you can probably see, having Cover is REALLY IMPORTANT. I think that helps emphasize the realistic nature of the future warfare model they’re going for. But it does make the game deadly. We’ve managed to play entire games in less than an hour.

So, we’ve played three games at this point, with various point sizes and proxys (to get a feel for what our respective factions are capable of). I have yet to win. In one game, I managed to get half my army killed in my own turn (really bad die rolling). This was also the game where I was reduced to one figure…who then proceeded to kill two opposing figures in my opponent’s turn before finally falling. In our last game, my TAG (a giant robot because I refuse to play a game without giant robots) managed to kill most of my opponent’s army, except for the damned hacker (who kept making his Armor rolls) who eventually Possessed my giant robot. This would also be the game where I lost two guys before I even got to go (army sizes are rather small…I had 8 guys and I think my opponent had 10). So, I guess I need to work on my tactics. Or stop playing against a better die roller than me (*shakes fist at Shane*).

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