Several folks have approached me, confused about how to build their army list for Infinity. Hopefully I can help out, so you know what models to start painting!
Like most games, Infinity assigns models a points value to help create fair and balanced lists. The points you spend on your models cannot exceed the agreed-upon points total for the match. The tournament and campaign standard for Infinity is 300 points. 150 points is a good starting value to get into the game with for your first few games. Fewer points really limits your options, and at higher totals the options can become overwhelming. So: Start at 150, and plan toward an eventual 300.
When selecting models, keep track of their "AVA" or availability stat. This indicates the total number of models with that troop profile you are allowed to have in your army list. Characters are always AVA 1, obviously, specialized troops may be AVA 2 or 3, and more common troops may have AVA 4, 5, or "Total." Total Availability means you can have as many of that model as you would like in your army.
Infinity models also come with an "SWC" points cost. This stands for Support Weapon Cost, and is used to balance the amount of special or heavy weaponry your list may include. Basic troops armed with a standard Combi-Rifle and no special abilities will have an SWC of 0. Heavy weapons like an Heavy Machine Gun will incur an SWC of 1, 1.5, or 2, depending on who is carrying it. Your army can include 1 SWC for every 50 points of the army's total. So in a 300-point game, even if you actually only spend 298 of your 300 points, you may include up to 6 SWC worth of troops.
Every troop type within the faction has a profile with multiple weapon and skill options, with the points cost and SWC listed with each different load out. Like this:
So - choose each model you wish, subtracting its points and SWC from your total available, until you have filled out the army list - keeping in mind Availability, of course.
Every list must include one Lieutenant. In the Fusiliers entry, above, you see that the Lieutenant option there is the same points cost and SWC as the normal version. This is often the case. If the troop is not likely to be in a leadership role, he may cost extra SWC to discourage you from that option.
Unlike most games, the Lieutenant is not necessarily the strongest, toughest, and most badass character on the table. Think about the movie Aliens - Lt. Gorman sat on the bus and directed traffic (poorly) from his computer bank, but Vasquez probably cost the most "points" out of anybody on the team of Colonial Marines.
Just make sure to select one Lieutenant option, and only one. By the way - if your Lieutenant buys the farm, your army is in deep doo doo. So maybe waiting on the bus and directing traffic from a computer bank is exactly what you want...
There are a couple of other things to consider when creating the list. First, if you want to take any Remotes (REM) - little semi-intelligent robots - you first need to include either a Hacker or a TAG model. The second, and most important, is the concept of Combat Groups and your Order Pool.
Each model you include usually adds one order to your Order Pool. The Order Pool lets your models do "stuff" during your turn. Each model may use one Order, or one model can use all your Orders by itself - whatever suits your strategy and game-plan that turn. The key thing to note during list building is that if you don't have enough Orders, you won't be able to do much of anything.
Sure, it may be tempting to grab that cool TAG model, and these other 4 really cool-looking models that are really expensive, points-wise; but then you are order-starved at 5 Orders, and your opponent will out-maneuver you every time.
A Combat Group is a group of up to 10 models. If your army has more than 10 models, it must be split into multiple Combat Groups. Each Combat Group may only use the Orders from its own group. What this means is that the number of Orders you want to shoot for is 10. Nine is good, 8 is alright... but 7 or less and you'll find yourself running out of Orders before you get to do everything you wanted to do in a turn.
So, why would I take a lowly Fusilier instead of loading up on awesome Aquila Guard? Because I need those basic line troops in there to provide me some cheap Orders for my Order Pool (I can get 6 Fusiliers - 6 Orders - for the price of one Aquila). We call these guys "Cheerleaders," because they may not be there to take an active and vital part in the action, but they are necessary to build up Orders, so that your super-fancy models can get done what needs doin'!
So - Availability, Points Cost, SWC, Lieutenant, Order Pool. All set?
The cool thing is that all of Infinity's army and weapon lists are available as Free Downloads. They are broken down book-by-book, rather than by complete Factions, so you'll need each to see all of your option. Also, the Infinity Army Builder is a Flash-based interactive army building tool that is alos free on their web site.
Core Rule Book Army/Weapon lists
Human Sphere (book 2) Army/Weapon lists
Campaign: Paradiso (book 3) Army/Weapon lists
Infinity Army Builder