Monday, December 30, 2013

Ogre "Team Lift"

Zeke displays casual disregard for the caution label: "We don't need any stinking 'team lift'!"
I’m way behind in getting this game report from last week written up. Our old gaming buddy, Zeke, had recently received his Ogre kickstarter from Steve Jackson Games. This mammoth box contains 25 pounds of gaming accessories. My favorite part of it is the caution label on the box advising you to “Team Lift” the box! Anyway, Keith and Jason had also joined the kickstarter promotion and all were eager to see how it played. So, Zeke made a reappearance at our Sunday night gaming to stage a game for us.

There were six players divided into three sides. Zeke’s scenario was two massive Ogres (Mark IV or V, I can’t remember -- I never really read up on the Ogre world mythos) were defending a compound that the other two sides wanted to take possession of. Allen and Joel were the defending Ogres. The other two sides also had two players. Tom and I were the European alliance, with Tom having a lesser Ogre (Mark III?) and myself controlling a mix of heavy, light, and missile tanks, as well as some GEVx. Keith and Mike Stelzer were the the American side, and their force mirrored ours.
How far we've come in three decades! The original Ogre "mini-game" with a backdrop of the current mega-game...
Since Tom obviously remembered much more from playing Ogre more than 25 years ago than I did, I told him he was in charge. We advanced towards the defending Ogres in the center, hoping to be able to concentrate on one and avoid the other. On the other side, Keith turned tail and ran when Allen’s Ogre moved towards him. Allen reversed course and Keith was a non-factor in the first half of the battle. This gave us the chance to close in on Joel’s Ogre, though, and so we did. I made the mistake of bunching up my tanks along the road, which allowed Joel to run over way too many of them, grinding them up while taking minimal tread damage. Halfway through the game, I figured out the “stick and move” tactics I should have been employing all along.
Tom and my forces at deployment. Note Ogre uses 3D counters for the larger Ogre tanks, and ordinary flat counters for infantry, tanks, and GEVs.
Meanwhile, Tom was valiantly ramming Joel’s Ogre, and then Allen’s when it rushed to help out his not-so-beleagured brother. It didn’t seem like we were doing a lot to the Ogres, but eventually we began to strip away their weapons. Once that was done, we began to attack their treads. It was here that my dice rolling started to kick in, as I sniped at the Ogres with the remaining one third of my force. Keith and Stelzer had finally weighed in, after letting us take the Sams’ brothers’ battering. After about two hours of play, the Ogres were immobilized and weaponless.
Tom's smaller blue Ogre rams Joel's massive one, while Allen advances to help his brother. The black counters at the top are Mike Stelzer's. Keith's smaller ogre is frantically trying to make up ground and reach the battle.
Now, it became a struggle between my forces and the Americans for control of the compound (Tom had finally been battered to an immobilized hulk). Stelzer had more troops and a better pathway to the compound. Despite bravely forcing a one-turn tie, we were driven off on the subsequent turn. The Americans held the objective. Under Zeke’s point system, my force came in a distant dead last. I thought I was fairly effective late in the game, but I guess the numbers don’t lie. I lost too many tanks early on in the game. In hindsight, I would not have tried to mass for one attack. It might have been better to divide my forces into several waves, so that they were more spread out and less easy for the Ogres to counterattack.
Outnumbered, outclassed, Tom chooses a glorious death and repeated reams the Sams brothers until his Ogre is immobilized and all but a smoking hulk
It was a fun game, though. Hopefully, we’ll see Zeke again soon -- and play his 25-pound boardgame once more...!

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