Tuesday, 23 January 2007


Well, this si my second Tuesday in a row with no gaming and I`m feeling the DDT's already. My flatmate Andy has been kind enough to let melook through the new Infinity rulebook that he picked up for £20. And worth every penny it is too.

The system is intriguing, with players alternating between being the active and the reactive player. In any given turn, the "active" player move' and fights with his forces just like in any other game. On the other hand, the reactive player can interrupt thr "active" players turn to perform "skill" actions. Such as attempting to discover a camoflaged moving nearby, alerting other nearby alies to the presence of an emeamy figure that has revealed itself or taking an opportunistic snap shot at some fool moving out of cover!

I have to say, it seem's like a very "realistic" way of simulating combat. Far more accurate, for example, than other turn-based systems such as Necromunda, Inquisitor or even Space Lords (yes, I remember Space Lords. Kev at the club has a copy). In fact, the system truly encourages fire team scale combat and realistic tactics ( i.e using one fire team to provide suppressive fire while another closes in for the kill. It encourages cautious play and realisitc use of cover as well. The combat system is appropriately deadly.

Having never played the game, I can honestly say that it looks as good on paper (perhaps better even) than my own personal favorite modern/sci-fi skirmish games: Charlie Company and Star Grunt.

My one gripe is the troops selection. (This is the historic war gamer in me. Or perhaps the ex-soldier. I like my games to feel authentic in every way). The game is played at the 1:1 "platoon skrimish" scale. The "general" for example, is called the Lieftenant. So, strictly speaking, all these guys in your force should come from the same battalion right?


In a typical "platoon" you will have unlimited, "light" infantry, some medium infantry, two or more airborne troops, troops in battlearmour, drones, remotes, special forces types, animal handlers and even ninjas. Yes, the game has bone fida ninja assassins and even proper arabic "Hashasshins", though what the hell assassins are doing prowling around a battlefiedl wasting their time killing grunts is beyond me. On the other hand ninjas are cool so I`ll forgive them this time.

Now, in seven years, I never once saw a platoon sized unit drawn from so many different specialities. Okay, I've seen a composite platoon of SAS,SBS, Para's and Royal Marines (well, heard of one anyway) and I`ve even taken been involved in a few "foreign aid" training teams that drew on as many as a dozen different cap-badges and nationalities. But in a single combat unit? As normal practice?

Hell no. Mixed platoons like that just would not work. Could you imagine organising a days field training?

"Yessir, three of the guys are up in the bird doing their airborne thing, five of them are working through room clearance drills, one is practising his hacking, three are camoflaged around here somewhere (think they might have sneaked off for a beer) and one of them is working on his dsiguise skills by impersonating that major general you were chatting too earlier. How are they doing? Um, how am I supposed to judge? I`m just a basic grunt. Gather the men for lunch? Erm, how? Oh, and the tech guy is pissed cos he's got seventeen different types of armour and weapons to repair and the Company Quartermaster is pissed because he cant keep track of which particular gizmo is for which guy in this F****D up outfit sir!"

Course, that being said, I am willing to patch the breech in my fourth wall by somehow convincing myself that airdropping three guys as reinforcements into a skirmish is both logsitically and tactically viable, for the sole reason that this rules system just looks so DARN good.

Okay, I admit it. I'll willingly try to convince myself that every single platoon we come across works like a German Eastern Front Kampfgruppe where every soldier in sight has been grabbed by some charismatic or forceful individual and grouped into a motley combat unit. Not likely in EVERY engagement of course. The setting does have one world where such units are at least likely albiet not exactly tactically viable: Paradise. Yes, Paradise. Where the various human forces are getting their collective rear-ends kicked by an Alien Collective and where ready-made formations tend to die fairly often. Course, you knew it would be ahellhole soon as you heard the name didn't you?

Besides, its the future. Mixed platoons like this could be how future wars will be fought? No I mean, seriusly they could (nnnnn, stetching credibility....must keep trying). You know, by grabbing a random assortment of guys from various different regiments with radically different training methods, equipment and procudures and lumping together in a small unit where they will have to work like a well oiled professional team to survive, let alone acheive victory?

Lets not look too close at that one. But what the heck. It's just a game after all. I`m not going to miss out on a great new system purely because the Army selection isn't exactly authentic. It#s based on Anime for heavens sake! And even I'm not THAT anal.

Most of the time.

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