Terminator-style skeletal robot monsters are pretty common creatures in sci-fi wargames, so it’s a bit surprising that there hasn’t been an official Terminator miniatures game until now. Terminator Genisys – The Miniatures Game is a rather lavish product, filled with brave rebels and robotic nightmares that allow you to simulate mankind’s struggle against the forces of Skynet.
The set comes with a total of 32 models; you get a single Kyle Reese model, made out of some sort of metal and sculpted by industry legend Michael Perry; the set also includes 16 resistance fighters in rather nice ‘army man’ green plastic; and the rest of the collection is made up of silver/greyish plastic terminators, 10 of which are standing and the rest are crawling like the horrible robot corpses they are. The plastic models pop together easily, though be aware that they are a little fragile, but then most miniatures are.
The mandatory card counters are reasonably well made from thick card stock. The set also has pop-out cardboard barriers that are pretty easy to slot together. Experienced gamers will probably want to ignore this in favour of terrain pieces they already have, but it’s nice that they’re included. You also get a board large enough to cover most gaming tables, printed on glossy poster paper that’s reasonably robust. It’s also appropriately detailed; there are loads of skulls everywhere. There are also stickers, designed for marking out commanders and the like.
The core mechanics rely on different types of polyhedral dice. Rather than taking penalties or bonuses, you change the actual type of dice you’re rolling, for example, going from a d6 to a d8 when you find better cover. Movement and range-finding use bespoke cardboard rulers. Turn order for each model is worked out by rolling for activation counters, using those counters to activate models, and then letting your opponent do the same. You go back and forth until everything on the board has acted. This makes for an anarchic but elegant battle. The rules are comprehensive and include information on Hunter/Killer tanks and Humvees.
Various elements that make the franchise memorable have been worked into the games rules quite cunningly. For example, rather than simply having a re-roll counter (a common mechanic in miniatures games) you have Temporal Displacement Devices; a set of mechanics that represent someone going back in time to change history so you have a better chance of winning the battle. Your opponent can counter the re-roll by sending his own agent back in time to stop him. Even though the actual mechanic is a simple ‘who rolls highest’ test, this little bit of flavour adds immeasurably to the game.
Other nice attentions to detail include the factor that the endoskeletons never take cover (they are well-armoured, after all) and the fact that the cover rules are quite comprehensive, meaning that the resistance forces will be constantly ducking behind things to avoid being shot. This makes the two forces work very differently and makes for a varied game.
The rule-book is also very detailed, and filled with modelling tips as well as loads of scenarios to run. It also includes a sneaky teaser for the forthcoming movie, though it’s nothing to get too excited about. Over all, this is a very nice start to what Riverhorse hope will become a major series of games. It certainly deserves to do well, it’s a great game filled with clever ideas.
TERMINATOR GENISYS: THE MINIATURES GAME – THE WAR AGAINST THE MACHINES / / DESIGNER: ALESSIO CAVATORE / PUBLISHER: RIVER HORSE GAMES / DISTRIBUTOR: WARLORD GAMES / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW