Friday, 1 August 2014

Operation: Icestorm - Rules Roundup

Welcome to part two of things I've been dying to discuss. I've been scouring through Icestorm in order to get a glimpse of what is to come from Infinity N3 and have some pretty juicy things to share.

Please take everything here with a pinch of salt however; a lot of the rules in N3 appear to be slightly simplified for the purposes of a new player experience and only reference abilities and interactions that the models in the box can have with each other. As such, there may be further tweaks, clarifications and expansions on these rules with the release of N3 later this year.

Note that all images are taken from material published by Corvus Belli, they are not my own work.

With the disclaimer out of the way, let's dig in and see what we can learn!

Icestorm rulebook cover art

Measuring Distances

Measuring distances

Distances are now measured edge-to-edge, rather than centre-to-centre making it easier to judge those hairs-breadth scenarios. This also means that most models are technically an inch or so closer to each other than they were previously in terms of shooting ranges.

This may also mean that template weapons will be placed at the edge of the base instead of at the centre of the base in N3, although this is unconfirmed.

Dice Rolling

Rolling dice

N3 really is a complete overhaul of the system and the game designers have not been afraid to make changes where needed! One of these changes is that modifiers are now capped at plus or minus 12, making BS13 troops invaluable as, no matter how tough a shot they need to take, they can always get a critical hit.

It also leads me to wonder what combination of circumstances could give +12 (or more) to hit!

Now, I mentioned that there were rules in the books that likely aren't worth reading into and this may well be one of them.  Under the face to face roll section (not pictured) it states "In the event of a tie, both rolls cancel each other out and no effects are applied." This is very interesting, as currently in case of a tie you would then compare attribute values to determine a winner whereas that no longer seems to be the case. This is a small buff to lower BS skill models.

"If both players roll a Critical, the Face to Face roll is a tie and both troopers fail." The plot thickens further! No mention here of a higher critical roll beating a lower critical roll.

I have a feeling that this rule is a simplification for Icestorm and that N3 will remain unchanged from N2, but can't be sure at the moment.

Initiative and Deployment

Initiative and deployment

A quick bit of good news, the initiative rules have been tidied up and it is now abundantly clear exactly what order things happen in. Technically no change here as the rules are just confirming that the way we are doing things is indeed correct, although there is no mention of there being a reserve model...

The Lieutenant

The Lieutenant

So, there are two important things here to note. Firstly that the Lieutenant's order is now a separate token entirely and the use of it will reveal your Lt. There is no word on whether it is still used to auto-pass guts checks or reform link teams still. Indeed, there is no mention of guts checks (or retreat) anywhere in Icestorm however as V:Courage is still on troop profiles we can assume that guts checks remain in the game.

Secondly, going into loss of Lieutenant is no longer as crippling as it once was. Instead, your entire army becomes Irregular for one turn after which you automatically get a new Lieutenant. This will no doubt mean that there would have to be some change to religious troops. Maybe they'll all stay regular during loss of lieutenant?

It also makes all irregular armies marginally more viable, so now would be the time to stock up on numerous Kum Bikers.

Cover and Line of Fire

Line of sight

The single change I've been looking forward to the most is that 'magic cylinders' will be used to check line of fire. This is a method that Warmahordes players should be familiar with and is perfect for a game with dynamically posed models.

Keep in mind that you still need to see a head sized potion of the model, I'm not certain how this works with the new sihouette system.

Note that there is no mention of reciprocal line of fire in the Icestorm rules, nor does it mention exactly where line of fire is drawn from. This is a potentially huge change if true.

Effectively all troop types have a new stat which is their size (S) and determines which silhouette is used. Human size models appear to be a size 2, which presumably means that koalas and servant bots are size 1. The biggest models that I'm aware of are the Jotum and Iguana which are size 7 although it's not impossible that the Avatar/Caskuda could be bigger. This should give a decent amount of granularity to the silhouette system.


The cover rules are still a little bit vague, although you still require base to base contact with a scenery element to claim it. The rules state that a model is in partial cover if "it is in base to base contact with a piece of scenery that partly blocks line of fire of the attacker." There is no mention of minimum coverage, so between this and the silhouettes it will make it a lot easier for models to count as being in cover. This will be especially relevant for models peaking around corners.



Two interesting points here, firstly all models now dodge 2" unless they have the Kinematika skill and secondly, models may not dodge into combat during the reactive turn. This will go a great deal to simplify the game as it gets rid of dodge-intercepts. No more quantum rules for us I hope!

Kinematika Level 1

Kinematika is a new skill that increases how far a model can dodge in the reactive turn. Despite appearances it's actually a levelled skill with each level granting +1" of movement.

Close Combat

Close Combat

I have a feeling that the combat rules have been very cut down for Icestorm, so I'm not sure what there is to take away from it. Note that you can't use BS attacks whilst base to base so still no Equilibrium-style gunfights I'm afraid. Also, it now seems to be possible to just dodge out of the combat rather than there being a special disengage rule.

However, as there are no particular rules for leaving combat or for forcing combat to continue (in N2 you need to reserve an order to continue the combat in your active turn) I can only assume that combat rules will be expanded upon in N3.

The humble knife

Easy to overlook, but I think this is one of the most exciting pieces of info in Icestorm! This, my friends, is a close combat weapon with a Burst value. This strongly implies that you'll be able to get multiple close combat attacks with certain weapons! The knife also gets a slight buff being PH-1 instead of PH-2 previously.

Multispectral Visors

Multispectal Visors

MSV1 now reduced TO Camo penalties from -6 to -3. Currently there's no further information on what else it will affect. It may or may not be useful against Optical Disruption Devices and Smoke, we'll just have to wait and see. If it does reduce the to-hit penalties on everything then the MSV1 will suddenly become a very sought after piece of kit.



Discover gets a really minor buff, now with +0 to the dice roll out to 36" instead of 32". I'm not sure how often that it will come into play, but it is worth remembering.

Surprise Shot

Surprise shot - previously combat camouflage

Camouflage is actually remaining largely unchanged with the exception of the Surprise Shot rule. Instead of there being a combat camouflage attack, all face to face rolls against the camouflaged model are made at a further -3. Yep, that includes dodging, throwing smoke and so on. This only works on the turn that the model reveals from camo however. 

This is going to make camouflage snipers really interesting now as they can easily stack to hit penalties on their targets.

Also, it now means that opposing troops can always retaliate, and hit, with direct template weapons. No more combat camo attacking chain rifle troops at short range.



A big change to Infiltration, only being able to deploy on your own side of the table is a setback for troops like the CRAP SAS and for aggressive minelayers that want to deploy right on the edge of the opponent's deployment zone.

Based on this, it's quite likely that inferior infiltrators, impersonators and mechanised deployment troops will be changing too.

However, take this with a huge dose of salt as it may well just be down to the fact that the missions are played on a 3'x2' area rather than the normal 4'x4' and that it keeps things clear cut.

Combat Jump

AD3: Combat Jump

The vast majority of the AD3 rules have remained untouched, although there is no option in Icestorm to downgrade the skill to AD2 and walk on from the side of the table. The only bit of real interest is point 3 which states that if you fail the PH roll then the model appears in your deployment zone instead of scattering.

At the moment, I'm not certain if this is a good or bad thing, but I'm leaning towards the former. It's going to make AD3 far less of a risk as you won't be scattering off the table or into LoF of opposing models.

Point 1 is also a bit interesting as it now refers to 'scenery obstacles' instead of 'scenery elements', perhaps they will clear up whether a rooftop landing is allowed or not.

With regards downgrading the skill to AD2, it may only be absent because it would be too powerful on such a narrow battlefield! The scatter rules may have been simplified for the same reason as it would be far too easy to disperse off the table otherwise.


New dispersion template

The dispersion template has been changed in N3 too, it now has ten scatter directions instead of eight - the 9/10 and 2/3 results have been ungrouped. Whilst this is unlikely to have any real in-game effect, except making Lifeblood crates even more random, it will mean that everyone with 3rd party templates will need to get new ones.

Updated Profiles

The back of the rules includes a section on expanding your army out to 300 points and includes full profiles for all the units in the sample armies.

PanO Profiles - Click to view larger image

Here are the changes I've spotted, although I have, without a doubt, missed some. Note that with the points values it is not possible to infer whether the all that model's options are changing or just that particular set of weapons. For instance it's widely accepted now that sniper rifles are becoming cheaper:

  • Auxbots lost 3 BTS and gained 1 ARM
  • Akalis gain 1CC, an E/M Close combat weapon and are 1pt cheaper
  • Nisses with Multi Sniper Rifles are a whopping 7pts cheaper.
  • ORCs have their MOV bumped up to 4-4
  • Jotums lost Mountain Terrain and are 1pt cheaper to compensate

The Father-Knight is the new profile and is ridiculously badass. Yes, that's a close combat value of 23 - take that Achilles! He raises a couple of questions though as he has the 'Assault' skill and comes with a 'Breaker Pistol'. I can't wait to find out what these are. Overall he seems like an excellent assault troop that is fast moving, great defensively and has a killer statline - a very good choice for 43pts,

Nomad Profiles - Click to view larger image

And the changes for Nomads:
  • Alguacils gain cubes.
  • Interventors go from 3 BTS all the way up to 9 and gain 'Fast Pandas' for only one extra point each.
  • Spektrs gain a BTs of 3 and their light shotgun but gain Multiterrain and now weigh in at 2pts less.
  • Mobile Brigadas are now MOV 4-4, keeping in line with the ORC troops and this profile is 4pts cheaper.
  • Iguana pilot gets bumped up to MOV 4-4.
I'm not sure how much use the Grenzer is going to see as he competes for space with the Intruder, but he provides fairly cheap MSV1 (as well as the enigmatic 'Breaker Pistol') on a cheap frame. It's just a shame he doesn't have Mimetism as well.

The Reverend Healer is a very, very interesting profile. She is armed to the teeth with a rifle, 'breaker pistol', explosive CCW and a nanopulsar and has the combination of a medikit and the doctor skill. I know that there have been rumours that this combination of abilities is going to have some specific rule in N3 but it's currently unknown. 

She will certainly be the best doctor in the faction and Mimetism combined with BS13 makes her a decent combatant so I'd be surprised if she isn't adopted quite enthusiastically by Nomad players. It's just a shame that she's let down by her 4-2 MOV which now seems to be the staple for medium infantry.

There is a typo in her statline which claims she is HI, which is not the case! - Thanks Tom
There is also a Typon in the Mobile Brigada statline as it does in fact remain a HI and not an 'IP'.

Weapon Changes

New weapon ranges

Last, but certainly not least there has been an official release (outside of Icestorm) showing some new weapon statsistics. The short range weapons such as grenades, pistols, shotguns and rifles are the big winners here whilst the big guns (Spitfire and HMG) receive nerfs to their short range.

The Sniper rifle is the odd one out as it has seemingly been completely redesigned. It now far out-ranges all other weapons, giving it a unique role on the battlefield.

Phew, well that should give you all enough to sink your teeth into! If I've missed something out, or gotten something wrong (very likely) then drop me a comment to let me know.

Game on!


  1. Great write-up! Thanks for sharing! I do love how they've clarified a lot of things - I wonder if the non-specific amount of obscured model is to represent the model actively seeking cover a little more (after all, they don't all stay in the one position all the time) hence all you need to do is touch it (which is a good thing, as there's no ambiguity about it - you're either in cover or you're not!)

    I get the feeling Icestorm is more of a 'primer' ready for the full N3 rules, which will go into more detail for everything (eg: Close Combat/Guts etc) as well as introduce the rest of the rules missing from this set.

    1. I agree with you entirely, hence why I started this post with a disclaimer. I imagine that we will see a lot more changes coming with N3 :)

      I'm also really keen on the cover changes, if they are final, as it will make the game less ambiguous.

  2. Replies
    1. No problem, it was fun to put together. The hardest part was keeping it all quiet for a week!

  3. When playing Bakunin sectorial, Avicenna will remain by far the best doctor in the game. Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to adding Reverend Healers to my link teams!

    1. Avicenna is an incredible doctor for sure! There aren't many Bakunin players in my area though and I must admit that I tend to forget that she exists...

  4. Whats this I spy? Grenades are +3 out to 8" now? Indeed...

    1. Yep, it's going to make smoking the battlefield a lot easier and might even make offensive grenades practical.

    2. My Cameronians are LOVING this :)

      Gonna be impetuously 6-4 super-jumping around tossing grenades at PH17 like its a paper route lol...and double chain rifles just in case.

      And that 8" range now makes a wall-o-smoke rush even more viable. Might push me over the edge from running scottish flavored vanilla into full blown CHA.

    3. Yep, My Myrmidons are also very happy with buffs to pistols, rifles, shotguns and grenades - the majority of their weapons!

      Expect MSV1s to become more prevalent though and they will likely be able to see through normal smoke (with a -3 penalty). Vanilla Ariadna is really well placed for ITS at the moment though.