Thursday, 16 November 2017

Learning This Game Could Take Forever...

There's been a rather large void to fill in my life since Dropzone Commander has not just taken a back seat in my gaming car, but instead has been tossed in the trunk and forgotten about, rolling around like an old, half-sucked Chupa Chup collecting fluff and losing its flavour (Cola, if you were wondering). With the passenger seat of the Gamesmobile now empty I have been looking keenly for any hitchhikers to play with, like a sinister old man from a horror movie. In my wake of hitchers I have had the fortune to pull over and give a lift to Corvus Beli's game of anime science-fiction; Infinity.

Never before have I encountered a game which has gorged itself to obesity on such complex and layered rules, and gorgeous but fiddly (some would say badly cast) miniatures. A game which clearly didn't care about the difficulty curve for new starters, or for that matter players with an intermediate grasp of the rules. A game which feels more like an RPG where not just the GM has to learn every little detail, but each player who wants to have a moderate chance of winning (and for some, a chance of enjoying) a contest.

Infinity is the most unashamedly decadent game I have ever played. Corvus Beli have cultivated a true Beast of wargaming, and clearly there is a niche for it, as this Beast is confidently galloping forward and chomping down gamers left and right.

I had flirted with Infinity a few years ago, picking up a Tohaa starter set (for those that know the game, you can stop your judgement right now, I didn't know okay!) and a few extra models to assemble a very modest 200ish point list. Back then I couldn't comprehend the love that some people held for the game, put off by the sometimes very 'Rambo' nature of the order allocation and savage learning curve. My interest waned quickly after a handful of small games, admittedly not giving myself time to become used to the sight of this Beast and instead just glancing towards it indifferently, being put off by it's bulky, awkward form.

No pictures of my minis unfortunately, they're way back on
the painting schedule...
Fast forward to the year RIGHT NOW and I'm trying to cobble together a 300pt list for my first ever ITS tournament (Corvus Beli's official Infinity tournament system), the St Alban's Smackdown! How did this happen? Well, all the OB buoys got into Infinity again earlier in the year but in a heavy way, and although I'm not one to be pressured into playing anything (unless it's my wife suggesting something, in which case MOP, Marital-Obligation-Pressure, comes into play), it is difficult to not become involved in a games system that literally everyone else is playing (especially if at the time they are playing nothing else...). Also I fancied giving it another go, not really giving it the chance it deserved before, but this time with a new faction; Haqqislam (New-Islam). Or rather, HaqqisDan (New-Is-Dan).

The game is still deeply confusing and frustrating when you forget or just don't know a rule, the learning curve is probably more beastly than ever, and the miniatures are still a total pain right up inside the colon to make and keep stuck together (although this looks to be being addressed, with the newer 'fited' metal models). But. But. But...

...I'm enjoying it far more this time around. In my hunt for a new system to satisfy my perverted needs (I like to dominate my opponents) I have put my fingers into lots of different games, which has relaxed my tolerance for the way I view Infinity. I'm trying to regard it as a deep rules set, Challenger Deep in fact, rather than an obtuse one. I've now played enough 300pt games to know that I like it and am happy to pull out some mini's every so often, and spend my limited gaming time trying to break and saddle this Beast.

So, this tournament then. At the time of writing I don't know exactly which missions we will be playing, but it looks to be Power Pack, Supplies and The Grid. I'm happy that we have a general idea of the missions we'll be playing, as trying to learn each of the missions in the ITS book is like being taken into the middle of the Pacific without a life jacket for your first swimming lesson. Using the models that I own or can steal from a buddy, I think I will end up taking lists similar to these;

Left - Power Pack, Supplies  -  Right - The Grid

The left list has got specialists, it's got Haqq shenanigans in the Fiday, Saladin and Mutts, and I'll likely be using Tarik as my Datatracker (yet to figure out if that's a good idea or not). I've veered away from numerous Hackers and hackable units just to make it one less thing to remember, as this is my first Infinity tourney ever and am likely to get floored in each game anyway. This way at least I'll understand why I'm being flattened! It's not fancy, and I'm sure I'm missing a trick or two somewhere, but it has a few solid attack and defence routes which I can play too. The Grid poses issues as you need Anti-Material weapons, and I may have gone overboard on AM guns and Forward Observers to control Antenna, but it's hard to resist a seventeen model list! If you have any minor tweaks or suggestions for the list, please comment below!

Anyway, that's that for now. I'll probably do a summary of how the tournament goes and if I discover whether I could ever take the game seriously or not!


  1. You might have some trouble with orders, particularly in that first list. 7 regular orders (or 5 if the opponent command tokens some away) may get stretched thin having to supply a Fiday, Tarik, two infiltrating specialists, a Djanbazan and later a Ragik. Generally it's a good idea to have 10 orders in the first group, with at least 8 being regular. The exception to this is with 15+ order lists where you can split up your most order hungry units between the two groups, since they both have a decent order base.

    Try giving the Barid an assault hacking device instead. With no remotes or heavy infantry to support, a normal hacking device isn't really worthwhile, and they're actually one of the most complicated kind of hackers. With an AHD you can just spam the carbonite program whenever something enters your hacking range and force them to waste orders resetting, and maybe carbonite them on the active turn so you can shoot them while they're immobilized. It's not quite everything the AHD has to offer, but it's pretty close.

    Your first list has a good long range weapon with the Djanbazan, which can make up for mediocre raw power by shooting through smoke and/or using the sniper's insane range bands. The second, however, has nothing. You're reliant on your Fiday to take out any long range ARO turret, or else just moving up the board may become an order intensive slog.

    Not sure about those Daylamis. The real good profile for them is the infiltrating one, for 1 extra point they have a 1/3 chance to ascend and become a true motherfucker.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated. I've taken your advice and removed the Hunzakut, and freed up some points to bring that group to 10 orders (11 with Saladin), with the second group having 2 reg orders plus 2 Mutts for smoke screens.

      The second list is awkward, as it needs to have Anti-Materiel weapons but I don't really own many; I'm probably just over thinking things though. I'll probs remove the Daylami and add in a Ghulam ML instead, and as Tarik and the Fiday both have DA CCW they can bust up Antennas if need be.