In response to the defense’s opening set up, the Ogre picked a hex to start on and just charged right in. That’s a pretty reasonable first move– he’s trying to get to that command post as quickly as possible. I guess you could come in straight down an edge side, but that’s kind of chintzy. (Steve Jackson has pointed out that though fewer defense units can target you when you’re on the map edge, you lose initiative because there’s a lot fewer places you can move to.)
The defense responds by pushing its back units forward at their best speeds, while concentrating the G.E.V.’s in the center. Basically, the defense believes that the Ogre will continue to come straight in. When the Ogre does that, the main battery will still be just out of range, but the G.E.V.’s will be able to respond by concentrating their fire and then dispersing. While a cunning Ogre player might cut to the right or left to a hex where hardly any G.E.V.’s could get a shot off, that’s not what a typical novice player is going to do.
(The rest of this post gets into some math. If you don’t care about the numbers, just know that you have lots of leeway in determining how you go about things. Though the game just uses a single D6, there’s still a lot of probabilistic variety there! If you want to follow along by looking at the CRT, check out this free PDF from e23.)
Sooner or later, though, the G.E.V.’s will get into position to shoot at the Ogre. Suppose he’s dedicating four G.E.V.s to taking it out the main battery. What’s the best way to do it? He can take four 1-2 shots, two doubled up 1-1 shots, or one combined 2-1 shot. The math for the probabilities is easiest to work out if you calculate the chance of a complete whiff, so let’s do it that way. The 1-2 shot has a five-in-six chance of missing. The chance of all four missing is five-in-six to the fourth power, or about 48%. The 1-1 shot has a four-in-six chance of missing. The chance of two of those missing is four-in-six squared, or about 44%. The single 2-1 shot has a 50% chance of missing.
So combining multiple shots isn’t always better. The single 2-1 shot is the one most likely to miss! Doubling up looks like the way to go here if you want the absolute best odds for taking out that main battery. But it’s not necessarily a clear cut decision. On the off chance that the first 1-2 shot hits, it’s like getting a bonus “free” G.E.V shot at anything you like! So the percentages aren’t everything. (Personally, my dice never seem to roll enough sixes, so when I shoot at Ogre Main Batteries with G.E.V.’s, I usually try it with a couple of doubled up 1-1 shots….)
There’s one last thing to think of here. Most novices hate getting their main battery shot off before than can kill something with it. So let’s look at the odds for shooting at the secondary batteries instead. An individual G.E.V. could take a 1-2 shot. Two together can combine to take a single 1-1 shot. And thanks to the way that the fractions fall out, three can combine for a single 2-1 shot. The odds of a complete whiff with three G.E.V.’s targeting a secondary battery come out to 58% for three 1-2 shots, 55% for a 1-2 and a 1-1, and then 50% for the 2-1 shot. The big combined shot looks a lot better here… but don’t forget that a bunch of 1-2 shots has an advantage in being able to kill more than one thing even though it is more likely to whiff overall.
What’s the best possible move? I have no idea! I don’t do the math when I play– it’s usually a much more subjective thing. “That secondary battery is going to die… now!” After a string of bad luck, I’ll sometimes combine almost everything in a single 5-1 attack that doesn’t require any dice. But there’s a lot of die rolls in the game; just like in backgammon, if you play by the numbers, you should do okay in the long run.
Ogre is the #1 Board Game on Kickstarter with $187,973 in funding. Note that there is now a new mystery stretch goal at $250,000. What can it be?!
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