A Quick Thought About Mercenaries

They probably shouldn’t be able to complete goals for your mission.

(Told you it was quick).

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20 Responses to A Quick Thought About Mercenaries

  1. Alex Cooper says:

    Very very good idea. Mercs are a boon at times, but too many is a detriment to the overall mission

  2. ph3brickid says:

    But then how is my ‘Army of Boomers'(tm) gonna work!? 😉

  3. Almer says:

    Indeed a good idea to limit their (over) use. One of the things I dislike with quite some games is the automatic inclussion of certain Mercs.

  4. D. Randolph says:

    This seems good and flavorful to not allow then to score VPs for the mission.
    But how would this work on the “Kill Units” missions?
    If models that they kill don’t count for VPs, you could quickly make it impossible for yourself to win (by killing too many enemies) which would go against their seeming purpose as over the top killing machines.

  5. ph3brickid says:

    In my opinion mercs should still be able to earn VPs for killing stuff and scavenging items, but not for infiltrating or holding objectives…

    This makes sense (at least to me) because a paid merc killing something is going to be just as effective as another troop killing it- tactically speaking, and if a merc carries items off the board back to your base then you’d still have that item.
    However having the merc infiltrating the enemy position or holding an objective wouldn’t be tactically beneficial as they aren’t going to stick around for the long term in order to hold on to it etc.

    Also perhaps mercs should be ignored for the purposes of the survive mission objective because they don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

    Maybe they could also all count as specialists which means your opponent can get extra VPs for killing them. (Though from a strictly background material point of view it would make sense they don’t really count as any class because they aren’t permanent fixtures of the enemy’s force, so killing them has a lower tactical advantage.)

    This way the mercs do have some disadvantages, but still function effectively as what they are; hired muscle. It would also make them FEEL different in game which is always nice to give players something to think about.
    Maybe there could even be mercs that have a special rule to allow them to ignore this limitation, if it fits their theme.

    They’re just all my random musings on how I feel mercs would operate, at least from the point of view of their background material. 🙂

    • Deaven R. says:

      Here is the problem with allowing Mercs to earn VPs for certain things and not others: merc heavy lists become markedly better at some scenarios. So, if your list has enough Mercs (or good enough ones) then your force may win based off of the luck of the draw for that scenario at the beginning.

      • ph3brickid says:

        Yeah but Mercs are still going to cost points and taking them means you don’t have other things, so it’s just like any other choice- but you know that taking them will often leave you limited in missions.

        The whole point of a points system is to try to make each model balanced- you don’t need to excessively limit them as well when it makes no sense for mercs’ kills not to count.

        • D. Randolph says:

          If that’s the case, then there is no reason why they wouldn’t be able to hold on to an objective. I think we can assume that the Mercs are hired for the duration of a mission, which means that they could definitely halo to capture a position of interest.

          And the reason you would still choose to take them is because a) they might offer your faction something that it doesn’t have an available unit for and b) they could be costed slightly cheaper than a comparable unit would be in your force org or c) because you have used up all of your specialist slots and still want a specialist-equivalent.

        • ph3brickid says:

          I still think that by pricing the mercs correctly (and if there’s any doubt err on the side of overcosting them) and imposing some limitations is enough.

          I just think its stupid that a merc couldn’t get VPs for killing things. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

          I accept that you don’t want an army to be too merc heavy, but I still want mercs to have some uses on the tabletop. Why would I take a merc if him killing things makes it harder for me to win? Players who go merc heavy are taking a big risk if they get objective missions, and there could always be a cap to how many mercs a force can field.

          Making mercs unable to achieve any mission objectives is a case of noticing a potential problem and instead of finding ways around it, just smashing mercs with a metaphorical sledge hammer and making them (almost) entirely useless.

          I still stand by my idea as being a relatively good middle ground. 😉

        • Quirkworthy says:

          It makes complete sense to me. Explained a bit more on the next post.

          I don’t think it makes them useless at all. Many missions do not rely on killing. Even those that do are often selective about who is killed for the points. You’re always going to need people to break down the doors and take the hit on the way in. Better if they’re expendable.

        • ph3brickid says:

          Maybe I’m thinking about VPs different to you.

          I consider VPs not as brownie points from high command (as you imply on the next post), totalled after the battle, but simply as a measure of how your force is currently fairing in the battle. If they are going out there to kill the enemy then I just can’t see why the kills made by a merc aren’t going to count.

          I’m not trying to troll but I just can’t figure it out.

          I do like that in the campaign mercs aren’t going to advance, as they are essentially ‘one-offs’.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          VPs are a measure of whether or not you have achieved your mission or not. As I mentioned in the other post, mercenaries may not be judged reliable in reporting objectives achieved.

          One of the uses of the VPs is in the campaign system. Most games have a campaign system that revolves around money. Military units don’t work that way. So, what I use instead is the VPs. These are a measure of how well that military unit is doing. Is it worth promoting them, giving them extra training and equipment or are they a bunch of useless layabouts? Obviously the High Command has limited resources to use, and so it will give them to whoever looks like using them best. Those are the ones who get the job done, ie the ones who get the highest VPs. If what gets the job done isn’t the unit, but the merc, then High Command can forget the unit and just hire the merc to fight alongside anyone.

        • ph3brickid says:

          That makes a whole lot more sense!

          I guess I’m looking at it from the point of view of in a single one-off game, I feel that in this situation a merc wouldn’t have a whole lot of use in some situations because the killy mercs (ie. mrs nasty) would be, rather counter intuitively, the worst mercs to use in a mission about killing the enemy.

          Perhaps only apply the rules mentioned at the end of the next post in campaigns, and have mercs function like any other fighter in one-offs, but with a limit on how many can be taken at various points levels.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          I tend to think of the campaign first as that tells the story. Then I can make the one-off game more like a chapter of that story, which I think is more interesting and characterful that it being something that floats in a nebulous limbo without causes or consequences.

  6. Rigel Anderson says:

    I think the VP price is a very good idea. It seems to me that if mercs are getting hired by someone then they want them to be able to get the job done. To emulate that you could have the VP price or winning with a merc could subtract from your win bonus. This would represent the issue you make about high command feeling there was an asterisk next to the victory.

    When you point out that Mercs are erratic and you can’t always account for their motives then maybe another negative could be to make it more likely that mercs don’t do what you tell them during a given turn. Perhaps all mercs have the ability “Ulterior Motives” which makes them lose 2 turns when the “Distraction” card is played on them. Or maybe you have to roll each round to get them to activate.

    I think in the end that mercs should be able to get victory points but I agree strings should be attached.

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