I got in 3 games of G.E.V. this weekend. I played against the guy that had crushed me in several games of Carcassonne a while back, so I knew that he could handle a game like this. It seems like people either really don’t care about games too much–in which case they won’t even bother to master a relatively simple game like Ogre— or they are highly aggressive and tactically minded– in which case the terrain, spillover, and overrun rules of G.E.V. won’t pose them the slightest problem to them.
We played the Breakthrough scenario three times. The first game, I played the defense and my opponent split his force into two groups. I purchased heavy tanks and light tanks. 6 points of infantry and a heavy tank were stranded on the small eastern island and the G.E.V. attackers were able to mop them up without taking any fire. Oops! On the other side of the board, my light tanks sallied forth and the attackers were able to hit and run enough to destroy them for free. I was able to send a couple of light tanks out from the central city to a woods hex and get a couple of shots off, disabling a couple of G.E.V.’s, but it didn’t help me in the end: the Combine forced scored a tremendous 80 point victory! I hung my head in shame.
My opponent then took up the defense. I sent my G.E.V.’s up the west side of the map and came up against two heavy tanks and a swarm of infantry. One mobile howitzer brought up the rear while another one was isolated on the eastern island. He played much more aggressively than I did and sent his forces as far down the map as he could without any cover at all in many cases. In the bloody melee, I eliminated the infantry and disabled the tanks. I lost a couple of units to the howitzer before I could slip in a good pot shot. The surviving heavy tank proved difficult to kill and followed my G.E.V.’s down off the map, getting in a good overrun and a couple of kills. I also scored a decisive victory, but with just 60 points.
At this point we realized that, just like Ogre, the key to this scenario is mastering the coordination of the defensive units. My opponent suggested that the game was unbalanced, but I felt that we were missing something in our unit selection and tactics.
In the final game, my opponent took the defense again. I ran my G.E.V.’s down the river this time. We took out a mobile howitzer and six points of infantry at the cost of a couple of G.E.V.’s. We then used our “road bonus” to move down the map at high speed across the water. The reacting forces continued to move east to intercept us, but even the surviving mobile howitzer was out of range. I ran my 10 G.E.V.’s into the swamp hexes on the far side of the map. Three or four G.E.V.’s were disabled. The howitzer then arrived to pick up a couple of kills while the rest of my force left the map. I again scored a decisive victory, but with 64 points this time.
We got into an argument about whether or not G.E.V.’s have to pause (like they do when crossing streams) when crossing from water to clear hexes and vice versa. I supposedly said they did in the first game, but said they didn’t in the last. Then there’s the question of how the “road bonus” works in this situation as well…. The one key rule that we completely forgot was the obscuring of the defense’s set up in the Breakthrough scenario. I would not have been able to choose the absolute best point of entry like I did in the third game had we played by this rule!
I like this game a lot. It is very violent and full of many difficult decisions. The spillover fire and overrun rules really aren’t that complicated– they’re just hard to explain to a first time player. The terrain is also pretty easy to get the hang of once you play a few times: we really didn’t have to refer to the cheat sheet that much for that. It amazes me how far these rules go in differentiating the various units. Each armor unit has its own personality: in G.E.V., they are so much more than a move, fire, range, and defense rating.