A Streamlined Infinity Experience
Infinity CodeOne is a sci-fi skirmish wargame from Corvus Belli. CodeOne is a streamlined version of their Infinity game and while it includes the core mechanics of Infinity, it has a limited army pool of 4 factions and a maximum limit of 10 units in a force. Operation Kaldstrom is the brand new 2-player starter set and the first release for Infinity CodeOne.
In this article, we'll have a quick look at CodeOne and talk about the Operation Kaldstrom boxed set, including getting a detailed unit breakdown from our pro Infinity player, Andy 'Riker' Roo.
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CodeOne is a more beginner-friendly Infinity experience as the limited pool to draw forces from means that there is less to learn for a new player in terms of troops, abilities, and weapons. Games are much faster and take up less space than full games of Infinity. It’s a perfect jumping-in point and if players like CodeOne, they can easily expand their forces out to the full rules. Infinity CodeOne is still a complicated game, so if you're new to wargames, the learning curve can be steep, but the Operation Kaldstrom box guides you through the learning process to the full rues.
Infinity CodeOne Mechanics
For those new to Infinity, Infinity CodeOne has 2 core mechanics. The order pool and Automatic Reaction Orders (ARO). Each turn, every unit still standing in your CodeOne force provides an order token. Order tokens are spent to activate your units during your turn and can be allocated to units as you choose. For example, if you have 10 orders, they can all be spent to activate a single unit 10 times, or split between different units. This gives a lot of flexibility each turn and you can prioritize a goal, spending orders until it’s achieved.
Automatic Reaction Orders are actions you take during your opponent's turn. They allow units to react to actions made by the enemy, like dodging an attack or shooting in response to an enemy attack or movement. This makes turns very dynamic, and you have to be aware of your opponent’s possible reactions to your actions. If your units move out of cover, which enemy units will be able to fire at them? If you fire at an enemy, will they be able to return effective fire?
Skill tests are taken on D20’s, and require rolling under the attribute being tested. If the enemy reacts to your action, it changes the roll to a face-to-face roll, which means you have to roll under your attribute, but above the enemy's roll to succeed.
Infinity N3 vs Infinity CodeOne
The main difference between Infinity, which is currently in rules version N3, with N4 coming later this year, and CodeOne are the forces that are available for it. Infinity N3 has 9 main fractions, each with several available sub-factions along with a number of Non-Aligned Armies. Each force has a huge selection of units available to it. Infinity CodeOne has 4 different factions, each with just over 20 units available to them. CodeOne games are limited to 10 units, which controls the required table space and the time it takes to play games.
There are some streamlining of rules, but the core differences between N3 and CodeOne is this smaller scale game, with limited forces. Infinity N3 is well known as a complex game. The simplicity of the core mechanics are followed with a huge learning curve, and this control and limitation of the CodeOne forces makes it a lot more beginner-friendly, whilst keeping the rules that make Infinity what it is.
CodeOne and N3 (and N4 when it releases) are entirely compatible, within the CodeOne forces. What this means is that players picking up any CodeOne releases, which start with Operation Kaldstrom, can use those forces in Infinity N3, expanding into a full game when they want to. The previous 2-player starter set, Infinity Operation Wildfire includes starter sets for the other 2 forces available for CodeOne, but these will also be available in their own CodeOne Action Packs soon.
Infinity CodeOne has streamlined releases planned, which will make it easier for players to build up their forces.
Infinity CodeOne Operation Kaldstrom contains everything that 2 players need to start playing. It includes 2 forces, who are battling over the frozen research labs of Kaldstrom, a scenery pack to represent the research labs, all the tokens, dice and measurement tools 2 players need and an introductory rulebook, that sets the narrative for the operation and includes 5 introductory missions that slowly build up the forces and rules, guiding players through their first games.
After players have worked through the introductory booklet, they are free to expand to the full rules, which are available for free download here. Also on that page are the quickstart rules. So if you already own some miniatures, you can give the rules a go straight away to see if you like the system. Infinity CodeOne also has a free army builder, that's available online and in an app that can be used to plan the expansion of your force.
Infinity CodeOne is a fairly brutal game, and your units can be eliminated quickly if left in the open for too long, so ensuring your battlefield has sufficient scenery is essential. Operation Kaldstrom comes with enough scenery to fill the recommended 32x24 inch battlefield and a gaming mat that matches.
The scenery is all solid and extremely durable card, and the 4 buildings can be built in 1 of 2 ways. The scenery slots together, so no glue required, letting you disassemble it for transport or storage and rebuild when you need them. The two small buildings fit on top of the larger ones if you want to build multi-level terrain and the barriers offer mixed full and partial cover terrain to spread between the buildings.
The Op Kaldstrom box includes a token set that has all the tokens you should ever need for CodeOne including templates and measurement sticks. All the tokens are double-sided and include information and modifiers about the condition, which is an incredibly handy addition. Also included is a unique Op Kaldstrom token set for use with the missions in the introductory booklet. All the tokens and templates are the same solid card that the scenery is made from, so they are very hard-wearing.
Operation Kaldstrom Forces
Op Kaldstrom includes 2 brand new forces for Infinity. The WinterFor for PanOceania and the White Banner for Yu Jing, are the core of the CodeOne forces for the factions and are a brand new sectorial army for Infinity N3.
In order to get some details on the different units included in the box, we've brought back our resident Infinity pro player, Andy 'Riker' Roo to talk about each force.
Andy gives us an overview for the Op Kaldstrom PanO forces and a detailed breakdown below.
Andy Roo: Ultimately, the core mechanics of CodeOne remain the same regardless of the army you’re using; take your biggest gun, and point it at what you want to take down. Both armies can do this, albeit in slightly different ways. PanO uses a more direct approach, moving up the board, and leveling that high ballistic skill and armor value. There is very little subtlety to their playstyle, and are best used by leaning into that. Don’t be afraid to take a chance with them, high BS and high ARM go a long way.
- Fusiliers - As with any line infantry, the Fusiliers are the backbone of your army, providing cheap orders, access to specialists, an option for Lieutenant, and backline defense. PanO trade-off Willpower for Ballistic Skill, meaning that whilst hitting a button might be trickier, shooting targets will be easier. Use them to cover your backfield and lanes of advance for your other units.
- Infirmarer - At the core of it, Infirmarers are support troops, but they also make for good, survivable specialists. A boarding shotgun means they can defend themselves up close, and a higher than average CC, and a monofilament weapon, means they’re no mug in CC.
- Orc Troop - Whilst the most basic of the Heavy Infantry PanO has access too, ORCs are cheap and reliable. They make for great shock units, as you can run them up the board, gunning things as you do, and when you’ve got to where you want or need them, you can leave them there for your opponent to deal with. With BS14 and ARM4, they can be a real pain to shift when in cover, and make for excellent roadblocks.
- Nokken - The Nøkken are PanO’s answer to infiltrators in CodeOne, and are possibly my favorite tool in the box. Forward Deployment (+8”) gets them up close early on, and Mimetism (-6) makes sure they’re a nuisance that will survive for a while. The MSV1 and Boarding shotgun profile is particularly good for hunting any Camo tokens that your opponent puts down in the midfield.
- Knight of Justice - This is where things start getting saucy. With a 6-2 Move value, high BS, high ARM (5), and a Spitfire loadout, the KoJ is a star-player. It also makes for a great Lieutenant (especially when you don’t need to worry about losing it) so you have a bonus order to fuel it with. A real highlight is CC23 and Martial Arts2, so not only can you gun things as you move forward, but when you get there, you can use the massive sword you’re wielding. Best used to clean up after the ORC.
Yu Jing Force
Andy gives us an overview for the Op Kaldstrom Yu Jing forces and a detailed breakdown below.
Andy Roo: Yu Jing are somewhat more delicate, and not as prepared for a straight-up gunfight, due to their (on average) lower BS and ARM. They make up for it, however, by having multiple Camouflage models, and lots of Mimetism. They rely on counterattacks, and outmaneuvering the foe, and will likely do better in missions which involve taking objectives, instead of those about straight-up killing things.
- Zhanshi - The Zhanshi performs the same role as other line infantry, though not quite as reliable in a fight they are better with WIP rolls. Taking a Paramedic, or a Hacker, means you have a late-game specialist that can run up and grab objectives when the field is clear.
- Dàofèi - Whilst not a new profile, the DaoFei Spitfire is a model I’ve been waiting for for a long time. Being able to have a marker state Heavy Infantry, with a Spitfire, deploy in the midfield is excellent, and I can see this piece getting a lot of play. Use it to lay in waiting for your opponent to expose a weak spot, or overextend, and then come out guns blazing with it. Its high BS, high ARM, and Mimetism (-3) make it a very survivable unit.
- Guiláng - Another all-time favorite unit of mine. Camo markers are always a pain to deal with, and when they’re wielding a Boarding Shotgun, they can be lethal. I’d be more inclined to make it a Hacker though, so you can help protect the DaoFei, and grab buttons when the coast is clear. It’s also the only unit in the army that has mines, which are great for controlling the board.
- Húndún - Yet another Camo marker that Yu Jing can put down, and one that will be hunkered down, on a tower if possible, and waiting for an unsuspecting PanO trooper to pop it’s head out. With both an MSV1 Marksman Rifle, and a Multi Sniper loadout, the Hùndùn is a pure defensive unit, either to cover a long fire lane with a dangerous weapon or to pose a shorter range threat to anything with a visual mod getting too close.
- Jujak - A brand new unit, and one I’m very excited to run. It’s got a whole range of options, including Heavy Flamers. Whilst “only” ARM3, it does have 2 wounds, and a 6-2 move, so it’s a perfect rapid response unit. Keeping it hidden until a target has got too close, and run in and light them up. It’s perfect for dealing with anything that has visual mods or is bunkered up in cover.
Expanding Beyond Kaldstrom
Both of these forces can be expanded instantly with the Retaliation Dire Foes mission pack and then later on with the Beyond Kaldstrom pack.
We got Andy's thoughts on expanding with some more units.
Andy Roo: The Dire Foes set really does add a lot to both armies, and you’re definitely going to want to get the gorgeous Liang Kai, and Kunai Solutions Ninja models, so I’ve laid out some thoughts on them, too.
- Troll-hunter Gunnar Lundmark - Have something that’s proving hard to shoot down? Gunnar’s got you. With decent armor, Climbing Plus, and monstrous CC of 23, he’s your go-to piece for when you have an enemy prone on a rooftop, or a Mimetism (-6) Sniper that you can’t quite dislodge. Having a MULTI rifle, and a chain colt too means that he’s well equipped to face a variety of enemies, en route to smacking them with his giant DA hammer.
- Imperial Agent Adil Mehmut - Adil is a close combat beast, throwing out a huge -12 to hit him in CC when using his Para CCW. Once you’ve inevitably Immobilised your target, you can then use the less defensive Monofilament CCW to end them. He’s not the most shooty of units though, so keep him safe until something gets close, or the path is clear.
- Liang Kai - Another close-quarters combat monster, but Liang Kai is a bit more aggressive. Deploying forward, having Mimetism (-3), getting to move 3” when he dodges which he does at +3, and having Super Jump means you can get up close and personal really very quickly. Once you’re there you can pummel your target into submission, or use your Chain Rifle to force lots of saves at once.
- Kunai Solutions Ninja - The Kunai Ninja is a really solid defensive unit. Having Mimestim (-6) and Camouflage means that they can reliably sit and wait for the opportune moment to reveal and do maximum damage. The options are either a MULTI Sniper, for long-range support, or Marksman Rifle and Forward Deployment (+4”), which allows you to sit in waiting in that bit of the board that lays out of your deployment zone. Sneaky.
Andy goes into greater depth about different force expansion options in his own blog.
Or if you want to try out the other 2 CodeOne forces, the Combined Army and O-12 from the Operation Wildfire pack, these will be available in their own CodeOne action pack soon.
A huge thank you to Andy 'Riker' Roo for his expert input into the 2 Op Kaldstrom forces. If you're ever around London and fancy giving him a game, or want to know more about Infinity, then get in touch through his Facebook page, Infinite Ramblings, or via his blog.
The copy of Infinity CodeOne Operation Kaldstrom used to produce this preview was provided by Corvus Belli.