Infinity: Choosing an Allegiance

Having decided to go back to Infinity again, I’m confronted with the question of who to collect. Those that know me will understand that this probably does not mean one faction, but several; but even so, which ones?

I find Infinity a very unfriendly game to get into, and an awful rulebook to try and navigate. Having played it before, and having a general idea of the game, I still find it extremely difficult to decipher the army lists with either ease or speed. Constant cross referencing is required between many pages of two books to get an idea of what the army listing means on the tabletop. Gripes aside, who was in my shortlist, and why?

The top 3 + 1, in order of preference, are:

1) Morat Aggression Force: I always liked the Morat models and very little else of the Combined army. Now that I can use them on their own, that seemed like a winner. I’m also amused by the Rasyat’s idea of diplomacy. On the table it seems like they should be a fairly balanced force, though naturally I will do my best to abuse this 🙂


2) Neoterran Capitaline Army: the first army I had the first time round was a PanO force, and this was the one that I broke the game with then. It all went on Ebay, but now I’ll probably recreate it. Shooty, lots of tech and a different TAG for every day of the week (at least in vanilla PanO list).

3) Japanese Sectorial Army: I like the Keisotsu Butai lots. And the Karakuri. I’m far less convinced by their battlefield stance, but I really like some of the models.

+1) ALEPH: a small, elite force and nice models ticks several boxes for me. However, I feel that it’s not the force to start with. I need to understand the rules more deeply to really make the most out of ALEPH, so I’ll come back to them later.

Ironically, because of Infinity’s peculiar release schedule I’ve started with my third choice (JSA). With no sectorial starter packs for either 1 or 2 I’d end up with a bunch of models I didn’t want if I got the ones I did. Plus, some core models are likely candidates for resculpts, and at least one core model (Raicho) is still unreleased after 5 years. 5 years! That’s almost as ridiculous as releasing a skirmish game that emphasises defence and then not releasing your scenario book for 5 years. Hang on a minute…

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26 Responses to Infinity: Choosing an Allegiance

  1. Elromanozo says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more on the subject of Infinity…
    It’s amazing how tastes in sculpts influence what we’re playing, isn’t it ? I went for the nomads myself, Corregidor sectorial force, and fi of the lack of starter ! Fi, I say ! They have that “V” (the original TV series) trooper/Tron crossover look that I find very interesting…
    I know Ariadna is very effective, but I couldn’t bring myself to paint them : they’re very well done, but they look classic drab military, or borderline skinheaddish, and the dogfaces are downright disneyan… Although the caledonians are nice.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Are you going to paint your Nomads in cosmonaut orange like a lot of the studio ones?

      • Elro says:

        Ew. I think not. Too communist…

      • Quirkworthy says:

        Too orange for me. Wasn’t aware that colours had political views, though now you mention it there are the greens…

      • Elromanozo says:

        Nah, it’s just that I had decided my color scheme, I was in the process of basecoating them, and that’s when my can of paint died spluttering… No harm done to the minis, but it sort of broke my stride, I still haven’t been to the shop to get another can… And in the meantime, looking at the minis again, I am now considering different colors… three different schemes actually. So… Undecided. We’ll see when I put paint to mini !

      • Quirkworthy says:

        Picking a colour scheme is often a tricky process. I think I know what I want for the JSA, though the Morat are proving rather harder.

      • Elromanozo says:

        Well, it IS hard… the JSA isn’t very unified in theme. I mean, sure, most of them have a red and/or black theme going on, but then there’s the guy in red with a yellow emblem, plus all those red-white-and-blue guys… There’s that trench-coat guy… And even one that’s half naked, with wings and a leather harness… No, really, the JSA doesn’t have a true “color scheme”, unless you count “four color”.

        Oh, you Meant “Japanese Sectorial Army”, not “Justice Society of America”… Right… My mistake.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        We have no knowledge of this “Justice Society of America”. Is that part of the Combined Army?


  2. Elromanozo says:

    Oh, and my next force will probably be the Yu Jing imperial service… I really like those. And I’ll probably add some more chinese details to their armor…

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Freehand details on Asian figures often looks very nice. There is such a long tradition of detailed prints for clothing in that area of the world. I was wondering if I could get any of that on my JSA. I’ve got a number of books on Samurai, including at least one on textile patterns. Only 90% of them look utterly impossible 😛

      • Elromanozo says:

        I was thinking more along the lines of sculpting details… In my opinion, most of those armors aren’t “samurai-ish” or chinese enough… I may have to sculpt masks, horns, laminated shoulder pads and the like… If i’m not able to cannibalize other miniatures to that end.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        That’s ambitious in a different direction. I look forward to seeing them. Should look pretty spectacular.

  3. Elromanozo says:

    Well, I always saw the nomads as more red than orange… Even when some of the Alguaciles are painted orange, they’re not as orange as, say, Yu Jing… Yu Jing is definitely NOT yellow, although some people insist they are. Even then, the “cosmonaut” orange is very much the communist one, since cosmonauts are communists.
    The nomad red, the background of Corregidor, the Bakunin ship, the rebellion, the black market… This sounds like the nomads are some sort of gypsy/socialists on one side and mafia/mercenary on the other.
    The Infinity storyline is heavily into politics, as opposed to most miniature games…
    So maybe it’s a weird association, but I see the nomad studio color scheme as “communist”.

  4. billops says:

    “That’s almost as ridiculous as releasing a skirmish game that emphasises defence and then not releasing your scenario book for 5 years. Hang on a minute…”

    Im curious : can someone please tell me whats the reference there ?

    • Elromanozo says:

      Well, Infinity is a skirmish game that supposedly emphasizes defense (although staying put and waiting for the other one to attack isn’t a viable option), and, so far, there has been no scenario book. Only now are there rumors about one being published in the near future.

      Was that clear enough ?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Infinity came out in November 2006 and still has not brought out a scenario book, though one is rumoured for the end of this year (hence the 5 year remark).

      Due to the way that Infinity allows unlimited reaction fire by defenders it is (in my view) weighted towards the defence. A well placed defensive position is only breakable by using specific troops that not all players or armies have easy access to and, even if they did, results in a restricted set of optimal armies. Without scenarios there is no reason to leave a good defensive position as any movement will only add to the risk and get models killed. The best thing to do is sit and wait for the other player to come and be killed. However, if both players sit in their defensive position you don’t have much of a game. Scenarios that give you objectives that require you to move obviously break this stalemate: capture the hill, escort the general to safety, etc.

      Now I have heard a whole load of theoretical arguments against this view, but have yet to see them work on the tabletop. I’ll be happy to be shown how wrong I am in a game. I will, however, take some convincing 😉

  5. billops says:

    Ok merci romanozo et thank you jack. I didnt know there wasnt any official scenario for Infinity. What im sure of though is that the Infinity tournament scene is very lively, well in France at least. I guess fans came up with their own scenarii…

    • Quirkworthy says:

      It’s good to hear that the Infinity tournament circuit is doing so well. I wish the guys at Corvus Belli nothing but the best. I think there are one or two scenarios now on the downloads page of their site, but my point is that they don’t seem to have taken it very seriously. Of course, most gamers are too distracted by the shiny new models to worry about design details like that. It’s just because I spend all my time working down in the details and writing about such things 🙂

    • Quirkworthy says:

      And, of course, this won’t stop me playing Infinity to see if I can break it again on the tabletop. It is, in some ways, an interesting test of the difference between theory and practice 😉

  6. billops says:

    Seems to me that scenarios are often overlooked by game designers (in miniatures wargaming that is). Just as much as the influence/placement of terrain (HellDorado being a nice exception with the clever concept of terraformation).

  7. Quirkworthy says:

    @billops you’re right – scenarios are very commonly given short shrift, and there are many reasons why this might be. In many cases they can only really be balanced once the rest of the process is well underway (so they’re done towards the end), and they can be left to one side when production schedules get squeezed and elements of the project need to be prioritised; you can play without a load of scenarios, but you can’t play without the movement rules. Having said that, for some games they are merely a nice addition, whereas in others they are (I believe) a crucial component of making the game work properly, so prioritising them is not always as easy as it might appear.

    Terrain is another one that is often ignored, though in this case I think it is more dependent on what the game environment is that you are trying to replicate. If your game is a battle between armies of ancient Greek hoplites, then terrain should play little part as they deliberately sought (and often agreed beforehand) on battlefields that were as featureless as possible because that’s what suited their tactics. If you’re doing a squad level WWII game then fire and movement and the effects of cover are critical components to replicating the battlefield events and so terrain should play an important part. Setting a game in Hell allows you to define whatever rules you like for terrain as you’re defining your own environment, and it is an intriguing choice for them to have involved terrain rules here.

  8. There are some exceptional fan created scenarios for Infinity. The much rumoured missions book though will be very welcome indeed. Believe it or not Jake I was with you as one my number 1 sparing buddy over the really defensive nature of Infinity. Perhaps its how we set up or perhaps its the terrain / scenery we plonk down on the table, but honestly we found that a static defence was easy to pick apart. A nice speculative grenade can cause absolute havoc, especially if your opponent can’t see you do it and therefore can’t ARO you. The same is true of hacking, take out the HI guy holding part of the line with a Hack and then watch as an engineer leaves their defensive spot to try and rescue the situation… now every Infinity force should have at least one hacker!!! lol. However even I concede that Infinity does appear to reward 9 times out of 10 the more cautious player. Not that its a bad thing per se, but it could become one. As for articles on the effect of Scenery and Scenarios on game balance there are a few on my Blog 😉 one of them even has a plug for Quirkworthys blog.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      A static defence is usually a poor defence. Being defensive does not require a lack of movement; indeed, unless a defence has a particularly impressive set of fortifications to sit in then movement is usually a requirement to avoid some of the issues you mention. My point here is really that without a scenario based reward for taking risks, why would you? It just seems contrary to me to design something about supposedly dynamic and exciting skirmishes and then engineer it so that caution and avoiding risks are the optimal strategies.

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