"Man, those are some of the coolest models I've ever seen, but I just don't get the game..."
They're talking about Infinity the Game, by Corvus Belli.
They are a Spanish company, Corvus Belli ("War Raven"), and therefore not as mainstream in the US perhaps as Games Workshop or Privateer Press, whose native language is English.
I heard tell that the the Infinity rule book was translated from Spanish to German, by a German, who then translated it further to English. If you have tried to read the Infinity rule book, this story is not difficult to believe. At times, the idiomatic inaccuracies are more cringe-worthy than CSI: Wherever dialogue.
So the question I get asked a lot - or, rather, the statement I hear most is: "Infinity - I don't get it."
In general, people just don't know where to start. They start to read the rule book, and get discouraged by the linguistic flaws. Of course, why doesn't everybody just do everything perfectly in English?!? We seem to have little compassion for the "errors," when in reality... their English is a HELL of a lot better than our Spanish. We're the dummies that can only grasp a single language.
So, in this first "episode" on a series of how to grasp Infinity, I would like to help everyone get started.
It's true - even the current, "2nd Edition Revised" Infinity core rule book can make your head spin. So if you're reading it for the first time, let me tell you this: I was just like you. After playing consistently for over a year now, and reading through it anew with all that experience, it is not as bad as you think. Like anything else, hands-on experience will drastically increase your understanding. So - how do you get started without losing your mind (and interest) from just skimming the rule book?
Begin with the Quick Start rules. They have a schnazzy printed version, available at conventions and events, maybe even at your local game store. But it is also available for Free, online. Check it out here: Quick Start Rules
That booklet takes you through all the basic rules, simply and with examples. It even has everything you need to play some games - model stats, weapon stats, templates, tokens, a small appetiser of the myriad special abilities that are available... And features awesome artwork and style to boot. An impressive 30 pages that is sure to get you intrigued.
If you've used the quick start rules, and have indeed become intrigued... the next step is to figure out how to construct an army list, so that you know what models to buy. I've had a double-handful of questions about that, so I will completely cover that in the next installment.
For now, let me leave you with the core concept of Infinity that separates it from any other game you've played: The ARO.
In most games, you take your turn and then your opponent takes his. During your opponent's turn, you may get to make armor saves, or even fight back in Close Combat. But in Infinity, you get to react to every action your opponent takes.
Instead of "My turn, your turn," Infinity has the Active Turn and the Reactive Turn. When it's your Active Turn, you get to do Stuff. When it's your Reactive Turn (the other player's Active Turn), you get to react to everything he does that you can see.
Remember Overwatch from 40K 2nd Edition, or Necromunda? It's kind of like that, but everybody is on it all the time.
If you do something where I can see you do it, I can react to it. Maybe I dodge. Maybe I fire back at you. But if you act in my line of fire, I don't just have to sit there and take it - I get to play, too. As they say, "It's always your turn."
ARO stands for Automatic Reaction Order, and allows any miniature to react to an enemy's actions within their line of sight. And it is the thing that makes Infinity the most tactically realistic games I have ever played.
Sure, you can run from behind one building to behind another - but when you cross that alley, I am going to take a shot at you. After all, that's why I have been posted up in this tower for 3 days without moving. I don't have to NOT shoot, just because it's not my Turn.
So have a skim through the Quick Start rules and have a go. You don't have to digest 3 books' worth of stuff in one sitting to play the game, and if you try, your head will asplode.
I know we have ben trained that we must spend $50-$100 on a rule book, codex, or supplement in order to play a game... Save that for now; use the Quick Start rules and spend that caish on sweet models. All the rules you need are free online. Free, I say! If you like art, graphic design, and fiction - THEN splurge on the core rule book. But everything you need is available free of charge online, so for god's sake buy some models instead.