Very nearly on the first anniversary of its release, I thought it was about time (and more than well overdue) that I broke open my review copy of Infinity: CodeOne, Operation: Kaldstrom.
If you've been hiding from gaming and Infinity for the past year then you might have missed that Corvus Belli launched their fourth edition of Infinity which basically put all of their initiation sets due to the new rules set. However; instead of just going through and updating their entry sets they in effect created a whole, alternative way to play Infinity N4. Introducing Infinity: CodeOne.
Infinity: CodeOne is essentially the main Infinity game but with a stripped down set of rules and reduced army list choices. This effectively leads to quicker play and less effects to remember while playing. But don't expect this to be an easy mode game because there is still more rules in Infinity: CodeOne than in your average skirmish tabletop game.
Learning to play Infinity has often been daunting for players but these Operation sets have been great at giving players missions designed to gradually introduce rules as each mission progresses. Not to mention all you need to play those missions (outside of modelling tools and glue).
As always; you can download the rules booklet (for free) and they run their own army builders and mobile apps. Couple of links if you want to take a look yourself:
Currently priced at €109.95 when bought directly from the CB store, you're getting around €150 (if not more) worth of products. And the miniatures still aren't available separately, but you can buy the scenery pack if you want more for larger games but want to keep to the theme.
You're getting in this box:
- Introductory booklet,
- Kaldstrom Colonial Settlement scenery pack (includes mat, tokens, and templates)
- 14 highly detailed metal miniatures with bases,
- 2 sets of dice.
First up you find lovely, full colour glossy pages with plenty of photos, artwork, and understandable diagrams.
The first section is actually fluff to do with the operation that the missions take place in, and the forces involved. This also gives a little back story to all the different troop models that you'll use with this set too which I like.
Fluff is pretty light when it comes to Infinity, unless you buy the printed rule and sourcebooks. Rules (and updates) are always free though.
Obviously I'm not going to photograph every page in the booklet. This write up would be huge if I did (plus you can download it from the link higher up anyway). But this is a good example of how the missions and complexity build up.
Each new mission gives you an extra troop, and introduces the rules for their weapons, skills, equipment, and their stats. So in the first mission you just have the 3 basic troops and by the last mission you're using everything in the box. Getting stuck in with snipers, heavily armed and armoured troops, mines, and other tricks you've learned to help you in your mission.
Slow and steady.
By the end of the booklet you'll have some expanded lists including troops from the Beyond Kaldstrom box, and also a modelling and painting section for some extra ideas.
By the point of finishing all the missions a few times you should be pretty confident and comfortable with how the mechanics of Infinity: CodeOne work. And so you'll be ready to step up to larger games of CodeOne or even the more in depth Infinity N4.
One of the biggest things needed for Infinity is scenery. This is not a game that you can really enjoy by lining up on a table with a few bits blocking line of sight. You want different levels and heights of terrain as well as smaller bits to hide behind. You see... in Infinity your opponent is always playing and you can be shot at in your own turn!
The earlier released sets came with some fairly simple (in comparison to these) thin card buildings, tokens, and templates which served their purpose and are likely still used by many players now. They have constantly improved in both complexity and how sturdy they are. This is my first time with these... and I'm excited.
That's some thick card and usually I find a few tear on the printed layer as you remove them, but these were really well cut. If they made sheets with all the counters you might need in any army I reckon they would be popular. Maybe.
All the tokens are double sided with different effects that you'll need and frankly, I like these.
Having printed versions of the silhouette templates is a great move.
On to the buildings and the instructions look simple enough to follow...
However... yeah... just couldn't get my head around how all those tabs go into their holes like the diagram shows. Surely I'm not a complete idiot (yes... I can hear Norm laughing... or maybe you) but I couldn't work it out.
Enter those friendly people at HATE (Hackney Area Tabletop Enthusiasts and trust me, they're a great group of people) who directed me to this video...
So yeah... I felt a bit silly and after trying that method I was able to get these built pretty quickly.
Ignore the miniatures. They're just there as examples of how good the scenery looks and works with Infinity miniatures (and perhaps showing my Yu Jing support with my Invincible Army... okay, stop laughing already... seriously).
Solid, stackable for more options, LOS blocking stuff, and just extra ways to keep your troops from dying (hopefully).
They've even released the Kaldstrom Scenery Expansion set with other buildings for other missions too. So you can get a great looking table for less than €100 and without painting or any glue. Bonus.
And then there's the miniatures...
Yu Jing troops miniatures in order from top left:
- 1x Gŭiláng (Antipersonnel Mines, Boarding Shotgun)
- 1x Dàofěi (Spitfire)
- 1x Hùndùn (MULTI Sniper Rifle)
- 1x Jujak (Combi Rifle, Heavy Flamethrower)
- 3x Zhanshi (Combi Rifle)
NO COMBAT HEELS!!!
Well... not on the female Yu Jing miniatures. The PanO troops still have them though which is a shame. Still slowly stepping in the right direction.
PanOceania troops miniatures in order from top left:
- 1x Nøkk (Boarding Shotgun)
- 1x Infirmarer (Combi Rifle)
- 1x Orc (MULTI Rifle)
- 1x Knight Of Justice (Spitfire)
- 3x Fusilier (Combi Rifle)
You can see clearly in the photos above that they all have some flash and pour points left for you to remove. Personally I prefer it this way as I've had miniatures from other companies where parts have been cut too close and too much has been removed.
Mould lines, as always with Corvus Belli metal casting is at a minimum and easy to clean up with scraping and a little sanding.
The biggest bonus, especially if you compare to older Corvus Belli miniatures from two years and more is the way they are cut. They aim to have joining points to be good and solid, avoiding small parts where possible now which is great. No trying to glue a tiny antenna into place. Should also avoid the need for pinning on most figures too, though I highly recommend Gorilla Superglue Gel.
I know... I didn't assemble these miniatures like I usually would. But I honestly I cannot find any issue with them at all. The only thing that kind of bugs me if the design of them. Don't get me wrong, the cold weather look of these looks great and really makes this set feel special. But no other miniatures in the range that you can buy have this look so you could end up with a slightly mismatched looking army when you expand it. Minor gripe I know.
As an introduction and gateway into Infinity: CodeOne and Infinity N4... I cannot ask for something better. Gradual intro to the mechanics, great looking scenery (okay... the folds in the mat do bug me. Perhaps I'll iron it carefully), all the accessories to get you playing, and two fantastic looking starting forces to play with which both include new troops introduced into both game systems too.
I can't really fault it. I mean, yes I know some people don't like metal miniatures but these are not the soft ones that bend when you sneeze and the details make many other companied look average. Plus it's always nice to have a full set of original miniatures in a starter set.
Where to buy?
If you can, support your local gaming store. That way they'll be more likely to continue stocking products you may be interested in. Plus they often have an area where you can play too which will always be a bonus outside of lockdowns and restrictions. So buy local if you can.
Alternatively; Corvus Belli have their own web store and you can find all the Infinity (N4 and CodeOne) products at https://store.corvusbelli.com.
Hopefully that helped give you a bit more of a look at the Infinity: CodeOne, Operation: Kaldstrom set. Especially as they will soon be adding two more army options to the CodeOne system. Keep an eye on their social media channels on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch for future info. Now to wait and see what TAG Raid is all about!
Until next time, stay safe and hope you get some hobby time.
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