Recommend
5 
 Thumb up
 Hide
11 Posts

MERCS» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Great plan for great game system rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Calvin Daniels
Canada
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Gaming with miniatures has a long, and proud tradition.

People have been re-playing the great battle of history with small lead soldiers for decades and enjoying every minute of it.

As a gaming option miniatures offer more than just game play as many find equal enjoyment in the painting of the pieces often going for minute historical detail in the paint scheme.

Today there are a wide variety of miniature gaming options, some, over time leading to massive armies of miniatures and requiring large tables on which to battle. Those battles can takes hours.

There are however options which require fewer miniatures, reducing costs, and lessening the time and space to play.

A newcomer to what is often referred to as 'skirmish' gaming is MERCS, a game played in a future earth setting where corporations control large areas of the world.

The game is designed to be played with a small number of miniatures per player and that is to start, its greatest strength.

Brian Shotton with MERCS said while there are many miniature game options their new offerings is one players can get into easily without a huge cash outlay.

"MERCS is a small model count game that is easy on the wallet. There is no escalation of participation; those MERCS you buy today will be viable members of your team for the duration of the game," he said via email.
“As to timing, there has never been a better time to get into MERCS. The starter kits make it extremely easy. Our website has been redesigned to better support players and stores. We have articles in magazines; videos on major miniature gaming sites; eight factions are out now; the seventh models for all the factions will be out before the end of the year; the list goes on and on."

While low cost might attract some to try MERCS it needs to offer something beyond price point.

Shotton said he feels it does.

"The game is very balanced. It is tactical in a way that makes sense in a 'real world' sort of way. A game of MERCS is fast and fun. The models are amazing, as is our fledgling community," he said.

Shotton is right the miniatures are finely detailed, and have a look not so different from today's soldiers.

Yes there is a sci-fi aspect to MERCS, but it is not exactly the focus of things. That may not appeal as much to diehard sci-fi-gamers, but it does allow a closer tie to realism others will like.

There is also a lot of attention to detail with MERCS, likely because it is very much an effort of love for its creators.

"There are only two of us, Keith and myself, and we have day jobs. This has its disadvantages certainly, but it also has advantages. We aren't releasing 10 models a month to support a staff. We release about 20 minis a year to support a game. We have a fantastic game," offered Shotton.
The smaller scale is by design to keep the game accessible for anyone.
"When I first started in mini-gaming I was okay with spending money," said Shotton. "My thinking on that has changed over the years. I created MERCS to play a game that was tactical and as different as my next opponent. I don't want people to have to spend a bunch of money every year just to be competitive, nor do I want to make anyone's MERCS obsolete and need replaced."

The neatest thing about MERCS is that you are fielding very small units, which heightens the need to good tactics. With a five-man squad the base of a game if you lose one man, that is 20 per cent of your force.

Being reliant on tactics means skilled players will win more often than not and skills can be learned and improved. That is highly compelling in terms of re-playability.

Shotton noted the game is not designed to evolve to mass-army play.
"Each MERCS faction will cap at 10 minis," he said. "There will be options to play the game with two squads of five, but the core game will stay five-versus-five. No giant vehicles. No big army game. The depth of MERCS is gameplay and squad selection. Each squad will get their seventh member this year (the eighth and ninth in 2013)."

More good news about MERCS is that there is a plan for steady, but affordable for players, growth.

"We'll have every faction out by 2014," said Shotton.

At GENCON they were releasing the Texico and ISS factions. In early 2013 plans call for the release of House 4 of the FCC, and later next year they'll release EU, Inc and EIC factions, explained Shotton, adding "2014 brings the GCC (the 12th faction) and a surprise (13th) faction.

"That is the extent of the MegaCons for the most part. Any expansion will come in the form of addition members for each faction and campaigns that alter the world over time."

More good news comes from the likelihood of MERCS coming up with campaign rules where characters can grow in skills over a series of games.
"Short answer, yes," said Shotton. "This is something I have been toying with for over a year. When all of the factions are out (2014), we have planned on revising the ruleset and providing an all-inclusive book that same year. I think it will be in that book."

That may be a while to wait, but by getting into MERCS now players are in on the ground floor of a great game.

As it stands the hardcover rule book is detailed and well-laid out.
The rules are pretty straight forward, and movement using a unique card as the measure is quick and simple.

It really is a game with far too many good things going for it not to get involved.

For more information check out www.mercsminis.com

-- The review appeared originally in the Yorkton This Week newspaper
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
"GAME OVER, MAN. GAME OVER!"
Denmark
Aarhus
Unwashed and somewhat slightly dazed...
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I am slowly sneaking closer and closer...
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Derek Anderson
United States
Ennis
Montana
flag msg tools
There is nothing better than playing board games with my 4 sons!
badge
There is nothing better than playing board games with my 4 sons!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It is a great game with awesome minis!!!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bwian, just
United States
Longmont
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm also impressed with the plan behind this system; I would be perfectly happy if more skirmish games should follow this model. Unfortunately, the actual game didn't impress me all that much.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Derek Anderson
United States
Ennis
Montana
flag msg tools
There is nothing better than playing board games with my 4 sons!
badge
There is nothing better than playing board games with my 4 sons!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Bwian wrote:
I'm also impressed with the plan behind this system; I would be perfectly happy if more skirmish games should follow this model. Unfortunately, the actual game didn't impress me all that much.


What about it didn't you like? Also, how many games have you played?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bwian, just
United States
Longmont
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
First off, I should explain why I risked thread derail with my earlier post.

This review spends a lot of time talking about the business model behind MERCS. I was also impressed with the business model, and thought the game sounded interesting from the free quick-start rules. So I picked up a rulebook, and some card packs that happened to be on clearance. Then I finally got a chance to play in a demo of the game, and now I'm wondering if I should have paid less attention to the business model. Which ties back to a review that does so...

Cardboard Carnage wrote:
What about it didn't you like?

I found the movement system counter-intuitive. I don't understand why you are required to move the full length of a card at a time. In a table crowded with terrain (as recommended in the rules), this became especially onerous.

Then you add in bounding(?), which allows you to increase your movement by 33-100%. You can do this by moving at a later initiative point. Since initiative is randomly determined, though, you might be giving nothing up in order to accomplish this. Or you might be keying off someone you can't see or interact with.

I found the various firing options confusing. Some units can move and fire, some have to do nothing for a full turn before they can fire. Suppression and overwatch sound good, but didn't play out as I was expecting either.

Cardboard Carnage wrote:
Also, how many games have you played?

Two, both demonstration games at a convention. I had read the rules a few months before hand, but mostly had to be retaught for the demos. I went back over the rules afterward, though, and didn't see that we had made any mistakes.

I'll agree that I haven't explored the game in depth. But it didn't seem to mesh into anything I could get a handle on, and the second game was no better than the first. I got some things: my Kemvar assassin took out the enemy leader, first casualty in both games. But that didn't require any firing: just using the figure as it was clearly intended to be used.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Derek Anderson
United States
Ennis
Montana
flag msg tools
There is nothing better than playing board games with my 4 sons!
badge
There is nothing better than playing board games with my 4 sons!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The card movement thing is a bit strange, but haven't found it to be a bad problem, I did get one of the plastic movement templates rather than use the card... In another thread we had been toying with the idea of scrapping the movement card for a tape measure, something like they can move up to 4" per turn and if the end their movement within an inch of cover they can 'snap' to the cover, kind of simulating a run for some cover and not quite making it, so your mini can dive into the cover if they are just out of reach...

Suppression and over watch are not good for killing, but are good for keeping the enemy where you want them.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Shotton
United States
Westfield
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
You don't have to move the full length of the card if you are near terrain. I believe it is on page 44, Change in Elevation. Regardless, if there is a change of elevation near you (terrain/cover/that which can be snapped to) you can Move pretty much anywhere you want using your MP as a guide, but not really moving to the circles on the cards per se.

Also, if in terrain, the cards can be turned sideways and used as a tape-measure/ruler of sorts with the hash-marks.

I guess what I am saying it is more flexible than the demo you did suggested.

Likewise, in the Basic game Initiative can be limiting. However, in a game using Bounding and Suppression, you can control your Initiative almost completely in addition to playing with your opponent's activation. Initiative in MERCS is quite flexible with Personal Abilities, Hold, and Bounding.

Still, I appreciate the feedback.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Josh Derksen
Canada
Toronto
ON
flag msg tools
designer
armoredgear7.net
badge
Heroes of the Aturi Cluster dockingbay416.com/campaign
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
BShotton wrote:
I guess what I am saying it is more flexible than the demo you did suggested.

Likewise, in the Basic game Initiative can be limiting. However, in a game using Bounding and Suppression, you can control your Initiative almost completely in addition to playing with your opponent's activation. Initiative in MERCS is quite flexible with Personal Abilities, Hold, and Bounding.


For a game with what appears to have very simple rules, the depth of MERCS is the reason I got into it back in February.

Some units, like the KemVar Assassin, will definitely seem overpowered the first couple of times you play with them. Even once you learn ways of dealing with the Assassin, he will have a warping effect on gameplay and alter your opponent's setup and plans some.

Each unit only has a couple of abilities and a couple of weapons, but the tactical options of suppression/overwatch/bounding (advanced rules) combined with learning how to maneuver to get your firing numbers low (by stacking elevation/flank/leadership/short range) takes some time to figure out and use effectively. Done right, every unit on your team is a potential killing machine.

Everyone I have taught Mercs to has initially thought the game was heavily luck dependent, until they learned to position and develop strategies around the randomized initiative. A few good (or bad) rolls can definitely impact the game, but good play will mitigate this.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Cobb
United States
Conway
Arkansas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This seems less like a review and more like an interview/marketing ploy. I learned very little about the actual game.

How detailed is the system, how does it compare to other systems, can i play out of the box or do I have to buy the rules and then also buy 10 minis, pros and cons, ad infinitum. Not much of a review.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Vince
Germany
Berlin
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'd also like to read an updated review. I love the models but as far as I heard/read the rules aren't so hot. How does it compare to Infinity, Malifaux or Warmachine?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.