TGN Review: Infinity 2nd Edition Revised

Infinity is a sci-fi skirmish game made by Corvus Belli. It’s a game I’ve always wanted to try, so when given the opportunity to review a dinged-up copy we had around here, I jumped at the chance.

So without further ado, a review of Infinity, 2nd Edition Revised.

Infinity takes place is a universe where humanity has taken to the stars. The major political factions of today are expanded on what the writers felt would be the logical way they would expand as people took to colonizing new worlds across the galaxy. Of course there are aliens as well, because what good sci-fi game wouldn’t have at least some sort of alien technology involved? Also, robots. Basically, any type of high-tech equipment you could want is more-than-likely included, from AI-guided bullets to holographic cammo.

The game is true skirmish sized. Even a “large game” of 300 points might only have 10-12 models per side involved in the fight. Small games of 150 points could have as few as 3-4 models in a particular force. There are 6 factions, as well as Mercenaries, so there’s lots to choose from in order to build your army the way you want it. Many of the model types have various configurations they come in in terms of weapons and equipment. Models have a limited rarity, meaning you can only take so many in a given force, but even just the basic rulebook has many units to choose from for each force.

For a game, you’ll want to get a lot of terrain on the table. As opposed to a lot of games that tell you two terrain pieces shouldn’t be within so many inches of one-another, Infinity heavily recommends not having more than ten inches between terrain elements. Having a table that represents a dense urban center, or a thick jungle, or on board a space ship is “the best” way to play Infinity. Mostly, you want to make sure to cut off very long line-of-sight lanes. More on this in a bit.

Infinity is an “I go. You go” style where one player will complete all their activations before their opponent starts with there. However, to think it’s just “I move all my models and you sit there” then you’re going to be found very wrong. When the active player, you get as many Orders as you have models on the table. So if you have 5 models in your force, you get 5 Orders. Pretty simple. You can spend those Orders in any way you want. While every model gives an Order to the Order Pool, they don’t specifically have to be the one that uses that Order. So with those 5 orders and 5 models, you could have each model do 1 Order. Or you could have one model do all 5 Orders. Or you could have one model do 1 Order, another two models do 2 Orders apiece. You totally finish with one Order before moving on to the next, so you can see how that one worked out before choosing what to do next. This creates a lot of tactical flexibility for force commanders. When given an order, a model can either do a Short Skill (that can be combined with a Short Movement as well) or a Long Skill. The short skills are very straight-forward, such as “move” and “shoot” or “attack in close combat.” Long Skills are a bit more complicated like “suppression fire” and “Airborne Deployment.”

The rule that makes you want to break up those long LOS lanes and that makes the game feel a bit more like an “alternating activations” game is the Automatic Reactions Order rule. Basically, whenever you announce you’re doing an order with a model, all enemy models with LOS (technically Line of Fire in Infinity) can make a reaction against it. This can include moving, dodging away, going prone or standing up or even firing a shot. There is no limit to the number of models that can react to any single order and no limit to the number of reactions a single model can make during the opponent’s turn. Since the game uses true line of sight, when it’s not your turn, you’ll be scanning your opponent’s models, hoping that one will stray into a firing lane so you can react to it.

Infinity uses 20-sided dice to determine attacks and skills. The interesting thing about the roles is that it’s not as simple as “I want to roll high” or “I want to roll low.” While, in the game, you want to roll under a target number in order for your attack/skill use to be a success, if you roll the target number, you get a critical success. So, for example, if you line up a shot and find out, through bonuses to accuracy minus penalties for distance and cover, you need a 7 to hit, any roll of 7 or less will be a hit, but if you roll exactly 7, then you score a critical hit (which means you automatically do a wound to your target, ignoring their armor save). In face-to-face rolls, where you and your opponent are opposing one-another directly on a roll (such as in close combat or when two models shoot at each other at the same time), the person that rolls higher, yet still under their target number, would be the winner. So in that case, if Player 1 needs a 9 or less and Player 2 needs a 6 or less, if Player 1 rolls a 2 and Player 2 rolls a 5, then Player 2 will win the contest between them. Like the Automatic Response Orders, the die system keeps the other player involved in the game when it’s not their turn. You always feel like you have something you’re able to do in the game.

I talked with the Corvus Belli guys at GenCon last year and they really impressed on me the idea that they had worked hard to make the game feel like a combat simulator and be as “realistic” as possible (well, as realistic as you can get in a sci-fi minis games). I think they did a good job of that. Though, at times, it does seem that the rules can get a little over-complicated. Like when you come across the chart that shows the rules for lobbing a grenade over a wall you can’t actually see over. The other thing the rulebook could use are more scenarios. It talks about winning the game by scenario objectives, but other than “wipe out the enemy” there aren’t any provided in the book. The book is also obviously written in another language then translated into English. Most of the time that’s ok, but occasionally it can create a situation where you need to read a rule about 3-4 times before it really starts to make sense.

Infinity has a lot of great things going for it. The models, I have to say, are some of the prettiest I’ve seen. The artwork is much the same. It sort of has an anime-ish feel to it that I like. The small number of models needed to play makes it very accessible for new players. The rules can be tough to read, but are very detailed in what you’re able to do during your turn. And the Automatic Response Orders never make you feel like you’re not an active participant in the conflict. There’s a million other things I could talk about in regards to weapon types and model special rules. Suffice to say there’s a bunch, so army composition is very granular in letting you make the force you want to put on the table feel very specific to you.

So there you have it. What’d you think of the review? What are your thoughts on Infinity? I’d love to hear what you have to say.