Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Thanksgiving is now… Ogrepocalypse!

Now that everything is punched out and assembled, it’s time to play this thing without any more distractions. Here is a run down of the half dozen complete games and the couple odd partial games that we ran this past week:

  1. I was hankering something different, so I set up a Raid scenario for my son on the G.E.V. map. I had the idea of using the overlays as camouflage, but that didn’t work out that well– he could spot the dummies with no problem. We played a few turns and brought on reinforcements, but I failed to reveal all my units after the first invader turn like I was supposed to. I think we got far enough on this one that we can get it mostly right the next time around.
  2. Once Thanksgiving dinner was consumed I herded the boys back to the living room. I put a twelve-year-old guest in an Ogre Mark III up against my son’s defense. My son’s tanks were soon demolished, but he was trying something I’d never seen before: he was only firing at the Ogre’s treads! (Seemed like an unusual tactic to me….) Our guest quickly had his first command post kill under his belt and we were setting up a rematch without missing a beat. (Session photo is here.)
  3. My son took a turn in the Ogre while our guest tried his hand at the defense– he kept looking longingly at the gigantic box of 3D units, though. He likewise targeted just my son’s treads while my son slaughtered his units wholesale. The boys were tied and were demanding a rematch. (Session photo is here.)
  4. Our twelve year old guest had had it with these plain vanilla games. He drug out several map sections, rifled through the overlays, and got out the Ogre Mark VI’s. I suggested they play a duel and read up on the terrain rules while they figured out how they wanted to set up. Our guest waited in a city hex and my son roared over to the other side to take out his opponent’s command post with a early on. Launching all his missiles did next to nothing thanks to the doubled defense of the citified Ogre. They pounded on each other until my son went for a ram. Then our guest opponent got frightened and left the protective confines of the city terrain for the road in hopes of escaping my ram-happy son. My son whittled away at his opponents treads as he lost weapon after weapon and got in one last good ram anyway. It got really close in the last few turns– our guest had a single main battery and my son had a single secondary. After a good number of misses, my son finally took out that main battery to close down the game.
  5. I was ready for some pumpkin pie at this point and withdrew from the field. The boys went through everything in the box hoping to craft the ultimate Ogre scenario. I would check on them occasionally and would overhear our twelve year old guest muttering, “I love this game!” or “this is so awesome!” They started their game as I was finishing up my second piece of pie and I heard someone yell, “fifteen missiles!” I went back and tried to help keep up with who fired what while calling out odds. A couple of Ogres on either flank ended up taking a real beating, but this one had to get called off when bedtime rolled around.
  6. The next day there was more turkey to eat more Ogre to play. We had an eleven year old guest this time, and I undertook his training and introduction to the game myself. He was somewhat precocious so I forced him to reduce the fractions on his own from the very beginning. (Kids are sort of a captive audience anyway, so you don’t really have to keep the kid-gloves on like you have to do with adult gamers!) I  let him have an Ogre Mark III and I gave him a solid defense to plow through. He made some questionable moves and died well before the fold, but he was undaunted and asked for a rematch in spite of my “tough love” approach. (Session photo is here.)
  7. Our eleven-year-old guest again took an Ogre Mark III against my usual defense of four heavies, four missile tanks, and four G.E.V.’s. This time he surprised me by jinking and sparring, and picking off my units at very little cost to himself. Then he leveraged his superior mobility and went around my forces. I don’t think I’d ever really seen anyone take out a CP while still at move three like this. Of course, he didn’t make it off the board alive given the large number of angry defense units he’d left behind. But he did make it across the map fold which is better than what most people can do. I was impressed. This was the first kid to ever knock down my command post in a fair fight!
  8. My son had showed up at this point was was kibitzing about our moves for the last few turns. There was enough smack talk going around that I insisted on a face-off between the two boys and they agreed. My son chose an all-G.E.V. force and got right in the Ogre’s face from the very beginning. I was surprised again to see him target only treads as the Ogre ground down the fragile force with barrage after barrage of weapon fire. Nevertheless, the Ogre gradually slowed down and the infantry got into position to put in their licks. Incredibly, the Ogre came to a stop even before it got to the half-way mark.¹

I thought at first that this game was silly and overwrought with more components than could ever reasonably be expected to be used. Seeing this through the eyes of the 10-12 year old set… I see that we need MOAR! More counters! More Ogres! More overlays! More stuff! Yes! But we haven’t even scratched the surface of this game. There’s the Advanced Ogre scenario that we haven’t even touched… the Super CP… and the half dozen G.E.V. scenarios… and G.E.V. scenarios with Ogres… and then everything with cruise missiles. Since it appears that Ogre has temporarily fired every other game in the house, we stand a good chance of getting into them.

For a second there, I was really worried that the kids would never pick up on the finer points of the game. In reality, it didn’t take long for my son to work up an Ogre-killing strategy. He quickly realized that super-heavy tanks were a bad investment… and chose to target treads only. After seeing his heavy tanks get mauled time in those circumstances, he cranked up the proportion of G.E.V.’s in the force until he got a winning combination. He’s pretty happy with this accomplishment, but admits that he doesn’t really have a strategy for the Ogre other than to use the missiles early– the other kids save them back for some reason and we can’t figure out why…!

There’s a lot of good times waiting to bust out of this box.

¹ I’m told that the all-G.E.V. defense is illegal due to its munchkin-like effectiveness. I thought that was something that got fixed in the later editions when the G.E.V.’s were bumped down to a three for their second move. It doesn’t seem like Ogre tournaments would really work if there were a “perfect” defense in existence. Do people routinely outlaw this sort of thing or otherwise require a mix of units…?

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