Many, many moons ago, my father and I attended the UK Games Expo in Birmingham. While there SMG were running one of the event only bargains and I grabbed a copy of Infinity and some PanO models. These models lay, barely undercoated, among my miniatures collection for a long time and then eventually, as with so much of my other hoarded loot, I sold them off. Not long after that, while I expanded my circle of friends to include gaming stalwart Carabus we decided to chuck some money at Corvus Belli and try to actually play the game. We’d already proxied some models and had a really fun time of it. Carabus had already gotten himself some filthy Asians and so I went with the all-encompassing brand new faction of Aleph and its host of AI robo-babes. Yes, that was my criteria for picking the army.
A handful of games and some re-reads of famously dodgy spanish to english translations we kind of fell away from it. It was a fun game but I think we tried to do too much too fast. Recently I’ve been hearing things about a new version of the rules and then, a new starter box to introduce them. As I still have all my models perhaps now was the chance to dive back in?
I grabbed the starter from Element Games as it was the cheapest way to get it overall. It arrived in quick time too, so it was that on Friday I had the box in my hands. In all honesty the box was smaller and lighter than I expected, considering what I knew was in there I was surprised at how compact it was. That didn’t stop me from popping it open and taking a look at the goodies inside.
The starter set comes with the core of two armies, I consider the price of the set a bargain for what you get. The two sets of models would easily set you back £30 a piece in my opinion and you really do have enough stuff to put on the table and play games beyond the starter missions that teach you the rules.
The models are metal so there really is no difference from these to the rest of the range which is sometimes what you get with starter boxes. Being Corvus Belli the sculpts are brilliant, if you’ve never checked these guys out then go and do it because they are stunning and are only getting better. There are also some D20s for each side, these are OK, not the highest quality of painting of the numbers but as they’re effectively a freebie I’m not too fussed. Each one has the faction symbol as the number 1 and because these are cut from the die themselves the only thing I did wonder was if this altered the weight and therefore the potential distribution of numbers over a lifetime of rolls. Most people probably aren’t going to care too much about that though. It’s not like you’re forced to use them either!
Then there are two shrink wrapped packs. One contains the buildings and playmat, the other the rulebook and token sheet. The token sheet I thought looked a little thin for my tastes, however after punching them out they work really well and are going to be very useful. I’d like to see this expanded on to provide a full sheet for all the various tokens that are available in the full rules.
The buildings are similar to the card stock produced by Hawk Wargames for Dropzone Commander but are shinier and a little thicker. They go together well with no gluing required and there is space for them to be reinforced by inserting the starter boxes underneath them, a nice touch. These went together with no issues whatsoever and, even though they are card, feel like they’re going to survive the gaming table. It was all tight and held together really well. The cargo crates especially are a welcome addition.
As for the rules themselves. So far it doesn’t seem like a huge amount has changed, but then these are only the starter set so the main rules will expand massively on this. The core rules are introduced over a series of missions that introduces more complex rules as the missions progress, all themed in a story set around the factions involved. It really is very good and I was hugely impressed with this set and the way it’s been laid out. The rules are actually much easier to understand in this version. Where there were times with the older rules you’d struggle to work out what was supposed to happen this really does make it easier to figure out when and how things happen.
If you’ve never played Infinity before than I can highly recommend this as your entry to one of the most original and interesting sci-fi games out there. If you’ve struggled with the rules and played before then I can also recommend this set, however, it may be of less value if you’re not interested in either of the factions included (there is a page in the rulebook which give you a very brief introduction to all the other factions and even provides an expanded army list for the starter factions to get up to the default level of 300pts). In fact, if I was forced to point out just one criticism it’s that, once assembled, the buildings do not then fit into the original box. Now, you could just flatten them out again, but I worry about their longevity if you keep doing that with the card stuff. I’d expect them to last a long time of you care for them though. There is also a great choice now for getting your Infinity terrain and this is a game that greatly benefits from plenty of terrain.
I’m now looking forward to playing through these missions and then seeing the full 3rd edition rules and getting back into the black ops battlefields of the future!