So, I'm simply going to sum up all the cool stuff that is happening in Infinity at the moment in this post, and then I'll try to cover the new model releases in part 2! So what have been going on?
The biggest new thing is of course Campaign: Paradiso, a new book that doesn't only introduce new troop types, a new sectorial and even a new faction, but also introduce an entirely new campaign system. We have seen some of the new miniatures for the existing factions by now and they bring some neat stuff to the table. ALEPH have got their first sectorial which is Greek themed with Achilles in the lead. Then there's the Tohaa - a new alien faction. Although, even though they are new from a gaming standpoint they have been mentioned in the background and have been a part of the Infinity universe for some time. Apparently they are the only race (besides humans... hopefully) that have been able to resist the Evolved Intelligence. From what we know of the Paradiso campaign it seems like it will center around the Tohaa making contact with the Human Sphere and the conflicts and opportunities that arise from that.
This is all very cool stuff, but before we have a deeper look at all the neat models I want to talk about the featuer in Paradiso that I'm most excited about: the campaign system!
We have known for a long time that Corvus Belli was working on a new book for Infinity and that it would contain different scenarios you could play. Now this is one of my favourite games and even playing straight up skirmishes is lots of fun, but it has always felt like a lot of narrative potential got lost when doing that. The combination of a rich background and neat little rules, like being able to warn nearby allies about threats behind them, really screams for something more than head-on fights. What we got in the end though, was not simply a book of random scenarios, but an entire campaign system where these scenarios fit in! As I mentioned the campaign seems focused on the arrival of the Tohaa and apparently the Tohaa Diplomatic Delegate will play a vital part as an objective in several scenarios.
The campaign tree.
I won't try to go into too much detail about how the campaign system goes together but according to Carlos it is faction independant and it branches out depending on who won which scenarios etc. Beasts of War did an interview with Carlos where he explains some of the new stuff in the book so if you are curious check it out here.
Apart from the campaign and scenario structure an experience system has also been introduced. Of course, Infinity is very finely balanced and messing with this balance by letting each model collect experience and get better, a la Necromunda or Judge Dredd, would play havock with the game. Instead Corvus Belli have introduced a new type of soldier for each faction (and sectorial army in the future) - the Spec-ops. In the campaign each player get one Spec-ops model for free and as you play you army as a whole collects experience based on a number of factors in the scenario. This experience can then be used to either boost your Spec-ops or to give your army as a whole an upgrade. The Spec-ops start out pretty much as a regular line trooper but can be upgraded to become a true combat monster... although if he dies you have to start all over again with a new Spec-ops.
The Nomad Vortex Spec-ops, courtesy of Beasts of War.
The upgrades you can buy for your army come in different categories like Logistics Specialty, Psi-ops Specialty and Mobile Reserve Specialty and there are four levels in each category. The things you get basically allows you to break the rules of the game in some way, like allowing you to see the entire of your opponents army list, or get an additional +1 AVA on one specific troop type. I think this allows you to customize your army to some degree without affecting balance to a detrimental degree. Having the choice between army upgrades and Spec-ops upgrades also means that different playstyles are catered for. I'm fairly certain that my friend Anders, for example, will concentrate most of his experience points into his Spec-ops.
The other big thing is of course the reveal of an entirely new faction! Something Corvus Belli had been very good at keeping secret as noone was expecting it. The Tohaa is an old human-like alien race that have been able to resist the Combined Army. Now, resisting doesn't mean defeating and it seems like they are making contact with humanity in the hopes of finding an ally. As always in Infinity there's no black and white though and the Tohaa are no different. They are not beneficial saviours but rather seem to try and figure out how they can use humanity to further their own agenda. They might be humanity's best hope, but that doesn't mean they are the good guys.
What sets a Tohaa force apart from the rest is that they mostly work in three-man fireteams. Not like the link-teams we're used to from Human Sphere but three different troopers can join up and form a team, something which makes them a lot more flexible. There's also no limit of only one team, the Tohaa can have as many as they want. The Tohaa also make use of something called Symbiont Armour. This is a quite interesting concept as it is very different from the heavy power armour we've seen so far. Instead of simply adding another wound and providing a high ARM value, you use an entirely different profile as long as the Symbiont Armour is active. So each model with this equipped will have two profiles, one with the armour active and one where it's inactive. When you loose all the wounds in the first profile the armour basically dies and you step out of it, using the second profile. Pretty neat!
The Tohaa delegate.
For lighter troops this might mean an extra wound and some extra ARM (so not much different to a regular HI), but the heavier Ectros has two distinctly different profiles, with boosted BS and PH with the armour active (not to mention a total of three wounds!). The armour is much more mobile as well as all Tohaa troops we've seen so far have a move of 4-4. So they're quick, they get boosted stats and they run around in three man fire-teams! Luckily they do have a large disadvantage as well... they're very vulnerable to fire. If a model using Symbiont Armour fails it ARM roll against an attack causing fire damage it will simply drop dead on the spot. It works like monofilament weapons to them basically. Good thing we get the new rocket launcher as it uses fire ammo.
When it comes to the actual Tohaa models I'm... unsure of what I think. Don't get me wrong they're beautiful sculpts and I do like the way they look. But they are very new and I'm not sure how they fit in with the rest of the Infinity miniatures. Well, that's for part 2 of this article, isn't it? They do remind me of the Drell from Mass Effect though.
As usual Corvus Belli have made all the new rules and new troop profiles available for download from their site, so you won't need the new book to play the Tohaa or any of the other new stuff. You will however need it to play the campaign. It seems the community are keeping busy as well and the new stuff is being added to the Infinity Wiki as well.
I hope this has given you a decent overview of the upcoming campaign book. Next up I'll talk more about the actual new models released. Oh, and I've painted a couple of things that I haven't actually shown on the blog yet, so expect to see those soon.