So you’ve decided to take a break from the Steampunk universe and want a little Sci-Fi? Or you’ve become jealous of those games that only require 13 models and can-do attitude? Whatever the reason I’m glad you’re here! While this is not a definitive guide or demo for Infinity, I’ve highlighted some of the major differences between Infinity and Warmachine below to help give you a primer into the game system. Be sure to check out the Getting into Infinity guide to see if this game is right for you! If you like what you read and want to know more, head to our Player Locator and find a demo near you!
As a miniwargamer the first thing you’re going to notice about Infinity is the models. A few things stand out that set Infinity models apart; first of which is that Infinity uses a more true-scale model rather than the Heroic Scale that Privateer Press favors. This leads to a more cinematic and less “cartoony” feel to the designs. Additionally you’ll notice that the aesthetic is not one of a grim-dark future. While humanity has its struggles, things are generally good in the future and you can see a lot more vibrant and bright colors. Hard edges, smooth curves and high tech robotics all make Infinity models stand apart from the crowd. Lastly, the technologies used for the most part seem incredibly plausible; by that I mean “I believe that X technology in the future could actually look like Y”
Do you hate a 50 model Cryx army? Is your 15 count Elephant-O-Rama Rasheth list pushing it? In Infinity you can look forward to army lists that fall in the range of 8-12 models. A 15 model list is pushing it, and 8 and less is hard to be effective with. The reason for those ranges is two fold; Order Pools and Point Cost. The more individual models in your list the more orders (Your resource to produce actions in the game) you have. Since that’s the case, you’d think you would load up on cheap models to have the largest order pool possible, right? Well you can… but those guys would be paper thin and wouldn’t last very long. That’s why you need some more expensive troops to do the heavy lifting and accomplish objectives. Those heavier troops is where a larger portion of your points will go, but are supported by the light troops (Often called “Cheerleaders”) that increase the order pool for them. So in list design you have to strike a balance: “How can I bring the right guys to get the job done while making sure they aren’t starved for resources to get it done?”
In Warmachine and Hordes your resource is Focus and Fury respectively; in Infinity your resource is called “Orders”. Simply put, at the start of your turn you count the number of Order generating models you have (everyone contributes one, but some add more and some can only use an order on themselves) and that is your Order pool. To perform actions, movements and attacks you need to spend Orders; and losing troops shrinks your available resources. The game changes your thinking about resources in that your troops are always actively contributing to the amount of resources you have in order to achieve your objective. This concept always plays a powerful impact on list design as you’ll need heavy troops to kill the enemy (and shrink their Order pool) and light troops to increase yours (light troops that exist solely for Order generation are called “Cheerleaders”). Resource and unit management add a dynamic aspect of game play that keeps you on your toes and engaged every single round.
4.) List Design
In Warmachine you choose a unit or solo to do a specific job; these Steelheads will be my tar-pit unit, and that is their job. In Infinity you follow the same logic but on a smaller scale. Instead of devoting large chunks of your army to do a task, you have one to two specialists for that job. I often describe list building in Infinity to packing your toolbox before going to do a household repair. X unit will do Y. This Hacker will assault on the enemy TAG, this nobody troop will supply orders and cover corners, this jump troop will come down behind the enemy and ruin their day. Think of list building as assembling your crack team of experts, everyone is phenomenal at their job, but can’t do it all.
5.) Turn Order
By the time your reading this I’m sure you’ve heard the Infinity motto “It’s Always Your Turn!” and it’s absolutely true! How this works is simple, when you go to activate a troop any action you take is broken into two parts: for example Move and Shoot, or Move and Move again. After you complete the first part of your action you opponent looks to see if any of their models have gained line of sight of the activating model at any point. If so, the enemy can react (It’s called an Automatic Reaction Order or ARO) and react to your unit. So lets say your troop want to Move and Shoot; You’ll move, I’ll react to that movement since I can now see you, and you’ll declare your second action, in this case Shoot. This dynamic keeps both players engaged at all times and makes for some extremely cinematic moments. Positioning becomes everything and models that are weak will always have a chance to shoot at the bigger guys, and possibly by sheer volume of attacks, put them down. This mechanic is tricky at first, but adds depth, tactical genius and requires forethought to master.
One area that Warmachine and Infinity are similar is their reliance on scenarios for balanced and competitive play. While Warmachine unrolls the Steamroller packet every year, Infinity has a set series of ITS mission that are the staple to choose from. I will add that without a scenario in mind, Infinity is just not as fun as other games. The real depth comes from trying to achieve your objectives and deny your opponent theirs; this is the element that adds cinematic moments and prevents you from just bunching up and not moving. In Infinity you need to be constantly taking or denying. The current iteration of the ITS scenarios can be found here.
To play Infinity you’re going to need terrain; lots and lots of terrain. The idea is simple, use cover to maximize your defenses and put your opponent in less than advantageous positions. Not only does a full table add to the thematic aspect of the game, it adds to the basic playability of each match. If there is too much open space, snipers will rule the world. Likewise, if the board is too dense then shotguns will be over powered. Experiment to find a good balance, but you’ll know when you hit the sweet spot when every model has a purpose and nothing is out of control. A good thing to keep in mind for your early games is that you can buy some really high quality paper terrain to get you going. No reason to start off with a $200 MF wood set, but do something simple and expand from there.