Welcome to our Infinity Operation Red Veil review. For those unfamiliar with Infinity, it's a cyberpunk-esque miniatures skirmish game by Corvus Belli that is currently on its third edition (Infinity N3). The full rules are available as a free download via the Infinity website and there are a couple of two player introductory starter packs available (Icestorm and Red Veil, which is reviewed here).
We recently reviewed the JSA Army Pack, which is a great place to start collecting the JSA force, but as an Infinity beginner, you should start with Red Veil or Icestorm.
This review is the first part of our ongoing Start Collecting Infinity series, full details of the plans and thought-process behind the series can be read here.
Infinity Operation Red Veil is a two player introductory boxed set that has everything two players need to start playing Infinity. There are enough models, dice, counters, scenery, and a progressive rulebook that can take someone who has never played a wargame or skirmish game before to a basic understanding of the Infinity rules. The Infinity rules systems is very dynamic and in-depth, and the learning curve is very steep if you head straight into the full rules, so this two-player starter set aims to bring players in gradually. The full Infinity rules will be reviewed and explored in later articles; this review is solely about what's included in the two player starter set and if it works as an introductory product.
Infinity: Operations Red Veil includes the following:
- 7 Yu Ying miniatures
- 7 Haqqislam miniatures
- Game mat and Neon Lotus Scenery pack
- Faction themed dice and cardboard counters, markers, ruler and templates
- 80 page rulebook (One half in English and the other half in Spanish)
Infinity Operation Red Veil's included miniatures are the two starter packs for Yu Jing and Haqqislam, which are available to purchase separately, plus an exclusive miniature for each. This makes the purchase of this pack an absolute bargain as you get the bonus two miniatures and all the accessories including the scenic pack for around $10, if you take away the cost of the two starter sets.
The counters and scenery pack are thin cardboard, but for a starter pack it's all that's required. If you enjoy it, you can invest in more durable counters later on. The scenery is fold together, so transport is easy as they fold flat again afterwards, but they can wear and be damaged over time. I've played several games with the scenery pack from this and from the JSA pack and they do ware well for introductory games.
The Yu Jing faction are the combined forces of the far east, a super-power that competes for power with the other big player, PanOceania. Haqqislam are the forces of the Islamic nations, combined to defend the beliefs of New Islam.
The Infinity Operation Red Veil rulebook is designed to be read alongside play. The first few pages introduce players to the forces contained in the starter set with background details, some flavor short stories, and details about the warriors included in the pack.
The rulebooklet provided takes players through five missions, building up the forces and rules with each mission. The first mission starts players with the three basic troopers from each faction and goes over the main rules like the order pool system, which gives you one order token for each warrior you have at the start of the round. Order tokens can be used to activate any warrior, as many times as you have order tokens for. In the first scenario, you have three warriors—three order tokens—so if you wish, you can activate the same model three times, or one model once and one model twice, or three models one time. This builds up in the next mission by adding the Lieutenant rule for order system, by making one of your warriors the force leader, which gives you a bonus order token that can only be used on your lieutenant. The lieutenant also keeps your force organized, so if you lose them, you lose the lieutenant order token, plus all of your troopers now become irregular, which means that any order tokens they added to your order pool can now only be used by that model and not shared into the pool.
By the fifth mission, you will each be using all seven of the warriors in the starter set, including their upgraded weapons and equipment, and using the special rules for Termo-Optic camouflage (TO), combat jumps to deploy troops into the heart of the enemy, and the exclusive miniatures for this pack, the ninja and the heavily armored Al Fasid Regiment warrior. The starter set does a great job of easing each mission forward, introducing the new rules and warriors in order to develop each game. Each mission describes in full the objectives, terrain layout and the rules required.
After the missions, the introductory rulebooklet gives some advice on taking the forces further, which you will be able to do using what has been taught so far. After that players are free to start to learn the rules through the Infinity rulebook and begin to build their own forces.
If Infinity is the first tabletop or war game you have ever played, you might have to take it slowly through the first few missions and will probably have to play through them several times before moving onto the full rules. Putting the metal miniatures together even for an experienced wargamer can be tricky. They are worth the effort, as be can seen by the photos, but it must be noted the level of input that's required. The models need to have the excess metal trimmed away before gluing together, they also need to have some of the base cut away in order to be glued on to them. In order for the glue to take on metal miniatures, it's always better to wash and thoroughly dry them to ensure a good glue connection. Modelling putty can also be used to fill small gaps and more experienced hobbyists use magnets and pins to secure some parts of the models, to either enable changing of the displayed weapons or to secure a firmer fix for parts. After that, the next stage to take your models further is painting them, and there is a guide to painting the models in the rulebooklet included with Red Veil to get you started.
The balance between the two forces in Infinity Operation Red Veil is great. Both Yu Jing and Haqqislam feel unique in their theme and play slightly different with the forces included. Yu Jing are slightly more complicated to play, as Haqqislam can power forward with the Al Fasid regiment warrior. Neither force has an obvious advantage though, and both are fun to play. In our test games, I beat an experienced Infinity player with Yu Jing, even after he had taken out my Hsien Warrior, who was my best chance of taking out the heavily armored Al Faisd Warrior, and I was also closely beaten in the final mission by the player I was testing it with to see how it was for a player with no wargaming experience to play.
All of our playtest games were close, and there was no clear winner until the final few turns. With seven warriors each, losing over half your forces with your opponent only losing a couple can be difficult, but with the critical hits and ARO's you can play tactically around it and it can be anyone's game. It is difficult to secure mission objectives with fewer warriors than your opponent, so it's not in your interest to rush straight out of cover into the fire of your opponent. Infinity is a tactical game game of cover and risk, and this starter set really helps to make players aware of that so they don't go into their first skirmish game without a good understanding.
There is a lot to explore out of the starter set, but it will require expansion once you have the beginner rules worked out. Having access to both forces for a single player, or splitting the cost between two if you both want to play one of these forces are both viable options. Having had a few discussion with Infinity players on the UK scene, most play several factions as the buy-in is relatively low compared to other games due to the small force sizes.
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Where can you take Infinity after the Infinity Operation Red Veil starter set?After playing through the Infinity Operation Red Veil pack a few times, Infinity does open up for you. If you want to explore two different forces, the Infinity Operation Icestorm pack offers the same return as Red Veil with PanOceania and Nomad factions. If you want to continue with Yu Jing or Haqqislam, Corvus Belli offer a Beyond Red Veil pack with three miniatures for both factions to take your gaming further. Or you could load up the Infinity Army Builder and begin to put your own forces together if you feel confident enough.
The Bottom Line:
The Infinity Operation Red Veil starter set is incredible value when compared against the purchase of the miniatures alone. It's a perfect introduction to the Infinity system, and there is a lot more to explore and learn afterwards. The modelling side of the hobby requires more effort than other systems, so beginners will require a little more patience and effort, but the end results are worth it. The set is well-balanced, and both factions included are interesting and rewarding. The tokens and cardboard scenery are simple cardboard, but they are designed as a beginner package to bring players into the game; if players like the system, then can invest more into the accessories later on.
Get this game if:
You want a skirmish system that rewards tactical play.
You want a balanced system with a lot of depth.
You want a system with diverse factions.
Avoid this game if:
You don't want to invest time into modelling. The models in this pack do require some effort.
You want a very straight-forward system.
This copy of Infinity Operation Red Veil used for this review was provided by Corvus Belli.