Playing – Infinity Operation Icestorm
Operation Icestorm – Introduction
First off I would like to say that I have been since second edition, a dyed-in-the-wool 40k fan of 20+ years. I am also more of a painter, always have been, and a self confessed rules idiot. I have always learnt the rudimentary ruleset and then relied on my gaming group to fill in the gaps when playing. This was tolerated for instant airbrush help on tap.
Now that I have established that I am “that guy” that we all know in our particular gaming group it should help put this un-boxing into context. I received my Infinity Operation Icestorm about two weeks ago after pre-ordering after Ares waved a picture under my nose seeing if i wanted in on a bulk order. I declined at first but then I took a closer look and remembered Zeus had bought me a PanOceania Knightly Order starter pack months before. So the credit card came out and I waited.
Operation Icestorm – Initial Thoughts
First off the box feels heavy, solid and well made. The illustration on the front is representative of whats in the box too. If you are receiving yours by post you don’t have to worry, it is very well packaged. The contents are flat card markers, flat packed scenery, dice and a folded play mat which are pretty much impossible to damage. The important bits are in two faction specific boxes that are foam lined top and bottom.
Operation Icestorm – Setup and First Game
This literally took ten minutes to set up! You guys reading this have probably seen so may Corvus Belli videos on it, it will be like assembling a Space Marine Rhino, you can do it blindfolded! But I don’t want this to be focused on the contents as I am sure you have seen that a thousand times by now. Its more about me, the rules idiot, stepping outside my Forge World resin lined comfort zone. I had previously assembled the aforementioned starter set Zeus had bought me, so I used them as proxies for the first mission out of the box. The wife and I were set up and rulebook reading in 20 minutes. We just acted out the rules as we read and it was surprisingly smooth. The first mission just introduces three troopers per player and gets you to concentrate on moving, shooting and cover.
In the above picture you can see three basic fire corridors with my guys loitering on the corners. My wife blew me off the table in this first game. She kept scoring what’s called a critical hit. This is where you roll the modified limit needed on your D20. It overrides all other dice rolls and kills you. Then you remember you can go over buildings too on the second try. If you’re primarily a 40k player and have never played this, you always need to score below the number on your stat line. The only exception is for armour rolls which need to be above after mods.
Modifications or mods were also alien to me but they are intuitive and make perfect sense, for instance to modify my ballistic skill of 12 on my Fusilier you would need to be in the sweet spot distance of the weapon I am using, this is usually a +3, bringing my modified BS to 15. Problem is, the person I am shooting maybe in cover which will minus 3 from your ability to hit, bringing it down to 12 again. If you try and shoot at a too far away target that is out of cover the modifier can be as much as -6 meaning you would need to roll 6 or less to hit. If it was in cover and at the furthest range of the weapon it would be another -3 mod on top, meaning you need to roll 3 or less. Add in more advanced rules for models in camouflage and you will just not be able to shoot at them.
This first game will teach you to hug cover like a boss! Not least because of whats called an ARO (Automatic Reaction Order). If in your turn you cross the opposing player’s figure’s line of sight, they can try and shoot you! To me this was a revelation. I’m playing a game I understand and the way things happen make sense to me. Even though cover was nothing new to me, this game needs cover to work and the better your table set-up the better your game will be. So if you want you can play with the scenery for the first mission and try different layout to get used to things before mission 2.
Operation Icestorm – The Fun Continues
Mission 2 introduces one extra model per side which is a 2 wound lieutenant. This also introduces new rules 2 in particular regarding your lieutenant and a special order he gets. Now I wont go into all the rules here as that’s not what this is about. But what I will say is that this helps you learn step by step over 5 missions adding an extra model every time with new rules in a way that is easy to understand and more importantly is more easily accessible to expand upon. To make a tournament list you would only need to add 2 box sets to this, so if you split bought Operation Icestorm with a mate, then you can have a tourny army for less that £100.
Now the reason this took 2 or 3 weeks to write up is because I was so impressed with this game that I entered a tournament at my local store. Armed with a truck load of enthusiasm to actually learn the rules to get better at this game, I came second from last and loved every second of it. I learned not only more rules but it’s instantly apparent that this is an extremely tactical game, and no one list can rule the roost. There are so many load outs that you actually take two lists to a tournament, and you don’t show your opponent your list! I know it’s mental but true. This was so alien to me but all felt so right and I am now a fully paid up fan boy. I am a member if the ITS (Infinity Tournament System) and am currently ranked 705 in the UK. Another plus for me along side the money being saved is that i have 20-25 models I have since bought, and that is a month’s work for me with no commissions to paint up. I can also spend more time on each and make a showcase without getting bored.
I am truly excited about this game and as a novice I am filled with that awesome excitement about new releases again and reading fluff that is set 170 years into the future where everything is strangely OK. In my honest opinion this will be one of the big games, and should be in your collection alongside X-Wing and 40k.
On a side note I did win best painted model with a Fusilier from the box set which was nice in my first tourny. I’ll leave you with a few pictures of that and other painted models from my PanOceania Military Orders army i have finished.
Comment below and let me know what you think of Operation Icestorm, whether you’re new to Infinity or a seasoned vet. Ares and Zeus are joining me on the Infinity bandwagon and I’m sure the rest of the Olympians are just a D20 away from being converted to the cause. Until next time!