The King is dead, long live the King
In the neon-splashed brightness of the near future, there is only corporate subterfuge and manga-infused violence….
So recently, something has been changing at Warbasterds HQ. It’s been a slow creeping process, one pushed on by baffling decisions, some lacklustre releases and a seemingly bloody-minded desire to ignore all the work hobbyists have put into their armies over the years. In short, myself and several other Basterds have kinda lost the love for GW a bit. Now, don’t get us wrong, we still enjoy the odd Heresy scuffle and forging that narrative (my Marines don’t like your Marines because my Primarch can beat up your Primarch and…reasons…), but we haven’t touched Fantasy since about the time Nagash woke up again. Added to that various work lives, real life lives and family lives, and it’s become something of a logistical challenge to get all 7 of the Warbasterds in one place and enjoying a game.
With all that in mind, its far easier for us to organise skirmish games and we enjoyed some small success with a short second season to our Blood Bowl league (which ground to a halt under the iron-nailed boots of Robin’s Orcs. Seriously, those boys were gross) and some =][=28 shenanigans. But there was a hankering for more. I in particular wanted to try something else, something new, entirely different to anything GW flavoured. And then we found it.
I’m not gonna sit here and run through the background and gameplay and so on, mainly because Corvus Belli do that so much better themselves on their own website and also because holy crap you guys thats an entirely new game and setting to us and we have no idea what we are doing. I jest, we kinda do. Sort of.
What I will say is that Infinity is refreshingly different, in pretty much every way. I’ve always been a huge fan of Cyberpunk, from William Gibson to the more recent near-future work of Jon Courtney Grimwood and Richard Morgan. Blade Runner and Ghost In The Shell take the top 2 slots in my top 5 films list and the majority of the small selection of anime I own is cyberpunk or mecha flavoured. So suffice to say, the look and feel of Infinity was like someone had wrapped up all of my favourite things and shot them straight into my twitching hobby brain.
- Sleek, clean futuristic design? Check.
- Believable social structures where corporations rub shoulders with governments? Check
- Lack of grimdark skulls on every damn surface? Check
- Recognisable modern-day tropes and identities that aren’t clichéd or stereotypes? Check.
- Cyberpunk info-war stylings with an emphasis on skirmish level military combat? Check.
- Models that make me want to sell a kidney to buy them? Check.
- Gameplay that rewards careful planning, synergy and tactics over straight power list building and brute dice rolling? Check.
- Cover that has a purpose? Check
Goddammit Infinity, marry me.
Lets just say I’m in love. Planning out a small force for one Faction has spiralled into 2 large forces for two Factions, with plans for smaller forces for several other Factions. Robin has just dropped an ungodly amount of money on buildings and cars and fucking advertising hoardings because that’s the kind of game this is – the streets you fight over are actual streets with intact buildings, shops, abandoned cars and so on because all the civilians have run the hell away mere moments before your guys start throwing lead around.
I’m enthused, in a way I haven’t been for a while. And that enthusiasm is infectious. First one, then another, then a third and maybe a fourth of the Warbasterds have succumbed to the neon-lure of Infinity. Initial resistance has swiftly disintegrated into “Well I was only gonna do one Faction but dammit I just ordered a second. And planned a third.” We are all hugely excited at the prospect of playing games over intact streets and buildings that look like people actually live there and where cover is the most important thing. Most importantly, I think, we are looking forward to playing a game where even in your opponents turn, you are an active player and influence, rather than just having to sit back and having things done to you. Its a far more immersive, reactive and synergistic game than I’ve ever played before and my word it is taking some getting used to.
So here’s to new worlds. Here’s to Greek mythology inspired AIs downloaded into vat-bred clone bodies grown for combat and unleashed onto the neon drenched brightly lit streets of the future. Here’s to change.