The Infinity Icestorm Approaches
The latest hoo-hah on the Infinity circuit concerns the impending release of the Infinity starter set – Operation Icestorm – and the simultaneous introduction of the 3rd edition ruleset.
I’m pretty excited by the Icestorm set and have been suitably wowed by the box contents. Enough so that I’m publicly admitting failure in my 2014 games embargo as I have pre-ordered it. I could have waited but I like the look of the limited edition mini that comes with the pre-order box (I’m a sucker for such things).
Contents of the box, as previewed by the likes of Beasts of War, seem to be:
- Nomad faction starter – 7 models with one exclusive mini and all new sculpts
- Panoceania faction starter – as above
- Paper play mat – about 2′ x 3′ by the looks of things
- Card terrain pieces – various pre-printed and pre-cut rectangular buildings and containers
- Templates / counters
For c£60 I’d say it represents pretty good value, considering the minis alone would probably cost that if bought separately (6 model starter boxes weigh in at about £30).
It looks like the rules also contain a mini campaign that’s designed to dripfeed rules to the new player, which I think is a fantastic idea, and one I’m looking forward to playing through myself. Infinity does have a rather complicated ruleset so anything that can be done to ease the new player into the game can only be a good thing.
But here’s my first reservation about the set – and it really represents the general direction of the miniatures range as a whole – that is its continuance with multi-part metal miniatures. If this set is aimed at encouraging new players to try the game, such as 40K players who are looking to step outside the GW fold, then they’re going to have a bit of a learning curve when it comes to preparing these miniatures.
Now I can see the argument that it is a set that is representative of the whole model range, but I’d have been happy for them to have used this as an opportunity to try out plastics, such as Wyrd are doing with their Malifaux range. Those new players are going to have quite a shock when they come to put together that Mobile Brigada model from its eight tiny metal pieces!
On to the rules themselves. Previews and demos have been drip-feeding 3rd edition rules changes and mostly what we’ve seen have been minor tweaks and fixes rather than a total overhaul. Again I think this could be a missed opportunity.
I’ve always considered Infinity to be a flawed masterpiece – a fantastically cinematic and narrative gaming experience that can get bogged down by rules ambiguities and special rules and exceptions. I can’t help the feeling that the core gameplay experience could be boiled down to something simpler and more elegant without losing any of the feel of the game.
Doesn’t sound like that’s happening. Of course I should really hold off my analysis until I’ve played a few games, but I can’t help thinking that they will have missed a trick.
Anyway, trepidations aside, I am really looking forward to getting this set when it releases in a couple of months. And, oops, my third and fourth factions will have been started.