Wednesday 22 August 2018

Interplanetary Round Table 2018

Last weekend I travelled to the Interplanetary and took the chance to attend the various seminars as well as the main tournament which I'll be writing up over the next couple of weeks.

Once again we started with the 'round table' - and unlike last year at least there was a table even if it wasn't actually round - which was a mini Q&A session taking pre-selected questions from social media and ad-hoc ones from the crowd. This year there were many shorter questions and answers compared to last.

I've tried to write them up as accurately as possible, but beware that these are transcribed from brief notes so there will be embellishment and paraphrasing to help with readability and conciseness. Any inaccuracies are entirely my own, although they do admit to misleading people quite a lot...

Our hosts this year were Bostria, Gutier and Alberto.

1. When was the JSA Uprising planned within Corvus Belli?

The plan was always there and the Japanese were always treated as second class citizens. The seed for the Uprising was planned since the beginning of the game although the decision on when it would actually happen was made much later. It was in the DNA of Infinity since its birth.

2. One year on for Aristeia! what is coming up next and what are the unknown 'question marks'?

Four more characters already have concept art and rough rules laid out, but no further info is being provided as we haven't even seen all the characters/rules for this season yet! CB chastised us for getting ahead of ourselves when there are still many unknowns!

There are plans for more metal miniatures in 2019, one of which may be brand new.

3. How about the Aristeia! skins? Are they good products?

Yes. The Aristeia! alternative models were very much born from the heart and were designed as luxury items, but they are selling as well as many of the successful Infinity miniatures.

The profit margins are much better on the metal Aristeia! miniatures compared to the box sets as they can be made internally within CB rather than having to be manufactured abroad.

4. Will there be non-core alternate models for Aristeia! in the future?

Yes, this has been considered.

5. After Gata, what's next?

As is probably common knowledge now, the next metal Aristeia! miniature is Gata. After that will come another core set character, although they aren't saying who.

6. After the Uprising - JSA independence - where is the Infinity fluff going, particularly with regards JSA and Yu Jing?

After Uprising there was the appearance of a new faction - NA2. It may seem like they are a rising force in the Human Sphere, but really they are being used/backed by the other major powers. Someone wants all of this to happen.

The O12 is not going to allow Yu Jing to take direct action against JSA, so they will be taking action against JSA's supporters instead such as those who supplied weapons. equipment and other resources. It was mentioned in particular that PanOceania will be punished as maybe they didn't cover their tracks well enough.

7. Is the creation of the Invincible Army a response to the JSA Uprising?

It's not a response to the JSA Uprising as it already existed for a long time.

8. Last year the mercenary factions were mentioned at the Interplanetary, then in 2019 they were actually released. Were they well received and will they get any new stuff?

The idea of mercenaries, as well as many of the profiles, has been in the game since the first edition and mercenary companies have been considered ever since. There has been a good reaction from the fanbase regarding their arrival.

There were originally plans for three companies - StarCo, JSA and Druze. The latter was changed specifically to be Druze Bayram Security - a small mercenary company within Druze society - rather than a very generic Druze sectorial because of their inclusion in the Outrage manga and their resulting popularity.

The mercenary companies are intentionally designed to be limited, but still competitive.

9. At the last Interplanetary Gutier was asked about the Outrage characters and whether they would receive Infinity profiles. At the time he said no, but clearly they have anyway. So what changed?

He lied to your faces - it's not only Yu Jing agents who can lie!

He couldn't reveal StarCo at the time, but the characters wouldn't fit in with any existing faction so he had to lie in order to mask the existence of the unannounced mercenary companies.

There were some people who thought/hoped that Uhahu would end up in Tunguska but given her background that wouldn't work.

10. With regards to the Tohaa Triumvirate, it was said that the faction would be a mixture of Tohaa and mercenaries. Is this still true, or has it changed?

Triumvirate will be considered to be an NA2 faction. (So presumably will include mercenaries?)

11. What colour is Shasvastii blood? Is 2018 the year of the Shasvastii?

Their blood is green/greenish and shiny like Predator blood. It should be in the fluff somewhere.

The Shasvastii are indeed in the process of begin 3D designed this year. They will be recognisable but cooler and with redesigned weaponry. It's all looking very promising.

The Shasvastii project is the current baby of the studio and the minis should be out in 2019. The Morats went from the least to the most popular army after their redesign in 2013 and they have the same aim for Shasvastii.

12. Will there be more sectorials being 'banned' or unsupported in the future.

They made it clear that nothing is being banned and any sectorials that are temporarily not having miniatures sold in this way will continue to be playable and supported in the rules.

Many people foresaw the problem with the continual expansion of the game and the creation of a range which is unmanageable in size. CB looked at the optimum number of SKUs per faction and decided on 50. Merovingians were discontinued to reduce the bloat and got a small update in return, but they will be back some day.

CB are planning a rotating catalogue whereby something will have to leave in order to make space for something new. This means that the same thing will happen to other sectorials in the future.

13. Will existing sectorials be redesigned to have flexible fireteams? Are 'classic' troop profiles that aren't being played going to be redesigned?

Essentially, CB want all sectorials to have their moment. The focus is on new sectorials at the moment but they will go back to older ones in time.

Some troop profiles may be upgraded slightly during this process but they aren't going to be trying to please absolutely everyone and there is no magic dust they can sprinkle on units to make them all outstanding.

14. How is the Invincible Army going to be released and what sort of pack will it be in?

They prefer not to reveal the size of the box (300pt, army, starter, operation) as they have not yet made a final decision and such things are sometimes lead with the heart. If they happen to have enough cool models for a big box ready at the same time then maybe they'll do it.

They might even do a great many releases over a handful of months rather than releasing a single box, as an example of an alternate release strategy.

15. Who was the genius who released Tunguska without any cool, new miniatures?

"You haven't seen anything yet and you don't know as much as you think you do."

16. What was the order of the design of the Aristeia characters.

There were some mandatory roles for the core box so some of the characters were deliberately designed with those roles in mind. Soldiers of Fortune was designed in concept at the same time as the core box, and there are some designs that may come out in the future which were intended for the core box but just didn't fit.

17. Who won the Kurage Crisis?

Ariadna 'won' the campaign this year and the results form this will be shown in the fluff in the future.

This year the Beasts of War campaign was shorter - featuring only two phases and with slightly fewer players than last year. There was less cheating/toxicity and more Warcors in the system monitoring fake reports.

One of the innovations this year was a system whereby less played factions were tweaked so that they were able to compete on a level playing field with those that were more played - even if outnumbered 70 to 300!

18. Where did Yuan Yuans get their name?

Carlos Torres came up with the name originally by trawling through ancient Chinese historical references. He came across a small kingdom that is not at all well known and the name translated roughly as 'annoying insects'.

From Chinese this translated to Juan Juan, but as that is a proper name in Spanish (equivalent to a unit being called John John) it was tweaked to be Yuan Yuan instead. It has nothing to do with the currency.

According to RenĂ© Grousset, Ju-juan – an alternate Chinese name for the Rouran – was a "disparaging pun" derived from Juan-Juan: "unpleasantly wriggling insects". - Wikipedia

19. Did the designer of the Ratnik ever see a real Ratnik armour suit?

The CB version actually came first! The concept for the Ratnik existed at least since the Blackjack was in design as the Blackjack is meant to be a 2nd class Ratnik. TAK are meant to be the masters of the Ariadna style heavy armour.

Then the Russians announced their own, real-life, project sometime later.

20. Did the Ratnik originally have two Heavy Rocket Launchers.

Twin shoulder-mounted designed are generally good as they aesthetically pleasing but they had to consider the effect on the tabletop and whether it would be balanced. From the answer it was unclear if it had ever been seriously considered to give them two HRLs or not.

21. Did CB ever consider having another company publish Aristeia! for them?

CB are always open to partnerships but aren't looking for partners to publish games on their behalf as they like to be able to control the product.

22. Is 'Black N' an anime?

Watching people speculate is more fun than telling them.

After this event the spectrum of possibilities for what 'Black N' is will be wider and not narrower. There will be more hints at Adepticon about what goes on in the Human Sphere...

23. Is three player Aristeia! in development or planning?

Three and four player game modes are being considered.

24. Are there any 'Uprisings' planned to happen in the future?

If there were then the CB staff wouldn't say.

However, the JSA Uprising was a schoolyard fight compared to what will happen in the future. This period will be looked back on as having been the good times.

25. What will be the composition of the Invincible Army?

The Invincible Army will have its own troops, some of whom will be filling the place of existing troops with similar roles.

The Hac Tao will be in the Invincible Army as it is a part of the special operations division within the Yu Jing state army.

26. What will be the basic troop for the Svalarheima PanOceania sectorial?

The 'basic' troop profile for the Svalarheima sectorial has not been announced yet and it may be a surprise, but it won't be known any time soon. There is definitely an aim to put the Nisse back on the table, but it won't be the basic troop component of the sectorial.

27. Was the negative feedback to Uprising expected?

There was not too much negative feedback and what there was was largely just from a vocal minority. Maybe it seemed like there was a large number of players upset but that wasn't really the case.

Uprising was necessary and good for the game as it gives more space to develop troops and profiles in the future.

28. Moran Maasai resculpts?


29. Would you consider writing/publishing books set within the Infinity universe?

There's just not enough time, contacts or infrastructure to make this happened at the moment. There is no publisher in place and having to break into bookshops is a very different prospect than selling to game stores.

They are just too busy with existing projects at the moment.

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