Tuesday, May 10, 2011

First Steps into MERCS Wargaming

All prices below are current as of the time of this post, and are in Australian dollars - which is currently worth more than the American Greenback.

MERCS both at GENCON 2010

I have a buddy who is considering taking up miniature wargaming - MERCS in particular!
I think MERCS is a great starting game for people new to miniatures, mainly because it is the only miniatures game I know that limits the number of models you can field. I've gone into more detail explaining why I prefer MERCS to army based wargames, and most of those points would apply to completely new players as well.

Anyways, in trying to pass on my experience in miniatures wargaming to my friend, I put together a shopping list of what a new player to MERCS would need at a minimum:
  • MERCS Miniatures
  • MERCS Faction Cards
  • MERCS Rulebook
  • Paints
  • Brush
So let's break each requirement down!

MERCS Miniatures
MERCS is the only miniatures skirmish game I've seen that has a maximum of 5 models per side. This means you can field between 1 and 5 miniatures, but let's assume you want to field a full squad of 5.
Defiant Gaming sells MERCS miniatures (with a few exceptions, like the larger USCR Behemoth) for AU$8.65 each. So, a full squad of 5 MERCS would cost you AU$43.25.
Defiant charge a flat-postage rate across Australia of AU$6.50 - postage is waived if you purchase OVER AU$100 worth, so we'll keep that in mind.

MERCS Faction Cards
You can't play MERCS without your faction cards, and they'll set you back AU$6.92 from Defiant. The MERCS guys are redoing the KemVar Faction cards, as there is known errata on the currently printed KemVar cards, so I'd recommend holding off on getting those faction cards for now (this is also why I haven't ordered me up some KemVar yet!)

MERCS Rulebook
The MERCS rulebook has got all the rules you'll need to get you started, and as well as that it's a great read with amazing artwork and lots of fiction and background. AU$30.28 over at Defiant.


I'm currently using my Citadel paints, a remnant from my days painting Warhammer and Warhammer40K armies, which I am slowly replacing.
Citadel paints dry-out very easily, and I find the consistency too thick at times. I have some Vallejos which work well, but have had bad experiences with clogged bottle exploding on my desk.
The Formula P3 paints have good reviews, and a buddy of mine raves about them. And they're stocked by Defiant at the reasonable price of AU$2.60 each.
So a basic set of paints, let's say 16 colours, will cost you AU$41.60 at Defiant.

When I started out I only used a single medium brush for painting, and I didn't have any complaints, so that should be fine. I finally bought a fine detail brush with some birthday money a year later, and never bothered with a larger brush - I think larger brushes are only better for vehicles or terrain.
A P3 medium brush from Defiant is AU$6.06.

$43.25    MERCS Miniatures (Squad of 5)
$6.92      MERCS Faction Cards
$30.28    MERCS Rulebook
$41.60    Vallejo Paints
$6.06      Brush
$6.50      Postage (Australia-wide flat rate) - waived for purchase over $100

I've written this up with my buddy in mind as a completely new starter to MERCS in Australia.
Prices are from Defiant Gaming, as I've ordered several things from them in the past and they have great customer service and delivery at very competitive prices.

If you wanted to expand your collection of factions, all you would need after this initial start-up cost would be to get the Miniatures and Faction Cards (AU$50.17 total). I plan to buy 2 factions at a time (to bring the total to over AU$100) so that Defiant will waive that AU$6.50 postage cost.

So, not too shabby! AU$135 to start in any kind of in-home hobby I would say is reasonable - hours of fun painting and playing. I compare that other common in-home hobbies I've had in the past; console gaming ($500+ just for the console) or PC gaming ($2000 for a decent rig) and we've got a winner.

So there you have it - taking those first steps into MERCS miniatures wargaming.

Sync out.

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