RPG Reviews – Infinity Player’s Guide

There’s a lot going on in the Infinity game, so having a guidebook for players that summarizes just what they’ll need to know is immensely helpful. It’s also great to have for GMs as a quick refresher and reference guide with a smaller page count!

Four paragraphs provide a succinct and through explanation of Infinity – it is a story of the destiny of humanity, realized through the incredible technological advances we’ve made and explored as an epic science fiction adventure posthuman space opera.

There’s an excellent overview of the factions and planets of the Human Sphere, including the antagonist alien forces of the Combined Army. However, a couple of key elements are introduced but not fully explored or defined. Silk, the material that allows the transfer of consciousness between bodies is explained, though it references “Cubes”, which aren’t yet covered. One could extrapolate what they are, as the text refers to “personality Cube-recordings”, and the concept is definitely not unknown in science fiction these days. A short sidebar defining Teseum, Silk, and Cubes might have been helpful to include as early as possible though, so while it’s not a critical “however,” I do think it would be handy.

Besides clearly explaining the rules, what I would want most from an Infinity Player’s Guide would be a comprehensive and understandable explanation of the world of the Human Sphere and Quantronic reality. Due to technological advancements, including the heavy automation governed by the AI Aleph, the Human Sphere is a post-scarcity economy where economics are about achieving desire rather than meeting needs. Part of that technological advancement includes the Maya network and the concept of Dataspheres and the ubiquitous “online” life everyone lives. Essentially everyone has a personal network, that then meshes with other personal networks, and all these networks are referred to collectively as dataspheres. Maya is the largest but militaries have their own and they’re all made up of the smaller ones.

How one interacts with Maya or other individuals and groups through Augmented Reality and how this all affects daily life is clearly explained and easy to grasp (if potentially mind-boggling). There’s also a good explanation of travel and the limits of interstellar communication – all of these things provide a very good overview of what life is like in Infinity and should provide players with a solid grounding for roleplay.

Before getting into the rules themselves, the default Infinity game concept is explained. In Infinity, characters work for Bureau Noir, the Secret Service is O-12 – a neutral organization acting like a UN for all the factions of the Human Sphere. It gets deeper because while that concept allows characters from all across the setting, it’s assumed they still hold some loyalty to home and that they may have conflicting objectives, making the default play solidly an espionage game – the Wilderness of Mirrors. The levels and layers of that game style are succinctly and sufficiently explained in the guide. Given that the player characters are most likely going to be interacting with a Handler, there are some tips and pointers in the Appendix.

All that is very important and necessary to ground the players in the Infinity universe, so what remains of the book are the player-facing rules: character creation, conflict and task resolution, and gear.

The basic task resolution system and the resource pools of Momentum, Infinity Points, and Heat are clearly explained, with Heat only described in relation to what a player would do, since it’s a GM resource. I also felt that Action Scenes are described well, giving a good indication of how they should play out and what a player’s options are. What’s really helpful is the advice on when to and when not to use full Infowar and Psywar rules. They also discuss the setup of Zones and how one navigates them and affects them, including disconnected dataspheres and the importance of bringing a hacker to the fight (rather than them sitting at home.) Infowar and Psywar feels like more complicated stuff than it is, but I think it’s explained in a way that is player-facing and enabling. There’s still a lot to digest, but that’s why you have a player’s guide!

The Lifepath character creation system is included, allowing players to choose from, or roll, core book elements. Talents are described, Acquisitions explained, and gear is described. I wish there had been a little more on how a Geist does things – there are lots of sidebar examples for other setting features, but I really wanted a solid runthrough of how they do what they do mechanically.

The guide wraps with rules for converting from the miniatures game to the rpg. I see this as having great value in the player’s guide, as one would think that players of the wargame might be easily enticed by a GM into playing, so they could use these to convert over anything they found really cool.

Overall the Infinity Player’s Guide is a solid product. It meets what I’m looking for in that kind of book, even if it doesn’t go into the detail I’d like on a few elements. Its advantage, of course, is that non-GM players can pick it up and not have to wade through, or avoid, GM-oriented content, and that they’ll have all they need to play in a much more concise package. With the inclusion of sidebars giving tips and examples, it’s a pretty useful book.

You can pick up (or direct your friends to pick up) the Infinity Player’s Guide from the Modiphius webstore or the below Affiliate link!

DriveThruRPG (PDF)

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