I’ve played this scenario with many people over the years and really… the combination of spillover fire, overruns, and the terrain rules can be a lot to take in for a first time player. Watching a dozen of your G.E.V.’s evaporate due to one bad decision can really take the wind out of a guy’s sails, too. It takes a certain kind of person to go through that and say, “hey… let’s do that again because I’ve got an idea for a different strategy.” We have a name for that kind of person, too: they’re called gamers!
Get those first few trial games out of the way and this old MicroGame™ suddenly gets serious. Arguments break out about which strategies are better and who is the better player. There’s only one way to settle them: a tournament style set where each player gets a chance to play both sides. This really ups the ante!
Here’s how things fell out when just such a thing broke out at my table:
The attackers move in and pool up. The defense player had just been whittled down in a steady retreat, so he’s spoiling for a combat. He’s changed up his armor unit selection this time adding in a couple of G.E.V.’s specifically to counter the tactics his opponent used previously. But now he has to decide: should he fall back or rush the enemy G.E.V.’s.???
He rushes the attacking G.E.V.s, killing two and disabling one. All hell breaks loose, and when the dust settles, the G.E.V.’s are gone. Eight G.E.V.’s leave the map fairly late, scoring three victory points each. The defense kills a total of four enemy G.E.V.’s, scoring the same amount of points. But the attackers devastate the defense killing ten units altogether for a final net score of sixty points. When the tables are turned, the bar is set: it’s going to take a fairly hefty decisive win to beat this!
The defense this time opts not to rush the incoming G.E.V.’s. This hands the invaders some choice targets:
Not a good start here!
The G.E.V.’s have killed two armor units and disabled another. They position themselves to bypass the defensive line entirely while reserving the chance to pick off finish off the damaged heavy.
More sparing occurs and the attackers achieve this position:
The attackers have to choose. Do they run away and collect a hefty victory point bonus for leaving early? Or do they shoot up the defense for a few easy points?
The chance to wipe out that defending heavy tank is just too tempting!
But good gosh, the 2-to-1 attack on the heavy fails. He shoots back and the results are disastrous. The G.E.V.’s now have the option of abandoning the units that are disabled in return. The attacker looks at the victory point tallies, makes an error in his reckoning, and doubles down. He leaves two G.E.V.’s right on the coastline thinking that the defenders will have their hands full picking off the disabled units.
But the attacker completely forgot about the overrun rules. The Heavy tank shrugs off the pitiful 1-to-2 attack that the disabled units muster and he blows them away. He and the surviving infantry squad move in and disable the two G.E.V.’s that had thought they were going to get to do some serious killing!
The other G.E.V.’s have left the board. The defense has free attacks with no chance of losing any more units. They get a 1-to-2 shot with the infantry squad and a 2-to-1 shot with the heavy tank– any “D” or “X” result will be a kill!
The dice are rolled and… the defense rolls two ones in succession. Miraculously, the two G.E.V.’s that should have evaporated due to their commander’s hubris are in fact going to get away scot-free!
The victory points are tallied. The attackers get 56 points for getting seven G.E.V.’s off the board early and another 38 points for their kills. The defense scores 30 points for taking out five attackers. The final net score here is 64, just four points higher than the previous decisive victory.
We have a new Breakthrough champion at my house here… but if the dice had turned up as anything other than snake eyes, it would have been the other guy!
But this is precisely why G.E.V. is regarded as one of the top 100 greatest hobby games of all time.