This one is now virtually a perennial entry in this list of my favorite things of the year.
Another year on and another year where Infinity by Spanish outfit Corvus Belli, a science fiction skirmish game, has pretty much dominating my play time when it comes to tabletop war-gaming.
I still find it the best balanced skirmish game I've played. So much of what I've mentioned in previous years is all still true!
The game has an anime inspired style, and uses a slightly smaller 28mm scale than those who play 40k or Warmachine might be used to. It is set in a remarkably well realized science fiction universe, with its' own unique factions and forces, each with their own history.
They also regularly update their game world with each release, moving the story of their universe along, and often changing the state of relationships between the different factions.
The game tells the tale of a future humanity which still retains enough links to current history, while also integrating the consequences of mankind reaching out into the stars. It paints a vivid picture of where our technology might take us.
The factions each have some distinctive character without needing to have a whole slew of complex rules or dependencies (as you see in Warmachine). Each gets its flavor from the types of weapons and tactics that are available to it.
The combination of objective based game-play and the ability for every unit to react to the action of others means that it plays out in a very dynamic manner, and the games and usually close. It's one of the few games that manages to keep things balanced and interesting even in games where you might have been out-played, or just plain unlucky. It poses lots of interesting questions to its players.
The game is well into its third edition now, with a fourth coming next year. With new missions released through their ITS (Infinity Tournament System) seasons, which are now in their tenth incarnation, there is a constant stream of new missions to play. They also consistently manage to create balanced and interesting scenarios. Then there are signature campaigns run through websites that allow the community to come together and battle across a wider warfront, with individual results being combined, and ultimately influencing the final outcome.
The other difference between it and other tabletop games is that it plays better with lots of scenery, usually urban areas. While it makes set-up a little more involved, it creates so many more interesting situations in the game, and line of sight and movement become all the more important.
What's more, the game goes from strength to strength as a hobby itself over the last year. Their sculpts and models have gotten better and better as time has gone on, while still retaining a brilliant science fiction mechanic.
The game is still relatively cheap to get into (especially by the standards of its competition) and you can have a working army with around ten models, and their 'entire army' box deals can be snagged for well under a $100
So with a new edition on its way I'm looking forward to what the game has in store for me over the next year!