Infinity – preliminary rules thoughts

Contrary to how it may seem, I didn’t just start Warp Signal to be another floating bodiless internet blowhard.  I mainly started it to organize and document my hobby, and because writing something out as though I’m explaining it to others often helps me to keep track of my thoughts and cement them in my mind.  And if someone else finds something useful or interesting in them then I’m doubly happy.

So since I’ve been getting ready to play Infinity, I felt like putting down some of my initial thoughts on the rules.  I’ve read the Quick Start Rules and a fair chunk of the main rulebook, though I haven’t yet absorbed all of the many ammo types, abilities and skills.  Reading off a monitor hurts my eyes after a while.

Anyway, first impressions:

  • I like the way that you can (nearly) always react to your opponent’s attacks.  I suppose this is a big selling point, as “It’s Always Your Turn” seems to be the official catch-phrase of the game.  It’s on all their advertising anyway.
  • The basic mechanic of rolling a d20 in relation to one of your stats, and sometimes having your opponent oppose it reminds me a lot of Palladium’s RPGs such as TMNT & Other Strangeness.  I much prefer this mechanic to the D&D/Games Workshop paradigm of “roll to hit, roll for damage.”  I often think that armour saves in 40k should come before Toughness rolls, intuitively.  The Infinity way is simple, allows for a greater spread of skills than a d6 does, plus it feels like you’re involved when you roll to oppose or dodge.
  • Another thing I like is the concealment factor.  Troops that have camo are represented on the table with counters, and have to be “discovered” by the enemy, which uses an action.  Only then is the model placed on the table.  The rules actually state that army lists are kept secret, and you have to designate one of your models as your commander but you don’t tell your opponent which one.  This is a breath of fresh air, as one of the things I’ve always disliked about 40k (and I’ve said this to my regular opponents before) is the lack of a Fog of War mechanic.  I think the GW standard of list disclosure and telling your opponent what’s in your vehicles is just silly.  Justify it all you want, but isn’t the game so much more exciting when you don’t know what you’re facing?  It is for me anyway.  It ruins my suspension of disbelief when I have to disclose who is in what transport, and really reminds me I’m just playing a game.  What are we, little babies who need to know what big scary is in each transport?  If you need to be told that my vets are in that chimera and my psykers are in this one before you can form an effective strategy then good luck playing wargames buddy.
  • Anyway.  Back on topic (you can imagine me straightening my tie after that outburst if you want):  I like the background too.  I really like the way technology is integrated into the rules.  Instead of just saying “humans have technology, Eldar have psychic bone-weapons, Orks have magical junk, but they all work basically the same in-game” we have meaningful differences here.  Many elite troops and officers in Infinity have a cube, which is a consciousness recording device that means in a campaign you can bring them back to life between games.  Hackers and people with EM weapons though can damage cubes and hack into battle-suits.  But if you’re from Ariadna for example, you have old-school battle-suits that can’t be hacked, and no cubes so if your officers die in a campaign they’re dead.  I really like this.  Just like in the real world, there are different levels of hardware and compatibility issues between them.
  • Another interesting thing is that there’s a world-wide Infinity tournament network.  This eliminates right from the start the conflict between those who favour the “spirit of the game” and those who play competitively that is so over-discussed in the 40k world.  There’s fluff in Infinity, (good fluff), but no pressure to change the way you play to adapt to it.  It’s assumed that all play is competitive.  I think this could be a consequence of the system being new, but it certainly makes things simpler.  There’s no baggage.  You can use everything the lists allow, and you play to win.  This may not sound like my cup of tea if you’ve read any of my battle reports, given the way I play 40k, but I’m really looking forward to just painting some models and throwing down with a fresh perspective.
  • The only thing I don’t like is a minor criticism really, and understandable.  Corvus Belli are Spanish, and the English Infinity rules are pretty obviously a translation from Spanish. This means there are quite a few typos and odd phrases.  Although the odd phrases lend a strange charm to it for me.  If you’re one of those armchair editors though who gets enraged by mis-spellings and “bad grammar” then it’s maybe best you don’t play Infinity.

That’s it.  I haven’t come across anything rules-wise that has disappointed me or that feels like it could be better, and for me that’s about all you can hope for.

Now I just need my models to get here already!

7 responses to “Infinity – preliminary rules thoughts

  • Von

    Well, I don’t get enraged by bad grammar, but I do find myself frustrated by unclear text. (Today on Look Around You – Subtle Distinctions…)

    The lack of baggage reminds me of how Warmachine used to be, before the emergence of Special Forces and tiered Theme Lists. The compatibility issues stuff is interesting – how is it represented mechanically, though? Are there different systems for different ‘brands’ of hardware, or specific lists of What Can’t Be Hacked By This Dude?

    While I don’t care much for suspension of disbelief in wargaming for its own sake – I would rather play an enjoyable game than run an accurate simulation – I see your point about full disclosure. I like to share lists simply because it allows for checking – bad maths and creative wargear allowances abound and it’s nice to have a record of those things.

    The armour-before-Toughness thing works if you have other saves available, I think. The logic of Rick Priestley’s ‘saves come last’ system has always held a certain appeal for me – whether my dudes are removed is ultimately down to the dice I roll, not to the ones my opponent rolls – but I agree that armour saves are a bit counter-intuitive. Just a ‘saving throw’ would have done – keep it abstract and gamey, since it’s in there for a gamey reason.

  • Capn Stoogey

    I one hundred percent agree with non disclosure of who’s in transports, its a pet hate of mine and totally lame. How the hell do my little dudes know which of your little dudes are in which little APC?

    We should play it that way from now on, even as far as non disclosure of lists if you want. I think that would make for a much more intense and suspenseful game, really adding to the immersion, which is of course, why we play with little plastic Dudesmen! 🙂

    PS. Infinity is gonna be sweet! 😉

  • James S

    @Von, the compatibility stuff is pretty much how I’ve represented it – certain factions have hackers, who can influence their opponent’s remotes and battle-suits, and the hackers have different skill levels and devices. Some factions have archaic battle-suits that can’t be hacked. At least that’s how I read it – I’m still new so I may have misunderstood.

    Come to think of it, that’s not too out there. I guess I just liked that it seemed believable, which makes it good sci-fi.

  • James S

    @Capn Stoogey, yeah let’s do that with the transports. We can just make a note before the game of who’s in what.

    As for going the whole way with non-disclosure of lists, maybe we can finish the campaign first and then try it out?

  • Capn Stoogey

    He he, I smell FEAR! 😉

    No worries dude, I was thinking of just having a scrap of paper with the unit on it hidden under the tank or something.

  • James S

    OK then but be careful what you wish for – you’re not going to know where the melta bombs are . . . 😉

  • Capn Stoogey

    I’m thinking it’s safest to assume every squad leader has melta bombs and a power weapon, that way I’m either proven right or pleasantly surprised… 😉

    On the other hand, Kill ’em all! I say we take off and nuke ’em from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure…

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