As you’ll have seen from my previous post I’ve been putting together a Yu Jing starter force for Infinity in an effort to finally get some traction learning the game. Normally the way these things work is I get a bunch of miniatures, quite often through whatever starter box the company does (Operation Icestorm in this instance) and that’s about as far as it gets for a while. Which obviously isn’t all that effective. This time things should hopefully be different as I de-camped from the man-cave last Friday and headed to Ireland for the Infinity Boot Camp being hosted at Beasts of War and run by Carlos (aka @Bostria) Designer for Infinity from Corvus Belli.
The entire event is geared around providing a primer into Infinity from the ground up, quite literally starting with assembling the chosen factions starter set. For me that was Yu Jing, partly because I’d already done the Drones, but mostly because I really liked the orange colour in their primary palette, a colour I don’t often do in such prominence. Normally I’m not a fan of gaming with an unpainted miniature being a bit of a fussy old grognard, but once built the second day was all about learning the game and with a set of table environments like these, I think I can forgive that transgression. After all there will be plenty of time to paint them once I’ve got rule mechanics under my belt.
Friday evening was all about getting that force ready for action on Saturday in addition to getting to know the other attendees (as sound a bunch of blokes as you can hope to meet) and touring the tables whilst Carlos, Cillian and Ben produced the first wave of videos for the live blogging.
The tables were a masterclass in what can be achieved through combining ‘Infinity Ready’ products, general hobby materials and a good dose of creativity. War zones spanned everything from bustling factory complexes with overhead gantries and parts bins, to urban back streets, Haqqislam outposts, forest research stations and a (probably illegal) TAG Arena in desert mesa with broadcasting tower and working flood lights. As seems to be the norm now Lloyd, John, Warren and Christian took the level of terrain detail they lay on for these boot camps to the next level with Infinity. Each table was an absolute joy to game on introducing a different challenge to assess and overcome or use to your advantage.
It wouldn’t be Infinity without Tactical Armoured Gear (TAG)…
As you will have seen earlier and pretty much everyone figured out as Warren simply couldn’t keep it bottled up, we each received a TAG to go with our chosen starter force (no, the one above isn’t mine but I had a damned good go at ‘fragging’ it during the Arena death-match). For my Yu Jing this was a chunky looking Guijia. It may have been one of the older miniatures there, but it was one hefty slab of metal with an equally impressive stat line boasting an armour value of (8) and a decent ARO response of an anti-material ‘explosive’ shot. Unfortunately other than the aforementioned Arena, the TAG would take no part in Saturday’s activities, so I simply focused on cleaning and assembling it alongside the rest of the infantry before heading to the pub with the rest of the guys
The running order for the day laid out by Carlos and Killian pretty much mirrored the gradually escalating scenarios played out through Icestorm starting with the three basic line troops to get used to the Automatic Reaction Order (ARO) mechanics and general flow of the game via the order tokens. My initial engagement did not go well for my three Zhanshi who were roundly trounced during the first two rounds of hostile contact against Acontecimento Regulars to the point that poor Paddy, my opponent was very graciously beginning to feel bad for me with my awful run of luck. Back to class for the grunts and another lesson in the rules from Carlos and Killian, this time on the Lieutenant order and in my case bringing the Shang Ji out to play, the first of my Heavy Troops. The engagement zone was still in the factory complex but this time the steadying presence of the Lt settled down my Zhanshi who not only made a better fight of it but also took out my opponent’s Lieutenant with a nicely timed reaction crit. Lesson two absorbed.
The battlefield changed along with my opponent. Now I’m in the jungle against the likeable Damien and another unit (and order) is added to the pool, the Celestial Guard. The initiative and luck stay with me in a much tougher game as I learn how dangerous the Ariadna Veteran Kazak is at range and how hard he can hit! My line troops are falling but the Shang Ji doggedly stays the course and after eliminating the remaining line Kazak closes down on the elusive veteran. It’s one on one in the end and my Lieutenant has to save against multiple hits but his armour holds out and he finishes off the crazy Russian heavy troop with his flamer. Close stuff! I also learn stuff you set fire to keeps rolling failed armour checks until it either passes, or becomes toast. Very nice.
It’s the final lesson of the day and the last of the specialists are added to the force. For me it is my close-combat Domaru. Others are adding stealth camo and drop troops. I’m paired with Michael on jungle board and he serves me up a clinical lesson in how to use a camouflaged Chasseur to dismantle my force and why facing is so important. My rookie inexperience gets my entire team killed. I have shamed my Yu Jing Masters, but I won’t make the same mistake a second time.
The final event was of course the much advertised TAG Arena Deathmatch. All I will say about it is “don’t roll seven again… (Rolls ‘7’) dammit!!”. My Guijia doesn’t win, but gets into a fun ‘knife-fight’ with John’s TAG (shown earlier) much to Carlos’ irritation as I squarely ignore the objectives and just wade in. The Guijia is a tough little TAG but John’s maddeningly keeps passing its last armour save to hang in there on a single structure point.
With that day two wraps up and I know know what it means to play Infinity. Sunday: We get serious. TAG payback and my Yu Jing taste both sweet victory and crushing defeat.
Off to the pub.