Combined Army vs Ariadna (200 points): Infinity After-Action Report; 31Aug11

Continuing our recent trend of trying out new skirmish-sized games, especially ones with free-to-download rulesets, Furycat and I have been trying to learn Infinity.  Furycat took Ariadna since a combined force of Scots, Russians and French, with a twist of Werewolves, was right up his street.  For my part, I liked the varied look of the alien Combined Army.  Since neither of us really know anything about the game it probably isn’t too important who has which force, or it may even be that there is no difference between the factions anyway.  Last week we played a couple of games with forces based loosely on the starter boxes (swapping the Charontid out of the Combined Army box for another Morat to keep the points close) so that we could learn the rules, and today we dived right in with proper army lists and everything.  Well, I write ‘everything’, but we still bodged a few rules and deliberately didn’t take some of the more complex units, such as hackers and airborne deployment options.

After some consideration, I realised that I couldn’t think of a good way to battle report this in my usual detailed style.  So this is more of an ‘after-action report’, in which I’ll highlight interesting (to me) events or things I suspect we got mixed up with the rules.

I’ve linked the unit names in the army lists to the pictures on the Infinity website, but beware before you click on them, lest you find yourself irresistably drawn to buy these beautiful miniatures.  The painters who worked on these display models have amazing skills.

Combined Army (200 points, 4 swc)

Skiávoro Lieutenant, plasma rifle and nanopulser

Vector Operator, heavy machine gun (HMG from now on)

Yaogat, multi sniper rifle

Morat, HMG

Three Shasvastii Seed-Soldiers, combi-rifle and light shotgun

So to ‘translate’, that’s a big killy alien leader bug who can transfer his consciousness to other miniatures if he dies, a flying bug with a big gun, an armoured space ape with a sniper rifle, an unarmoured space ape with a big gun and 3 bugs who start the game as seeds, then spring forth fully formed (and, apparently, fully armed) at the start of turn two.

Ariadna (202 points, 2 swc):

Kazak Veteran Lieutenant, AP rifle and light flamethrower

Two Highlander Grey Rifles, T2 rifle and lots of other kit

Kazak Dóktor, rifle

Line Kazak, AP HMG

Line Kazak, rifle and light grenade launcher

Three Line Kazaks, rifles

That works out as one man with a lot of armour and a lot of skills to help him kill stuff, two homicidal kilt-wearers with kill-you-straight-away guns, a medic, two grunts with big guns and three with normal guns.

We placed some terrain, looked at the rules for shooting a bit, then placed a lot more terrain.  The game rules allow reactions (including shots) to any action carried out in view of a miniature.  So if everyone can see everyone right from the start, there’s going to be a brief exchange of bullets followed quickly by us re-starting the game.  The mission was simply to kill all the other side, although the rules force you to begin retreating once you lose 60% (in points value) of your force.  To start off the theme of the game, in which everything has hundreds of special rules, my Combined Army have to lose 75% of the team before retreating.

Events of interest:

  • A Line Kazak realising that she had deployed wrong when the Yaogat sniper took her down as she tried to make the very first move of the game.
  • The HMG wielding Line Kazak spending a couple of turns putting suppressive fire down a long alley in the middle of the field, keeping the Yaogat pinned in cover.
  • The Vector Operator gunning down a few Line Kazaks, then getting a bit too clever and jumping over a wall to try to take out the Veteran Kazak and another grunt from behind (i.e. where there would be no return fire).  It was all going well until we found that among the Veteran’s many special rules was one allowing him to freely turn to face before reacting if the attacker was close enough.  The Vector heroically survived a reaction shot from the nearby HMG-wielding Line Kazak (notably this caused the end of the suppressive fire he was putting toward the Yaogat), killed the Line Kazak using his HMG and was felled by a pistol shot (of all things) from the Veteran.
  • The Yaogat noticed that the suppressive fire from the HMG had stopped, so put a shot between his eyes.  The Kazak Dóktor came over to try and resuscitate him (mainly so that we could see the game mechanics for medics), but he was as dead as a doornail.
  • The Veteran Kazak then went on a rampage, killing a couple of the Seed-Soldiers (one of whom I had left in the open since I’d run out of orders before moving to cover, so fair enough on that one) before the Skiávoro tried to take him out.  Despite being a terrifying alien with a host of fabulous weapons, I couldn’t lay a shot on the mighty human even after burning 3 orders of shooting.  And to make matters worse, the Veteran Kazak then charged into close combat and cut the beastie down straight away.  It evidently wasn’t the Skiávoro’s day – he’d previously hit a Highlander and the Kazak with HMG with a direct plasma blast only to have them both survive unscathed.  Luckily, thanks to the Ghost: Mnemonica skill, the Lieutenant status transferred safely to the last Seed-Soldier.
  • The Veteran Kazak was finally laid low by a critical hit from the Yaogat sniper.  Moral: don’t get into a long-range duel with a sniper.  Even then, he survived an unreasonable number of shots considering the weapon.
  • A Line Kazak spent about 6 orders speculatively hurling grenades at the Morat, initially managing an impressive scatter of about 28″.  He finally got his range and dropped 3 direct blasts on the alien, only to find that the Morat had stolen the dice the Veteran Kazak had been using for his armour rolls and the hits were all shrugged off.

After all was done, the Ariadna forces were below their 60% threshold and began pulling back.  We could have carried on (the game rules allow you some action if this happens, so that you can complete objectives), but there wasn’t much point in this case.  This day had clearly gone to the Combined Army.

I think we were generally doing OK with the rules.  I need to recheck the mechanics for burst template weapons, i.e. the Skiávoro’s plasma rifle.  I also used the Strategos skill from the Skiávoro after I’d transferred into the Seed-Soldier using Mnemonica, which I now believe was wrong (I assumed that it would go with the Lieutenant status, but it seems you don’t get to take special skills, even if they are ‘knowledge’ in the fluff).  Oh well, we’ll know for another time.

Overall, I’m rather impressed with the Infinity rules.  They take quite a lot of rulebook-flipping since every miniature has lots of special rules and several bits of equipment, but with less than a dozen models on the table this doesn’t seem likely to be a problem if we continue to play and get used to it.  For these early games we’ve deliberately shied away from the more complex stuff like hidden deployment, mines and impersonation.  My gut feeling is that we really need to play to some sort of objective or mission, since just lining up and shooting each other goes against the otherwise ‘realistic’ feel of the game.

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