Weekday rants and reviews of videogames, comics, movies, skateboarding, art, urban vinyl and even playground basketball.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tabletop Gaming: Part 7

Welcome back! Today's tabletop gaming system is made by Corvus Belli a company from Spain. The company makes miniatures in three ranges. They make a series if 15mm figures for historical wargames (I'll talk about the whole historical genre in an upcoming blog) and they also make 28mm fantasy figures. These WarCrow figures stand somewhere in between the designs of Games Workshop and Rackham. Unlike either companies though, they use a decidedly medieval Japanese flair for their sculpts. They don't have a fantasy game (yet) so these minis can probably be incorporated into any other system.

Corvus Belli makes one major system called Infinity. This game is heating up the charts for a variety of reasons. The art and design of the game is unapologetically swiped from Masamune Shirow. Fans of Appleseed and Ghost of the Shell can identify the influence right away. I wouldn't call the company a bunch of thieving bastards however, seeing as how Japan had at least 20 years to invent their own tabletop gaming system and didn't.

This game is set in the future and there are various factions vying for power. The unique human groups are the Asian-themed Yu Jing and the Islam-based Haqqislam faction. For some unknown reason most miniature combat systems are very Euro-centric. Games Workshop talks about the far off land of "Cathay" and even produces a miniature or two based on the Orient, but they've never developed a full set of miniatures for that part of the world. I know I have more than a few designs that would fill out an army, but that's for another day. Anyhow, most miniature makers do not cast Asian styled characters, especially not in sci-fi. As for a group of characters based on a religion like Islam... well that is very rare indeed! Either Corvius Belli is thinking very progressively or they are using a religion as a gimmick. I hope it's the first though.

Aside from warring with each other, the humans now have to contend with the first wave of alien invaders. The Combined Army of alien races is also unique to sci-fi combat. Rather than separate the aliens, Infinity introduces the concept of a union of species determined to claim space for themselves. This allows designers the freedom to slowly build sides without having to worry about creating artillery, vehicles and heroes for every species just to preserve a sense of balance. The system itself does not have magic users or psychics as special characters but rather hackers. Very much like saboteurs in Ghost in the Shell.

The world of Infinity is explained in detail in the rulebook, there is some amazing art to go along with the system. This helps ease players into the world and provides them with plenty of scenarios. Currently there is no dedicated magazine to support this system but that should change in time. As far as tabletop games go, Infinity is well thought-out, people interested in a solid sci-fi experience should check it out.

That does it for today. Tomorrow I'll introduce a little-known system created by a tiny company but whose ambition rivals the big boys. Please don't miss it!

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