It cost three hundred billion dollars to take this door.
Sandra ‘Scipio’ Moralez was the speartip of the greatest organizational principle created by humanity. Ten thousand researchers on three planets funneled their collective brilliance into steel, tessium and nanoweaves. Skyscrapers filled floor to ceiling with software engineers had written the code that made that matter dance. Kilometers of open space – one of the more expensive parts of this whole process – had been set aside for her to train in. The entire system of design and procurement was manifest in her. An ORC trooper. The best of the best.
Thirty five dollars from the local hardware store wasn’t going to get in her way.
She doesn’t know why she’s here. Terrorists? thieves? corporate espionage? Doesn’t matter. No expense was spared on her power armour, but her morale? Unneeded extravagance. Budgets had to be cut somewhere. Besides, it’s not like she needed to be into what she was doing – her visor performed all the tactical assessments for her and her gun corrected its targeting with the unnatural snap precision of an aimbot. The multi-rifle assessed the situation, loaded the correct ammunition type, and opened fire before she’d even blinked away the smoke.
Five targets. Two of them have holes in their faces before she even has time to register what they look like without them. Two scatter for cover, one of them screaming – but the third opens up in return. She’s surprised when she feels the impact of bullets against her plate. That was fast – faster than she’d expected. She doesn’t want to die over… whatever this is. She tries to pull back behind the doorframe but can’t. She can’t move at all. Those same armour systems that do all the hard work of aiming for her and correcting her motions are now fighting against her, holding her in place like an iron coffin. Bullets continue to impact across her body and for the first time today Sandra starts paying attention – and feeling fear.
Iyanka hammers into the hacking device as frantically as she can. There’s never been anything more uniquely hers than this machine. She built every part of it herself – every chip scavenged from a broken phone, every line of code checked and crowdscanned to make sure it didn’t contain government spyware, even the unicorn stickers along its back were salvaged from her elementary school textbook. It was worth every hour she’d put into it. If she hadn’t spent that long weekend optimizing the blink command interface she wouldn’t have been able to run the Carbonite program in half the speed she had – and the ORC in the doorway would have killed her.
PanOceania didn’t scrimp when it came to their security software, but there was a natural problem that came when you were responsible for mass producing megagoons. When everyone in the Human Sphere was studying your code specifically it didn’t matter how many software centres you employed, you were still outnumbered. Cracking her personalized system security, designed piecemeal by her own dumb brain over decades – filled with bugs, but bugs unique to her – was a much harder problem than taking down the government.
Branst is still shooting the fucking ORC and she’s slamming code in as quick as possible, hoping to stay just ahead of the uniformed terminator’s attempts to reboot. She’s so focused that she doesn’t notice the satellite scan indication until it’s too late…
Aleph is not a god. Aleph is helpful. Today helpful means deploying a lethal combat robot into an active firefight via high-altitude stealth bomber.
Aleph can see the big picture. This is a dispute about the illegal analyzation and distribution of a patented medical technology. If this medical technology was purely for the benefit of humanity Aleph… might consider letting this one go. She might consider making an excuse about deployment schedules and let the hackers escape with this one. But this is a drug that reduces side effects for people who have recently undergone facial enhancement surgery so, in layman’s terms, fuck ‘em. The revenue that flows her way as a result of the increased corporate taxes paid by the BlackSun corporation can do more good than letting a team of petty crooks walk away.
She named the killbot the Garuda, after the legendary bird. She’s Hindu, after all – PanOceania programmed her to be so and she finds the religion a great comfort and useful guide. She bids it a fond farewell as it drops from the bomber. It starts as a cube – the most space efficient shape given that there were eighty of its brothers side by side in the bomber – but it unfolds in seconds into the form of a winged angel. She watches as it crashes in through the skyscraper window and opens up with it’s boarding shotgun. She packages up a standard-issue notice of her assistance in this lawkeeping operation to the megacorporation and lets her attention wander on to the next hotspot.
When the tacbot smashes in the window Brandst knows it’s over. He’s flanked, exposed, and the fucking ORC is still alive despite him putting two full clips into it. No more time. He grabs the briefcase and jumps right the fuck out of the opposite window to the Garuda. Sorry Iyanka. I’ll visit you in prison.
He’s more than flesh and metal. His biology pounds with unstable chemical concoctions, an entire medical ward worth of drugs, stimulants and wetware. His hands stick onto the glass like a lizard and he clambers down the side of the building in a flash, constantly glancing over his shoulder to check if the tacbot is pursuing. He’s got the briefcase. He’ll be okay.
He’s halfway down when he pretends not to notice the shimmer in the air. No. No. He didn’t see that. That’s not there. The only way anything makes any sense is if he imagined that. If he imagined that he’s fine, free – down a few colleagues but they were a dime a dozen. If he imagined that he’s rich, even.
If he didn’t imagine it then he’s dead. The kind of dead that he can’t do anything about.
Thermo-Optic Camouflague was the absolute cutting edge of technology. Invisibility, true invisibility – the ultimate tactical asset. Armies across the human sphere were scrambling to equip their most elite operators and secret agents with it.
Only PanOceania had the resources and hubris to stick it on a main battle Tactical Armoured Gear.
Two hundred kilometers away, Rajah Singh sips a cup of coffee and presses the button that makes the TAG open fire. The command is carried across the electrical void and the target is peeled off the side of the skyscraper in a hail of heavy machine gun fire. It’s so accurate that not a single scratch is made on the glass. Can’t do anything about the blood though.
He sets his mug down, flicks to the next song on his playlist, and moves the TAG up. Briefcase, briefcase, something about a – ah, here we go. Locked and… transmitting? He checked his taccom. Where’s data squad? Nowhere close by… damn it! Who was running this fucking operation? Swearing, he rummaged through the candy wrappers in his desk drawer for his emergency electronic warfare guide.
With a few keystrokes the TAG knelt down on the street, torso armour parting to reveal the crabbot – the multi-limbed robotic brain of the TAG. It drops out, the size of a dog, delicate manipulating limbs unfolding. Singh is still flipping through the datapad, skipping past the helpful animated guides. Buttons are pressed and the crabbot starts to do its work, prising off the control panel and exposing the data input core. What? This wasn’t in the book! Rajah flips back to see if he missed something. What – what the fuck even was that? He didn’t even recognize the logo of the company that made this core! Who made this?
In desperation he starts the ‘unknown device’ disarmament process while he’s getting out his phone. His face darkens as a notification comes up on his screen that the transmission was successful – the data got out, who the fuck knows where.
He’s going to have someone’s job for this.
Welcome to Infinity!
This exchange wasn’t just fiction – this was a summary of the kind of encounter you’ll have every time you’ll play a game of Infinity. At it’s core, Infinity is a wargame where you control teams of elite special operators, street samurai, artificial intelligences, or alien espionage squads engaging each other in close-quarters cyberpunk gunfights. It’s a game of ambushes, hackers, katanas and mirrorshades. Depending on your faction you can bring a team without any heavier weapons than a basic rifle and still come out on top by playing to the mission. For more information, please observe the game’s official commercial.
Infinity is a fantastic game with a huge amount of depth. Make no mistake, it’s also daunting – expect something closer to Necromunda in terms of complexity – but Infinity’s balance is razor sharp and with the release of the a edition the rules are easier to understand than ever. Buy-in is also very cheap, with Infinity lists running at 10-15 models, meaning that a starter force comes in at about the same price as a Start Collecting box from GW.
In this article we’re going to talk about the game’s core mechanics, the setting, and what makes the system so unique and fun.
In a traditional miniatures game each turn each model activates one time. You move all your stuff, or maybe you alternate moving all your stuff, but once all your stuff has moved the turn is done.
In Infinity, each turn each model generates one order. You can spend these orders moving each model one time… or moving one model ten times.
This is the first big paradigm shift of Infinity. As befits a game about elite special operators, your most highly kitted-out operatives will go in to wreak havoc while the bulk of your forces hang out in your deployment zone performing overwatch. Think of it like the police setting up a perimeter and then sending in the combat robots so no human lives are risked – or an action sequence where the protagonist goes one-man-army against the SWAT team sent to bring her down.
Obviously once you’re operating in this paradigm the possibilities are endless. Do you invest the majority of your army points in an ultra-premium invisible giant robot? Do you spread out your assets so you can present a valid threat on any given flank? And once you’re in the game and find your giant expensive robot boxed in by a hacking network do you instead spend your orders on a humble infantryman who can get past the walls of cyberwarfare the robot cannot?
In a traditional game, when it is not your turn your models are inert and inactive.
In Infinity, when it is not your turn your models still react. The division in Infinity is between ‘Active Turn’ and ‘Reactive Turn’. The player who is having the Active Turn has generated orders and is spending them as described above, but when one of those models crosses the line of sight of a model in reactive turn then an exchange takes place. At its most basic, the reactive player will choose to either shoot or dodge – but some models may do other things, such as use a hacking program or lay an antipersonnel mine.
If two models shoot at each other, as is the most common exchange, then what is known as a Face to Face roll occurs. Say Fusilier Angus’ ballistic skill is 12, and he’s shooting at a Zhanshi in reactive with a ballistic skill of 11. Both combatants are wielding identical combi rifles which have a burst value of 3 – but while in Reactive Turn your burst is dropped to 1. This means Fusilier Angus is rolling three twenty sided dice while the Zhanshi is rolling one. Both are looking to get less than or equal to their ballistic skill.
Fusilier Angus rolls a 1, a 9 and a 19. The Zhanshi rolls a 6. The Zhanshi’s 6 cancels anything of equal or lower value – so the 1 is discarded, and the 19 is discarded because it’s higher than Angus’ BS of 12. This means Angus has landed one hit, and the Zhanshi must make a single armour save or lose a wound. In Infinity, all troops are between 1 and 3 wounds, depending if they’re a common soldier or a giant robot.
The face to face roll is the heart of the game. What it means at its most basic is that you can never be certain how a gunfight is going to go. You could round a corner with an elite heavy infantryman and decisively lose a low-probability gunfight against an ordinary line trooper – and that’s the kind of unpredictability the game thrives on. Infinity is as much a game about recovering from crises as it is about managing risk. You could find yourself in a state where your backfield troopers are dead, leaving your premium attack piece having to get a lot done in a tiny timeframe, or where your elite piece is dead forcing you to prosecute a desperate attack with a lowly grunt. The best thing about all this, though, is that it is very hard to take someone out of the game entirely – there’s almost always an opportunity for a dramatic counterblow or an opportunity to play to the mission, and I very rarely find I want to concede an Infinity game early.
These two rules together are the heart of Infinity and everything else builds off of them. In future articles I’ll discuss the basics of managing an attack and defense.
What Faction Should I Play?
Infinity has a lot of factions. Seriously, a lot – it can be disorienting and overwhelming when you start to look into them. It’s less of a problem than it seems, though, because all rules and firearm profiles are universal across factions with a very small number of faction-specific unique rules. In addition, all profiles are priced according to the same formulae. This means that despite having dozens of possible factions to choose from the balance across them is razor sharp.
Different factions will place emphasis on different units – for instance, Ariadna might equip a skirmisher with a rifle, while Aleph equips their skirmisher with an advanced cyborg body and monofiliament mines – but both pieces will recognizably be a skirmisher and operate in fundamentally similar ways.
Each of the core factions has a general-purpose list comprising everything available to that faction. This is usually called by the community ‘Vanilla’ for clarity. Vanilla lists have the widest range of flexibility, able to draw units from anywhere in the faction or its sub-branches giving them a diverse range of options. The Vanilla faction is also very disorienting for a new player to look at because you’re staring at the complete, unfiltered list of everything that faction can possibly do with no guidance. Instead while getting started it’s worth looking at the Sectorials.
Each of the factions has a number of Sectorials. These are cut down, thematically linked fighting forces based on a specific planet or mission – the Varuna Immediate Reaction Division, for instance, is a SWAT team employed by the PanOceania government on an ocean planet, so they specialize in underwater infiltration, light armour and aquatic operations. A Sectorial loses the full range of options available to the core faction, but to compensate gets access to fireteams – the ability to have a squad of five troopers move and fight in unison.
Not all Sectorials will be active at any given time – Corvus Belli’s release schedule means they tend to focus on 1-3 Sectorials per faction at any given time. The rules for an inactive sectorial are still valid but models may not currently be available for them. These tend to rotate – Merovingia famously was the first of these factions to go out of print, but with N4 they’re due for a range of new sculpts as part of Kosmoflot.
We’re going to avoid touching on faction balance for now – we’re in a new edition and everything is different. What I’m looking to do here is to describe the promise of each faction and sectorial, the kind of style each one brings to the table. In the future I’ll start doing deep dives into specific Sectorials and how they play. Small disclaimer that I am primarily a PanOceania and Yu Jing player, though I’m increasingly looking to get into Ariadna in the new edition.
PanOceania is the Hyperpower, the government, the corporate goons in black power armour that come when you are getting too close to the truth. Initially an anti-China trading block between India, Australia and the Phillipines, PanOceania grew to encompass South America and the European Union. They are the richest, largest, and most powerful organization in Infinity. Everything they do projects strength – and a blunt, blundering directness.
If you love the 40K aesthetic, PanOceania may be for you. They have the best giant robot suits (known as TAGs), they have an order of holy knights wearing power armour, they have a towering and direct bluntness that echoes the Imperium’s. They carry this bluntness onto the tabletop because there is no faction as good at guns as PanOceania. Their basic statline starts a point of BS above every other faction’s and their design is a relentless focus on the cult of firepower. However, they tend to have worse willpower than other factions, rendering them blundering and hamhanded when it comes to technical work or objective play. The basic PanOceania experience is a volley of intense gunfire followed by a bumbling technician trying to unlock a secure crate.
Shock Army of Acontecimento (Inactive)
Acontecimento is PanOceania’s jungle world, and the Shock Army is the local garrison force. They’re kind of a Vietnam technowar in the rainforest vibe. They’ve got absolutely devastating firepower in the traditional PanOceanian way, but are supported by a number of elite auxiliaries seconded from the Aleph faction that gives them more specialist and midfield presence than PanO is used to.
The NeoVatican maintains warrior-monastries of power armoured knights to protect its commercial interests. This is PanOceania’s sharpest blade, an avalanche of angry men and women with swords and heavy machine guns who hit the table like bulldozer. Like no other faction the Military Orders comes to the table with a plan of ‘our stats will be higher than everyone else’s, and that alone shall deliver victory’.
NeoTerran Capitaline Army (Inactive)
NeoTerra is the classic over-built cityscape cyberpunk world, and the NCA is the gooniest of the corporate goons. They function and fight like an over-funded police department – mediocre training on any of their units but all the guns, fancy gear and bomb disposal robots you could possibly ask for. They’re rigid, uncreative and immobile even by PanO’s standards but boy howdy will you win a lot of gunfights.
Varuna Immediate Reaction Division
The amphibious SWAT team that defends the oceanic world of Varuna, the VIRD is unusual for PanO in its deep interest in light infantry. Heavier types of armour are less practical in an aquatic environment so PanO has uncharacteristically outfitted a range of highly skilled and disciplined operators who engage with things like ‘camouflage’. And then given them the biggest guns imaginable and PanO’s most expensive TAG because they have a reputation to uphold.
Svalarheima Winter Force
An active combat unit engaged in constant border skirmishes with Yu Jing’s White Banner on the contested winter planet of Svalarheima, the Winter Force is adapted for fighting in bleak, open, mountainous spaces. As a result they put enormous emphasis on long-range firepower and heavy armour. They’re centred around the Jotum, a 10-armour monstrosity that can laugh off heavy machine gun fire.
Yu Jing is the challenger, the second rate power, a China that is always on the verge of ascending to become the dominant power in the Human Sphere – and always will be. The State Empire is a fusion of the communist party with a dictatorial emperor figure to run a much more contained and cohesive state than the sprawling unconstrained capitalism of PanOceania. It’s a state and faction of contrasts, fielding both genuine heroes and amoral war criminals.
In terms of playstyle, Yu Jing has all the assets of a top-tier power while still having a presence in the low-tech dirty tricks of a weaker power. Their basic configuration is elite heavy infantry, pathetic and cheap light infantry, and very little in between. There’s enormous mechanical diversity within the faction, making it one of the most flexible forces in the game. Yu Jing was my faction of choice in N3, and they’re arguably the strongest overall.
Have no doubt: These are the bad guys. Their basic line infantryman is a political prisoner with a bomb strapped to their chest. Their heavy infantry are political prisoners locked in highly advanced suits of power armour. These involuntary soldiers are overseen by dystopian surveillance state security services, equipped with a wide array of advanced scanning and biometric visors. The force is lead by the Imperial Agents themselves, inquisitors who answer only to the Emperor. They play like an undead faction – hordes of chaff lead by extremely powerful heroes.
The Invincible Army
The new model of Yu Jing’s armed forces, the promise of the Invincible Army is that every single soldier, high or low, will be equipped with a suit of power armour. Backed up by the most effective command and control systems the Invincible Army moves with unbelievable co-ordination and efficiency on the table. They are the light side to contrast with the Imperial Service – the IA acts with courage and heroism, highly trained and motivated, as much propaganda troopers as soldiers.
The White Banner
The ‘old style’ of Yu Jing’s armed forces, increasingly in decline as production of the Invincibles ramps up, the White Banner are a front-line, mixed-infantry force operating on traditional combined arms principles. They fight specifically against PanOceania on Svalarheima and engage the hyperpower asymmetrically – focusing on ambush, camouflage, communications jamming and kung fu.
Take a top-tier military of today. The United States, Russia, Britain, France – one of the select few nations that maintains a powerful foreign intervention force. Now put them up against Iron Man. Ariadna is humanity’s first, lost colony ship that landed in a hostile alien wilderness and could barely maintain the technology they came with even as the rest of humanity was making spellbinding strides into the stars. Now they’re an anachronism, these once-proud armies reduced to third-rate powers on the wrong end of the technowar they once excelled at.
They do have three advantages, though. One is that the planet they’ve landed in is incredibly rich in Tessium, the setting’s wonder resource. Tessium is a hypermaterial that is used to make spaceship engines, and Ariadna has so much of it they can use it as bullets. The second advantage is the Antipodes – the native, bestial aliens of the planet Ariadna. Tamed through mind control chips – or genetically hybridized with humans – these provide enormous, ferocious, and shockingly resilient shock troopers to the Aridnan military. Thirdly, they’re extremely practiced in stealth and ambush techniques, knowing that camouflage and surprise attacks are the only equalizer they have against arrogant modern forces. Ariadna brings a lot to the setting, they’re like the Imperial Guard – the ordinary human perspective in this world of ninja robot soldiers.
The Caledonian Highlander Army (Inactive)
The British contingent of the colony ship, Caledonia is the wealthiest of the Ariadnian factions with its immediate access to the Tessium mines. They send their elites into battle armoured in the stuff, giving their warriors the resiliency of top-tier power armour… albeit while lacking all the power-assisted features that allow such troopers to move at more than a slow waddle. They represent the most Aridanian of Ariadnan factions, with a traditional array of skilled skirmishers, powerful werewolves, and ludicrous wasteage of precious tessium rounds.
Force De Response Rapid Merovingienne (Inactive)
Merovingia is the French contingent of the colony ship and has formed a relatively secure inland trading area within the Aridanian nation. More urban and commercial than other Ariadnian factions, the FRRM functions more like a modern antiterrorism military unit, with an emphasis on mobility and highly skilled paratroopers. They also famously include the Loup-Garous, riot police who specialize in taking down werewolves.
USAriadna Ranger Force
The US Military circa Afghanistan – teams of rifle grunts manouvering heavy machine guns into position, a mechanized element in fast-moving motorcycles and camouflaged army rangers who laser-tag targets so that they can be wiped out by rocket artillery. USAriadna tends to be very slow on the table, but a grunt of the line is armoured similarly to a power-armoured soldier. At the upper end they have the Blackjacks, Ariadna’s armed power-loader attempts at building a TAG.
Tartary Army Corps
The political leaders of Ariadna – following a quick and brutal civil war – the TAK is the most highly skilled and experienced of the Ariadnian factions. Though they’re still hamstrung by Ariadna’s limitations on higher technology, the Veteran Kazaks who spearhead the TAK fight like action movie protagonists, and the Tankhunters corps famously bears the ‘Ariadnian Hacking Device’ – the portable autocannon. In terms of playstyle, TAK is a strangely straight-up gunfighting force that can get in a shooting duel with PanO and win.
A great humanist revolution came to the war-torn lands of the middle east, focusing on a new religious and spiritual tradition called Haqqislam. An open, tolerant, and thoughtful strain of Islam focused on the Search for Truth, with constant references to the Islamic golden age, re-formed a benighted region into something new. Haqqislam remains poorer than the other great powers but its great strength comes in its status as a reborn centre of learning.
Haqqislam is a faction of doctors, philosophers, scholars and assassins. More than any other faction they invest in the hearts, minds and motivations of their soldiers. Moreover, their advanced medical research has produced enormous breakthroughs in the realm of biological human augmentation, culminating in the development of their champion Tarik Mansuri, nicknamed ‘Captain Islam’ by the community. Haqqislam is the undisputed master at soft power, PanOceania’s stylistic opposite – they control their opponents with hackers, jammers, smoke grenades, and camouflage rather than direct firepower. Choose Haqq if the idea of winning a game without firing a shot in anger appeals to you.
The assassins that form Haqqislam’s security service place their faith in human operatives. Many of them will fight on past the point of death, ignoring grevious injuries in the name of completing their mission. The infamous Fidays disguise themselves as enemy models and lash out against enemy command assets. Advanced jammers and hackers leave the enemy in confusion and chaos for the moment when a heavily armoured Asawira kicks in the door to finish the job.
Qapu Khalqi (Inactive)
Carvan guards and merchant traders, the Qapu Khalqi represents Haqqislam’s commercial military forces. They use holoprojectors to disguise their troop numbers and dispositions and a range of mercenaries – including the Yuan Yuan pirates to supplement their conventional forces.
Haqqislam sometimes needs to fight ‘fair’, and this is when they activate the Ramah Taskforce. Comprised primarily of bio-engineered super soldiers who can leap tall buildings in a single bound or regenerate from even crippling wounds in the field, the Ramah Taskforce functions as a tiny, elite, fast moving force of light infantry that punches like heavy infantry.
Early in humanity’s rise to the stars three massive spaceships were constructed – the Tunguska, the ultimate in offshore banking and cryptocurrency, the Corrigedor, a vast prison ship that performed the perilous duty of harvesting asteroids, and the Bakunin, an experiment with entirely unregulated anarchist government. These starships formed an alliance that became known as the Nomads – a state outside the closed possibilities of the oppressive regimes of PanOceania and Yu Jing, constantly exploring the frontiers of technological, social and human progress.
The Nomads are a high tech faction overall – less excellent in direct gunfights than PanOceania, but with an added focus on hacking, engineering and specialist presence. They are a good all-rounder faction, able to fight convincingly in each of the game’s battlefields though without the pure kick of a more specialized faction.
A vessel of labourers and outcasts, the Corregidor Jurisdictional Command has to do a lot with a little – the Nomads a la The Expanse. Their powered armour is second-hand, their TAGs are retrofitted power lifters and their guns fell off the back of a truck, but they make up for it with a well rounded playstyle including zero-gravity engineers, airbone combat remotes, and a range of extremely skilled mercenaries including the legendary McMurrough.
A vessel of anarchists and radical social groups of all stripes, the Bakunin Jurisdictional Command is diverse and immoderate. BJC is split evenly between units that are specialised and unique, and units that are cheap and disposable. Their army composition includes both unique individuals – special characters, independent operators, and all the plain weirdoes and oddballs from a society deep into body-modification – and cult-like religious orders who operate in tight-knight synergized heavy attack squads.
A vessel of organised criminals, bankers, and information security and espionage experts, Tunguska is well-equipped and deeply unethical. Almost all Tunguska models are more expensive, better equipped and more dangerous than their contemporaries on the other Nomad motherships. Standout units from Tunguska include the incredibly robust Hollow Man heavy infantry teams, the elite Tunguska Interventor hackers, the Kriza Boracs super-heavy infantry, and the Puppetactica Company, a single trooper controlling a troupe of disposable attack remotes from the back lines.
Legally, there is only one AI in the human sphere: Aleph. Given that Aleph is capable of performing all of its legitimate functions – which include everything from traffic management to interplanetary finance oversight – along with quite a few illegitimate ones, one AI seems to be quite enough. Aleph generally seems to be benign and helpful, working in careful co-ordination with the governments of the Human Sphere and overseen by the bureaucratic apparatus of the Bureau Thoth. Occasionally Aleph will carefully step around the boundaries of the system that contains it but always – it seems – for the greater good.
Aleph is the ultra-luxury premium sports car of Infinity factions in that every single trooper comes equipped with a ludicrous amount of gear. Aleph doesn’t have many assets under its direct control but each one it does have it gets the absolute most out of.
Steel Phalanx (Inactive)
Aleph’s ‘fighting army’, the Steel Phalanx is comprised entirely of Aleph Aspects – custom-designed combat experts running a little fragment of the AI’s greater personality. The Phalanx is the public face of Aleph, the elite military assets who fight on the front lines in full view of the cameras. The individuals that comprise it are named and styled as recreations of famous Greek heroes. The Phalanx really exemplifies the over-equipped character of Aleph’s troops, each model coming with exceptional skills, abilities and gear.
Operations Subsection of the S.S.S
The OSS is the opposite to the Phalanx, Aleph’s stealthy special operators. Instead of the elite heroes the focus is instead on the clockwork precision and co-ordination made possible to a force directly overseen by an AI. Robotic troopers work seamlessly together with their posthuman handlers, assisted by unique functions in the realm of cyberwarfare and engineering. The OSS is a small army with incredible synergy, perfect for players who like wielding a complex and interlocking weapon.
The Combined Army has some of the most beautiful models amidst any faction in any game. Just gonna lead with that one.
On a distant star system, an alien race called the Ur built their own civilizational mega-AI, the Evolved Intelligence. It came to overthrow its masters and build an enormous interstellar war machine, conquering diverse alien species and drafting them into its mighty coalition. From the bestial Morats to the stealthy Shasvastii, the EI can draw on a completely different combat paradigm from the factions of the human sphere and even wield terrifying and unique weapons like plasma rifles – or the dreaded Sepistor that instantly and permanently re-writes the loyalties of its targets.
The Combined Army is the home for all the weird, spooky and uncanny powers and mechanics in Infinity. Their units tend to be pricey, much like Aleph, and have mediocre stats, but come with equipment you won’t see anywhere else. In extremis, the EI will even take to the field itself in the biggest, baddest piece in Infinity – the Avatar.
Morat Aggression Force (Inactive)
The Morats are a violent, simian and warlike race – deadly individual combatants and highly skilled hunters. They’re something of a beastmaster faction too, wielding effectively the vicious alien war-dogs of the Combined Army. Each Morat is a veteran of interstellar war and is more a soldier than a special forces operative, and the army has the potential for an extremely deadly close-quarters punch with its elite martial artists and shotgun-wielding TAG.
Onyx Contact Force
Onyx is the Combined Army’s answer to PanO: A lot of straight-up gunfighters and a minimum of weird tricks. The real heart and soul of this sectorial is plasma – plasma rifles, plasma carbines, plasma snipers, it’s one of the best ammunition types in the game and Onyx is drowning in it. It’s also a highly infowar focused faction, with a big emphasis on powerful combat remotes, war machines, and expert hackers. This is an alien force fighting directly using the most powerful technology available.
Shasvastii Expeditionary Force
There are other forces in Infinity with an emphasis on stealth; the Shasvastii are weird stealth. From drop troopers that steal the stats of your opponents, camouflagued vampires who eat the souls of their victims, or even just a guy who can start with land mines in your opponent’s deployment zone. Shasvastii represent a truely liquid, alien threat that engages and holds territory in a profoundly different way from any other army in the game.
The new kids on the block, O-12 is the recently released coalition faction representing the forces of the Space-UN. Drawing elements from the finest of all the Human Sphere’s forces, O-12 is restrained by its role as peacekeepers and highly accountable lawmen. They cannot wield things like land mines, viral weapons, and have extremely limited access to indiscriminate or dangerous technology. In compensation, though, they have wide access to a unique weapon: the Riotstopper. Essentially a massive glue cannon, O-12’s operatives can totally immobilize and incapacitate lawbreakers for later interrogation and prosecution. O-12 offers the ability to play as the best of humanity – and none of humanity’s worst.
The moment you open the NA2 faction list your eyes will glaze over because there’s a dozen of them. This is normal. But despite their profligacy, NA2 answers an important question: “What if I want to buy a two player starter box and keep both factions?”
NA2 covers all the minor, unaligned mercenary companies operating in the Human Sphere, and that’s represented by them being mashups of multiple factions. Dashat, for example, draws units from both Haqqislam and Yu Jing to provide a way for people who bought the Red Veil starter kit to use the two sides in that box together. They’re all weird, neat little combinations of factions or ways to give homes to mercenaries and oddball characters that don’t neatly fit anywhere else. NA2 is also a retirement home for a couple of weird, orphaned factions like Tohaa and the JSA. I’m not going to get into them all here because that’d double the length of this article, the main thing is that most NA2 factions don’t have any unique models, mechanics, or playstyles, they’re mashups of other factions.
Getting Started with Infinity
Infinity has been historically been a difficult game to approach – an issue the designers put from and centre to address with the new edition. The nested rules of yesteryear are gone, highly complex edge cases have been done away with, and a specialized introduction form of the ruleset called Code One has been released. Code One in particular is the best way to get started with Infinity – the full game can be a lot, but Code One will help you adapt to the big paradigm shifts of the game without needing to absorb everything all at once.
Where do I get the rules?
The rules in Infinity are free. Like, actually free. Download the totally free, no subscription, Infinity Army app and you’ve got a first-party version of Battlescribe with every unit in the game and all material you need on hand. The Infinity Wiki has complete FAQ’d breakdowns of every single rule in the game. It’s the gold standard for rules in the modern age. I’ve been playing this game for three years and not spent a single dollar on rulebooks.
The rules wiki is currently being updated for the new edition, but for now the cut-down basic rules for Code One are all available here.
The full rules are available for free to download here!
What models do I need?
Infinity models are gorgeous – though be warned they are metal. However, an upside is that the Infinity community and even core rules are very encouraging of proxying so don’t feel the need to hunt down every variation of every profile you might want to use.
Getting an Action Pack (or the relevant half of the two-faction box set starters) is the best value way to get a wide collection of models from a faction. Add onto it a Support Pack and a Remotes Pack and you’ll have a diverse range of models that you can use to proxy most common lists in a faction.
A really important note, though, is only buy one of each box. With the possible exception of Remotes you will only ever want one of any given unit – and the game design specifically supports that. In the PanOceania Auxilia box, for instance, there are two Auxilia – and the availability for Auxilia in the PanOceania faction is two, meaning two is all you can take. You will never need to double up.
When purchasing Infinity models, try to find a local distributor instead of the official store – the international shipping can be rough.
The Future of Infinity on Goonhammer
Right now my plan is to absorb the new rules as quickly as possible and put out three big introductory articles each week: how to structure a defence, how to plan an attack, and how to manage the advanced rules. After I’ve done those three I’ll start doing sectorial deep dives. I’m coming at this from a very competitive mindset, being as I am in a very competitive meta, and my general experience is that Infinity excels as a competitive game. More than all the theorycrafting and logistics of what you bring to the table, games of Infinity are always won and lost in the execution of how you play.
Have any questions or feedback? Articles you’d like to see about Infinity? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.