Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Predisposition to Proxy

A unit from one of 40K's most e-famous counts as armies - Goatboy's Space Goats. Known to roll as Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines and Space Wolves.

While waiting for the next MERCS releases, I found my wandering brush painting up some old fantasy miniatures. I really enjoyed it! I haven't touched a fantasy model since I got Battle For Skull Pass in 2007.

I got to thinking that I would love to play a fantasy skirmish game too. I spent a LOT of time searching online and watching demo/how-to-play videos on fantasy skirmish games, but couldn't find anything appropriate or that I felt could compare with MERCS ruleset. Definitely nothing with the same style as MERCS.
After some discussion with my buddy, we came to the conclusion that we could just use MERCS rules and factions, but represent them on the board with a wide range of different models! We're already proxying FCC with Infinity models, what's one more step into the realm of proxy miniatures?

Define Proxy: The authority to represent someone else.

This whole idea opened a Pandora's Box of miniature fiending - this was the perfect excuse to be able to pick 5 models from any miniatures line, and paint them up to play as MERCS! I quickly went around scouting for models from different lines that I wanted to paint.

MERCS is a very unique game system, in that it actually LIMITS the number of models you can field (up to 5 models for a 5v5 game) and almost elminates the need for list-building.
I am in a rare situation where my MERCS buddy and I don't mind what miniatures we use, as long as we clearly identify which model represents what unit. Obviously this wouldn't fly in tournaments or in other gaming groups, but in Sydney we're the only two guys I know that play.
In my experience, some people hate the concept, but for me and my buddy it isn't an issue. We play enough to know what MERCS units have what abilities, and just want to take our gaming experience into new realms and worlds - but the most important thing is we play to have fun.

My favorite fantasy series - Gotrek and Felix from The Black Library

Don't get me wrong, the factions look great - I've bought the CCC, USCR and KemVar factions myself. But what's even better than the MERCS models, are the rules. I've done a short write-up here with the basic concepts - but what I've written there is pretty much it, and the only thing is missing from my write-up is how to apply these concepts to the table (which is relatively simple compared to other wargames).
I think the ruleset is perfect for what I'm looking for in a wargame - no list building with simple rules, which when combined with faction/unit abilities, make a fast-paced and tactics oriented wargame.

There are some limitations to our proxying though:
  • Models need to be within the 28mm-35mm (heroic) miniatures size range (luckily this is the most common size range!) for the purpose of determining ER and LOS.
  • To use the MERCS Faction Cards for movement, models need 30mm rounded bases
  • While WYSIWYG in terms of weapon loadouts isn't going to be enforced, models should look as close to the unit as they can, or at least distinct enough from the other models in the squad to be instantly recognisable. For example, the Assault Leader for each faction should look suitably commanding, the heavy weapon unit should have a bigger weapon than the other guys, and the special faction unit should look appropriately... special.
  • It's pretty rare for fantasy miniatures to carry guns, so while the Sci-Fi based rules of MERCS revolves around shooting, we'd have to use our imagination for Fantasy Scenarios - I dunno, bow and arrows, pistols, throwing knifes/axes/daggers or magic. We're going to pretty be rolling with a wizard did it...

I'm also excited about crafting some kind of fantasy-setting battleground, to use instead of my current sci-fi themed battleground, or our urban themed 2D sewers terrain.
I've got some fantasy, steampunk and sci-fi models in mind to use - stay tuned!

Sync out.


  1. haha, I found your site looking for soemthing totally different, I was looking for proxy lists, particularly US proxy lists but your post was a good reading anyway.

  2. Awesome haha - glad you liked it! :)