Posts archived in Mercs

I am currently redesigning MERCs. I simply haven’t been able to find enough play testers, so along with buttoning down the rules there will be a significant focus on creating the ability to play test it online through chat, forums or blogs. That will not be a program but rather a set of tools to translate the tabletop experience online.

As to the game itself, I’ll be refocusing it downwards. The unit cap will be a hard 8, officers and non-coms will be either added or reworked to fit in the new format. Choices for basic infantry units will be streamlined into a more approachable but heavily varied framework. Their inventory slots will be cut down to 3 total, each hand and the chest, while three completely unusable skills will be removed. Stealth and spotting will be removed for the time being and electrical, explosive and mechanic will be bundled into a single skill and insight will be removed all together in deference to officer abilities.

Thank you for your patience as this change progresses.

So the temporarily titled, and logo-ed, Mercs has entered it’s alpha stage. Play testing is very much so appreciated. (No I have no miniatures or easy cool looking print-outs…)


Before you even set up the game, you and your mates are going to have to set a limit on things like unit numbers and budget. I’d recommend starting out with 8 units and 10k, to keep it small and tactically interesting.

Then you’re gonna want to print out the Character Sheets and Quick Play cards. Each player gets one character sheet per unit variant(any units with the exact same equipment and stats get the same character sheet.), and a quick play card per person.

You can then reference The Armory to find equipment for your units. Equipment cards like that for the SMG are coming for almost all equipment, but for now are limited to ammunition and the SMG. Check the bottom for what stats to give your units to begin with. Stats aren’t on a point buy system, but instead you assign the already drafted numbers to specific fields.

After you have your units set up, you and your mates can then decide whether or not to include officers. Officers are named units which should be appropriately rare, they have higher stats and gain twice as much from leveling up.

At some point, you are going to want to prepare your playing area. There really aren’t any hard or fast rules as to where to play, any surface with objects that can be used as cover is acceptable. Just be sure to grab a tape measure, or buy a 24″-32″ dowel and mark it off at every inch. Cut out some 1″ by 1″ squares, mark one side with an outwards pointing triangle of a color unique to you, and then write numbers on them sequentially. (Units are technically 1.5″ tall) Voila, play space and army all assembled and ready to go.

In order for stealth play to work, each player must have a map of your play space, with scale in inches well marked.

First Turn

First things first, you’ll want to roll d%100 all around the table. The lowest roll wins and play continues clockwise from there. Each player then rolls %100 and adds 60 to that roll, all units belonging to that player begin with that value rounded up to the nearest ten, or their highest possible morale. Players then set their units in their designated starting areas, or simply across the table from each other if the start points are not designated.

Exception Notice: In Extended Campaign Style Play, defenders always go first.


Every unit begins with movement points equal to the tens column of their run stat. You may expend 1 mp to move one inch, or 1 mp to kneel, record this in the quick play card by putting a K in the final column for the appropriately numbered unit, an additional mp to go prone, or 1 mp to switch to stealth mode.

Running – expending MP to move has no negative effect on your chance to hit, nor chance to be hit, it’s considered sound tactical movements.
Standing – If you remain standing, your movement rate remains normal, you take a -10% to your to hit, and a +10% chance to be hit.
Kneeling – If you are kneeling, each MP will move you only 1/2″, you take -0% chance to hit and +0% chance to be hit.
Prone – If you are prone, 1 mp will equal just 1/4″, you take +10% chance to hit, and -10% chance to be hit.

While in stealth you remove the unit from the table and instead work on the small map available only to you. Each unit has a spot statistic, much like run, you simply take the tens column and multiply it by 1.5, that is your spotting radius. Anything stealth that enters that radius has to roll below (their stealth – half your units spot) in order to remain hidden. When the spotting radius of multiple units overlap, their spotting is cumulative where the overlap occurs.

While half way behind cover your opponent rolls with -20% to hit, and -20% chance to spot. Full cover removes chance to hit and chance to spot entirely. Soft cover, such as bushes or open bar fences, offers only a -10% chance to be hit.


You may attack with any unit at any point during your turn, provided you have the MP to afford the attack. The MP cost of an attack is dependent on the weapon and firing mode, you should have The Armory readily available with that information.

You may fire on any unit within your weapon’s maximum range. You simply take your marksmanship ability, add any bonuses to hit, and subtract any penalties to hit, and attempt to roll below that number. 00 being the traditional critical hit, which does double damage.

When you are within 2 inches you gain a +20% bonus to hit, within 1″ gives you an additional +10% to hit.


When a unit is hit, it must succeed at a soldiering check, roll below their soldiering stat, or they will loose ten morale. When a friendly unit is killed within 6″ you make the same check, but apply double the penalty, 20, in case of failure.

If a unit falls below 30 morale they will expend all remaining mp to travel back to their starting point and off the map, removing them from play, for two turns. After two turns they recover 10 morale.

The death of an enemy adds morale dependent on the level of the killed enemy. The rule of thumb is 10 morale per level, and 20 morale per level with officers. Also, every inch +Z (upwards) adds 1/4″ to your units effective maximum range.


Phew, it’s done-ish.
If you notice anything missing, or anything I didn’t cover or that isn’t covered in more detail in the army, please feel free to ask me about in the comments or in private messages.


The Armory

So after playing Universe at War I couldn’t help but think of the game I thought it would be when I picked it up. So now I’m sitting down and making something like that game for Tabletop.

The basis of the game is that your a mercenary outfit in the future, humanity has explored some space, and staked out 15 systems and colonization has already been through most of them in full force. Of course there are some petty quibbles out there, shots have been fired, time for you to go to work.

Right now I’m working on the infantry kits.
Infantry Chassis can hold up to 2/3 their weight.
Units are paid 1/10th their salary + $300 in various fees on hiring.
The Chassis:
Infantry – 200pds, $20,000/yr
2 hits – 100 starting morale
GeneMod: speed – 160pds, $60,000/yr – +20% run/-10% strength/-10% soldiering
2 hits – 100 starting morale
GeneMod: Heavy – 320pds, $60,000/yr – +20% strength/-20% run
3 hits – 100 starting morale
Robotic – 480pds (can hold 3/4), $160,00/yr – +10% marksmanship/+10% soldiering/+10%spotting/-20% stealth/+10% run/can be hacked.
4 hits – 200 starting morale
Exoskeleton – 500pds, $200,000/yr – +30% marksmanship/+30% spotting/-40% stealth
5 hits – 120 starting morale

I’ll go into more details about the different infantry types when I actually get a stats system figured out.

As to the kits, here is what I have so far, I think I need some input on weights and prices, my mind is kind of too tired to figure those out right now.
Infantry Kit Modules:

00 is a critical hit.

All weapons may have range extended by .5″ while firing by adding 1 mp to the shot, or +5% to hit. Every three mp the critical range is increased by .01, ergo adding six mp would make it 00-02

Single shot – 1 mp, fires one bullet at the enemy, cannot be used more than twice in one turn.
Three round burst – 2 mp, fires three bullets at the enemy, everything within 1″ of the target is included in the roll. Each bullet is rolled separately, checking against units in the front to back taking precedent, center first, then right, then left (from the perspective of the shooter). Until all bullets have hit, or until no more targets remain to check. (May hit friendlies.)
Full Auto – 2 mp to start, 1 mp to keep up. Three round burst, followed by two round bursts.

All ballistic weapons may have range extensions.

Pistol – 5 lbs, 40$ – belt/hand
Range 8″ – regular ammo – single shot

SMG – 8 lbs, 90-120$ – shoulders/hand
See the Card.

Assault Rifle – 12-15 lbs, 100$ – shoulders/both hands
Range 18″ – regular ammo – single shot/3 round burst

Sniper Rifle – 20-30 lbs, 600$ – shoulders/both hands
Range 32″ – regular ammo – single shot

Machine Gun – 40-50 lbs, 300$ – both hands
Range 16″ – high caliber ammo (unsupported at this time) – full auto

Beam – +25 heat per mp in shot/+20% chance to be spotted on a turn after firing/+10% chance to hit target till end of round, does not stack. +10% chance to be hit on next opponents turn/10″ of movement before end of round will cancel.
Pulse – Tracers/+20 heat per mp in shot

Beam Rifle – 12-16 pds, 800$ – shoulders/both hands
Range 18″ – Critical Heat 200, heatsink 50 – beam

Pulse Rifle – 12-16 pds, 800$ – shoulders/both hands
Range 18″ – Critical Heat 180, heatsink 40 – pulse

Stun – Target is incapable of movement or attacks for their owner’s next turn.

Taser – 4-6 lbs, 50$ – belt/hand
Range 4″ – reusable – stun

Explosive – Ignores Infantry Armor

Failure in the 90th percentile will result in the explosive detonating 3″ in front of the launching unit.

Rocket Propelled Grenade – 2″ diameter – 4 hits/3″ diameter – 2 hit/6″ diameter – 1 hit – $60/ea
Guided Rocket – 3″ diameter – 4 hits/5″ diameter – 1 hit $300/ea /+10% chance to hit
Rocket Propelled High Explosive Grenade – 3″ diameter – 4 hits/4″ diameter – 2 hit/5″ diameter – 1 hit $200/ea /-20% chance to hit

Shoulder Fired RPG – 20-30 lbs, 200$ – both hands
Range 16″ – Rocket Propelled Grenades – Explosive

Shoulder Fired Rocket – 20-30 lbs, 300$ – both hands
Range 16″ – Guided Rockets – Explosive

Clothe Uniform/Camo Uniform – 2-3 lbs, 40$ – chest, legs, feet
Camo costs $15 – +2% stealth

Bullet Proof Vest/Camo Bullet Proof Vest – 10-20 lbs, 120$ – chest
+1 armor
Camo costs $15 – +2% stealth

Reflective Bullet Proof Vest – 15-25 lbs, 200$ – chest
+1 armor/-50% damage from energy/+50% damage from ballistic

Body Armor/Camo Body Armor – 30-40 lbs, 220$ – chest, legs, shins, feet
+2 armor
Camo costs $15 – +2% stealth

Reactive Body Armor – 35-45 lbs, 280$ – chest, legs, shins, feet
+2 armor/is not ignored by explosives

Reflective Body Armor – 35-45 lbs, 270$ – chest, legs
+2 armor/-50% damage from energy/+50% damage from ballistic

Personal Shield Generator – 10-15 lbs, 400$ – back
+3 armor/-50% damage from ballistic/-25% damage from explosive/+50% damage from energy
May remain active for 8 turns before recharging for 2 turns.

Personal Stealth Field Generator – 2-3 lbs, 1000-3000$ – back
+80% stealth
May remain active for 3 turns before recharging for 1 turn.

Personal Teleporter – 20-25 lbs, 1200-2600$ – back
Teleport unit 12″ in any direction without using up mp. Recharges for 3 turns, must charge before use.

Short Range Comms Headset – 2 lbs, 60$ – ears
+10 morale/+5% soldiering

Long Range Comms headgear – 6 lbs, 140$ – head
+10 morale/+5% soldiering/%50 morale damage from failed squadmate death checks

Short Range Comm Jammer, Blanket – 20 lbs, 400$ – shoulders
Nullify the effects of Short Range Comm gear within 8″

Short Range Comm Jammer, Targetted – 10 lbs, 500$ – wrist
Nullify the effects of Short Range Comm gear within 14″ of forward firing arch

Long Range Comm Jammer, Blanket – 40 lbs, 450-560$ – back
Nullify the effects of Long Range Comm gear within 12″

Long Range Comm Jammer Targetted – 30 lbs, 400-480$ – back
Nullify the effects of Long Range Comm gear within 16″ of forward firing arch

Comm Cracker – 20 lbs, 230$ – shoulders
Gain +10 morale every time enemy morale takes a hit/+30% chance to spot unit with Short Range Comm gear withing 8″/+30% chance to spot unit with Long Range Comm gear within 14″

Network Cracker – 15 lbs, 450$ – head
Make Electronics check against Robot’s Electronics skill, if success robot is hacked and will join your team. If failure make Electronics check or loose Network Cracker for the rest of the battle.

Demolition Charges – 5-10 lbs, 100$ – capacity
Explosives on a 2 turn timer or remote detonator. Remote detonator works out to 12″.
Damage is same as RP-HE-G.

Field Rations – 5-10 lbs, 10-20$ – capacity
Consume 1 lbs to increase morale by 10 when no spotted enemies within 40″.

First Aid Kit – 5-10 lbs, 100-120$ – belt
Consume 1 lbs to heal 1/2 hit taking 2 mp.

Repair Kit – 40-50 lbs, 120-140$ – belt
Consume 10 lbs to heal 1 hit on Robot, Exoskeleton or vehicle taking 4 mp.

Multi-Tool – 1 lbs, 5$ – belt
Expend 6 mp, repair 1/4 point armor of any kind.

Knife – 1 lbs, 5-120$ (Quality greatly varies in knives.) – belt
Stab – range 1″ – 1mp/1hit

Tent – 10 lbs, 30$ – back
Only used in campaigns. – Halves Moral Decay on long deployments.

Bed Roll – 15 lbs, 42$ – shoulders
Only used in campaigns. – Halves Moral Decay on long deployments.

Tent and bedroll are applied separately maxing at -75% moral decay.

Your ability to do anything from turning on a computer to hacking meta networks.

How well you deal with things that go boom, if it’s too low you may just want to not… yeah.

The chances of you putting a bullet into an enemies squishy places.

How well you can see and identify enemy forces.

The measure of your skill in sneaking around unseen and unheard.

Got a wrench?

How well you can apply first aid in the field or an impromptu surgery at the field hospital.

How long and fast you can run before becoming exhausted.

Cleaning guns, keeping up morale on long marches, and kissing your LT’s ass.

How well you actually learn from getting beaten half to death by the drill instructor.

Your general skill behind the wheel.

How well you can aim something big, mean and bolted to the side of the tank.

How often you remember not to drop the thirty pounds of depleted uranium on your foot.

Recruit Starting Skills:

Officer Starting Skills: