My last post went over how a new player could get started with Infinity.  The article largely focused on buying miniatures, the first game, and generally where to access information about Infinity.  This week I want to concentrate on the background.  Now, within Infinity most people find it easy to pick a faction based on the models alone.  All of the factions have pretty discernible and distinct aesthetics.  For some people though, that isn't enough.  They want to play the "good guy" faction or "the underdog" or any number of other categories that factions can be shoehorned into.  Today I'm going to go over some brief background for each faction while also highlighting anything the faction is unusually good or bad at on the tabletop.  This should provide everyone with a solid basis for choosing a faction if appearance just isn't good enough.

Infinity has nine factions but I'm only going to cover eight in this article.  Why am I skipping a faction?  Well the ninth faction consists of mercenaries and they really don't differ from mercenaries in any other game.  Their mercenaries.  They fight.  For money.  Additionally, mercenaries are not a sanctioned list for the ITS (Infinity Tournament System).

Pan Oceania
PanO is the largest and most powerful state in the human sphere.  They dominate the human sphere through economic strength, scientific innovation, and progressive thought.  Comprised of natives of Australia and Southeast Asia PanO rose to power with the fall of the North American economy.

Strengths:  They have a higher than average Ballistic Skill which allows them to capitalize on their better than average weaponry.  They have a much broader access to high-tech gear like visors, high powered weaponry, and TO Camo.  They have a large selection of heavy infantry and TAGs.

Weaknesses:  Relatively low Willpower means that doctors, engineers, and specialists are less useful.  With all that high-tech gear they are more susceptible to E/M weapons that can shut down their fancy gadgets and weaponry.

Yu Jing
This faction draws heavily from East Asian cultures such as China and Japan and is second in power only to PanO.  Where PanO thrives on independence, transparent government, and democracy Yu Jing is the exact opposite.  They tend towards authoritarian rule and closed off society.  However their lack of cohesive culture forms a great sense of national pride that fuses together all parts of society and helps propel them forward.

Strengths:  While not as prevalent as PanO, Yu Jing boasts broad access to many high-tech gadgets and weapons.  They have a wide selection of highly effective heavy infantry units.  Valor is a common skill for Yu Jing forces as is camouflage.  They are also the most highly skilled in close combat of all the human sphere factions.

Weaknesses: The concentration on close combat means that many troops cost more for skills/equipment they may never use in a game since close combat is far less common in Infinity.

Wanting to reshape the image of Islam a sect broke off and founded Haqqislam which translates to, "New Islam".  Haqqislam have downplayed the violence inherent to the old religion and began a golden age of enlightenment that focused on cultural strength and unity, the quest for knowledge, and an absolute mastery of biomedical research.

Strengths:  Low-tech means less susceptibility to E/M weapons.  They have high willpower and widespread access to doctors and troops with regeneration.  Generally, they have some of the best light infantry in the game.  Widespread access to the religious troop rule means they are less likely to have moral issues.

Weaknesses:  Their tech level is lower than most other factions, although not as low as Ariadna.  Their troops have less armor and less gear usually.

Nomads are the outcasts of society.  In many ways they are the equivalent to sci-fi gypsies.  The Nomad nation consists of three giant spacecraft that ply the trade routes.  Each ship has a separate past and focus.  Tunguska plays the role of the front man.  They are in the business of information and secrets.  Corregidor, the second ship, was once a prison ship tht the convicts took over.  Now they sell their service to the highest bidder as mercenary forces and also as the military might behind the Nomad nation.  Finally, Bakunin operates as a den of iniquity.  Anything can be found on the decks of Bakunin from psuedo-religious sects, black market goods, to red light districts and trafficking in the latest drugs.

Strengths:  Nomads are the kings of asymmetrical warfare.  They are strongest at determining the flow of battle with their wide access to camouflage units, deployable markers (mines, reapters, etc), and bizare skills not frequently seen outside of the Nomads.  They also have the best hackers and the broadest selection of drones on the market.  Nomads have some of the best medium infantry in the game.

Weaknesses:  Nomads are a fragile force and in a head-on fight they are easily bruised and beaten back.  They lack heavy infantry options with the least amount of heavy infantry selections of any faction.

When mankind first started colonizing the stars they sent a colony ship out into space.  When it slipped into a wormhole all contact was lost and the world thought them lost forever.  Ages later the human sphere expanded to a world named Dawn and discovered a world populated with the survivors of the colony ship.  Drawing from French, Russian, Scottish, and American backgrounds these forces struggle to stay afloat among the rest of the human sphere.

Strengths:  Ariadna is widely unimpeded by terrain with their variety of movement skills that allow many troops to ignore various types of terrain, climb faster, or simply jump ovr objects as they move.  They have a great selection of camouflage troops.  Lastly, I'll eave this with one word... Werewolves.

Weaknesses:  Lack of technology.  Ariadna is the only force that, without mercenaries, possesses no hackers.

ALEPH is an AI created by PanO scientists.  This AI monitors nearly everything within the Human Sphere.  The militant arm of this AI creates artificially grown humans with special skills and with personalities that match mythical human figures.  As an AI, ALEPH also uutilizes remote drones.

Strengths:  Tough as nails with great generalists and specialists alike.  Very adept at hacking.

Weaknesses:  ALEPH forces are small due to high point costs.  They pay a premium for their better stats and higher technology level.

Combined Army
Called the Combined Army due to the many alien species that comprise its ranks they pose a deadly threat to the human sphere.  Controlled by an alien AI known as The El they seek the utter annihilation of humanity.

Strengths:  Lots of crazy technology (even mind control devices).  Elite units that are hyper-specialized and very good at that specialty.  Resilient with wide access to skills that ignore morale rules or simply allow them to keep fighting long after they shouldn't.

Weaknesses:  Hyper specialized forces could make for bad matchups on the tabletop.  Elite forces also mean that they will lack numbers (and thus, orders).

The Tohaa are an alien collective that opposes the spread of the Combined Army.  They are an ancient race that has fought their nemesis for ages and have arrived to assist humanity in their struggle.  They have a predilection for the number three.

Strengths:  They can form fire teams called tridents that allow for supporting actions.  They have hi-tech gadgets that are uncommon or rare in many other factions.  While they are hi-tech they do not suffer from the elite troop issue of other factions with a number of cheaper troop options to bolster the ranks and fill up the order pool.

Weaknesses:  Since this is the newest faction the biggest drawback is the relatively small pool of untis to draw from and the lack of models for units.  Otherwise the Tohaa have issues with E/M like other hi-tech factions and lack are relatively fragile in nature.

Next time we'll cover basic rules concepts!