12 Feb 2013

Table Top - The Smaller Games part 2


In their own words...

"MERCS is a fantastic near future Sci-Fi tabletop skirmish game. Fast moving, with a strong emphasis on good tactics, and supported by ultra dynamic miniatures, MERCS teaches inexperienced players solid fundamental gaming skills and rewards good players with advanced realistic combat action."

MERCS is very unique in many of the classic tropes of the game by throwing those basic conventions away.

One thing that I like about these smaller games is the smaller number of minis to paint and prepare before I can get to the game. This hobby has way to much bare metal and we are all guilty of this crime. The games are so good and the desire to play overtakes the desire to paint them up. Yet when I do get my little soldiers all done up and I'm playing on a fully set table the game becomes fucking magic.

CCC - Starter Pack
Dice, Rule Cards, Ref Sheet and all six Minis of the faction

Yeah, 'fucking magic'. It's that awesome. Come to terms with the discriptor, it's happened.

In the case of MERCS each faction has only six models. When you set up a game, you pick the number of the models you are to play. 1v1, 3v3, etc...

So that's the first thing, no points. For those new to the game, most of our 'battles' have a point cap. Each miniature will have a value and you select a model based on structure allowances and point cost. The simple you pick a dude and I pick a dude is refreshing and scary.

MERCS is scary. They just broke one of the basic tropes of the hobby and questions of balance and fairness spring to the choir as they shout down those who bring the soft interlude of MERCS. It's spooky and yet it gets worse or better depending on your view. Hold on tight...

No Rulers.

No Measuring tapes.

No Inches or Centimetres.

The devil or the saint... ?
Now I've not played the game, I'm only looking at the rules and how the game is appealing to me in order to decide if this another game I want to jump into. I'm not sure how this measuring device works in a game but the video below is pretty neat. The measuring card is also the card that has all your stats for the mini. Not fully sold... yet.

Verdict -

I like the simple selection of minis. I like the free online quick game guide, faction reference cards and the full campaign support. The minis looks great and I have a mini lover hard-on for the Kem-Var.
Kem-Var Starter
6 Sneaky minis with dice, rules ref sheet, and cards
The full campaign support is awesome and one of the stronger elements that has captured me to actually invest in the game outside of pure theory or simple wants. Infinity is one of the best games out there and it took them years to get behind campaign support hurting their presence and keeping them smaller and from becoming a huge force to rival Privateer Press and Games Workshop. Privateer Press has the seasonal, four times a year campaign and the annual rules with Steamroller.

The fear of the measuring card and unbalanced rules to no points are pretty big but the quality of the product has kept my attention. The current cost of a starter box is $65 US, not bad... you get dice, six minis and the cards. The rule book is only $35.

When I jump into a game I expect to spend $150 to play. At the current prices, I could pick up the main rule book and 2 factions. Not bad for smaller game.

So when I get the new job and the future is better established there is a chance I'll be looking at MERCS with my hand full of cash. I just wish it was sooner.