The Paradiso Campaign
This is a review of the campaign system and the missions of the Campaign: Paradiso book. It is a nice book and definitely worth buying. However, I will not do a review on the entire book and focus on the campaign instead.
Paradiso offers the players a whole new approach to the game. The book introduces nothing less than the INFINITY CAMPAIGN SYSTEM, ICS for short!
Different to playing annihilation games or with random YAMS cards, the players get to delve deep into the background of Infinity. The background of Infinity is being expanded with this campaign book, actively involving the players into the background.
Apart from this, playing Paradiso gives you much more of what in my opinion should be the feel of a game of Infinity:
The player better sits down and has a good careful read of the mission descriptions before playing. Like a true Black Op generals, he/she then has to come up with a plan and assign the relevant troops to do the tasks. Thus, each mission requires building a new list.
Specialists such as engineers and hackers play a prominent role. In most missions, it is not possible to fulfill the objectives without fielding them. It can’t be stressed hard enough that the missions are not about killing your opponents’ forces!
Campaign System description
The book offers 16 missions divided into four chapters. The missions can be played separately or as a campaign. All missions are designed to be played with 300 points.
CB offers several ways of playing a campaign:
There is a narrative mode that specifies the factions being used for each mission. You’d need to have access to models from all factions if you want to go through the entire campaign playing in narrative mode.
The normal campaign mode allows any number of players using any faction to play. Players have to stick to one faction, but may switch between vanilla and any sectorial their faction offers.
The winners of the last round get to play special scenarios from the book, while everybody else plays another scenario as described in the Play Guide. In some missions, players are assigned roles of attacker and defender, depending on how they performed in the last game.
There is the possibility of only playing chapters of the campaign instead of using all 16 missions.
By fulfilling objective points and thus winning games, the campaign players get awarded Experience points which can be converted into gaming advantages. These advantages are twofold: Command experience and improving your spec op.
Command experience gives the player goodies ranging from getting more SWC points, bonuses to the Initiative Roll up to incredible stuff such as knowing your opponents list and fielding a free mercenary.
Every player may have one spec op who has the ability to improve as the campaign progresses. The spec op is a humble line trooper at first who may improve his/her skills and equipment by experience points being pumped into the model. There is a bit of variation as to what the spec op can get depending on the faction. Experience points being spent on the spec ops can be lost in case the spec op dies in action.
The spec op is also used in gaming environments apart from Paradiso. Check out Errhile’s article with further details on the spec op!
- You get to plan your strategy way before you play the game. You have to assign troops like a true black ops general.
- Playing very close to the background and the science fiction feel of Infinity.
- Engineers, Hackers, baggage troops get a special role.
- The importance of equipment such as cubes really comes to shine.
- More versatile troop usage, more diverse list builds. The use of different sectorials is being encouraged.
- When playing the campaign, you get a good sense of having a continuing story.
- The book gives you the tools to build your own campaign.
- Complicated missions, which are definitely not suitable for spontaneous pick up games. Some of the missions are so complicated and text is littered with strange words that you need to read and reread the text various times before writing a list and playing. Once I caught myself spending 20 minutes on two pages of text!
- Many missions do not allow for infiltrators, mechanized troops and impersonators or strongly limit their usefulness. This may unbalance the odds for some factions.
- In the course of the campaign, the successful players are being made even stronger by getting bonuses. So weaker players will have an even harder time against them.
- Elements like the spec ops or special characters dying and random promotion rolls can give a bit of a counter to the strong getting stronger, but of course the random applies to both losers and winners. Random is often a cause of frustration.
- In some of the missions, there are very specific obligations as to how the table is set up which requires preparation and even getting certain terrain features such as the mag lev train.
- Ariadna players may feel they suffer a bit due to having lack of access to hackers and cubes.