12 Mar 2015

To Play on the Table (part 4) - Table Top

EDIT: Here is the link to part 1, part 2, and part 3 of this weeks breakdowns for the more popular games on the table.

Here is the preamble -

Unless it's a Games Workshop product or otherwise mentioned I found all my prices on meeplemart and they are all priced in the Canadian Dollar.

Below you'll see the suggested table size, average length of a game, and the size those games are played at. I’ve also included the sizes and lengths of listed tournament style events. I've included the price of tokens, templates, and rulers needed to play at tournament events. For most tournaments each player is required to have the minimum of all the templates, tokens, rulebooks, and non-proxy miniatures.

I will not add in cost for paints and tools - you're just going to guess based on the size and count of the listed models. The time to paint each miniature will also be ignored as each reader will build and paint at their own level of quality and speed. Transportation of miniatures is also a cost that is not included in the evaluation below. The variety of transportation options is too varied to be included in the comparison.

Terrain will not be included in the comparison. In many cases, players will buy some terrain to start up but afterwards terrain is free to use when playing at most local game shops (LGS). I'll mark down size of table and how heavy the table is filled with terrain. Readers should look at and determine for themselves the extra costs of terrain if they are prone to playing more games outside of an LGS.
Please pay attention to the notes at the bottom of each entry for more details.

The scenario for my comparison is:

Two folks are wanting to get into a new miniature game. They would like to put together their miniatures, play a few matches, before jumping into a few matches at the local game store. As this is not their first miniature table top game, they are assumed to already have all the paint, glues, brushes, and other tools needed to build and play the game.

They would like to play between 2 and 5 games before playing at the store. They expect to be ready after a dozen store games, at one game a week in three months. During this time they expect to buy more minis to round out their respective forces after some experience on the table.

Their goal is to be ready to play at a large non-expert level tournament by the end of the year. They don't expect to do well at the tournament but at least be ready to participate and have fun.

Today let's look at two games…


Megacon Games is a small company with less than six employees. They have put out two successful Kickstarters and their flagship game MERCS is due to get a second edition of the rules any day. MERCS is unique in that players will only need to buy a single starter box. Last year they released a seventh miniature for each faction and they have announced that a reinforcement pack will be due out this year. These new packs will bring the model count for each faction to 10 miniatures by providing the cards and miniature for the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th miniature of the faction. Players build their force by simply deciding what miniature they will bring – there is not cost system with MERCS, each miniature is worth the same as the rest of them.

Players will play a scenario match with their chosen miniatures. Scenarios will determine size of forces and objectives to complete. Most tournaments are played with 5 miniatures per match and in most cases players will be allowed to change their chosen miniatures between each match.
Megacon Games has started to branch out with the MERCS license. A new board game that uses an expanded set of miniature alongside the current miniatures is about to be released after a successful Kickstarter. MERCS also has a dice game and the ALPHA rules for a MERCS RPG are free online.

Play Space – 3’x3’ (Medium)*
Store Game: 30min – 1 hour at 3 miniatures
Tournament: 45min – 1 hour at 5 miniatures**

Core Rule Book 40$***

MERCS Movement Card – 10$****
CCC Starter – 54$
1 Assault Leader
1 Assault Trooper
1 Sniper
1 Heavy Assault
1 Demolition
1 Incinerator

MERCS Movement Card – 10$****
USCR Starter – 54$
1 Commissar
1 Assault
1 Sniper
1 Behemoth
1 Medic
1 Booster

Final Verdict:
Each player will only be spending 65$ adding the seventh miniature to their current faction will only cost an additional 9$. The quick rules are enough to reference rules in most tournament cases and from speaking with players only the tournament organizer and the odd player will have a full rule book. The small size of the board, the short length of the game, and the low number of miniatures has made the game popular enough to become successful. The only issue most players have is purchasing an independent plastic movement card or two for tournaments. There is a two-payer started to be released in the near future.

Expected final cost of the game: 75$ per player

* Players can play games of tables of any size – 3x3 is the recomended
** There is no point cost in MERCS, players simply pick the number of miniatures that they will play with.
*** Each starter set comes with stat cards for each miniature, these are also downloadable from the Megacon games website.
**** Each stat card is a movement card, but most players will want the plastic card in order to avoid damaging the cardboard stat cards that come with the sets

Anima Tactics

Cypher Studios is the producer and developer of the Anima Tactics game. The setting was created by the Anima Project Studios and Carlos B. García Aparicio. Edge studios produced the RPG but in the late 2000’s Fantasy Flight Games took over publishing of the RPG. Anima is a anime setting inspired visually and thematically by fantasy games like Suikoden and Final Fantasy, and anime like Attack on Titan and Full Metal Alchemist.

As a skirmish game players will play with close to six miniatures. Each miniature has a faction (Light, Dark, and Neutral) and an organization in which they are loyal to. Player will build their list based on either the faction or by organization. Factions have a larger count of models but organizations have a smaller list that can mix between Light, Dark, and Neutral faction models.
I’ve not played Anima Tactics but I hear it’s a fun game. I’ve seen quite a few of the miniatures float around the various Ottawa metas.

Play Space – 4’x4’ (Light to Medium)
Store Game: 30min – 1 hour at 150 levels 
Tournament: 45min – 1 hour at 250 levels

Core Rule Book 45$ or FREE*

Azure AllianceAzure Alliance Box Set (250 levels) – 45$**
1 Hel
1 Jerome
1 Deadmoon
1 Adolf
1 Frey
1 Freya

The ChurchThe Church Box Set (265 levels) – 45$***
1 Alis
1 Luzbell
1 Grey
1 Azriel
1 Nero
1 Xavier

Final Verdict:
Each player will only need a box set to play cost them 45$ each. Players will look to expand and try out other miniatures and combinations for their factions or organizations. Increasing the model collection for more specific miniatures would cost around 20$-30$ if players wanted to swap out a few miniatures.

Expected final cost of the game: 75$ per player

* Rules are free online
** Hel, Jerome, and Deadmoon add an additional one time cost of 5 levels due to being part of a Team `Lords of the Abyss` which is already included in the box set points. Adolf, Frey, and Freya add an additional one time cost of 5 levels due to being part of a Team `Puppet Masters` which is already included in the box set points.