Two glorious weeks off work. Two wonderful weeks of waking up when I want, binge-watching Netflix, binge-eating, binge-drinking, and not having to worry about the subsequent hangovers. 16 days to dedicate to hobby time and finally tackle that painting backlog of shame. Except, this Easter break, I’m on holiday in Canada, or, more specifically, Newfoundland; home of fries, dressing and gravy, Blue Star beer, and moose sausages. Faced with the possibility of a hobbyless holiday, I decide that if the hobby won’t come to Mohammed, Mohammed will take the hobby on holiday with him. Or something like that. The chances of actually getting any games in were slim, but I was hopeful of squeezing a few painting sessions in between wedding madness.
Paints packed, models safely nestled between pillows of foam in my rucksack, I touch down in St. John’s airport.Climbing into the tank-like truck ubiquitous to this province, seeking to establish some common ground, I tentatively mention to the Groom that one of my hobbies is tabletop wargaming, half-remembering a Skype conversation about a shared interest in 40k. “Me too b’y,” came the response. “I used to play a lot of 40k, but it’s hard to find time to play a game these days because it takes so long. It also gets pretty boring, waiting for your turn”. Well, my son, have I got the game for you!
I never fully realised just how much I love this game until I tried to convince someone else to get involved. In fact, I had to tone it down a little so I didn’t scare the poor guy off with my rabid zeal. “Incredible models!””Great gameplay!” “No overpowered factions!”, the list of superlatives went on. With the Groom convinced, hope remained that some games might be had after all. All that remained was to source a copy of Operation: Icestorm.
After scouring the two geek hangouts in St. Johns we soon came to the realisation that, unlike John Cabot, Infinity hadn’t yet managed to make the trip from Europe to this little corner of Canada. Enquiries were met with blank stares and requests to spell out I-N-F-I-N-I-T-Y. Despite the setback, in true British expeditionary fashion there was no room for wobbly lips; time to improvise. With D20s secured at a dollar apiece from some dusty dice containers lying forgotten on a shelf at the FLGS, the limited amount of Haqqislam models that had come on holiday with me arranged into two roughly equivalent armies, pennies and quarters for command tokens, and whatever was lying around to use as terrain, it was game on.
With a background in 40k plus a quick read of the quick start rules beforehand, the Groom picked up the mechanics in no time. Despite the depth of the rules, this game really is intuitive; with the ever so helpful weapon information on the army list printouts and my fairly rudimentary grasp of the rules, it wasn’t necessary for either of us to consult the main rulebook even once. Shrugging off the shame of losing twice at ‘Quadrant Control’ to a complete novice, it was time to spread the word of Corvus Belli to a wider audience.
Recruiting two high school buddies of the Groom it was time to go four on four. Not wanting to introduce specialists yet, I opted to make use of the excellent 20×20 ruleset. ‘Save the Scientists’ and ‘Kill the Lieutenant’ were rolled, with a narrow 1 VP victory eked out by the opposition team following their successful assassination of my Lieutenant.
With three players hooked and Operation: Icestorm on its way from the mainland as a wedding present for the Groom, I’m counting this hobbyday as a success. I even managed to paint some models too!