MERCS is a “near future” Sci-Fi tabletop skirmish game. Jon and I picked up the rulebook for this game on a whim from during one of our many trips to Meeplemart and now most of our gaming group is playing every Sunday. This will be the first of three posts that will serve as a general overview of the game of MERCS. I’ll start with this introduction post which will be followed with a faction overview and then a gameplay overview.
The general gist of the backstory for the game is that in the near future the world governments have fallen. In their place has risen the giant, multinational corporations known as “Megacons”. These Megacons have hired military forces known as MERCS. You play as one of these factions and fight the rival Megacons.
The game is fairly unique in that it’s a small skirmish game with very very simple rules. Games are played with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 5 models per side, but the developers didn’t use this small model count as an excuse to make an overcomplicated/over-detailed game system.
As I mentioned the games are small, a ‘full’ game is only 5 models per side. The playing surface is suggested to be 2’x3′, but is easily played on as small as a 2’x2′. We played a 3v3 game on a 18″ x 24″ table the other night and it worked perfectly.
Each faction, or “Megacon” only has 6 different units/models to choose from. Instead of choosing units from a book, each faction has a ‘deck’ of 6 cards that have all your unit’s stats printed on them. In general, each Megacon has 1 of each of 7 classes: Leader, Assault, Medic, Specialist, Sniper, and Medic. Of course not all units fit into these classes but they are used as general guidelines. (For example, the USCR’s “sniper” has a Harpoon Anchor gun that pins models in place!) At the beginning of the game you choose which units will be hitting the board, and which one(s) will be staying home.
There are no rulers needed to measure anything in this game. All model movement and weapon ranges are measured using the unit cards. These cards also have all your Unit personal and weapon stats on them, so aside from a few dice, tokens, and some terrain, you need nothing else to play this game.
To move a model, you place the large semicircle in cut into the bottom of the card around the model’s 30mm base and move your model to one of the 3 other cut-out semicircles on the card. The game also features a cool “Snap to cover” feature that allows you to ‘snap’ up to one base width to be base to base with cover or a friendly model.
There are no charts to use in the game. Almost every roll in the game is done by taking a base number off your unit’s card, adding or subtracting any modifiers and then trying to roll equal to or over that number on a d10. Since MERCS uses a d10 based system it gives a much wider and meaningful range of modifiers than the usual d6.
For more information about MERCs check out their website at www.mercsminis.com.
Next up – an overview of the various MERCS Megacons.