Thursday, February 9, 2017

Guest Writer: Welcome to Infinity (Try Not to Get Shot)

A guest article written by Bob Lindstrom

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about Infinity, it’s that there are plenty of articles for what Infinity is, but very few on exactly how to get into it.  Coming from someone who enjoys tabletop skirmishes, I freakin’ LOVE this game.  I love the theme, I love the rules, I love the models, and I love the community.  That being said, it’s not the easiest game to get into; Infinity starter boxes just contain the models, and nothing else.  I’ve only been playing for 6 months, and there is still a lot more for me to take in.  This game is complex, and when I had a question, I was lucky enough to have a friend who helped me out (and also helped write this article).  There is very little hand-holding when it comes to Infinity, and while a lot of the resources are free online, having a roadmap on where to find them would certainly have benefited me.

So, for all the new players out there, consider this your roadmap for getting started in this exciting, fast-paced, tabletop game.

From one noob to another, welcome to the world of Infinity! Try not to get shot.


Hey, I was at my friendly local game store last week, and I saw these guys playing this tabletop miniatures game.  It had tons of terrain, and it also looked like they were both playing at the same time.

Sounds like they were playing Infinity.

What’s “Infinity”?

Infinity is a tabletop game by the Spanish company Corvus Belli.  It’s a skirmish game that emphasizes resource management and tactics.  It’s fast paced and aggressive, and while both players don’t necessarily play at the same time, your models are always active; even when it’s your opponent’s turn.

Interesting.  What’s it like to play?

The world of Infinity takes place 200 years in the future, and it has a slight anime theme to it. It’s like “Ghost in the Shell” meets “XCOM: Enemy Unknown”, with just a sprinkle of “Shadowrun”. Games are played in 3 rounds on a square, 4-foot table, usually require around 12-20 miniatures, and run for roughly 2 hours. It has mechs, catgirls, drones, aliens, hackers, ninjas, bikers, and werewolves in kilts.

Did you just sa-

Yes.  Werewolves in kilts 

Sounds like fun.  What do I need to get started?

Well, Infinity can be a little bit tricky to get into.  You’ll need a copy of the rules, which you can get for free online.  You’ll need some tokens, which you can also get for free.  You’ll need some 20-sided dice, and a measuring tape.  You’ll also need some terrain, lots of it; more so than most tabletop games.  You’ll want enough of it so there are no “fire-lanes” on the board.  If you can draw a straight line from one table-edge to the opposite, add something in between.

That is a lot of stuff.  Where should I start?

Your best bet would probably be to look over the rules.  Even if it’s just the quick start guide, which is also free online.  If you don’t like reading all that much, Corvus Belli also made a few video tutorials on how to play.  Also, don’t worry about knowing ALL the rules on your first game.  There’s a lot to go through, and you will occasionally have to look things up.  In the beginning, all you should need to know is how to use orders, move, shoot, how to use cover, what an ARO is, and how a face-to-face roll works.

Okay I read the quick start guide, watched some of the video tutorials, and I think I have a handle on how to play.  I want to pick an army.  Which one wins the most games?

Honestly, there really isn’t a “best army” in Infinity.  This is a game where you can pick the army you think looks the coolest, and go from there.

…… Seriously, which army is the best?

Corvus Belli designed Infinity to be pretty balanced.  There’s a saying within the community:  “If you’re losing games, it’s not the models.  It’s you.”  Infinity isn’t like most games where 2 armies meet in some open field, and have a good ol’ slap-fight.  Infinity requires more patience and planning, and managing resources; it’s like chess with guns.  You’ll need to know when to shoot, and sometimes, when not to shoot.  Most armies are balanced enough that one should be able to take on another.  Whether that means victory is obtained through tactical precision, or sheer brute force, anything is possible.

That being said, each army does have its own specialty.  Want to hack your opponent’s drones and mechs with ease?  Look no further than the Nomads.  Interested in healing your troops and keeping them fighting?  Haqqislam has some of the best doctors in the game.  Want an army that promotes guerilla warfare, traps, and ambushes?  Then check out the forces of Ariadna.  Pick an army you find appealing, then read up on their backstory, and checkout the Infinity forum to see how they play.  We have one of the friendliest and most welcoming communities you’ll ever meet, so take advantage of it.

The Pride of Rodina also wrote a series of articles detailing the factions and sectorials (part 2 here) for his other blog.  They should help you get a general idea of each, without having to do too much digging.

I saw in the store that Infinity has some “Merc” models.  Is it possible to create an entire army out of nothing but mercenaries, who fight outside the bounds of conventional law, for honor, glory, fame, and fortune?

Creating an entire army with merc models isn’t really possible.  Mercs are more of a separate faction to add variety to your troops, as opposed to an entirely different army.  If you were gambling in poker, and your army represented your hand, then merc models would be the wild card.  It’s fun to add a space gorilla with a mine strapped to his chest, a reporter being followed by a flying camera, or a crazy assassin named Señor Massacre to your army.  For now though, just stick to choosing a faction, and learning the game.

Okay, I think I know which army I want to play.  What models should I get first?

Four words:  Get the starter box.

But there’s this crazy dude with a giant hammer.  Or that sniper lady with the robot rabbit.  Or-

Get - the - starter - box.

Infinity designed their starter boxes to give you not just a taste of what the army plays like, but also a selection of models that you’ll find incredibly useful.  For around $40, you get a nice variety of troops, and you’ll be getting a lot of use out of them as well.  Even as your army expands, you’ll still be using a few models you originally started playing with.

I also saw these boxes for the different armies called a “sectorial starter pack”.  What’s a “sectorial”?

Sectorials limit your army to only certain troops, but you get access to special rules with them, usually around something called a “Fireteam”.  While it’s cool adding special rules to your army at no cost, sectorials can be tricky if you don’t know how to play the game.  It’s far more beneficial to get a feel for how your army plays, and then pick a sectorial.  Remember, at this point, you’re looking to just get your feet wet, and learn the basics.

Now quit screwing around, and get the starter box!

Okay okay, I got the starter box.  What should I do now?

Go play!  You’ve got the rules, the tokens, the models, the dice, and the measuring tape.  Go find an Infinity group, and ask if you can join them (they’ll probably say yes).  Infinity players are always looking for fresh faces, and will happily teach you how to play.  If you’re looking for where to meet up with other players, again, the Infinity forum is a great place to start looking.  Be bold, introduce yourself, and go have some fun.

There’re units in my army list I want to use, but I don’t have the models for them yet.  Is it cool if I use a different model to represent it?

Using models to represent other models, or “proxying”, is okay in Infinity.  However, there are several guidelines to adhere to when doing so:

-       Make sure you, and your opponent, clearly know what you’re proxying.
-       Don’t use a model outside of Infinity to proxy another model.  Only Infinity models should be used.  Leave your Space Marines at home.
-       Don’t proxy a model if you already have the model.  If you have a doctor, but you’re proxying it with an engineer, you’re doing it wrong.
-       Make sure the model you’re using has the same base size as the model you’re proxying.

It be should noted that there are a few troops that have profiles, but Corvus Belli hasn’t made a model for them yet. *cough* Blackjack *unconvincing cough*  In these rare cases, it’s okay to use other models from others games, to proxy it until it becomes available.  It also should also be noted that each army has a Spec-Ops model, which can universally proxy any model in your army.

Alright, I think I got everything I need to get started.  Any other resources or tips before I dive in?

Corvus Belli made a web-based tool called Infinity Army, which is available for desktops, iPhones, and Android. This handy little program will let you create army lists on the go, as well as show troop and weapon profiles.  Plus, like most things with Infinity, it’s free!  It’s a handy tool to have, and essential if you want to eventually play in tournaments.  Get familiar with it as soon as you can.

This blog, Pride of Rodina, is a great resource as well.  They cover things from why they play certain factions, to beginner/general tactics, up to advanced tactics and tacticas.  Whether you've just started or you've been playing for a while, they've got your back covered.

Another blog that the Pride of Rodina writes for, and that was mentioned above, Midwest Wargaming, is a great resource for any new players.  He's written a lot of helpful articles for people just getting into the game over there.

Forum member Captain Spud has a website with several resources for Infinity, including reference guides, painting tips, and even a tool for hacker programs.  After you’ve gotten a few games under your belt, it’s definitely worth looking at.

Corvus Belli also has a couple of 2-player starter boxes: Operation: Icestorm, and Operation: Red Veil.  Each box contains starter packs for 2 armies, plus everything you need to play:  dice, ruler, terrain, tokens, rules, everything.  It also comes with some exclusive models as well.  If you have a friend who also wants to play Infinity, or if you got a little more cash to spend, check them out.

Also, coming from a beginner, here are a couple more tips to help you get started.

-       Tokens can be damaged easily over time.  After printing them, I recommend getting a 1-inch hole punch, and some 1-inch dome stickers, to toughen them up for future games.

-       Do not, I repeat, DO NOT group your models together during deployment.  It may seem unnatural to not lump your troops together in “squads”, but it only takes one paratrooper with a shotgun to destroy half your army on the first turn.  Unless you’re using a Fireteam, spread ‘em out.
-       If you’re deploying your models, and they’re not in cover, you’re doing it wrong.  They will get shot, and you will cry, even when the enemy is all the way across the table.  Keep them out of sight until you’re ready to use them.
-       Until you’re more experienced with the game, rooftops are for snipers.  Say it with me:  “Rooftops are for snipers.”  It may seem like a good idea to deploy a drone with a heavy machine gun on a building, where it can shoot at everything in sight.  But remember, rooftops make your troops vulnerable to enemy fire.  During deployment, your sniper should be on the highest building, in the furthest corner of the table (and probably prone).
-       In case you haven’t gotten the hint yet, check out the Infinity forum.  It’s a friendly community, with a wealth of information; you’ll find everything from tactics, to painting tips, to updates with the game.  Every new player should check it out.
-       Lastly, HAVE FUN!  While the game can seem intimidating at first, know that victory can sometimes come down to a single dice roll.  Even if you’re losing, let your opponent wipe the table with you, and learn from your mistakes.  You’ll be a better player for doing so.

Good luck out there friend.  I hope to see you at the table.

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