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Friday, July 31, 2015

My newest obsession: MERCS!

Hello folks!

So in the short span of time since my last post my gaming ADD decided to kick in, and long story short I got into yet another miniatures game.


There are plenty of reviews out there, so I won't go into much detail. Essentially it's a small scale near future sci-fi skirmish war game that pits 5 man squads against each other in a firefight. It really appealed to me because I love Infinity, but man is that game dense. I can still play it, but it's definitely taken a back seat due to the amount of rules you encounter. It's not like I don't understand it, I'm just a huge fan of simple mechanics making a deeper game like Malifaux does.

Well, these rules are as simple as it gets for a fully operational war game. Now don't mistake simplicity for being shallow, because once you implement the rules a whole new world opens up. It did what Infinity did - it created a skirmish game to reflect how important positioning is in a firefight and attempted to be as realistic as the medium allows. Granted, I still firmly believe that Infinity gets it as real as possible due to the ARO system. However I feel that MERCs does one thing so much better: their system makes it easy to grasp as a game with its mechanics. It's so much simpler to understand how to utilize your models to achieve superiority than it is at first for Infinity. Infinity is not a newbie-friendly game. Some may be able to argue that its core rules are simple enough, and that is true. When I demo the game and keep it to simple duplicated line troops and one leader that's a HI then yes, the game is easy and fun. Once you reach the competitive scene it's a lot more to swallow, and my eyes will glaze over and sheer number of options and meta preparation you will need.

Another comparison can be made for their similarities. There's a famous line on the Infinity forums that states, "It's not your list - it's you." What they mean is that your list isn't what makes you win, unlike most other games out there where your army composition can make or break your win. Profiles are similar across the board in Infinity, it's how you utilize your options that grab the win. MERCs is exactly the same, where assault troopers generally act the same across the board and victory goes to the one who utilizes movement and positions the best. Also, list rarely becomes an issue considering that the squad size caps at 5 models with no duplicates, and to date there are only 7 different models per faction.

On paper MERCs may sound limited or gimmicky, but it is definitely not. I think that it's one of those games you'll have to truly research and participate in before you see the value it has. Oh, and value? The rules are free (sans three - yes three - rules, which are easily obtained after watching a YouTube video or two) online and the starters are available for as low as $40 on Amazon ($64 retail). It comes with literally everything you need and then some - all the cards, all the dice, and 6 models of which you only utilize 5, along with the quick start rules and 2 reference cards. It even comes with terrain cards since the game can be played on 2D terrain (which they offer free online as well!). I've never seen a complete starter kit for players in the war game scene, and this one does it and then gives you an extra model to boot.

I bought the FCC House 9 faction set and the rules. All it took was a passing mention to my friend Reuben and he was sold! Immediately he got the CCC and we are all in. If we were so inclined to, we could actually not spend another dime on the game and still play a complete and enjoyable game. No other game does that. But that probably won't stop me from getting more anyway.

Anyway, enough with the drooling!

So with this game pounding my brain every second I started working on a few things for my first games. It turns out the game usually plays on a 3x2 or 2x2 board. Well I finally get an excuse to roll out the Deadzone 2x2 mat! (I wish I liked that game more, see my review and find out why!)

I put on some other unfinished terrain projects and presto! We have a fully functioning table for MERCs!

I've been working on the crate set I bought off Reuben a while back, pictured behind my unpainted FCC squad.

In the spirit of portability I wanted to make scatter terrain for the MERCs to snap to (an awesome mechanic from the game!). I got some old GW bases that are very flat, split some cork up and added barrels from GW and Tamiya for cover. I made it where all of them have room on any side to fit a base on, either when next to it or on the actual terrain. The only one that was a problem was the wall piece, which I started with it being fine but then decided to add cork for the floor and now it's harder for back heavy models to stand on it, but on the flatter side it's no big deal.

Later I'm going to add sand for more texture and to fill in gaps. Painting shouldn't be too hard with an airbrush and drybrush.

With all the terrain I've placed on the table it looks like it will be plenty enough for a game - I'm actually worried about it being too much. But we'll see how it goes. I definitely don't want to make it where any shooting will be impossible due to so much cover, but then again if you do a good enough job at flanking all the available cover can be negated (it's not like they're in bunkers or anything).

I'm very excited for this game!