First Infinity Game: Haqqislam versus Pan-O

Today I went to an Infinity day at Good Games in Canberra, one of my local stores.  I decided to bring nothing but my trusty d20s and just have a go with whatever was available in terms of demo armies.  There was some truly amazing terrain, which Dave (the guy who owned all of said terrain and most of the demo armies) told me was more dense than some other Australian Infinity communities use.  I have no idea what the world standard is, if there is one, but this terrain was packed by 40k standards.

First I watched a game between two other new players, using Pan-O and Japanese Sectorial Army lists.  The JSA took Pan-O apart, mostly due to some fast-moving aragoto bikers, but I heard later that Pan-O got their own back in the next game.  It seems as though Pan-O is pretty popular in Australia, which is not surprising I suppose since it’s basically us!

Like I said I left my own Yu Jing models at home, as they are in progress at the moment.  I’ll have pics very soon.  I decided to have a go with Haqqislam because . . . well mainly because I had never really even considered them, and I thought it was all about throwing myself in and learning as much as I could.  I played a nice guy called Daniel who had a Pan-O force.

Infinity is a good game.  A really good game.  I had a blast.  It turned out my trusty d20s were completely balls, but despite a lot of unlucky rolls I did pretty well.  Highlights of the game for me were my Naffatun(?), who had a really cool ability called Dogged.  This basically means that if he’s killed (which he was), he stays alive until you stop spending orders on him.  So after he was dropped, I basically dragged him up and he killed the guy who killed him from beyond the grave.

Also my Lasiq sniper went prone on top of a tower and took out a croc-man (who had just materialized from thermal optic camouflage and obliterated two of my troops with one shotgun blast of flechette) and a fusilier who was sneaking across a wall miles away.

My impression of the game compared with 40k (which, lets face it, is my main reference point) is that it’s hugely unpredictable and all about adaptation to the unexpected, so I love it.  The fact that you can spend as many or as few orders on a guy as you like, in whatever order, means that the situation changes constantly.  I now see why there’s just no way you could build a killer list and win easily.  There are way too many ever-changing variables to consider.  It was also evident that anything can kill anything else with a bit of luck and a good line of sight.  Things die a lot.

For some reason I was expecting quite competitive players with such a well-balanced game, but the opposite was true.  Everyone was really relaxed and I was told that competitive elements in the community are only now starting to creep in via migrating Warmachine and 40k players.  Apparently outside of tournaments, we trust the opponent to be honest about where their TO camo guys are hiding.  At least that’s how we roll in Australia.  I can’t imagine that happening in a pick-up 40k game, I have to say.

The game itself is complicated, but not overly so for an experienced gamer.  I reckon the guys gave me a pretty good idea of how it works.

In summary, I’m glad I bought all those models and I can’t wait to actually use them next time!

8 responses to “First Infinity Game: Haqqislam versus Pan-O

  • Frontline Gamer

    Really, really glad you got a game in and you enjoyed it. As you know Infinity is one of my personal favourites and I’m still smitten with it over 5 years on.

    As you say Killer lists just aren’t possible. I’ve tried explaining this to so many people over the years who have come from 40k or HoMachine, but they just don’t get it or believe it until they play the game… then like you they understand.

    It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a tight ruleset that offers you lots of options on the board and is heavily tactical. I’ve descrubed it in the past as like playing an intense game of chess that suddenly breaks out into John Woo fight scenes… and you’re right stuff dies because shooting is deadly!

    Look forward to reading more of your thoughts on the game in the future.

    • James S

      Hi Frontline glad you showed up!

      Yeah, tactical is what it is, that’s for sure. It seems to really test your ability to predict your opponent and react to new situations, which is refreshing. As I’ve said before, I think most wargames don’t actually do that, even though we often assume that they do. Instead they test your ability to play/break that specific game.

      It was a bit chess-like. And I’m a half-decent chess player, so lets hope I’m better at this than I am at 40k! I certainly made a better account of myself in this game than I normally do, which was nice.

      Also nice: it didn’t take all day. I watched a game and played another in three hours, and we were going at a snail’s pace.

  • Frontline Gamer

    Well once you’re au fait with the Infinity rules and everything is hunky dory you’ll have no problem banging out an intense 300 point game in about an hour or so. We regularly finish games in circa 60 mins now. Although that might change now there’s the campaign / objective book on the way. But we’ll see soon enough I guess.

    Truth is that I’ve seen some really competitive 40k and WFB gamers be taken apart by people who were competent in those systems without being remarkable, but who I consider smart cookies. There’s a particular hard nosed tournament gamer round by us who always did well at HoMachines and WFB, because it was about the list, who really struggles with the fact that Infinity it’s about what’s on the table in front of him.

    The 3D puzzle to be solved / poker element of Infinity really screws with him. He keeps saying it’s unbalanced, because he loses a lot. But he’s lost with every faction now and pretty much every type of list. He doesn’t get that a TAG can be took down by cleverly placed grunts and a smart ambush. He see the profile of the TAG being much better and goes into GW mode and thinks it’s bent… whereas they’re only bent if you use them right. Otherwise it’s just a hunk of scrap metal waiting to happen. I like that it rewards proper tactics.

  • sinsynn

    ‘grats on yer first game, James. Looking forward to seeing pics of yer Pan-O.
    I’m off to work now.

    • James S

      Work is balls.

      I haven’t started on my Pan-O Military Orders yet. I just realized, they’re basically the Infinity equivalent of Space Marines, and I don’t even play Marines in 40k!

      I’ll have my Yu Jing guys up soon! First some samurai and ninja. I’m just experimenting with weathering my TAG at the moment…

  • Kieran

    This sounds fantastic, really looking forward to giving it a go. What’s the minimum amount of miniatures needed for a game? I’ve long been tempted to get a handful of Haqqislam, as well as perhaps some of the “French Ariadna” and some Sectorial Army chaps….

    I have had some very good tactical games of 40k, but perhaps that’s because I only every play 500-1500pt games and only play against more fluffy opponents, I must be lucky lol. Did recently play the WW2 game NUTS! and that was a superb tactical game too, Infinity sounds quite similar

  • James S

    Hi Kieran, how many models you need depends on what faction you pick, but the game I played was roughly 130-150 points, which is small. It was basically one of the starter sets and one extra model I think.

    So you can have a perfectly usable army with just a starter box. They mostly seem to be about 150 points worth of models, though some are less.

    As to how many models that was… I think I had three or four ghulams, a naffatun, and a lasiq, so five or six? My Yu Jing army I’m building for an upcoming 250 point event has ten models. 250 is the standard game size in Australia, but I gather from the blogs that 300 might the norm elsewhere.

  • Kieran

    Ah okay, that’s a good guideline – thanks. Looking on their official site, 300 seemed to be presented as the norm, but 250 sounds like a good target

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