9 Oct 2014

Review: Operation: Icestorm - Table Top

One week ago from this post I was called up by the fine folks at Les Freres de Bataille aka Boutique FdB that my order for Infinity's Operation: Icestorm had arrived with pre-order miniature. Lets say I made a big deal about how happy I was and made myself to look like an idiot over the phone and in two languages to Lady Bear's witnessed amusement.

source: Boutique FDB

For those not in the know, Operation: Icestorm is the new Two Player Battle Pack for Infinity that also has the first printed look at N3 (Infinity 3rd edition rules). Rumors are floating around that in a years time, this pack will be replaced with another Two Player Battle Pack with different factions and this will happen over the next coming years as Infinity deploys N3.

So is this product worth it? That's a bit of a loaded question as it can target three groups;

A. New Table Top Players - Folks who've not yet picked up any game. This all inclusive two player starter would be a target for folks looking to jump into the hobby with a buddy due to look of the miniatures, two full starters (Nomads and Pan-O), low model count (compared so other games), and price.

B. New Infinity Players - Folks who've traveled in the dark future where the is only war, those who battle all over the iron kingdoms, and those who clash in neon arena's with alien sports teams... there is a list of possible first time games. Lets just say that those who are looking for a second (or third, etc...) game for their hobby will find the contents attractive and may pick it up.

C. Current/Former Infinity Players - Folks who've been playing Infinity and who want the new minis, the exclusive minis, a taste of N3, or who just want more Infinity factions to have. (Ontos picked this up and is now has a force in for every army minus the Tohaa).

Lets go over the product section by section (with scores) after the break.

Rules - 4 (5 if you're from group A or B)

The rule book is a thin flip book done up in A4 size. One side of the book is in Spanish (as Corvus Beli is based in Spain) the other is in English. The pages are glossy and tough - I expect a few spilled drinks by players (more so by newer players) as they put down and pick up the book over as they play through the various missions inside (more on that below). Be Warned it's skinny.

The art is bright, vibrant, and inspiring for players both old and new. The pics of painted Infinity miniatures really shows off Angels work and makes Infinity miniatures look damn fine. The images/diagrams used to explain rules are perfect and meet the standard that Corvus Beli has shown players in the past. This is a pretty book.

Last but not least is the rules, our first look at N3. After a two page brief designed to put both players in the scenario, you get a two page miniature guide that tells and identifies the various miniatures of both factions. Then it goes into Mission 1. Yep - fuck the rules, time to play. Jump on in an follow my lead seems to be the message for new players. I like this idea as the get right into the action as they learn the basic mechanics of the game.

In the case of Mission 1 - movement, measurement, using orders, shooting, cover, etc... basic rules. In each mission after the first more miniatures are added into the players lists - alongside profiles, weapons ranges, and special rules. Mission 2 adds and shows off the new Lieutenant rules. Mission 3 adds TO Cammo and Air Deployment. Mission 4 adds snipers and by the time players get to Mission 5, they are playing with all their miniatures and they have four missions under their belt for a full out assault.

In the past you see players read over the books learning the rules and then set up a scenario with the few minis they have and stumble their way through the rules. With this new rulebook - both players are learning on the fly and at the same pace. It's simply brilliant. Now current Infinity players are only getting a glimpse at N3 and some will find this to be a pain in the ass - but as one I was still satisfied with the rules I bought.

Miniatures - 5

When you pick up a copy of Operation: Icestorm you get two starters (Nomads and Pan-O) with an additional miniature for each faction; Reverend Healer for Nomads and a Father Knight for Pan-O. If you were lucky to show up at Gen Con or you-pre ordered you also got the fancy semi-civilain miniature of a Corporate Security Unit.

First off the new minis look awesome. They had little to no flash (more like none at all) and were very easy to glue together. The minis were well designed and much simpler to assemble than many of my other Infinity miniature without affecting at all the quality of the sculpt.

Pan-O Starter Minis (L-R)
Akalis, Nisse, Fusilier, Knight Father, Fusilier, ORC and Fusilier
by Corvus Beli, painted by Tom Schadle

A basic faction starter pack - which is the new starter pack for the faction includes the following:
- Three Fusiliers as the line troops, the bread and butter peons.
- One Akalis Sikh Commando with Air Deploy.
- One Nisse with a Sniper Rifle and MSV (Multi-Spectrum Visor) level 2.
- One ORC Trooper, as your heavy infantry choice.

The selection is pretty basic and very well rounded. The Nisse is almost a good a shot as the Genzer but it has one level higher of MSV. That seemed to be the big difference here between the PanO and Nomads miniatures. They had the better toys.

Nomad Starter Minis (L-R)
Spektr, Grenzer, Alguacile, Brigada, Alguaciles, Rev. Healer, Alguacile
by Corvus Beli, painted by Tom Schadle

The Nomads starter is pretty slick and has the following miniatures.
- Three Alguaciles, as the basic line troops.
- One Grenzer as the new mystery miniature and sniper.
- One Spektr as the sneaky git.
- One Mobile Brigada as the heavy infantry choice for the Nomad starter.

Another basic selection but the Spektr is my favorite of the Nomad starter. The TO Cammo is nice and he is no slouch. The Grenzer is also a nice new mini that has never been seen before. At first with his better BS and much better BTS (Defense vs Bio and Tech attacks) makes him seem very interesting after a second look. The minis are damn pretty and the new Agluaciles are much better sculpted.

The Reverend Healer is a slick looking miniature but the Father Knight is showing off a whole lot of love for the hobby painter. The Rev. Healer is a sweet mini but the Father Knight is a damn sweet miniature.

Last but not least is the CSU miniature. The pose is ok and the miniature has got some great detail. I'm actually really enjoying collecting civilian mins for the various scenarios and the range of Civi minis is pretty slick so far. Way to go Corvus Beli.

Of course the elephant in the room is Corvus Beli's love of exclusive and limited minis. I dislike that policy and business practice but so far I've yet to miss out. When I do I'll get far more irate.

Terrain - 4 (3 if you're from group C)

The box includes a set of six paper shipping containers, four small buildings, and one 24" x 34" play mat. The mat dislikes unfolding and the buildings are way to light unless you put the standard cardboard box within the building. You get two in the starter - add in two more boxes after getting the support box and maybe something more kick ass, you'll have more then enough.

Plenty of details and colours to make a dining room table stand out and not seem so depressing. If you have a second box set - because both of you each got a copy - than with some overlap they can fill a whole 4'x4' table.

So not bad -

Extras - 4 (5 if you got the pre-order Corp Security Unit miniature)

Plenty of markers and templates - now mine were bent. I like the new dice, simply because I have a soft spot for fancy marked dice. The new templates are nice to have but I'm looking forward to getting some of the new templates in plastics via the 3rd party partners. This box has more than most starters so not bad.

Order markers - holy crap I was lucky to get a bad of the Micro Arts Studio Basic Orders set - they at the time were hard to get. Yet this starter has all the order tokens you will ever need until you upgrade past the box. Simply a perfect addition for new players.

Final Score - 4

I like the box and its on a short list to get painted once I get my 3rd party bases. If you are looking for a 2 player starter set pick this up. Only the Warmachine (and Hordes) 2 player starters are better because they get a full rulebook. If you've thought about getting into Infinity this is the perfect product to help make that jump. If you're already playing, you want the new minis - you probably already ordered it and this post was a waste of your time.

- Cheers