Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Thoughts on Infinity, a Sci-Fi Skirmish game

I had the opportunity to get 2 games of Infinity in recently with Aaron. I was quite pleased with this opportunity, as I haven't really gained a foothold on the rule set, and to have such an enthusiastic opponent as Aaron, it was a lot of fun. I'm going to document my journey, and provide some reflection on the game system, and my general appeal of the game. Hopefully I can have Aaron provide his reflections as well.
Yesterday evening we arrived for our usual Tuesday night gaming at the Man Den. Aaron, and I scheduled some Infinity. We started off by covering a 4ftx4ft part of the table with as much Sci-Fi terrain as we could.

We were able to find an appropriate amount of terrain for the game, but it felt a little forced. The board didn't have very much appeal as a Sci-Fi battlefield. The bright green battle mat did nothing for the scenery, and the scenery was a bit random. It worked for our first games, but I would have liked better terrain that looked more Sci-Fi. I think using Aaron's dark Zuzzy mat will help to give us a nice rocky dark ground.

My collection of PanOceania is quite limited. I entered into the game system by purchasing the PanO starter pack, and purchased 3 other more specialized models: A Nisses with a HMG, a  Fusilier with a HMG, and a Hexas with a Multi-Sniper Rifle. These combined with my starter pack, came out to about 187pts with the HMG Fusilier counting as a Combi-Rifle. I was content overall with the choice of models I had available. The starter pack is quite diverse, and offers a TO Camo'ed Croc Man, and a heavy Orc. These are accompanied by 4 Fusilier (read Cheerleaders). With 9 models available to me, two with TO Camo, and one heavy, it seemed like a well rounded force.

I played against Aaron's Nomads. As I have no experience with Infinity, it was a fun first few learning games.  The first game we played table edges as deployment. The terrain was set up in such a way that Aaron was able to deploy in a key elevated balcony overlooking the entire middle of the battle field. With Total Reaction, it was a perfect defensive position that forced me to contend with. Overall the game was pretty fun. I think the biggest hurdle is getting used to the flow of the game. Every tabletop game has a certain cadence between the players, and gaining a quick and efficient one is key to a fun and productive game. A few things to note about the cadence:

  • To gain cover a model must be within base to base of a terrain piece that grants cover. I feel the benefit of cover should go to the defendant as much as possible, as a person is always going to attempt to be in cover. Questioning to your opponent "Am I presently in cover from X model?", with an affirmation for the opponent, is the best way. The weight is on the attacker to negates one's cover rather than assert that a model is not within cover. Cover is a big part of Infinity, and the best way is to  be open about it with your opponent at all times, gaining the bonus, or negating it. It should not something that is a "gotcha".
  • Modifiers are a big part of the game. They are at first a bit complicated, but the cadence will help out a lot with this. A lot of the modifiers came down to +/- for Range, +3 within cover, and -3/-6 for Camo.  I think those were the only modifiers that heavily came into play. As with any modifier system, you try to negate your negatives with your positives. As the skill level progresses I sense the amount of negative modifiers will decrease. 
  • AROs are what make Infinity unique. You are playing the game the whole time, attempting to negate the active players turn with reactive actions. I found that when I was the active player performing orders, I was being very open about my actions, and asking my opponent to declare any AROs. AROs are a vital part of the game, and I don't feel the active player gets to negate AROs by "gotcha's". We try to seek out all the AROs that a reactive player CAN make, and then he has the opportunity to declare or not declare. This is hopefully to help prevent players from forgetting that a certain model gains an ARO. This is a part of the game that is open, and should be played as such to improve the tactical nature of the game. A soldier is not going to have a "brain fart" during a fire fight...
  • Deaths are quick and brutal. The game of Infinity is very unforgiving, as most models have one wound, and, although a doctor can help, the spread out nature of the game seems to force a lot of resources to revive a model. This keeps the game going quickly, as it really is a more of a fire fight game than a scenario driven game. Even at a skirmish level game, I started to enjoy the story telling element of the game a lot. It brought your mind down to the level of the models, and put you into the action. 
We had a smooth first game, and decided to have another battle, and this time record the battle for a battle report. We mixed up the terrain to offer a bit more variety. We tried to discourage sniper nests within deployment zones, and have taller buildings in the center of the board to help negate some sniper camping. We also tried corner deployment zones. We each had 18" square zones for which to deploy in. With the ranges that are available to some weapons, it's best to give players as much room between each other, and a a large corner deployment offered this without having a first round of "rushing for placement".

It was very good experience, and the battle report proved such. I again felt really drawn to the play action of the battles. I found myself wanting more story telling of the events. "Why did this commando decide to such?", "What happened in the corridor battle?" It felt more of a roleplaying skirmish game than an actual table top game. The dice rolls very much remind me of RPG conflict resolution. Maybe that is the way to go with Infinity battle reports? I posted the battle report to my YouTube channel (link at the bottom), and I always appreciate feedback. 

Overall, I am slowly garnering interest in Infinity. I'm a bit apprehensive because we have a limited number of members interested in the game, but that can take time. 

Battle Report Link

1 comment:

  1. Great write-up Paul! Looking forward to more battles in the near future!