Infinity is a tabletop miniatures wargame (SUSD review!
) by Spanish company Corvus Belli
, which has recently added a tabletop RPG system by Modiphius
and a tactical board game called Aristeia!
A not-too-distant future humanity has spread amongst the stars, forming what is known as the Human Sphere. But the road there was not without conflict, strife and upheaval that changed human society as we know it. Wormholes, alien technology, advanced biotech and artificial intelligence have shaped the future, and the shifting of near-future Earth's power balances gave way to new factions and superpowers.
First came the Energy Crisis. Humanity's reliance on fossil fuels, and major nations' sluggish response to climate change and slow embrace of renewable energy, shifted the balance of power in the world. Europe and North America found their power waning, and in response to China's burgeoning presence as something even more than a potential superpower caused parts of South-East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand to form together in coalition. No-one would have foreseen it then, but this coalition would become the greatest superpower humanity had ever known: Panoceania
Having eventually joined together with much of South America, India and The Philippines, PanO constructed some of the first space elevators- massive undertakings that drew economic refugees from across Europe and North America to their equatorial territories. When a bio-weapon attack on the Vatican left the Papacy reeling, it withdrew to Brazil and formed a new Papacy there. Fuelled by the revival of space exploration- powered by new wormhole technology- the Papacy began a great pilgrimage to the stars, and opened their arms to all Christians, no matter their faith or creed. This great exodus, coupled with the church's newfound uncompromising goals of benevolent social work, led to a large swathe of political and military power resting in church hands. From that was born the Military Orders, a formidable force of Knights equipped with the most powerful equipment humanity had to offer.
PanO wasn't alone in their status of superpower, however. Yu-Jing
, the great state formed from much of East Asia joining together with China to form a might economic power, rivalled PanO at every step. While Yu-Jing may have brought about its powers via methods very different to PanO, they were still a more than worth rival to the great coalition.
Part of what caused the great collapse of the United States was a series of failed mega-projects. When the first wormhole was discovered, 10 years after the energy crisis began in full, a massive colony ship was constructed by the US in conjunction with some of Europe. Populated mostly by people from North America, the UK, France and Russia, this great colony ship went through the wormhole to seek out a new home on the seemingly fertile planet beyond. But shortly after, as another ship attempted to pass through, the wormhole collapsed and cut this new colony off from Earth for decades to come.
When humanity again reached for the stars they found their lost brethren upon the planet known as Dawn. Ariadna
, as those people would come to be called, were a collective of fiercely survivalist individuals- for Dawn proved to be a hostile planet indeed. From harsh conditions, to dangerous wolf-like fauna (wolf like in both appearance and pack-based intelligence), the Ariadnans had to survive by using what scrappy technology they could put together, their wits and their will to survive. A strange virus that inhabited the planet created a form of human-wolf hybrid called Dogfaces or Wulvars, and their striking appearance is now a common feature of the Ariadnan peoples.
But by far the greatest discovery of humanity was the creation of a true artificial intelligence- ALEPH
. A super intelligence, self-evolving digital being, Aleph quickly became the most powerful entity and force for change that humanity would ever see. Able to bring about automation on a colossal scale, and defying all expectations by displaying a devotion and protectiveness of humanity above all else, Aleph was able to bring a Utopia to the peoples of much of humanity as they settled other star systems.
Aleph was not without their own tricks, however, and a United-Nations like organisation was formed to oversee the Human Sphere, and be caretakers of the AI. Aleph created its own military force, meant to be the ultimate arbiters and counters to any possible future existential threats. Among these are the Recreations- beginning with Project 'Maid of Orleans'- artificial humans created to be lifelike simulacrum of powerful historical figures. From Project Maid of Orleans came Joan of Arc, intended to be a PR move but instead she proved to be the most capable military mind generations had ever seen. Soon after came recreations for some of the other factions, and many more after that.
But there was another region of Earth whose people also stepped together unto the stars- Africa and the Middle East. United under a new vision of Islam (that is probably best compared to Islamic Sufism that was significant in Islamic Spain, where Corvus Belli are), Haqqislam
was born and devoted to the pursuit of knowledge and self-improvement. It was they who discovered (and named) Silk- an alien substance that could be integrated seamlessly into the human body and used for wondrous medical or enhancing applications. Haqqislam is now the crucible of knowledge and medicine across the human sphere.
But not everyone was happy with these new superpowers, or the overseeing eyes of Aleph. From that thought sprang the Nomads
- a collection of several different massive ships (or fleets of ships!) with differing ethos and goals but all based on one thing: rejection of this new humanity and its creepy overbearing AI god. Bakunin, essentially space Vegas and home of utterly free self-expression. Corrigedor, once a massive orbital prison ship but now home for the outcast and abandoned. Tunguska, home of... Well it's basically the Libertarian sanctuary and tax haven for banks and corporations alike.
But the tensions between all these different factions would need to be set aside, for soon came humanity's first existential crisis: the Evolved Intelligence and its Combined Army
. A powerful and ancient AI, the Evolved Intelligence is being with a bizarre and twisted goal- to know all there is to know in the universe. To achieve that end, it incorporates all life it comes across into itself and its combined army. They burst into the Human Sphere with a mightly invasion force, and humanity could barely hold them back.
But then... Another existential force arrived... The Tohaa
. Another alien species, but one that had been at war with the Combined Army for countless years. A tense alliance was formed between them and humanity, in order to fight back against the Evolved Intelligence.
Infinity itself is a tabletop wargame focused on small skirmish-style battles. Each player's army might only number between 10 and 20 individual models! The focus is on smart tactical play, and careful use of the game's actions (or, orders) that are expended to activate a model and use its weapons or other equipment. Each model provides an order to a collective pool, and those orders can be spread out as the player sees fit- even sometimes moving the same model multiple times in a turn! But this is offset by Automatic Response Orders (AROs)- every model the non-active player controls has an opportunity to react to an enemy that it sees activate. This leads to intense firefights that are extremely lethal. With each game lasting exactly 3 rounds, Infinity can be a fast-paced, exhilerating tabletop game to play.https://youtu.be/mM-7qrEZh3E
Modiphius' recently released RPG for the Infinity universe is based on the 2d20 system from their Star Trek RPG system. It gives players the opportunity to play as any manner of person in the human sphere (or even Tohaa and perhaps CA in the future!) as their GM pits the group against conspiracy, corporate warfare, factional conflicts or existential threats. Or in the case of my latest adventure- tasking them with infiltrating an illegal drone racing ring.