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"Review of Sergeants Miniature Game part 1" Topic

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1,547 hits since 16 Aug 2012
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45thdiv Inactive Member16 Aug 2012 2:57 p.m. PST

I have been looking at this game for a while now.  I saw it in play at Historicon 2012 but was not able to get a session in to try it out.  Still I had a chat with the folks there playing and running the game and it increased my interest.  The mechanics looked like something that would be interesting to play.  More on that later as I get into the actual play of the game.
This review will be in several parts as I walk through all of this game's components and play.  This first part is about the bang for the buck.  Is this game worth the price of admission.
90 USD.  Wow, I thought.  That is a lot of money for a board game.  I expect that price for a game from Fantasy Flight Games or CMON with tons of plastic figures and such.  Sergeants Miniature game (SMG) only comes with a handful of 20mm metal miniatures.  They are painted, but how well?  The box feels heavy, so it passes the pound for dollar test. :-)  I decided to purchase the game to try it out.
On getting it home I opened up the box.  There are a lot of items there.  One concern I had was all the shifting and sliding sounds I heard upon tilting the game on it's side.  That can't be good for painted figures.  My worries were alleviated as I opened one of the rifle squad packs.  The two figures were well packed in protective foam.  I could have put them in a rock tumbled for a few minutes and they would still have been good. Okay, rock tumbler might be too much, but my point is that the figures are protected very well.  I opened them up to see two random 20mm painted figures.  The paint jobs were wargame quality and well done. 
The components are of a good quality.  The cards are the only thing that give me pause as they are thin stock.  They don't feel like paper so even though they are thin, I think they will hold up to repeated play.  Only time will tell on that.
I took the rules into work today to read during lunch.  Everything I needed to know about this game should be there.  Well, so I had thought.  The rules could use a good index as well as better descriptions of how things work.  As they are now, you must have the cards and the game board tiles in front of you to understand what they are tying to explain.  At least I hope so, since I just have the rule book here.  Too many references to things not found in the rules book.  Examples of play where a good reference of the actual card being described would have helped a lot.  The rules are only 24 pages in a large font type, which I think is nice and easy to read.  Around 4 of the pages are just credits, blank pages and a table of contents.  There is a two page glossary which is nice, but it could be expanded upon to be more helpful by adding the page number where the rules for a given term are written.
I am a bit annoyed by the rules lay out.  I should not have to look at anything else to understand how to play the game.  A visual example of what ever rule they are trying to explain would have been very good to include next to text.  It would not have added that much more in the amount of pages and certainly not in the cost of the game.
I will say this, I do like the look of the rules from an art work point of view.  The game has been designed with a nod to the comic books I grew up on as a kid.  Maybe this is one reason I was drawing to the game initially.
I am not sure if a quick reference sheet is needed as the data is on the cards and game tiles.
The mechanics look like they will flow well once I can see all the information on the cards.
This is the end of part 1.   I'll post the set up review next, there are some thing that need to be done initially that all board games have in common.  Punching out the tokens.  And in the case of  SMG you need to attach the painted figure to the stand.
In answer to my question, is it worth the cost?  I am still on the fence here.  I think the components are all quality parts.  It's going to actually be up to the game set up and play that will tip me one way or the other


Sundance Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2012 3:14 p.m. PST

Let us know what you think when you give it a try. I did the same as you – sat down with them for a full brief on the game. I didn't (and still don't) think it's worth the price (especially since you only get a couple of figures and the add-ons are just as disproportionately expensive, IMO), but if you're happy with it, that's great!

Ken Portner Inactive Member16 Aug 2012 4:05 p.m. PST

$90 USD for that? You're nuts. :)

45thdiv Inactive Member16 Aug 2012 5:22 p.m. PST

Yes, I am a bit nuts, but if the rules play well then I will get more play time with it.

Really the cost of something is all relevant. I have paid 60 for a video game that was total garbage. Who has not gone to a move and spent 40 dollars for tickets and snacks for two and wasted two hours on a poor story.

I like to think that I will get at least an hour of entertainment for every dollar I spend on entertainment.

I got home today and found that they do have a walk through of two turns. I got the cards out and just followed along. I still feel the rules could be clarified, but having everything in front of me was a help.

One thing that I noticed was that I got a lot of black residue from punching out all the parts. It washes off your hands okay,it was just odd to have it happen with a board game.

I will post my thoughts after the first game I play this weekend.


Generalstoner49 Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2012 6:42 p.m. PST

I did the same at the con and have the same reservations. My biggest fear ontop on the expensive expansions and figures is the replay ability factor it has. Doesn't it follow a storyline?

45thdiv Inactive Member17 Aug 2012 3:36 a.m. PST

The interesting thing is there are roughly 12 story cards for the story. The example scenario stated what card each play will use, but I could see pulling random as well.

The next thing is the story deck. It is totally random as you pull 3 cards each turn and then players have o play their action cards to match. The game ends when you finish going through the story deck.

I think that the game will have more replay value than most board games due to the random nature of the cards. Also, every character in the game is different so your squad for any given scenario could be different if you choose.

So I am very pleased at the replay factor of this game as I will most likely be playing this game solo.


leesow Inactive Member17 Aug 2012 4:45 a.m. PST

I have played this game several times (yes I do play other games lol). It is very interesting and IMHO is simply skirmish miniature rules in a box with a few figures.

After you learn the rules it plays well and provides nice variety even if you play several games in a row like I did. My immediate reaction was that I wanted to write up some of my own character cards for Sgt Saunders, Cage, Kirby, Little John and Doc from the TV series Combat.

And I guess that leads to my main thought. It seemed like I was playing miniatures without the frills, like 3D terrain. From the miniatures point of view the rules are nothing special, and too "random" for my liking. Your firing and movement, spotting ("looking") and taking cover are all determined by drawing random cards, and in several games I had troops killed by the first shot (draw). Way too random.

I guess if you don't want to invest in minis, the 90 USD price is a cheap way to get a "miniatures" game. But I'd rather spend the time and money on WWII minis, like the new FoW Bulge minis.


45thdiv Inactive Member17 Aug 2012 5:23 a.m. PST

Hi Lee,

I agree that this is a skirmish miniature game in a box. On of the selling points for me was the quick set up. I play a lot of miniature games and enjoy the 3D aspect. But some times I don't want to drag out all the stuff for a quick game.

I dont mind the random card draw system of play. I have had poor die rolls in a game which cause me to loose figures on the first turn as well.

I'll more about this game and how it plays after this weekend.


Bumbydad19 Aug 2012 5:44 a.m. PST

I was 45thdiv's partner in trying to learn the game yesterday. Matthew will post his own thoughts; my reaction is as follows: nice components (the basic game comes with 10 painted figures, IIRC); very imaginative concepts and mechanics; a wretched rule book. Truly wretched--basic concepts are not explained up front, but are hidden throughout the text. They were there all right, but we had to search a long time to find some of them. Once we did, and got playing, things began to work pretty well. As usual, he whomped me.

The rule book needed someone to read it through it cold, and edit/rewrite it for clarity, with some sections totally switched around in terms of where they were placed and how they are presented. I'm going to check boardgamegeek to see if anyone has addressed this.

Despite the high price tag I think the game is reasonably worth it, but the supplements are crucial, and they are also expensive.

Tommy2020 Aug 2012 12:03 p.m. PST

Where did you get your copy? The rulebook was completely rewritten since release, and replacements were sent to anyone who the publisher had addresses for. It's available online at BGG.

Bumbydad31 Aug 2012 8:34 p.m. PST

It turns out the revised rulebook on BGG is the one we had to endure when learning how to play! I can't help but wonder how bad the original version was. <shudder> Much improvement still needed.

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