[Surprise Attack!] Infinity 3rd Edition First Impressions

What is up, players.

Well, the world got sucker-punched with a surprise digital drop of N3 last week. The betting types had their money on Spring 2015, and here we are with it landing before our physical pre-orders show up in the mail (which is today!!!). I’m not sure how I feel about that, but I’m leaning more to the positive end of the spectrum. In the meantime let’s learn the new laws of the land.

While the official forums are busy trying to break the rules (for science, of course) and identify the gaps, no one I’ve seen has really done a comprehensive line-by-line summary of the changes. Please, allow me monsieur. I had a chance to read the PDF in the middle of an 18-hour red-eye flight from Arizona, to San Francisco, to D.C., to North Carolina (ugh) but I haven’t playtested any of it yet. This is just what I’ve noticed, not an actual analysis, although I do reserve the right to give you My Bullshit Opinion™ (MBO) on some things. Page numbers in brackets if you want to look it up. Which you should, because I was really tired. I may, or may not, update this as people notice things I didn’t and point out how dumb I am.

Enjoy!

Look! It says right here in the new rules: “Ariadna is bestest”. There’s no room for debate. 

First of all, the Spanglish is gone. A native english speaker must have written/translated this, and it shows. So before we go all ‘blargle-BLARGLE-blargle!!1!!1!’ over some of the changes, let’s give a moment of thanks for that. N3 is just a redo of the 2nd Edition Core Rules, they haven’t touched Human Sphere or Campaign Paradiso, so there are still some questions unanswered. There’s also a new website, and it looks pretty slick.

BASIC RULES

– Criticals now cancel each other out. No more ‘highest score breaks ties’. Interesting… (8)

-An actual recommendation for scenery! The gods have truly blessed us! Let’s have a look…”At least 8 big elements and 6 small items. As it will be soon become apparent, scenery and terrain is a very important part of Infinity.” MBO: Okay…so what is a “big” element, and what’s a “small” one? Sigh… (13)

-Game terminology is much tighter. There are clear descriptions of what’s a deployable weapon, marker, model,etc… this has caused me much heartache and debate so I’m glad to see it. Well done. (14)

-On that note, what is and isn’t private in an army list is also clearly defined. (15)

– If you move, at all, you automatically have 360-degree line-of-sight. Whoah! MBO: This seems ripe for abuse, but we’ll see. Not sure how I feel about it. (18)

-Silhouettes. You already know they exist and how they work, but there’s no official sizes for them. Just templates in the book you can photocopy. Facepalm… Anyways, an enterprising soul called CoveredInFish measured them out and here’s the totally non-official results (diameter x height):

S1 = 25 x 25mm
S2 = 25 x 40mm

S3 = 40 x 32mm
S5 = 40 x 45mm
S6 = 40 x 55mm

S4 = 55 x 32mm
S7 = 55 x 67mm

Note that there’s an S8 template for the Maghariba Guard TAG, but no one knows what it is because there’s no official size or template to photocopy. Smooth move. If the metric system gives you problems just know that 25mm = 1 inch.

-Maximum modifier for rolls is +/-12 to your attribute. Please note there is already half-assed debate in the forums about turns of phrase regarding the word “modify”. Le sigh…(20)

-Zone of control is a cylinder 8″ in diameter, and 8″ tall. I guess this was the easiest way to represent it. (20)

-Dispersion is now 10 possible azimuths at a fixed 16″ distance, on a seperate roll. Huh. MBO: The old “use what you rolled and the fail difference” was clumsy and led to the weird ability to predict where your shot would most likely scatter, so I like the new change. I’m still not sure about the fixed distance, though.

-Fully explained troop types like Heavy Infantry and Skirmishers, and a new one. “Special Units” refers to…units that aren’t categorized by any of the other types. So maybe we didn’t get a new troop type after all. (23)

-But we get “troop classification”, which is a totally different thing! The old Line, Veteran, Elite, and their friends are joined by Garrison, Headquarters, and others. Okay. (23)

-The WIP being used by your Lieutenant is now private. It kinda-sorta maybe was, maybe wasn’t, already but some people shared it anyways. It is now explicitly private. (26)

-Our first example of poor wording: Short Skills “Cannot be declared twice or combined with other Short Skills”. Per turn? The rest of the game? It means in the same order, so if your local rules lawyer tries to throw it at you just punch him in the throat. It took 28 pages to get our first WTF moment, and that’s pretty good compared to previous editions. (28)

-Orders are all open now. You have to have a visible order pool with some sort of legit tracking device (plastic chits, D10, whatever). No more trust! This does not apply to troops off the table (TO Camo, Airborne), which contribute their order the turn after they arrive. LT order has been revamped, take a look for yourself.(29)

I may be mistaken, but it looks like Airborne units do not use their order to come onto the table. You have to use one from the pool (that they’re not contributing too, yet) to bring them on, then further orders from the pool to perform futher actions. (29) EDIT: It’s been pointed out to me by a sharp-eyed reader that Airborne troops will continue to use their own order ot come on the table (65)

-Order declaration is generally the same but must now be explicit. No more “I declare shoot for my first short skill” or “I declare move”. You must say “I declare a BS attack with this Line Kazak, she will use her rifle against that Morat”. Okay it doesn’t have to be word for word like that, but you need to identify targets and what weapon. Identify routes if you’re moving. You get the idea. MBO: This is a nice change, I always hated the guesswork of who is shooting at what when it comes time to ARO (31)

-Loss of Lieutenant has big changes. I don’t want to re-type them all here, so the gist of it is you don’t get crippled to two orders anymore, guys will probably go Irregular, and you get to pick a new lieutenant for free at the end of your active turn, which cannot be Irregular troops or remotes. MBO: What happens when all you have left is Irregular troops and Remotes? (31)

BALLISTIC SKILLS

-Shooting into close combat is a -6 per friendly unit in CC. You have to beat the fail category or you don’t just miss, you hit your buddy. Chosen by your opponent! MBO: Does this cap out at -12? I guess so. (34)

-Clearer diagrams of direct templates. Four pages worth, thank you. They are truly 3-D and there’s no mistaking it. (36-39)

CLOSE COMBAT
-CC now has a Burst stat. Huh? Yeah. ARO is always B1. You must choose your options when declaring, like when shooting. Other than that it pretty much works the same as before. (40-41)
DAMAGE
-BTS saves have been un-fucked so that you’re no longer “subtracting a negative”. Thank you for that. It does what it says on the tin. (42)
-Falling…wow. This got me all spun up for a minute or two until I read the Jump rule. Basically, your first move is a ‘zone’ (my words, not theirs). So a 4-2 move troop would cross one ‘zone’ for every four inches. Each zone is 10 damage. Falling 1″ is 10 damage, falling 5″ is 20. And so on and so forth. As someone who may be known for doing bat-shit insane things with jumping troops of ledges, this caused me some concern. Not to spoil the Jump rule coming up but if you declare a jump skill your first zone is free. So 4″ or less is 0 damage, 5-8″ is 10 damage, etc…assuming for all these examples we were talking about a 4-4 or 4-2 troop. MBO: I like this, but I would have liked to see a penalty for armor making dudes take more damage. As someone who, unfortunately, knows the intimate details of falling off ledges and walls in full body armor versus plain clothes, trust me when I say I’ll take the latter everytime. (43)
-Where you can/must go when failing a Guts Check is fully explained. Much needed, as the old rule was basically “do what seems right”. (44)
CHARACTERISTICS

Cube now gives you the option to spend a Command Token to get a re-roll on Doctor skills to heal troops with Cube. Ariadnan players everywhere rejoice. (47) 
-There are now two kinds of Impetuous: Impetuous and the cleverly-titled Extremely Impetuous. The gist of it is Extremely Impetuous works like the old kind, and plain Impetuous lets you cancel their order at no cost. Neither of them benefit from partial cover, and there’s a full explanation of what skills you can use and how they apply. MBO: I’m having second thoughts about mutating my Vanilla Ariadna into Caledonians, and really glad I waited for N3 to drop before making purchases. Not looking too great for the Scotsmen. (47)
SKILLS
-Much better definition of the kinds of skills, when they can be used, and how they can be used. Hell, they’re even color-coded now. Nice to see. (50)
-Climbing got slightly clarified. There is no more skill check to climb, you just do it at half your move. The age-old question about how to place the mini’s base when climbing has been settled: It’s Batman style. If you don’t know what Batman-style is, it’s this:
What hasn’t been settled is how minis “flip” over the corner of the roof. Do they rotate over the edge? Do they magically teleport to the top surface? Who knows! MBO: Why does this matter? Well, if you rotate over the edge you’re exposing yourself to more fire. If you “teleport” directly to the top, how do you factor in the 1″ of base out of your movement? Talk this out with your friends and do what makes sense for you, then don’t be surprised if a different scene does it a different way. 
-Discover + BS is a special attack that is fully explained. “Special Maneuver: Discover + BS Attack The combination of Discover + BS Attack in a single Order is a special maneuver that allows the trooper to make a Discover attempt and then a BS Attack against the same enemy, but only if the Discover attempt is successful.” Nice. MBO: I had it taught to me one way, “declare Discover or Shoot”, then travelled and found people playing it other ways like “you can do both at once”, and to be honest I’ve never been 100% sure what the proper way is so I always just declare one or the other and don’t care if I’m handicapping myself. Yes, I’m that bad of a player and anyone I’ve ever beaten should hang their head in shame. I have no idea why my tournament ELO is over 1000. Seriously. (54)
-You can’t Dodge hacking-type attacks, or the new Comms attack. Being a low-tech kind of guy, I don’t know if this is new but it seemed worth mentioning. You can dodge them with Reset, however. (55)
-You can’t Dodge into close combat anymore, either, but you can Engage. Hell yeah! What’s this all about? Basically it’s an ARO that gives you a 2″ move into CC. Pass a PH check first. You will Dodge all attacks against you and be in base-to-base contact with the enemy model at the end of his move. Let the carnage begin! MBO: I run Antipodes. A lot. You already know what I’m thinking right now. (56)
-Intuitive Attack is now a trait in a weapon’s statline, not something exclusively and automatically given to direct template weapons. You can also do it with deployable weapons like mines, but if you fail you still lose the ammo from your reserve. MBO: I skimmed the weapons section to look for this and so far it seems about the same as before. (58)
-Jumping is explained more clearly, and as I mentioned earlier your first move stat’s worth of falling is free. Jump over walls shorter than your silhouette for free! MBO: I like this. I’m really, really sick of my Doktor breaking his neck jumping off 1/2″ ledges on his way to go heal somebody, or a trooper burning five orders trying to hop over a box as high as his waist. (59)
-Reset is like dodging for hacking or to get rid of Immobilized. Face-to-face or normal roll as applicable. (62)
-Speculative Fire no longer has shadow zones. As a matter of fact there are no shadow zones anywhere anymore. MBO: What the hell? Dislike! People are already having fun with theory craft (editor’s note: no relation) by breaking this into a thousand pieces. (63)
-Speculative Fire is totally changed. Instead of dropping a tunnel your little dude turns into a B3 turret. Stack with 360 Visors for maximum killage. It also seems like it does not go away at the end of your turn anymore. MBO: This lack-of-going-away ties with shadow zones for needing to be FAQ’d more than anything else. (64)
SPECIAL SKILLS
-Much like equipment and orders, there is a lot of clarification. Some new stuff like “Advanced Combat Jump” which is exactly what it sounds like. (65)
-Camoflage no longer gives a surprise attack, merely a -3 modifier that stacks with -3 for camo (or -6 for TO camo). MBO: This is a sad day for me. (70-74)
-Doctor Plus! Plus what? +3 mod to healing, that’s what. MBO: I may be the only person on the planet who likes Doctors. (75)
-Akbar Doctor gives you +3 to heal, or you can heal all wounds with one go. Choose wisely. MBO: Screw you, Haqqislam. (76)
-Engineers no longer have a deactivate skill, they have a piece of equipment that deactivates deployable weapons/equipment and D-charges.
-Executive Order, a skill that makes the dude automatically become the LT when he deploys. MBO: Why is this useful if you can’t delay it without delaying deployment for the guy who has it? Just call it The Van Zant Rule. (77)
-Forward Observer is B2. MBO: Hell yeah. Suck Traktor MUL, bitches! (78)
-Heavyweight is a new “skill” that makes your little large dudes get stuck in gates. (80)
-Impersonation is a four page wall o’ text that looks like it functions the same, just explained better. MBO: Your local Haqq or Combined players could definitely explain this better than I could. My understanding doesn’t go much farther than “WIP twice, then shoot the sumbitch”(80-83)
-Immunity now has three levels: Possesion, Shock, and Total. They do what you think they do. (84)
-Active models with Inspiring Leadership replaces all troops’ Training characteristic with his, they get V: Courage, and you will never retreat. Lucky you. (84)
-Kinematika: Dodge an extra 1 or 2 inches, depending on the skill level. Also usable with Engage! (85)
-A TAG that is Manned can be hacked to have the pilot eject. LULZ! (85)
-TAG Pilots don’t generate orders if their TAG is unconscious/destroyed. Is this new? MBO: What if they are hacked and forced to eject? Do they generate one then? (88) They do generate an order, it’s in the hacking section.
-If you have both Forward Observor, Sensor, and Sat-lock then you can Sat-lock bad guys. Roll WIP -6 against somebody within Sensor range and they get Targeted. Targeted is bad for them, good for you. Reveal the model if it’s a camo/TO marker. (89)
-Sensor gives you +6 to discover. You can also Triangulate Fire, which is a BS at -3 but apply no other modifiers. MBO: Could be useful, too bad Antipodes don’t have ranged weapons. (90)
-Super Jump has three pages of diagrams. No more partial cover while jumping. MBO: Looking at you, Vector Operator…oh I’m so sorry. My condolences.  (93-95)
-Surprise Shot: Combat Camo’s idiot little brother. -3 to their shooting back at you instead of a free attack. Yay. (96)
-Valor: NWI looks like it changed, and there’s a bunch of text and new marker to show that it has, but it hasn’t. (98)
-Assault lets you add your two Move characteristics together into one big one that becomes the first half of a Move + CC order. MBO: OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. You know what the move stat is on Antipodes??? (99) EDIT: Antipodes don’t have Assault, despite being the assault-iest units in the game. Probably a balance issue due to having that 6-6 move. They DO have Kinematika, though, so they can dodge into CC at 4″ (with super jump) instead of 3″ like last edition. It’s not the worst news I’ve ever had. 
-Martial Arts automatically gives Surprise Attack, Stealth, and V: Courage. Gah! (100)
-Stealth lets you do Cautious Movement in the enemy’s zone of control. You dick. (102)
-Surprise Attack is like Surprise Shot but in CC. Questions? No? Good. (103)
WEAPONRY AND EQUIPMENT
Weapons have traits now, just like people. These clearly describe what is what, an obvious need that has been overlooked for far too long. MBO: I’m only this butthurt about it because, apparently, engineers couldn’t disable Crazy Koalas and this made me nerdrage more than anything else in the world. Looking at you, DFleetw! 😛   (105-107)
*          *          *
Look, I’ll be honest with you: There’s so much new stuff, and I have so little time right now, that I’ll wait until later to do a full write-up on them. There’s still weapons, equipment, advanced rules, and extensive scenery descriptions (dropships!) so let’s just cut this off here and pick it up later, K? I’d rather get this much out now instead of waiting until Christmas is over when I can sit down and type for a while. Glass half-full. 
-BC

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