Category Archives: Infinity

Confessions of a Hipster Gamer

imagesThis used to be a post where I lamented the growing popularity of Infinity and complained about it possibly becoming the game of choice for people I’d rather not play with.  I have since deleted the article.  It was written in the weeks just before I wound up the blog, I was in a very bitter place when I wrote it, and I like to think – I hope – that it wasn’t like me at all.  I have always tried to have a positive voice in my blogging about gaming because games are supposed to be positive things.

So you’ve been spared the pessimistic rant.  Instead I’d like to say a couple of things:

First of all, Infinity is a great game and I wish the people at Corvus Belli all the success in the world.  I would be more than happy if the game really took off.  Genuinely.  I apologize for the uncharitable and unnecessary opinion I expressed earlier.  If for some reason you haven’t heard of Infinity and you like the sound of a quality anime-themed skirmish miniatures game then look no further.

Secondly, who am I to judge anyone?  I barely have time to play anyway, am unlikely to ever play anyone unpleasant, and even if I do so what?  We all have to deal with jerks in life at various times and places, and sometimes we even are those jerks.  Why should I expect gaming be any different?

So that’s it.  I’ve also deleted the comments, so sorry to all the people who took the time to respond to my er . . . poisonous whinge.

I kept the picture of the hipster hobbits because I think it’s funny.

Have a good one,

– James


Painted Gui Jia and Japanese soldiers

Click on any of the images to enlarge

Well, as promised, here is my gui jia T.A.G. and some Japanese support troops.  This is a usable Infinity army, but I need a few more models to get to 250 points, which is the Australian standard game size.  I gave a lot of consideration to how I would paint my Infinity models before I started.  I knew I wanted to go for a cleaner style than my Blanchian Battle Sisters and ancient looking, washed-out Eldar.  Infinity is anime-inspired after all.

The four gui jia regiments are named after animals. Mine is from the Tortoise regiment

But I just couldn’t bring myself to go all-out anime style, with . . . interesting colours.  Corvus Belli’s studio models are fantastically painted, and look like they stepped out of an episode of Neon Genesis or a Mass Effect game, but I just can’t take a military vehicle painted bright orange seriously.  I’m sorry.

So I went for naturalistic colours.  I pretty much can’t help using naturalistic colours.  It’s a bit of a failing actually, as people who just give my models a cursory glance often fail to notice the hidden depth I try to get into the paint-job.  Which means it’s essentially wasted effort.  I can see their brains going “oh, soldiers in dark realistic colours, cool I – WOW LOOK OVER THERE AT THOSE BRIGHT YELLOW ELDAR TANKS!”

The characters say “tortoise.” That year of studying Mandarin finally pays off!

Ah well, I paint them in the end to look good to me, and I’m happy with them.  So I can’t complain.  But it would be nice for us naturalistic painters to get a bit of love sometimes.

You can really see the weathering powders on the feet in this shot.

I used military modelling weathering techniques for the first time on the gui jia, as opposed to simply painting mud and paint chips on like I did with my 40k tanks.  I used oil paints, weathering powders, the whole deal.  It was actually really tricky not to overdo it, but I’m very happy with how she turned out (my gui jia pilot is a girl I imagine, since she has a totally cute tortoise painted on her leg armour).

Left to right: keisotsu and kempei, ninja with sniper rifle, gui jia and domaru. I just need a couple more models to make up a 250 point force.

Comments and questions welcome as always…


First Infinity Game: Haqqislam versus Pan-O

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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.

Continue reading


Hey, I’ve actually been painting

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There are totally going to be titans in our Apocalypse game it will be awesome. Can’t wait to take some photos. Er… and play the game.

I haven’t been my usual blogging self lately. No opinionated blow-hardiness(?) around here – I’ve actually been doing proper painting. Astonishing, I know.

I’ve been preparing for our up-coming apocalypse game, and I have to say, painting GW-sized units of infantry is wearing pretty thin. I’m starting to think after all these years that hey, maybe I have enough Imperial Guardsmen and Battle Sisters for my purposes. I mean I have more than enough for even the largest casual games, and the variety available to me pretty much covers all the units I actually find interesting. With my time and money being drastically restricted now by an extra family member, a reduced income, and an increasingly demanding workload, I think it’s time to put the brakes on and stop actively collecting. I might pick up the odd vehicle, but to be honest I only want another hell-hound, maybe another russ variant.

Stop collecting 40k that is. I’m thoroughly enjoying painting my half-a-dozen Yu Jung soldiers for Infinity. It’s a real struggle to force myself to paint twelve nearly identical battle sisters to match my other nearly identical battle sisters when in front of me are sitting a ninja with a sniper rifle and four soldiers who, while admittedly all in the same uniform, vary hugely in pose, face, hairstyle and even gender.

Once they’re done and added to my domaru and keisotsu I’ll have a legal 150 point army, which is enough for small games. Contrast that with the twelve battle sisters I have to paint to get oh, about a quarter of the points value of the smallest 40k game anyone would ever agree to play, and you can see why I’m kind of over it.

Don’t get me wrong, 40k is a fun game, I’ve always said so, and it’s not like I’m getting rid of my armies or anything foolish like that. I just think enough is enough, at least in terms of infantry squads.  Multitudinous, mind-numbing infantry squads.

Stay tuned, and I’ll put up pics of my finished Sisters and Yu Jing soon.


Infinity campaign book and new faction

Just a quick post.  The Infinity Campaign book is up for pre-order on the Corvus Belli site.  I know a lot of people have been waiting for ages for this one.  It’s a campaign set  on Paradiso, the world where the Human Sphere is fighting the Combined Army.  I think a cool thing about Infinity campaigns is that troops with cubes (even grunts) can potentially be Resurrected.

There is also a new faction coming soon: the Tohaa.  They are aliens (heh I almost wrote “xenos.”  Too much grimdark for me!) who are – like humanity – resisting the EI.  Now I’ll have to update my Setting Review!

So go check it out.

Next week I’ll have some thoughts on 6th ed 40k.  I’ve played half a game already and have another one set for this Sunday.


Infinity Setting Review

My new Infinity rulebook arrived the other day from Maelstrom.  I ordered it – even though I haven’t played a game and they’re giving away the rules for free – because the setting intrigued me.

The thing that inspires me most about games is the setting.  It’s what I get excited about.  If you want to get all adversarial about it you could call me a “fluff player,” but really I think we’re all fluff players.  Otherwise why do we choose these games over other activities?

Something about Infinity grabbed me more than any wargame has since I started playing Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Rogue Trader so many years ago.  I combed the blogosphere to find some proper discussions of the setting, but gaming these days is srs business as we all know.  There are loads of blogs that discuss, analyze and review rules and miniatures, but not many pay much attention to the setting at all.

A few readers have requested I do a bit of a run-down of the Infinity setting – just for people like me who really get into settings and who might be curious about it.  I’m obviously not going to be too deep, as I don’t want to steal Corvus Belli’s thunder or re-write their excellent book.  They give away the rules for free in order to whet your curiosity about the setting so you buy it, after all.  But some of us would rather it the other way around.  I don’t think what I’m doing will harm their business at all – hopefully it’ll help spread the word!

Right, so here it is.  My Infinity Setting Review. It’s pretty massive, but I wanted it all in one place so people could easily find it.  Most of the artwork in this review belongs to Corvus Belli, and can be downloaded free from their site. Continue reading


Could there ever be another 40K?

The Emperor of Mankind, Rogue Trader era

I read an article recently on Bell of Lost Souls that really got me thinking.  The original is here.

As a relatively old bastard myself, I have similar pre-GW memories, only mine were more Steve Jackson’s Car Wars than Battletech.  I did play Battletech briefly.  I remember being really paranoid my mechs would overheat all the time and so I tricked them out with bazillions of heat sinks.

Anyway, we’ve all heard this sort of thing before (although not usually so eloquently).  The Warhammer 40,000 universe has changed.  At the beginning it was mad, and satirical, and hyper-masculine and violent but at least self-aware.  I particularly like when he says “In the early days of 40K, people still understood that Judge Dredd wasn’t an action hero, he was a parody.”  That says it all really.

Now the hyper-masculinity is po-faced and serious (sorry, I mean “grimdark”) and the Orks are, I think, the only real link to the old spirit.  Which is why aspects of them seem a little out of place and annoying to some gamers I talk to today.  Even the current Orks though are darker, more serious incarnations of their former selves.  As someone in the comments on the coxcomb piece said, GW today goes for suspension of disbelief over satire.  Which in my opinion is foolish given that the very premise they are putting forward, that advanced futuristic empires fly halfway across the galaxy in giant space churches to get out and hit each other with chainsaws (to paraphrase Something Awful’s Zack) is ridiculous.

So all this got me thinking.  The original 40k universe was explosively protean and shattered sci-fi wargaming (maybe even wargaming in general) with its energy and insanity.  It was informed by politically satirical British fantasy and comics, among other things.  What would a similar game be like today?  Could it even happen?  I don’t think it has happened since.  As great as many of today’s competitors are, they are all playing firmly by the established rules compared to the boldness of Rogue Trader in its time.

Tetsuo is a pretty good metaphor for the chaotic creativity of late 20th century anime

I think about fifteen or twenty years ago, a similar game could have emerged inspired by anime.  This is because in the late 80s/early 90s, Japanese anime experienced a creative boom wherein the creators made whatever they hell they wanted, unrestricted by genre and convention.  Creativity was the aim.  It was seen as the hallmark of the medium, what separated it from ordinary film.  I’m talking about the era of Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Neon Genesis, Fist of the North Star, Urotsukidoji and Ninja Scroll.

Unfortunately it’s generally agreed that that era has passed, and anime and gaming in Japan has now firmly established and solidified into clones and re-hashes.  The opportunity is gone to capture the energy.  Sure, Infinity and Anima Tactics are inspired by anime, but it’s modern anime, not the nutso stuff I listed above.

I actually think Infinity is the most exciting game there is right now.  It is inspired by anime but not just anime.  Like the writers of Rogue Trader, the writers of Infinity take their influences where they can get them and mash them up expertly.  That said though, it still seems a little pale and bloodless somehow.

I can’t honestly think of any exciting movement in fantasy or sci-fi today where the hallmark is pure punk creativity.  We seem to me to be in one of those lull periods, where we’re all plodding along and the last great beacon of creative inspiration in wargaming (40k) is fading, a totalitarian shadow of its former self.  It’s almost an eerie echo of the story of the Imperium of Man.

The internet is flooded with fan fiction.  Japan is insular and content to repeat sequels and licenses.  The Brits have China Mieville I suppose but he’s so dense and self-satisfied.  Could there ever be another Rogue Trader?  I doubt it.  Even if a creative movement emerged, there’s no guarantee it could be successfully harnessed into a game again.

Am I wrong?  Someone please tell me I’m wrong.


Oz Comic Con and my thoughts on 6th Edition 40k Allies

Taking the family to Melbourne this weekend to go to Oz Comic Con!  I’m a bit nervous actually, it’s the first long trip with our baby, so yeah, let’s see how he likes an hour in the car followed by eight hours on a train. One of the challenges of living in Australia is that to get pretty much anywhere besides where you already are involves at least a day of travel.  Doesn’t stop us though.

I’ve never been to a big con like this that wasn’t gaming related, so it’ll be interesting.  I’m curious to see Patrick Stewart in real life I have to say.  Every time I see him though I imagine him crouched in Ricky Gervais’s trailer saying “and then all her clothes fall off.”

So I’d better say something about games too – it’s kind of in the tag-line of the blog after all.  I used my 20% off for Australians (and other GW outcasts) voucher from Maelstrom to order an Infinity rulebook.  That deal was pretty genius of them I have to say, I haven’t bought any gaming stuff for ages bar a copy of Samurai Shodown Sen for the X-Box which I still haven’t played.  Oh and I scored an ancient (well, 1981) copy of the AD&D Player’s Handbook from a second hand bookshop the other day.  Hooray for arbitrarily capped strength scores for everyone but Human Males!

But that Maelstrom voucher actually got me to blow the dust off my wallet and fork out.  I’ve been keen to finally read the background for Infinity so it was an opportunity, and I took it.

Brian from A Gentleman’s Ones kindly sent me the Killzone rules so I could play some 40k without turning into this guy:

What? It’s only turn two?

But it turns out I’m pretty excited for 6th edition now after all.  It was the allies that sold me.  Yeah, I realize people are concerned about balance but you know what?  No game is ever balanced, and I think the best possible thing you can do to balance a vast mess of a game like 40k is just make it into a huge free for all.  This is why I am stoked about the allies:

  • Too much poential synergy.  No-one could possibly absorb and analyze all the variables now.  Take that meta-jerks.
  • No more being unable to legally represent background-consisent forces like an Inquisitor and some inducted guardsmen, or Blood Axe Orks fighting with the Eldar.
  • If you’ve always had your imagination captured by the idea of Tau or Orks or Eldar or whatever fighting alongside other factions now you can do it.  Options, not limits, that’s what we should have, and that’s what’s been given us.

Official allies rules are what I have always wanted from 40k.  The army system as it was just seemed so creatively limited, and now I can buy whatever the hell models I like (except tyranids *cough* but who cares about them, right?) and come at people’s faces with bizarre circus freak armies.  Like, er, Chaos Tau, or re-programmed Necrons.  Just like Apocalypse, but I can do it in as small a game as I can fit ’em!

Anyway that’s it for now.  Got to go and pack for the train.  Have a good one everyone.


Yagyu Takeshi, Domaru Butai

****

Takeshi’s eyes opened when he felt the car hiss to a halt.  His read-out flickered into his peripheral vision as his armour came alive.  He had spent the last hour in meditation, locked within the dormant suit in the back seat of the vehicle.  Waiting.

He knew the brief.  Four hostiles, known Aleph spies, in a supposedly safe house.  They must be dealt with, quickly and bloodily.  It was what he had been born to do, what the generations of samurai before him had done.  He leapt from the black armoured car and made his way through the night, moving around the pale circles cast by the street-lamps.

Breathe in.  He exploded through the door, read-out tracking the four milky-skinned humanoids as they sprang into action.  As expected they were Aleph operatives, two at a table, two near the door.

Breathe out.  His chain gun roared, obliterating the two near the door in a welter of blood and scrap metal.  He threw the spent weapon at the faces of the two at the table but they were quick.  Small-arms fire clattered off his armour like rain.

Breathe in.  His katana flashed from its sheath and he crouched slightly, waiting, the blade held two-handed in waki kamae.

Breathe out.  One of the freaks lunged with a tactical sabre that his read-out told him was sheathed in an EMP.  Takeshi surged forward, avoiding the thrust, and cut him in half.  He spun and brought his weapon down on the head of the other enemy soldier in a textbook men cut.

Breathe in.  He shuffled forward and watched the stunned Aleph spy fall to his knees.  He raised his katana over his head into jodan kamae.

Breathe out.  It was over.  With a flick he scattered the blood from his weapon and sheathed it, then walked forward cautiously and retrieved the chain gun.  His heart began to slow to a regular pace.  Rain started to fall outside, pattering on the quiet street and the waiting black car.

****

This is my domaru butai, who I have decided is an exponent of Yagyu swordsmanship.  Because he’s a domaru he needs to look grave and dignified.

I’ve been trying to go for a clean and realistic style with my Infinity models to get away from the loose and dirty look of my 40k guys.  I can’t resist a bit of grime and weathering though.  As usual now with my JSA guys I glossed his armour and scabbards to give them a shiny look.

I’m not convinced about the metallic chaingun.  It doesn’t seem realistic, but I wanted it to look heavy and brutal, seeing as it’s basically a sci-fi blunderbuss!

I know the sashimono banner is a bit impractical for cyberpunk shenanigans so I’ve made it removable.  I figure he can pop it up when he needs to terrify people in open ground. I got the Yagyu crest from the net.  No offence is intended to any koryu practitioner of course, it’s for (fake) historical purposes 😉

I’m quite enjoying the real-world connections you can make with Infinity, unlike 40k.  It’s like historical gaming without the guilt.


Signal resumed and Keisotsu Butai

It’s good to be back!  After taking a couple of weeks (sort of) away from the blogosphere, I’ve managed to re-balance my time a bit.  I’ve done quite a bit of real hobby stuff, by my standards, and some interesting reading which I’ll share in the not-too-distant future.

But for starters, here is my first finished Infinity model: a keisotsu butai.  These guys are the regular infantry of the Japanese Sectorial Army.  I gloss-coated her armour plates and the sheath of her tanto after weathering to try to give a lacquered effect.  Unfortunately my “matte” sealer is almost as shiny.  I’ll have to do something about that.

The model was looking a little cold and bland, so on the suggestion of my girlfriend I gave her hot pink boots.  She is a Japanese girl after all (the model, not my girlfriend), and the bright colours add to the samurai feel I think.

I had heaps of fun painting something non-GW for once, and I especially enjoyed painting the tiny Japanese flag on her shoulder – it’s weird painting real world people, even if they are from the future.

Like I said I’ve got some other stuff to share now, but I’m going to try not to post more than once a week (probably on Tuesdays or Wednesdays).  This is mainly to prevent blogging pushing out my other hobby time!

So in the next few weeks expect to see (not necessarily in this order):

  • More finished Infinity models.
  • The next battle report of the Invasion of St. Arkham.
  • A painting showcase of some of the unseen character models from both sides in the campaign.
  • For the nerds out there, some academic papers I found about gaming culture which I’ll share and briefly comment on.
  • My Iybraesil Farseer’s jetbike.

So any of that seems interesting to you, watch this space!


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