Thursday, August 9, 2012

Upgrading My MERCS Terrain

MERCS is a very unique skirmish wargame, and hence the terrain required for fun and fair play is different to other more common wargames.
Check out SnapToCover's FAQ youtube video - at about 8:20 minutes they go over how they set up their terrain, which is simple and works really well.

One of the key points made in the video, is that elevated terrain should not have cover on top - so as to prevent the KemVar from having an unfair advantage. This is a significant factor, which means that a lot of the buildings that we see used for miniature wargaming isn't ideal for the use in MERCS.

A great WH40K Table, using Citadel Gothic City Ruins Terrain.
Not great for MERCS though - there's too much elevated cover in the ruins!
Actually, comparing the above image with SnapToCover's FAQ youtube video, setting up a MERCS game is relatively easy!

So here are the requirements for a MERCS Battleground:
  • 2'x3' Tabletop
  • Terrain pieces that provide elevation, but no cover
  • Pieces that provide full-cover (completely block LOS)
  • Pieces that provide half-cover

2'x3' Tabletop
I've already got my Toposolitario Battleground in the closet somewhere, but after seeing Reaper's Demo Photos I was seriously considering dropping AU$230 on his awesome CNC Miniatures Kit. That's a little too steep for me right now so I'll just stick with my foamcore papercraft Toposolitario tabletop, which is highly detailed with a gritty, industrial aesthetic really suits MERCS.

Elevation with No Cover
This set had grabbed my eye as soon as it was released a while back – MicroArts District 5 Apartment Block. This is designed for Infinity, and has a really great sci-fi look to it – which suits MERCS just fine. Too bad multi-levelled buildings with balconies don’t really suit MERCS gameplay.
As I watched Beasts of War’s District 5 Apartment Block Review, I felt disappointed that I didn’t have an excuse to purchase this set. But wait – what did he say? The levels come apart?! I could make three single-storied buildings out of the one set! Sold!
In MERCS, each single-story building would effectively function as large, awesome-looking, cargo containers that MERCS can climb up for elevation, but without any cover.

So the District 5 Buildings would provide full-cover, but I thought maybe some shorter walls would be good too. Micro Arts to the rescue! Their District 5 Series also has Apartment Walls which are intended for use inside the above Apartment Building - but can also be used as stand alone terrain pieces!
They are designed so that the pieces can be attached and detached for variable wall lengths, which is the selling point. I think it's important to be able to reconfigure your terrain pieces so your battleground can change, which is why I opted for this set instead of Micro Arts Resin Concrete Walls Set - which would've cost me a LOT more too.

Well, you can't really go past barrels and crates for sci-fi industrial terrain - so I jumped on eBay and bought up a range of different barrels and crates to provide MERCS with half-cover and pieces to Snap to.
Micro Arts has a range of crates as well, but the eBay option was cheaper and I'm not quite sold on the aesthetic of the Micro Arts crates range.

Hirst Arts Terrain

Well that about covers it - I've ordered those bits and pieces and am playing the waiting game while I wait for them to arrive in the mail.
Sync out.


  1. It's worth noting that crates in your last photo are from Hirst Arts molds, possibly sold under license.

    1. Thanks for letting me know! I've updated the photo with that caption :)

  2. You should consider some of the molds. At <$30 each they are a great deal.

    1. These have just arrived, and I couldn't be happier with the final product :)
      Although I have no experience in molding myself, after what I have received I can fully recommend the Hirst Arts Molds!