Wesley Fechter
Netherlands
De Goorn
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This is the translation of the review I made for the Dutch website Ameritrash.nl. The original review itself can be found here.

'Hasta la vista, Baby!' and 'I'll be back!', familiar quotes for those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s. Terminator Genisys: The Miniatures Game - The War Against the Machines, is a tactical miniature wargame for two players, which uses the cinematic backdrop of the newest Terminator to transport us to this dystopian universe. Can you save humanity’s future?

Terminator Genisys: The Miniatures Game - The War against Machines




Alessio Cavatore
2015
2 players
River Horse / Warlord Games
30-60 minutes
Combat, Dice Rolling, Point to Point movement


Goal of the game

The background behind Terminator Genisys is that of the Terminator-movies by (originally) James Cameron. In these movies we see that humanity has built a very advanced computer, Skynet. One day, Skynet becomes conscious and decides humanity needs to go extinct. In order to accomplish its goal, Skynet builds various androids, human-shaped machines.

The resistance under guidance of its leader, John Connor, tries to prevent humanities extinction. When time travel becomes possible in this future, Skynet decides to prevent John Connor from ever been born..

In Terminator Genisys, one player will take control of humanities forces, the other player will play as the Skynet’s androids. The aim of a game of Terminator Genisys is scenario dependent, but in general players aim to eliminate all opposing forces.

Setup

Like the goal of the game, setup is partially dependent on the chosen scenario. Out of the box, the game contains three scenarios, with more scenarios available for download online. In addition, the game provides rules to play the game without the use of a prebuilt scenario.
In any case, at the start of the game players will have to determine sides. Dependent on the scenario setup, the players get specific miniatures. A fold-out paper mat is placed on the table and the scenario setup rules are used to place terrain features and miniatures on the map. Then, you are ready to start!



Play

A game of Terminator Gensiys plays over several rounds, until one player manages to fulfil the win conditions of the scenario or eliminates all opposing forces. Each round, players get the chance to execute actions with their miniatures.

At the start of a round, players determine who has the Tactical Edge. Both players roll the Tactical Roll-off, a roll with a standard 8-sided die. The player who rolls highest has the Tactical Edge and decides which player begins activating their miniatures this round.
The player who’s turn it is to activate miniatures, starts with a roll of the Fate die. This is a modified six-sided die, with three 1s, two 2s and 1 ‘Fate’ die-faces. The numbers correspond to the amount of miniatures you’re allowed to activate this turn. However, if you roll a ‘Fate’ result your turn is immediately over and you activate no miniatures.

At the base of each miniature you want to activate, you place one activation marker on its green side. The marker’s green side indicates that the miniatures still have to perform their activations this turn. Once a miniature is activated, its activation must be completed before moving on to another eligible miniature. Once activated, miniature may move and attack (more details follow). After the activation, the miniature’s green marker is flipped to its red side to indicate the miniature has been activated this round.



Movement in Terminator Genisys uses a template system, with 3 different ways to move (crawl, walk and run). To move, you place one end of the appropriate movement template at the base of the miniature, and then place the miniature somewhere along the template. During movement you are allowed to move through friendly, but not through enemy units. You can choose to use two movements during a miniature’s activation, in this case you use the run template for movement. As a consequence of performing a run movement, you lose the option to engage any form of combat except close combat. Terrain features on the map can influence movement. Open terrain doesn’t change movement, but difficult terrain (for example swamps) reduces movement and prevents a player from using the Run movement. Impenetrable terrain does what it says, and has to be navigated around and cannot be crossed. Using the movement templates works very intuitively, as you are allowed to put them down and measure how far to move or decide to change course.

After movement, you get the opportunity to attack. You can of course also decide to attack immediately at the start of your activation, but in that case you forgo the ability to move. Attacking opposing miniatures works using the following easy steps:
- Choose weapons and target
- Make attack rolls
- Take cover
- Damage rolls
- Resolution test.

When choosing a miniature to attack, you will have to make sure the target is legal. A target is legal when your attacking miniature has line of sight, which means that there is no impenetrable terrain in between the attacking and defending miniature. In addition, the defending miniature needs to be within range. You use the movement templates to determine the range of the attack (close combat, point blank or short range). If the target is legal and depending on the range, you use the relevant weapon statistics to roll your attack.

Once you have determined that the target is legal and in range, you roll an amount of skill dice. The amount of skill dice you rolls corresponds to the miniature’s weapon you can attack with at the range you are at and the rate of fire of the weapon. Standard attacks roll 1 skill-die, but higher Rate of Fire allows you to roll more dice. Depending on the range, you need to roll a certain value to hit the defending miniature (close combat 3+, point blank 4+ and short range 5+). If the defending miniature is close to a terrain feature and engaged at point blank or short range, the defending miniature may attempt to take cover. In that case, you roll a six-sided die. At at 4+, the miniature takes cover and your attack fails.

In case your attack(s) hit, you get to roll damage dice per hit. This is dependent on the weapon you are attacking with (four-sided to twelve-sided dice). You reduce the number you’ve rolled with the armor value of the defending miniature; any remaining damage reduces the miniature’s hitpoints. Most miniatures have just one hitpoint and thus are immediately destroyed in case their armor value is exceeded.

Damage rolls can fail when the attacking miniature’s damage roll does not exceed the armor of the defending unit. In this case, the defending unit must perform a Resolution test. In this case, the defending miniature rolls it’s resolution die. If they roll a 1, the miniature retreats from battle. In case of a 6, nothing happens. If the resolution dice result is In between these values, the unit is “reeling”, and receives additional red-sided activation markers until it has two. This makes sure that the miniature cannot attack in subsequent rounds.
Play continues until all miniatures on the map have red-sided activation markers. Because of the use of the Fate die and different amounts of units, this can result in one player activating multiple turns in a row. At the end of a round, all units may remove one of their red-sided activation markers.



Up to this point we have discussed the base rules of the game. There are several ‘advanced’ rules that add depth and complexity. There are ‘Aimed shots’, which allows you to roll a higher skill die during attacks. ‘Ambush’ allows you to activate a unit, but postpone its activation until a later, more opportune moment. 'Opportunity Fire' allows you to interrupt your opponents turn in order to perform an attack. The rules even allow for vehicles, and time travel..

The units themselves can also add addition depth to the game. When androids with the “I’ll be Back” ability are destroyed, they can return to the game as crawlers. Humanity units with “Hasta la Vista, Baby!” ability can perform extra powerful attacks against “reeling” units. In addition, there are commanders that are able to influence miniatures. Oh, and did I tell you that there are miniatures with the keywords agile, fast, extremely fast, resilient, slow, sprint, stabilized, stealth and/or tactical genius?

My opinion
I am a big fan of the story behind the Terminator movies, a more modern interpretation of Asimovs I, Robot. Because of my enjoyment of the franchise, I was very curious to try Terminator Genisys. And I have to say, I loved it.

I think the game does an excellent job translating the movies to this miniature wargame. The game nicely uses Terminator terminology and sentences straight from the movies, for suiting gameplay effects. This really helps set the mood. As a bonus, the game comes with a beautiful rulebook, bursting with pictures from the movies.
Although Skynet units are hard to destroy from humanities perspective, the game —or at least the scenarios— feel very balanced. This is partially due to the way combat is implemented in the game. While the dice system might come across as a bit cumbersome at the start, at a certain point it starts to make sense. Then, it becomes an easy and quick way to resolve combat. Importantly, the dice-rolling mechanisms enhances the tension in the game.
The quality of the components of the game is decent. The miniatures are not the best I have ever seen in a game, but certainly the miniatures are also far from the worst. The rules are clear and the way the scenario’s ramp up in difficulty are challenging. In addition, the rulebook provides various chapters to enhance your experience, by provides guides to build accessories, terrain and how to paint the miniatures.

Terminator Genisys: The Miniature Game – The War Against the Machines is —in my opinion— an amazing game. It’s a must-buy for every Terminator fan, but also a nice game for (new) wargamers. The game has no extremely long setup, but importantly plays quickly and has enough depth to remain interesting for a long time.

All Images have been used with the explicit consent of the publisher
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
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VENI, VIDI, VISA - my reaction on entering my FLGS.
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Pyuredeadbrilliant

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Est. 1949

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Raymond Haaken
Netherlands
Maastricht
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Sounds like a light wargame. Something for starting wargamers to try, with a cool theme. Thanks for the review.
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Wesley Fechter
Netherlands
De Goorn
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Sjeng wrote:
Sounds like a light wargame. Something for starting wargamers to try, with a cool theme. Thanks for the review.


It is Raymond, but don't underestimate the game! It has enough depth and expansion-possibilities to even please the more seasoned wargamers.
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King of the Wood
United Kingdom
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Im an old hand at wargaming and this game has plenty for me to chew on - and its really good fun. I dont think at RRP is has the same value for money as say Mars attack by Mantic...but the rules are very good indeed and the minis well good enough. More variety is coming to. Oh and its Terminators. And the rules treat them as bad asses - fear them!
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Jerry Tresman
United Kingdom
Christchurch
Dorset
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Troll66 wrote:
Im an old hand at wargaming and this game has plenty for me to chew on - and its really good fun. I dont think at RRP is has the same value for money as say Mars attack by Mantic...but the rules are very good indeed and the minis well good enough. More variety is coming to. Oh and its Terminators. And the rules treat them as bad asses - fear them!


It has just been reduced to £29.95 for thwe war aginst the machines version , full manual, playmat , metal Kyle Reese etc.

great value.

I picked up a copy last weekend.
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Alex Aimette
United States
Glenside
Pennsylvania
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I just got a copy on line for $27 bucks...including shipping from UK.

Hopefully, it actually arrives!
 
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