Learning new games can be a bit funny. I mean, sure, there’s the rules and all. But rules don’t mean much if they’re isolated from the whole range of tips, tricks, and tactics that are implied by them. And of course, those nuances makes almost no sense if you don’t have an idea of the game’s tempo… it’s “shape”… the overall story of how it tends to play out. Sometimes it seems like you have to play a game before you can even understand the rule book!
This walkthrough is designed to provide you with just that sort of overview with Ogre. If you pick up the rule book and just don’t know where to begin, then just read this series of posts and it’ll be just like I’m right there unpacking the game with you. Keep your gaming stuff handy, though– I’m going to focus on the big picture here and you’ll need your books to fill in the details later. My purpose is to give you a good sense of the game so that you don’t have to waste any time on false starts.
Jumping right into the game, then…!
The defense gets 12 points of armor units and 20 points of infantry in the basic game. In the picture below, you can see the command post set up on the far left side of the map. Most of the defense has to be behind the two craters on the edges of the map. You can see those 5 G.E.V.’s on the right side of the map– I technically could have put more stuff over there with them. A better set up would have had three heavy tanks and four G.E.V.’s over there.
This is a Deluxe Ogre map with Ogre Miniatures. I never finished my infantry, so I use the old counters for them. (That'll change towards the end of 2012.)
Here’s a teaching trick: most novices will be offended if you use fewer than the allotted units as a means of balancing the game. If you can whoop them with only 8 armor units on the defense, they are liable to be humiliated and never play you again. So use the full set up… but “accidentally” forget to put the full number of units ahead of the line. At the same time, use a mix of units that doesn’t work too well together. They’ll have more fun if there’s more stuff to blow up anyway….
That’s why there’s only one howitzer on the board there. A lone howitzer is dog meat. It will probably never get a hit on the Ogre– at best it will probably just get two shots at it. But when a novice player charges onto the board… he’ll know exactly what to do about it: head straight towards it and give it a missile as soon as possible! So when you’re teaching someone how to play, let them be the Ogre and then act shocked, I mean shocked that your pitiful little howitzer never got to do anything. (You do want them to play again, right?)
But as to the rest of your defense…. You have to choose between G.E.V.’s, missile tanks, and heavy tanks. (There might be other stuff in your set, but just ignore those for now.) G.E.V.’s are super fast with short ranged, wimpy guns. Missile tanks are slow… with long ranged, okay guns. Heavy tanks are fast with short ranged heavy guns. They’re all pretty balanced. If you are playing a serious game, four of each should work fine until you start getting your own ideas. If you’re feeling cocky, you’ll want to try to work out a good strategy for many possible combinations. The “four howitzer defense” is a classic, of course, but six of one type of unit with three each of the other two armor unit types would be fun to experiment with as well.
At this writing, Ogre is the #1 game on the Board Game Geek‘s “The Hotness” and is the #1 Board Game on Kickstarter with $172,966 in funding.
Read the complete series:
Part I: The Defense Sets Up
Part II: The G.E.V. Pot Shot
Part III: A Mark III Goes Out for a Snack
Part IV: The Mid-game Melee