July 12, 2013

Infinity: The Automatic Reaction Order

So what makes Infinity stand out from every other miniatures game out there?

Sure, there's the unique, hard sic-fi, anime styling. There's the amazing quality of the sculpts, brought to life by the insanely perfect paint jobs of Angel Giraldez. There's the attraction of only needing 9-15 models, total, along with the savings in money and paint time that includes. Or the fact that a full tournament-level game can be completed in about 60-90 minutes, instead of taking all day or all weekend.

But for me, the most unique and intriguing aspect is the fact that it is always your turn. That's their catch phrase, and it's true. The concept of the Automatic Reaction Order, or ARO, allows every model to react to everything they see.

In most games, there is a Your Turn, My Turn system in place. That's true for Warhammer, Warmachine, Monopoly, Quoits... you name it. In Infinity: The Game, you instead have your Active Turn and your Reactive Turn.

When it's your Active turn, it's your opponent's Reactive turn and vice versa. During your Active Turn, you spend Orders out of your Order Pool to do Stuff - Moving, shooting, hacking, and so on.

While your Opponent is moving, shooting, and hacking during his Active Turn, it is your REactive Turn. Every time your opponent dos anything within Line of Sight of any of your models, they may react to that action. 

Your opponent shoots at you? You can shoot back. He runs from behind one building to another, crossing an alleyway that you are covering? You can shoot at him as he runs across.

In most games, that model running from building to building is completely safe - He did it on his turn, and there's not a durn thing you can do about it, 'cuz it's not your turn. And that's just silly.

If you set a soldier up to cover an alley, and someone runs across that alley - the covering soldier is going to shoot at him!

Infinity allows for exactly that realistic tactical situation to play out.

As you extrapolate that concept to actual game play, you will find that it forces you into much more realistic tactical decisions. You can't just run willy-nilly from cover to cover, thinking that as long as you're out of sight before my turn rolls around, you're safe.  Think about your favorite combat movie. Whenever the heroes scrambles from the dumpster to that pillar, the enemy is firing at him along the way. The ARO makes that happen in the game.

It's not just limited to one ARO per model per turn - every time an enemy carries out an order - does something - in front of Private Bob, Bob will get to react, each and every time. So you can't just jog across that open square without consequence - all those enemy snipers in position will get their chance to light you up. Which is how it should be.

So what happens when you shoot at me in your Active Turn, and I shoot back in my Reactive Turn? Well that is going to lead to one of the core mechanics of Infinity, the Face-To-Face Roll.

I look forward to covering that next time!


  1. And what happens if a enemy unit, behind a corner and out of sight to my unit, places a mine around the corner? My unit is threaten by the mine and I can't ARO...

    Tom, it would be great if would discuss this dirty trick in the next episode of 0-12 college? Is there any way around it?

  2. I will ask our "Tactics Expert," Kip. But here's what I would do - Use a Sniper, or any other model outside of the 8" Boom Zone to shoot that mine dead before you activate the one that would be affected by it.

  3. Yeah, Kip concurs. The only way to deal with that is to Discover then Shoot them with models outside their zone of control before activating the models that would be affected.

  4. The ARO is without any doubt the mechanic that's making me really want to start playing Infinity. This game reminds me so much of XCOM, it must be fantastic to play.