MERCS 2.0 Impressions

I've been fooling around with the MERCS 2.0 rules and my MERCS Recon minis. I bought a couple of data card packs for the various factions (before they were released as a free PDF) but really didn't have the time to do anything with them until my friend Steve very kindly offered to paint some of my Recon minis for me.

My own (quite pathetic) efforts are in the first 3 rows.

So armed with them, I managed some solo (as in play 2-handed) games just to familiarise myself with the basic rules, first with 3 minis a side (as recommended in the "getting started" section of the rule book... 

... before moving on to the full 5 minis a side with all the rules (Bounding, Suppression, Overwatch).

The infinity terrain does look nice and is perfect for a quick game of MERCS.

By then, I was a bit more confident so was able to teach the game to some of my gaming buddies...

The game is small and portable. This was at our local McD's.

First impressions: I like the game. To me, it's Infinity Lite. Doesn't have all the bells and whistles of Infinity, but it does scratch that futuristic SF skirmish itch. Plus there's no meta-game list building. Just pick the 5 MERCS for your team and mission and get playing.

Setup is quick. You do want to set up the table so there's no obvious fire lanes, and you do need some scatter terrain but you don't need the dense cover that's often so necessary for Infinity.

Rules are pretty basic and don't get in the way of the game, so that's good. 3 unique points about the game are :

  1. Using the card template for movement and other effects (firing, AoE effects etc.). YMMV whether you prefer this method or the more traditional measure-with-a-tape + blast template method.
  2. Initiative/activation sequence. Roll a d10 modified by reaction modifiers (if any) and off you go. Keeps it fresh and unpredictable and certainly keeps you on your toes tactics wise even as you keep your eye on the overall strategy and objective. Again, YMMV whether you prefer this ... or not.
  3. Snap to Cover (or as MegaCon like to call it Snap2Cover). Basically once an activation, your MERCS can push an extra base length above and beyond their normal movement allowance if there is any cover within reach. So you can do neat things like move, fire then Snap2Cover out of LoS so the enemy can't fire back at you. I like it.

Other than that, the game rewards good tactics. Bounding overwatch, suppressive fire, combined arms approaches (grenades, smoke etc.) and while there are more traditional game mode scenarios provided (king of the hill, area control for points etc.) I much prefer a more narrative driven scenario with clearly defined goals and objectives that actually give me a reason for playing. And the full rulebook does provide that, with a 9 (or 10) narrative scenario-based campaign. Which I haven't played yet, of course 😜

TL; DR : I like the game. It's fast to set up and play, and scratches the Infinity itch for me. And as much as I'm not a big fan of their new plastic models (too much flash due to poor selection of manufacturing partner) I prefer them over some of Infinity's fiddlier metal models where for the life of me I can't attach the parts because they are too thin and I can't pin them.

So it's a pity that due to whatever missteps MegaCon made, they company has shut down and the game is dead or dying.