Thursday, April 23, 2015

OGRE Pocket Edition counter mix

For future reference and for creating scenarios, here's a list of the counters that you get for your three bucks in the ziplock-bagged OGRE Pocket Edition. There are 140 counters total--70 each on two identical sheets. Each sheet break down as follows:

White (PanEuropean/defenders)

  • 5 HVY TANK
  • 5 GEV
  • 4 MSL TANK
  • 4 HOWITZER
  • 7 INFANTRY (3/2)
  • 4 INFANTRY (2/1)
  • 1 CP
  • 3 MCP (D2, D1, D0)

Black (Combine/attackers)

  • 5 HVY TANK
  • 7 GEV
  • 5 MSL TANK
  • 2 HOWITZER
  • 5 INFANTRY (3/2)
  • 3 INFANTRY (2/1)

Light Gray (third force)

  • 2 MCP (D1, D0)

Double-Sided

  • 2 OGRE MARK III (white/dark gray)
  • 1 OGRE MARK V (white/dark gray)
  • 2 OGRE MARK III (black/light gray)
  • 1 OGRE MARK V (black/light gray)
  • 2 CP (D0) (black/white)

That's a lot of counters, more than enough for the standard kill-the-command-post games. So what scenarios come to mind with all these units, especially the conventional forces?

Friday, April 3, 2015

OGRE expansion in the works

In an update to their Kickstarter page, SJ Games announced they're working on a survey to determine the contents of the expansion to OGRE Designer's Edition that was promised as a stretch goal during the funding campaign that would include "new units and at least one map."

No one's asked me, but here's what I'd like to see in an expansion:

  • New maps--either the remaining unpublished two maps from Ogre Battlefields or some new terrain (desert, islands, arctic, etc.)
  • Overlays--some large terrain pieces (7-hex city and water) for those of us who didn't get the Kickstarter-only terrain sheets
  • New units 
    • Infantry--Engineers and Rangers were both left out of the retail version of the Designer's Edition, and so were Heavy Weapons squads
    • Vehicles--Missile GEVs and Heavy GEVs were both featured in Barbarians at the Gates, so I don't know if it would be feasible to reprint them in an expansion. Maybe some naval units ...
    • Ogres--I got enough Ogres.
  • Scenarios--some sort of linked campaign would be nice
Those of you who have OGRE DE, what would you like to see in the expansion?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Trafalgar refought

Some three weeks ago, Grant ran a Battle of Trafalgar scenario at Dragon's Lair using some Portsmouth minis and modified Bloody Broadsides rules.
There weren't quite as many ships in our refight of the battle, but we did have over a dozen players commanding 17 or so sailing vessels.
I captained the Bucentaure, an 80-gun French ship.
We played a speeded-up version of the game, with automatic damage (the to-hit rolls slow a big game down) with the opportunity to roll for criticals. We maybe had one or two--mostly fires.
It was a fun game, with a lot of fog of war as ships carried out their written orders--sometimes to the detriment of the rest of the fleet.
The French and Spanish lost three or four ships, the English British maybe had one vessel that struck.
In the end, the English British, with their superior crews, prevailed. It was an enjoyable time.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Reluctantly crouched at the starting line ...

Last week a few of us from Lone Star Historical Miniatures got in a game of Circus Maximus. While originally a board game, this is one of those sets of rules that lends itself easily to minis play. There were just three of us, so we each took a pair of chariots for a two-lap race.
This game's not just about speed and driving skill--when passing someone, you can choose to ram their chariot or use your whip against the other team. Bumping another competitor can damage one or both chariots, and causes the target to fall back.
Of course, if you take damage there is a chance you'll wreck. During this race, each of my chariots received a little damage; to avoid flipping over, I just needed to avoid rolling snake eyes. So of course I rolled a two. Both times. One other driver crashed as well. The overturned chariots remained on the track as obstacles, while the horses kept galloping around the hippodrome.

This player-vs.-player aspect is fun, as you can improve your position in the race, or just screw over your opponent for fun.
We played on a large board, using 15mm minis. Below are three drivers in the time out area, after flipping their chariots and letting go of their horse teams (you can let the horses drag you across the finish line, but that's not advisable unless you're very close to the end of the race).
In the end, Joe, who had lost one of his chariots, finished first with his remaining racer. Circus Maximus is a fun game, especially on a large board. It's even better when you have a large number of competitors, like I've seen at Millenniumcon.
What other board games look good with minis?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Operation Hornets' Nest: Galactic Knights AAR


I've played a number of starship combat games over the past several years--and even co-authored my own rulebook, 5150: Star Navy--but the set of rules that first lured me back into gaming was Galactic Knights. Last weekend I had a chance to play GK for the first time in a long while.

I've had the starting rulebook for quite some time, but I acquired the expansion for the insectoid race, Entomolian Invasion, more recently. This was the first game I played using the new rules additions. My friend Joe hosted the game at his place.

I came up with a quick scenario: A force of Terran Transsolar Federation starships enters an Entomalian Empire planetary system with one large hiveworld, one earthlike satellite, and one airless moon. The attackers' goal is to conduct planetary bombartment on two of the three worlds, but the defenders don't know the targets and start out with their forces spread between the three celestial bodies. Before the Bug player sets up his ships, the Terran commander designates his primary and secondary targets and writes down where and how his attacking ships will enter the map.
Joe chose to play the attacking Terrans, while I was the peace-loving Entomalians.  He brought in two of his capital ships, the battlecruiser Marshall Plan and the galactic dreadnought Princeton, along with three Mars-class starbomber escorts (Patton, Frederick, Yamamoto), on one long edge of the map, headed toward the large hiveworld at the center of the planetary system. His flagship, the super galactic dreadnought Chancellorsville, and the remaining escorts emerged at a corner of the map near the airless moon--their primary objective.
The Entomalians had stationed the attack carrier Regina Apis with one Sting-class starbomber (Penta) and one Louse-class armored pursuit ship (Aspis 1) in orbit around the hiveworld. The Mantis-class dreadnought Prophet circled the earthlike world, accompanied by another SB (Hexa) and APS (Aspis 2). The Roach-class battlecruiser Palmetto and two more starbombers (Blank and Violetta) orbited the airless moon, and the Scorpion-class battlecruiser Chlorotoxin patrolled the middle of the planetary system.
When the Ents saw the Terrans enter the system, they began to break orbit toward the invaders. The Chlorotoxin and the Regina Apis launched fighters against the battlecruiser and galactic dreadnought, while the Prophet and Palmetto fired missiles. The Chancellorsville and the Marshall Plan responded with fighters of their own, while the Princeton unleashed its missile salvoes.
Some Mosquito starfighters attempted to intercept the Terran antiship missiles attacking the Scorpion-class ship, while Terran Meteors added their shots to the stern of the Roach-class battlecruiser.
Some escorts were also set to shoot at each other (with both Ent starbombers eventually destroyed), but first we had to resolve the fighter and missile attacks, which can get complicated.
Luckily, Galactic Knights includes a battle board so players can sort out the fighter and missile and point defense attacks. It makes resolving large furballs relatively simple. Below is how it looked during the action around the Princeton. The Terran starship and fighters took out the missiles but suffered a few hits from the Gnat starfighters--which according to the rules are kamikaze craft that inflict 6 points damage per hit!
Meanwhile, the rest of the Entomalian fleet was closing in order to make use of their gravity guns, which aren't stopped by the Terrans' shields.
The lighter escorts have a much higher thrust rating than the ponderous capital ships, and can therefore get across the board much quicker. However, it takes the same amount of thrust to slow down, so be careful you don't fly off the board!
The Entomalian Barb missiles don't cause much damage, but they do contain a homing beacon that makes it easier for other ships to target a craft that's been hit by them. The Marshall Plan took two such Barb shots, as indicated by the green tokens.
The trio of starbombers attacking the moon (the Ho Chi Minh, the Napoleon, and the Atilla) inflicted some damage on the defending starships and poured some of their plasma torpedoes into the surface of the moon, fullfilling their orders to nuke the world from orbit. The Chancellorsville then approached to add its heavy particle beams and plasma laser batteries to the bombardment.
Speaking of torpedo salvoes, Ent starbombers unleashed their grav torpedoes into the Princeton, destroying the galactic dreadnought.
Moments later, another Sting did the same thing to the nearby Terran battlecruiser, At this point the attackers had just their flagship and one or two escorts remaining.
The Terran super galactic got its licks in against the moon, dealing over 100 points of damage to the unfortuate satellite. However, it took hits from three enemy missiles giving Entomalian attacks a 90 percent chance of success.
We called the game at this point, with the Terrans retreating in disarray: they lost two capital ships and four escorts, while the Entomalians suffered just two destroyed escorts, and one heavily damaged battlecruiser. Operation Hornets' Nest had failed.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ogre at Sea: L.C.A.C.

Continuing my nautical Ogre theme, here we have a Landing Craft, Air Cushion for transporting conventional vehicles across large expanses of water to invade the peace-loving city of Monopolis.
This is another 1:350 scale model, this time from MRC's Gallery Models line of kits. The package actually includes two LCACs. They're display model kits, not gaming pieces, so some of the parts are very small and intricate. Still, there's not that many of them, and it didn't take long to put one of them together.
As you can see, like my armored boat, the LCAC also fits well with my metal Ogre miniatures. For those who are unfamiliar with this craft, it's a modern Navy vessel used to bring troops or vehicles from offshore onto the beach.
Like it's real-life counterpart, my Ogre LCAC won't have any major weaponry on board, since it's a transport vessel. It will get a couple of antipersonnel guns, however. Other game stats will be its defense of 2, and its GEV movement rate of 3/2 in water only. Note that the 3/2 speed is for loaded LCACs--an unloaded craft can travel 4/3.
An attack result of X on an LCAC at sea destroys the vessel and any cargo it was carrying. As noted above, the LCAC can only enter water hexes. The exception is that it can move onto a beach to disembark vehicles or troops its carrying, but this ends the LCAC's move for the turn. Units deployed from an LCAC cannot move during the same turn that they disembarked, although they can shoot normally.
An LCAC that moves onto a beach is considered to move into that hex for purposes of overruns. If an LCAC lands on a beach occupied by enemy forces, determine overrun combat as normal against the LCAC, but not its cargo or passengers. If it is destroyed in the defenders' first fire round, any vehicles or troops it was carrying are also lost. After the defenders first fire round, any units carried by the LCAC are deployed and can take part in the overrun, although they may not leave that hex after the overrun is finished.
So what fits into this LCAC, which is smaller in Ogre than the real-life version would be? Pretty much any two indivirual armor units, as you can see from these photos I took while test-fitting the parts together:
You have room to substitute two light tanks for one larger vehicle, for a total of four light tanks, or one heavy and two lights, per LCAC.
This craft can also hold a company of powersuited infantry. That's three platoons of three squads each, which fit comfortable in the LCAC.
It can hold two missile crawlers, which are die-cast toys repurposed for use in Ogre instead of the official, two part miniatures.
The only big vehicle the LCAC can carry is my mobile command post, which fills its bay. Unfortunately for the attackers (but luckily for the defenders), the superheavy is just a little too wide to fit. Same thing with the mobile howitzer.
I may have to grab some more of these, but I think I will wait until I playtest this model first. Anyone want to help?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New Ogre unit: Armored Boat

I'm always on the lookout for ways to expand my large-hex Ogre miniatures scenario that I ran at Millenniumcon. I have some more buildings I need to put on bases. I even snagged some terrain items the day the convention ended. And now, my latest inspiration is to add enough water hexes to play some nautical scenarios.
To that end, I acquired this Zvezda plastic model at a local hobby store. It's a Soviet armored boat intended for the company's Art of Tactic World War II game. Since I like to repurpose all sorts of models for my gaming, I'm using it as a conventional naval unit for Ogre.

While the scale of this kit is 1:350 and the scale of the Ogre minis is 1:285, the model itself fits in great with my actual game pieces. On the gaming table, this hunk of plastic will represent a manned boat to patrol the waters off Monopolis. Why? Because that's where the invaders will be coming from in my next scenario.
Since the armored boat is about twice the size of conventional vehicles (and has the weapons modeled on it), I'm gonna give this unit two attacks: one strength 4 at range 2, like a heavy tank, and one strength 3 at range 4 like a missile tank. It will also get 2 antipersonnel guns, like a superheavy. It will have a move of 2 on full water hexes only (no streams) and a defense of 4. That comes out to about two armor units, according to the Cobb GEV unit calculator. Sounds about right to me, but we'll see how it does in playtesting.