RECON Review – Scaling Down Infinity
Ash Barker, the producer of my favourite Infinity battle report videos Guerrilla Miniature Games, has written a system for small scale games. This system is meant to bridge the gap between games played with the contents of the Operation Ice Storm or Red Veil boxes and a full-fledged Infinity battle. This is certainly a worthwhile undertaking. Beginner players may not have enough miniatures for the full game yet or don’t want to get overwhelmed by the rules. More advanced players may not always have the time and space for a 300 point game.
What does RECON include?
RECON has a short list of further army list limitations: RECON is played with 150 points; fire teams can only have three members; the use of troopers with a Structure or Wound value of two or more is limited; players can only have one combat group, etc. These limitations make a lot of sense and I recommend that anyone who wants to play at the 150 point level should stick to the RECON rules. The only problems I can see with the restrictions is that the enigmatic Tohaa may not be able to play up to their strengths and that the Steel Phalanx may miss their characters a bit too much. But I am not an expert in those factions so I am not sure.
RECON is supposed to be played on a play surface 24 inches wide by 36 inches deep. This does not only take into account the lower number of miniatures, but also facilitates the use of the terrain sets of the Corvus Belli battle boxes.
The author has changed six ITS missions, scaling them down for the smaller battleground. No classified cards are being used. In some missions, the HVT can be secured as a secondary objective.
The idea behind RECON is a very good one. It is good to have missions written to fit the use of the oddly shaped paper floors that Corvus Belli sells. It is also recommendable to limit the army list composition a bit for smaller games.
The enthusiasm for Infinity as a well-balanced and multi-faceted games is well deserved, but let’s be honest: N3 has some problems when scaled down to low point games. As much as I can understand that Ash Barker probably did not want to intervene in the intricate rules of the game, I believe he should have gone a step further in my opinion.
Therefore, I will now dare to make some suggestions for the RECON system:
1) Do not allow a command token to be used to drain two orders to the player who starts the game. Participants of 200 point ITS events have observed that the player who goes second has a huge advantage due to this use of a command token. The mathematics are simple: A 300 points tournament list will have at least 12 orders. In one of the RECON videos, Ash lost two of his when orders when he started the game. The difference in percentage of orders lost is obviously huge. This probably represents the biggest scaling problem that N3 has.
2) Reduce the dispersion distance for combat jumping airborne troopers to maybe 9 inches (23 cm). I had a game on a small board where my Hellcat failed the combat jump test. Even though it was meant to land close to my own deployment zone, the Hellcat dispersed uncomfortably close to the enemy camp.
3) Do not allow the use of units which cost more than 60 points. These can be extremely hard to deal with at such a small point cost, especially when paired with extremely low cost order providers such as AI beacons.
More could be said about the intricacies of using smaller playing fields. Experience has revealed that smaller boards tend to change the effectiveness of weapons and troopers. On the other hand, of course, you can certainly play using less space. Personally, I prefer to play on a 4×4 battlefield in order not to interfere to much into the game design. I will just leave this subject unresolved for people to form their own opinions.
Scaling down 20×20
Of course, the RECON rules for 150 point games can be applied to any mission set, including 20×20. There is just the slight problem that the measurements for the locations of objective markers given in the 20×20 mission system have to be scaled down when playing on a smaller board. This should not be a problem and I am sure that players can do that on their own shortly before the game. Given that the proportionate reduction of objectives can lead to problems with the victory conditions, I think it is best to just accept to play on a board which is a bit crowded by objectives. When it comes to the size of target zones, it may make sense to reduce their size in proportion to the playing area. It is obviously a good idea to follow the RECON rules and make the deployment zones only six inches deep. As I said above, I prefer a playing area of 4×4. If people want to play a low point game of 20×20, I recommend they should not change the size of the playing area and simply adhere their lists according to the RECON rules.
To sum it up, I think it is a good idea to scale down sometimes and Ash Barker has done everybody a favour of providing us with some new rules for it!
The RECON ruleset can be downloaded here: