Monday, 28 July 2014

New Infinity Starter Box - Operation: Icestorm!

Monday, July 28, 2014

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The contents of the 'Infinity Operation: Icestorm' starter set.

Hello there ladies and gentlebeings! So, the Corvus Belli servers crashed today as the pre-order for the new Operation: Icestorm starter set for Infinity opened to the public. This is a very big thing for the game as it has so far only had standalone books and separate miniature boxes released so far. I think a proper starter set like this one will have a big impact on the player base as it makes it much easier to get into the game from scratch. So what do you get in the box?

First off, there are 14 miniatures in the box - 7 each for Pan Oceania and Nomads. Two of these are limited to Operation: Icestorm while the others will get repackaged in the future as new starter sets. If you manage to snag one of the early copies you will also get a 15th miniature - a Corporate Security Unit - that is a mercenary that are usable in the scenarios as well as a regualar Merc.The minis are all brand spanking new, using digital sculpting technology and they look great! More on this later.

You also get a fold out play mat that looks to be roughly 90x60cm (3'x2'), which is too small for a "proper"
game of Infinity but I think works perfectly fine for the intro games it is meant for. You also get four houses (two different types) and six containers (three different types) that you fold together to quickly make a pretty good looking playing area! These have all been designed by Marcos Hidalgo, aka Toposolitario, who has made a bunch of free paper craft terrain designed for Infinity in the past. Check out more of his stuff at Toposolitario! In the box are also enough markers and (custom designed!) dice to play comfortably. A cool feature of the building is that their dimensions are the same as the boxes CB uses for their Infinity miniatures (that you accumulate a number of!), so they slot right into the building, making them a lot sturdier! It's also worht mentioning that this pack will be sold separately as well, so get three or four of them and you should be able to fill an entire normal sized Infinity table.

Finally there's the quick-start rulebook that introduce you to the game, and as it uses rules from the coming third edition (N3) there are some changes apparent already which is interesting for us veterans. It looks to have the basic rules of play and some great interior art as well as a series of five linked scenarios that gradually introduces the rules to you as you play through them. In the first scenario you only use three basic line troopers each whereas in the final one the complete forces are used. An excellent way to teach the game and the background at the same time! The story seems to be centred around a Moto Tronica factory complex on Svalarheima...

Still, we're all here for the minis, eh? I'll keep it short and sweet as there's a lot of them to cover!

The PanO ORC Trooper is one of the most iconic Infinity models as far as I'm concerned, it's certainly the one that first caught my eye back in 2005. This new updated version certainly fits the bill of hi-tech powerarmour!
The Nisses (ha! Funny if you're Swedish) are go to cheap-ish infiltrators and again the models has got quite a facelift! Sharp details and great armour design, although I feel he's almost a liiiittle bit too bulky. I wouldn't blame new players for thinking he's heavy infantry. Still, great looking!

Next up we have the Akalis Sikh Commando which is a PanO drop trooper. Again an excellent update of an old design that unifies it with existing newer troop types like the Crusader Brethren and (of course) Kirpal Singh.

The exclusive miniature fo the PanO in the box is this Father Knight and it's quite an impressive figure! I've never one to be all that interested in the space knight aesthetic of the PanO knightly orders (feels like I left that behind, so to speak) I'm the first to admit that this is an awesome looking model and I might just have to get and paint one for myself!

The last three models are the updated Fusiliers, the line infantry of PanO. Although the other models in the box might be more impressive these certainly was in most need of an update. People won't call them smurfs anymore, now that they look like actual soldiers! Yes, the classic beret is still there but they look a lot harder and grittier now.

I was a little disappointed that both the female line troops has the semi-pin-up going on. They don't really go overboard and I actually think it's pretty cool to have once in a while, but when both of them (and arguably the Reverand Healer as well) look more like they're on the catwalk then fighting a battle it feels a bit silly.

Now... Nomads!

Alright, I just want to get this guy/girl out of the way first because out of all the minis in the box this is the one that really steals the show! The old Mobile Brigada was just a mess and I never felt it had a clear art direction, like the other heavy infantry for the other factions. It was a jumble of different ideas that didn't really amount to anything memorable besides having an odd pose of about to step onto some stairs. The new Brigada has been completely reimagined and is in line with the recent, very clear, vision for the Nomads and I love it to bits! While it doesn't take the price of coolest Infinity mini ever (Gecko with Mk12!!) it's pretty close! I'm really hoping the updated Shang Ji has a similar impact on me. :D

The Grenzer is a new troop type that we don't know all that much about so far. We know he's from Tunguska, that he's a sniper with MSV1 and that he carries two pistols, which is pretty neat! It looks like he could fill the same role as the PanO Nisse, but seeing there's already a camo unit in the Nomad force I'm suspecting this guy won't have it. I'm sure the stats will make their way to the forums soon enough though. Still, very nice miniature! I wasn't sure at first, since it's fairly dark, but the more I see it the better I like it.

And here's the Spektr. The original design is of the older variety but still looks good I think. This is more like an update rather than an outright redesign like the Brigada. It looks good, very Nomady, and it's certainly a solid addition to the lineup. Still, nothing that I get too excited about.

The Exclusive mini for the Nomads is this Reverand Healer and I might actually like this better than the Father Knight! There's a liiiittle bit of the look-at-me pose going on, that I mentioned above, but when it looks this good I have no problem with that! Really like the confident stride, the hood, the flowing robe and her challenging gaze. Very nice mini! Also a new profile, but seems basically to be a Moira doctor.

Finally we have the three Alguaciles, the Nomad line troops, and if the Fusiliers was in need of an update the Alguaciles screamed for one! I've actually had my eye on Nomads as a second (third? fourth?!) faction but the old Alguaciles have held me back and I have waited for these new sculpts. And the don't disappoint! I know some people who think they look too much like eighties space pirates but I think that's exactly the point! In this red colour scheme
they remind me of Space Adventure
 Cobra, and what better role mode
l could a band of rag-tag would be revolutionists aim for?! Again, I think it's a bit of shame that the women is the only one "posing" while the men look more like the hard ass killers they are.

Finally we have the bonus mini that you can get if you pre-order, or simply get one of the early copies I guess. It's a Merc CSU or Corporate Security Unit. From what we've gleaned so far she's basically a highly trained body guard and she has the kind of neat transforming briefcase/submachinegun reminiscent of Ghost in the Shell. Pretty cool! You will actually use her in the Operation: Icestorm campaign but unless you snag an early copy you'll have to settle for using a marker instead. I'm not sure if she's actually exclusive or if she'll be available for purchase later on.

And that's about it! Beasts of War did an unboxing video with Carlos that you can watch here, and they have just started an Infinity themed week focusing on Operation: Icestorm and it contents. The first video in that series is already up, here, and shows the first, very basic, mission.

I'm really excited to finally see Infinity getting a proper start set that works great for two players wanting to break into the game! And I think a lot of us veterans will pick it up as well, the value is quite good if you break it down. So... will you be getting it?

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