Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sync's [USCR] Squad finished!

I think they guys came out better than my CCC - painting the whites was a pain, but I'm happy with the results, so I think all those layers of white were worth it! I think they're a really well designed faction, both on the shelf and on the board, and the Behemoth model makes the perfect monstrous centerpiece for the faction. 

I've given them snow bases, as the USCR hail from Russia and Alaska, so it was fluffy and appropriate. I was asked how I did the bases, so I'll write up a short How-To and post it when I get the chance.

Here are Sync's USCR!

Sync out.

Monday, May 30, 2011

[USCR] Booster finished!

I admit openly that painting faces is something beyond my ability - I just don't have the patience or skill of hand required for it. Still, I think he turned out alright, even though he's ugly. Nothing wrong with ugly, especially if you kick this much ass.

I've based him up with some snow themed bases - since taking these photos I decided the snow on this guy's base was a little thin so I added another layer to it.

A few people have expressed their dislike of this model - I actually think he's quite original and I haven't had the chance to paint another model like him. I've taken the full squad photos, and I'll post them as soon as I get the chance. Anyways, here's the last of my USCR - the Booster!

Sync out.

Sefadu and Keiwai Waza News: Hand Cannon Online

Capsfan34, a veteran MERC, was able to get an interview from Brian Shotton which detailed the upcoming factions - Sefadu and Keizai Waza. The interview was mostly personal questions, which Brian was very refreshingly open about, but did contain some information in regards to the new factions. I've decided to make a summary of the news in regards to upcoming factions, so read on for spoilers.

To see more of the faction artwork, click here for Sefadu and click here for Keizai Waza.

Find the full interview here, and the upcoming Megacons are due for release:
  • Sefadu: "right around the corner"
  • Keiwai Waza: mid-July


Brian Shotton, from the Hand Cannon Online Interview: 
"My favorite MERCS archetype is the Sefadu Assault Leader. He is vital to the success of the whole squad. In the end, making that particular skill more unique really puts a spotlight on him. He has a Pulse Spear that when it hits acts as a targeting assist, certain other members of Sefadu receive bonuses to their FN. The cool thing about the spear attack is that it functions like an at range melee attack. So, even at range the FN and result is calculated like a melee attack. It works really well, and really allows Sefadu to run and gun. They are so fast."

"Sefadu is a fast faction. You’re never really safe from them. They can Move so far and still attack with precision, that it is dangerous to get too isolated against them. Sefadu’s Corp Abilities are Fearless: Suffer no Penalty to successful Courage checks, and may still act at -2 if Courage check is failed; and Mobile: The Fire & Move CCM FN penalty is reduced by 1 (+1 instead of +2). They are extremely quick and unlike other factions, should use Fire & Move as often as they can as long as they focus fire with the Leader. The Leader’s spear acts as a targeting assist beacon for the assault class weapons. The Medic and Demo get bonuses to hit anyone Blooded by the Spear. Combined with the Mobile CA, Sefadu is really effective as long as the Leader is functional.
They are extremely fun to play and easy to pick up for beginners."

Brian Shotton, from a forum post:
Their armor ranges from 0 to 2. I don't have anything in front of me, but I want to say that three of the sefadu have 1 armor. Two have 2. And the Berserker has 0.
Armor Value 0 has no Armor Failure. He will always have maximum MP.

Keizai Waza

Brian Shotton, from the Hand Cannon Online Interview:
"Not so with Waza. Keizai Waza is true to the term Waza: meaning art. They take a certain amount of finesse to play. They are by far the most complicated faction I have created. Beginners be warned. They have a tactical nuke which is extremely powerful, but pretty hard to activate and even more difficult to take full advantage of. It takes pinpoint timing to even launch the missile, and all the while the Forward Observer is in mouth of the lion so-to-speak."

"To win with Waza, you need to completely understand all the abilities they bring to the table and you have to be thinking two moves ahead of your opponent."

Sync out.

Friday, May 27, 2011

[USCR] Commissar finished!

As always, I've saved my squad leader for last - the Commissar. I really like how this squad has turned out, and they look awesome standing strong as a group.

Again, he's fairly similar to the other USCR units, and was still a pleasure to paint. I really like his confident, dominant pose, which is entirely appropriate for a squad leader. My Booster arrived in the mail earlier this week, and he's nearly done - so that'll round off the squad nicely.

Onto the pics!

Sync out.

Counters and Maps Teaser Pic

Brian posted a Twitpic of the official MERCS 2D Terrain Maps and Counters!

There's a post on the MERCS Facebook page too, but here's the pic for your convenience:

We've got the two maps that we've seen throughout the Rulebook and Conventions/Demos, but also we can see a range of counters. I have no idea what some are for, but here are the ones I can guess at:
  • Red Blood Drops with 1 & 2 are Blood Counters
  • Grey and Black Shattered Shields for Armour Failure
  • Blue and White 'Harpoons' for USCR Anchoring
  • Green and White 'Shuttlecocks' for FCC Irradiated Ammo
  • Grey and White +2 & +1 for Initiative Modifiers
Some of those have to be Bounding Counters, but I can't figure out which ones!

In the meantime if you're looking for some MERCS counters, Phildeb has made some which he has shared with the community - Thanks Phildeb! Find them here.

Being the fanboy that I am I'm looking forward to the release of this official MERCS Merchandise! Thanks for the teaser Brian :)

Sync out.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

[USCR] Sniper finished!

Painting the sniper was very similar to painting the USCR Trooper - it's pretty much the same figure in a different pose with slight variations in equipment. The gun is a little different, he's got some chain-coil ammo on his belt, and obviously the pose is different.

Still, he's a cool looking mini and plays really interestingly on the board - while the CCC Sniper shoots hard hitting bullets at the highest weapon strength in game, the USCR Sniper shoots the weakest shots in game, and shoots without intent on dealing damage. The USCR Sniper's shots 'anchor' the target in place, pinning them down and reducing their mobility. This allows other units, like the Behemoth, a better chance at hitting a sitting duck.

Anyways, onto the photos!

Sync out.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Order From Defiant Arrived!

After entertaining a slew of emails from me, Dan maintained the high level of communication and customer service that makes Defiant Gaming outstanding. I ordering this on Friday morning and it came through on Monday morning, which is excellent considering Australia Post doesn't operate on weekends - so Dan must've put that shipment through as soon as he got my order! I tell everyone I can this - If Defiant stock it, get it from them!

With the realisation that my USCR would soon be finished, I put through an order to get me up to date on my MERCS factions. In my current MERCS collection I've got the rulebook, CCC models and faction cards, and the USCR models (excluding the Booster) and faction cards.
Time to hook me up with some KemVar and FCC! A few things though:
  • I don't really like the FCC Faction Models - I've expressed this before, but they're just not the sci-fi looking models I enjoy painting. After careful deliberation, I finally decided on the models I want to proxy as FCC. I'll paint them up and post photos when they're done - I wanna keep the models I've chosen as a surprise, so stay tuned!
  • The KemVar Faction Cards have errata on several of the cards, and new cards are expected within the next few months. I don't want to buy the cards now, only to have to buy a new set next month! It would burn me if the updated cards were released soon after I bought the current cards - I know it's only AU$6.92, but re-buying Faction Cards isn't something I can budget right now. Besides, having 3 factions to play with should hold me over until the Keizai Waza and Sefadu are released.

My Order
This is what came in the mail - prompt and speedy delivery from Defiant Gaming:

KemVar Squad (5 original models) AU$43.25
FCC Faction Cards AU$6.92
USCR Booster AU$8.65
Chessex Translucent Purple D10 (10) AU$8.11
P3 Work Hobby Brush AU$6.06

I needed the USCR Booster to round off my squad, as I only had the Commissar, Trooper, Sniper and Behemoth. I think the Medic looks too similiar to the Sniper, and the Booster kicks ass.
I decided to get a set of D10s, even though I was waiting for the official MERCS merchandise, which includes faction-specific dice. We've been playing with just two d10, which seems to slow down play significantly, and purple seemed like a good choice because it doesn't currently favor any faction and a bright color is easier to spot on the board.
I also needed a new painting brush, as my old Citadel brush isn't doing the job anymore.
As I said earlier I want to keep the models I'm using as FCC a bit of a secret, so I'll post them once they're done up and painted.

I'm really excited, can't wait to get home and start painting - 10 new models and brand new loots for hobbying!

Sync out.

[USCR] Behemoth finished!

This is my favorite MERCS miniature so far, he really captures the size and scale of the monsterous force on the board that is the Behemoth!

His massive hammer, shoulder guns and his somewhat disproportionate physique work well to contribute to the overall feel of the model - when I take some squad shots, you'll be able to see just how big he is compared to the rest of the USCR squad.

His awesomeness is offset by slow speed and massive bulk which make him difficult to use in game - it's hard to get him in position to blast with this full-automatic shoulder cannons, and getting him into melee to swing Mjolnir is definitely a challenge. He's also much taller and wider than other models, so he's quite easy to get LOS on.

Still - my favorite MERCS so far!

Sync out.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

2D Terrain: Sewers

My buddy and I decided to start playing MERCS on our lunch breaks! We both work within two blocks of each other, and after some scouting around the city we found a board game cafe we could play at during lunch (we're allowed to play there as long as we buy a drink).

It's definitely not feasible to bring my battleground to work, so we had to develop a 2D Terrain map.
After a few sketches I wasn't really happy with and a few ideas that fizzled out in my head, I came up with the concept of an encounter fought in a city's underground sewer channels. It may have been from growing up watching TMNT, but this concept quickly flourished into a scenario, and the battleground basically drew itself. Here are some photos to help with the imagery:

The battleground I came up with has plenty of pillars which go to roof (hence completely blocking LOS), low-walls for half-cover, and elevation changes to add cover and make movement a bit more interesting. It's only a 16"x24" board (due to printable paper sizes at my work) but that's fine since we want fast games to fit in our 1 hour lunch break.
So here is the symmetrical battleground I came up with - I've always thought symmetrical designs to be the fairest, as both teams have to negotiate the same terrain, but obviously this isn't as realistic.


Click the picture for a close up

The different colors represent different elevation changes:
  • Ground - the actual sewer channels, this is lowest ground (light green)
  • ER1 -  elevated above running sewerage, the concrete walkways of the sewer (light brown)
  • ER2 - low-walls for half-cover on the walkway (dark brown)
  • ER4 - pillars extending to the roof of the sewers, hence completely blocking LOS (black)
  • The orange marks on either side represent the ladders of the manhole entrances, which mark the deployment point for each MERCS. MERCS don't deploy in the standard way in this scenario - all MERCS start off the board, and on turn 1 when they are activated, they begin their turn from that point. This represents each MERCS dropping down the manhole as they come into play.

On the city streets above the sewers, the CCC and USCR have come to a deadlock. Neither can gain ground on the other, as each side has secured their area giving no opportunity for strategic penetration.
The CCC decide to send a team into the sewers, in an attempt to get behind enemy lines and out-flank the USCR with a surprise assault.
This does not go unnoticed by the USCR, who send a small contingent of MERCS into the sewers to stop the flank and, if successful, penetrate the CCC lines for a surprise assault of their own.


MERCS is really portable - all I bought to work were my models, faction cards, dice, Sync-circle, white-board markers and our folded 2D Terrain Map - which all fit in a small bag!

It was really evident that MERCS was developed for 2D Terrain, with the use of ERs (elevation ratings) for terrain representation, and the card system used for movement. Playing on 2D terrain was fast, as movement was much easier with the cards, but LOS issues required a bit more discussion. We always maintained rule number one - err on the side of carnage!

I'll probably tweak the battleground a bit - there was a bit too much cover, and firing lanes were non-existant forcing us to the center of the board. I'm not sure if that's a bad thing, but I'll have a few more games on the board before deciding.

Also, playing a scenario and having a concept really helped the 2D Terrain come alive, and made the game play much more engaging - I'm looking forward to many more games in the sewers!

Sync out.

Friday, May 20, 2011

[USCR] Trooper finished!

As I got closer to finishing my CCC, I found myself drawn to the USCR in preparation to painting them. I read over their section in rulebook again, taking in the fiction, gameplay, and overall concept of them - and found myself getting really excited to get to painting them!

I mentioned in an earlier post that some people don't really like the models - I can understand why, but I personally really like them and am hoping to play them as a favoured faction.

I like the colors used in the rulebook, and while it would be fun to deviate from the standard colors and try my hand at a personalised color scheme, I'm too much of a fanboy to risk having different colored minis than the USCR faction-specific merchanidise expected in the near future.

Sync out.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Games Workshop Announcements

Well, I've previously expressed my preference towards skirmish wargaming, and it seems that I've jumped ship just in time.

Games Workshop, which is the dominant wargaming franchise here in Australia, has announced that they are switching to a new type of resin to make their miniatures.
These new resin miniatures will come with a price hike (the third price hike in 3 years), and the new resin recipe has the added bonus of being slightly more dangerous to handle. There's an Australian and New Zealand Facebook page, where the frustration of the situation is very evident from the community.

This news comes shortly after Australians (and other countries outside the EU) were given the news from Maelstrom Games (one of the major UK independent online retailers) that GW have forced them to stop their online sales outside the EU.
For Australians, ordering miniatures online from the UK is a much more feasible option than buying directly for Games Workshop stores, or Australian online retailers.
Games Workshop mark-up the prices for Australian online retailers, which then forces Australian online retailers to pass these marked-up prices to the consumer. So ultimately, Australian online retailer's prices are higher when compared to the prices available from UK online retailers. By stopping UK online retailers selling to Australians (and other countries), Games Workshop is forcing Australians to pay this mark-up.

I think it's the opinion shared by myself and many others in the Australian wargaming community, that this behavior is... well... f*cked - and hence the community is in an uproar and won't stand for it.
I don't see why Australian's have to pay so much for Games Workshop products - our dollar hasn't been this high in years, and shipping can't possibly cost that much (which is evident because the UK online retailers can do it really cheap).
While it's something that doesn't directly affect me since I moved to MERCS, my heart goes out to my fellow wargamers in Australia in their plight.

The good news is, maybe this will make Australians realise what kind of company Games Workshop is, and that there are other miniatures companies out there that support their communities - like the MERCS team.

Sync out.