So, you’ve seen these “Dire Foes” boxes in wherever you purchase Infinity, and you wonder whether or not they’re worth it.
Sure, there are the models. SpecOps characters for two factions, plus a civilian (or Angus…). Standard CB quality sculpts, i.e. excellent. A few postcard-sized art prints.
And the mission (or rather – download code for one, which I find an excellent solution on CB’s part).
I recall some grumbling regarding those boxes once they showed up. “What, pay-to-play scenarios?”
So, let’s give it a look.
First, remember – price-wise, the pack’s cost is primarily the models. Also, it is the thing that stops many players from purchasing one: unless you play the exact two factions, you’re going to end with a model you cannot use.
I managed to split all of my boxes within my local Infinity community – there was someone interested in the opposing faction model, so all were happy.
But what are the missions like?
Well, Dire Foes missions are… very specific. Very interesting, too, and very demanding play-wise.
Every mission has a separate, extensive background on the situation, both Spec Ops involved, and on the civvie (or Angus… yes, you may learn his history, and why is Bipandra stuck with him!). The fluff is written in the best Infinity style, some moments serious, the others making you chuckle with laughter (like the relationship between Thrasymedes and Lupe Balboa) – all the flair one could expect from Infinity background.
Then, there is the mission itself. It contains all the special rules, objective layout and similar rulings you will need. It can be played either in Narrative Mode (using the Spec Ops’ included in the box and relevant sectorial or vanilla armies) or Standard Mode (using whichever armies you like). In Narrative Mode, the Spec Ops characters are given certain advantages in the scenario (to ensure they will play a vital role in your game).
Beware, however – the rules are complex. You must read them well before the game: on my first attempt to play Fleeting Alliance, my opponent forgot that he had to switch one gizmo on Turn #1 (intending to do it at the end of the game, thus having me at a disadvantage) which, by the rules, resulted in the mission ending in a failure for both of us (still, a very nice game on its own).
The scenarios require extensive use of Specialists, not unlike ITS 2014 or Paradiso missions (and they make some use of the ITS 2014 Classified Objectives). The number of turns is also limited – to 3. In my personal opinion, there are more tasks to complete than in an ITS game, making Dire Foes ones even more difficult.
Also, they are meant for 300pts lists, build specifically for a given mission (not an unrealistic thing, assuming it is meant to be a special operations mission gone bad…). If you’re just learning the ropes of Infinity – I’m afraid a Dire Foes game will be too complicated for you, plus I doubt it would scale well.
Dire Foes is definitely not something intended to be a tournament game (we have ITS missions for that!), and with all the preparations required, I believe it won’t work for a pickup game on short notice. You need to ready yourself properly for it – and then cherish every single moment of it. It will be worth it.
Being as complicated as they are, these missions retain a good replay value. I’m sure you will get your money’s worth out of this little download.
If you want a free sample – in my opinion, the Prisoner 09 scenario (available for download from CB) is very, very similar to Dire Foes style, save for the lack of narrative mode / designated Spec Ops.
My main problem with these? There are only 5 of them, so not every sectorial gets one (with its specific Spec Ops – PanO is cheating there, getting both Bipandra and Konstantinos! :P).
Pros and cons:
- can be played with either designated armies and Spec Ops, or any two 300pts armies.
- high degree of detail and a good number of special rules ensure a good replay value.
- excellent fluff.
- not scalable for different list size & not beginner friendly.
- requires purchase of the box to get the scenario.
- not good for casual pickup game or a tournament.
- there are only 5 of them!