As you may be aware I'm delving into a non 40k universe called infinity, as I'm keening for some 'real' skirmish game kicks.
Anton (of the Anarchy) played a proxy game against me on Tuesday (my models arrived Wednesday - typical!) and I got my first thorough look at the game dynamics.
The irony is that it's actually a far easier, looser and more fluid game to play than 40k. The turn sequences operate totally differently, so you don't have to worry so much about 'MOVE-FIRE-ASSAULT' and feel cheated/nervous about missing a models move or forgetting that shooting.
The basis of the game dynamics are fixed around two things:
1) Everything that is non-standard requires a roll. This would appear straightforward, but unlike 40k, there isn't an exhaustive list of causal relationships delivered in the rulebook. The simple answer to 'would jumping through a window slow me down' is to have a chat about it. We decided that jumping through a window wouldn't slow you to half movement, but that I needed to 'succeed' a physical roll to make it through the window... otherwise an embarrassing 'trip-fall' fail would occur. In this way, the game plays more like a D&D game than 40k.
2) Everything is about 'face to face' challenges. Example: I step out and shoot you, you can react. I have a BS of 14 (which is pretty good), you are a crap shot (10) but are rock solid physically (15), you therefore decide to dodge/charge me using your good stat, rather than hope for a critical (a roll of 10 - 1:20 chance) or a bad roll from me. A face to face requires you to score below your stat (with modifiers) but higher than your opponent. This leads to some dynamic 'face-offs' - which is what skirmish is all about!
As you can probably assess from above, this approach means that games simply steam along ... with more focus on face-offs and actions, than rules research, which is nice!
The final piece of the puzzle is orders ... which are similar to the activations used in Hordes/Warmachine. Basically you get 1 order per member of your merry band, but this order (if they are a trained 'regular' soldier) can be expended on any model in the band. This makes the play very dynamic, as a player with order in hand can attack, attack and attack again in close combat! This disproportion is balanced by the reactions every single order would provoke.
In the game on Tuesday, I used my Fiday (think Jon Grammaticus from Dan Abnetts Legion) to stalk a sniper cell. He then climbed the tower and massacred the two guys up there with his explosive close combat weapon, all in one turn. None of the rest of my army really moved and he used up 7/10 total orders. Such behaviour is called 'Rambo-ing' and is frown on by the Infinity players. It's within the rules, but isn't this broken??
Well no, as every time Fiday walked in front of the enemy they could attempt to spot he wasn't one of theirs, tricky but even so... two good spots (which they managed) and he would have been peppered full of holes. The other alternative is to 'box him in' using suppression fire. Suppression fire is like what Overwatch should be.
Remember, everyone in this game effectively has overwatch, they can react to the appearance of an enemy model, and either dodge, or take one shot etc. Suppression fire means that ANY enemy model that walks through you're 1.5 inch wide channel will be hit by a full burst of fire (rather than one shot), so every model gets 3-4 shots worth of death. It costs, but it's good.
So overall, the game works very well, I would be intrigued by the builds which would turn up for tournament play - but they have a different subset of rules for that. In pick up play, it plays fast and loose and is a lot of fun.
The models I've ordered are gorgeous. They are (unlike 40k) quite delicate. My 2 year old son looked in the spray box this morning for monsters and broke 2 newly glued ones... what strikes me is how 'out of proportion' these models make space marines and imperial guard look. 40k models are largely built to be handled by the 'store-kid', these aren't. As such the swords are realistically thin, the rifle muzzles are delicate. There's a very artistic french/anime style to the models. Additionally, the women models are attractive and well proportioned (so are the men models, but yeah ... that came out a bit letchy...?)
What struck we immediately was the lack of mold line on any of the models. There just weren't any. Flash was more of a problem - but all so thin it came away easily. There also a lack of those weird GW lead wiry bits sticking out of the models extremities - I wonder why? The detail on the models exceeds GW, there's no doubt. There is layers of detail, the Lasiq's longcoat is impregnated with layers of tron looking tech cloth ... it's extraordinary and I'm seriously concerned that my painting abilities won't cope. Fingers crossed.
The poses of the mini's can vary. I've selected my models on those I feel are the most attractive and some of the others I left online are a little 'meh?'. That said I'm very pleased with my merry band. They are now glued (and reglued, thanks son...) and blackbased and ready for painting tonight...
WIP to follow.