What you need to know
- Halo YouTuber and Forger Red Nomster has created a fully functional Halo tabletop RPG game in Halo Infinite’s Forge mode.
- The game essentially brings Baldur’s Gate 3-style combat to Halo Infinite, tasking one team with using UNSC Marines to rescue a prisoner and the other to stop them with squads of Banished units.
- Players get two actions per turn, and can switch between first-person and top-down perspectives, turn on immersive sound effects, toggle tabletop figurine-style movement, and add spectators to the game whenever they want.
- The dice-roll driven randomness of D&D comes through in the game through the natural behaviors of the AI in combat, such as with missed shots or grenade throws.
- The mode is called “The Halo RPG,” and Red Nomster used roughly 1,400 scripting nodes to get it all working as smoothly as it does.
I thought I might stop being completely flabbergasted by the incredible talent and creativity of Halo Infinite’s Forge community eventually. After all, with amazing complete remakes of iconic Halo campaign missions and nifty Pokémon battle arenas landing on the in-game Content Browser every week, I can’t help but set my expectations sky-high. Yet, even despite how lofty they are at this point, there are projects that still exceed them — and the latest from Halo YouTuber Red Nomster has left them absolutely shattered.
Their new creation is The Halo RPG (make sure you bookmark its map and mode), a stunning and fully functional turn-based tabletop game built entirely in Forge using roughly 1,400 scripting nodes. Set in a gorgeously detailed attic atop a colorful Halo-themed board, the game gives one team control over a fireteam of human UNSC Marines mounting a daring rescue, while the other commands forces of the Banished tasked with the defense of an excavation site. The game is won whenever one side loses all their units, or if the UNSC team is able to break a special prisoner Marine out of a prison cell and escort them safely back to a Pelican dropship.
I recommend watching Red Nomster’s full breakdown video below for a complete overview of the rules and how to play, but in short: each time it’s your turn, you can use the Halo Infinite ping system to select a unit, then zoom in with the camera and ping another spot or an enemy within the “radius of opportunity” that appears to make them move or attack. Players can take two move or attack actions with any of their units per turn, and then end their turn by pinging one of the two notecards on the table that explain how to play. You can also switch between a first-person and a remarkably smooth top-down perspective by pressing the “switch weapon” input.
It’s basically Baldur’s Gate 3 combat but with Halo Infinite AI, and it’s nothing short of phenomenal. Several elements of D&D action like varied abilities and dice roll-driven attack rolls even come through, too; the AI units all have different weapons, can sometimes miss their shots or grenade throws, and in the case of Grunts, may even flee in fear as if they failed a Wisdom saving throw.
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On rare occasions, the AI may fail to move where they’re told to go properly, but Red Nomster thought ahead and implemented a workaround for this that simply moves them to where you commanded them if they get confused while pathing. By hopping onto the green button on the map, you can toggle all AI movement to work this way.
There are a few other buttons on the board you can press as well, such as a red one that switches on immersive sound effects for the game environment as well as a purple one that assigns any spectating players to one of the teams. The former is an awesome way to make the experience more immersive to play, while the latter comes in very handy if you’re hosting join-in-progress matches on the Custom Games Browser.
There have been tons of incredible Forge maps made since the mapmaking mode’s debut, especially after the start of Halo Infinite Season 5 in October last year gave creators campaign AI to play around with. Out of all of them, though, this is hands down my favorite — and I’m not just saying that because I’m deep into a Baldur’s Gate 3 playthrough with friends (okay, maybe it’s influencing my opinion a little). The ingenuity on display here is wonderful, and is yet another reminder of how awesome Forge is as a tool.
Stellar community-built experiences like this one are part of an large ongoing Halo Infinite renaissance that began late last year, spurred on by the arrival of an excellent Firefight mode, the addition of tons of multiplayer playlists, some long-awaited quality of life improvements, and more. The game’s rating even jumped up to “Mostly Positive” on Steam in December, and has remained there since.
Halo Infinite multiplayer (including Forge and Firefight) is free-to-play, while its campaign is $60 (but often much cheaper) on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One consoles, and Windows PCs. Notably, you can also play it through any tier of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service.