Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Adios, old year!

As the Dreadnought says goodbye to 2014, I once again look back on my gaming over the past twelve months. As usual, not as much as I'd hoped--a move, training for a marathon, and other issues got in the way, and there was no GuadaComaCon. Still, the year brought a few highlights:
I'm glad I got to run the games I did, and I hope to keep it up in the coming year. So how was your gaming in 2014?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmastime Ogre game

Who knew cats liked wargames?
Visiting my brother during the Yule season, I brought along the Ogre pocket edition. Joined by the family kitten, Precious, who took an interest in the proceedings, we played the Mark III attacking scenario.
My brother took the Ogre, I played the defense, and the cat got in the way. I took three heavies, four GEVs, a missile tank, and two howitzers, backed up by twenty squads of infantry.
It was a close game, and if my howitzers had managed a couple of hits on treads at the right time, I would have vanquished the Ogre, since I'd taken out everything but its AP guns.  As it ended up, he limped in at M2 and destroyed the command post in sector 0801, before I finally immobilized him.
So it was a marginal Ogre victory, which my brother had predicted from the beginning--even naming his tank provocatively.
We had fun, despite his criticism of my defense (telling me I moved my infantry the wrong way, leaving them out of position to stop the Ogre).  I told him that if he's such an expert, he can play the defenders in our next game.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Siege of Monopolis scenario

Here's the OGRE scenario that I ran at Millenniumcon in 2014, cleaned up for your gaming pleasure.  Siege of Monopolis uses Ogre minis, the Designer's Edition rules, a big hex mat from Corsec Engineering, and scratchbuilt terrain from model railroad/diorama supplies and parts from various editions of Monopoly games.  Note there are some special rules that deviate from the standard Ogre DE rulebook.
{I have included designer's notes in bracketed italics.}

The peaceful City of Monopolis rises above the rubble of the Last War, a gleaming center of commerce and industry. But no peace lasts forever. Now invaders march to conquer the city while outnumbered defenders scramble to protect their home.  Join the Siege of Monopolis!

  • COMBINING FIRE: Units may not combine fire unless all the firing units are within a single hex of one another or the target is within the targeting range of a functioning command post.
    {This gives players a reason to destroy the other person's CP and protect their own.}
  • COMMAND POST: Allows other units to combine fire against a target within the targeting range of the CP.
    • MOBILE CP: D1, M2, targeting range 10 hexes.
      {I had a cool mini I wanted to use.}
    • STATIONARY CP: D2, M0, targeting range anywhere on the map. No terrain bonus. 
  • CRUISE MISSILE: The detonation automatically destroys all Town or Forest within three hexes and damages all Town or Forest four hexes away. It destroys or damages units according to the standard rules.
    {It slows down a game to roll to see whether hexes on the edge of a cruise missile blast are destroyed, so I just changed it to damaged--and besides, I like showing off the terrain I made. I shrunk the blast radius for the same reason, and because with four-inch hexes, my map doesn't cover as much territory as the Ogre DE maps.]
  • HIDDEN INFANTRY: A player may designate some or all infantry units as hidden infantry. They are not placed on the map during setup. Instead, hidden infantry deploy as follows:
    • On any turn, at the start of the defender’s fire phase, the defender rolls a d6 for each unit to be placed. On a roll of 4+, that unit may be placed in any Forest, Rubble, Swamp, or Town hex unoccupied by enemy units. 
    • Multiple hidden infantry units may be placed in the same hex as long as the rolls are successful.
    • Once a roll fails, the defender may not attempt to place any more hidden infantry until the next turn. 
    • Hidden infantry fire normally on the turn they are placed, and move and fire normally after that.
      {I like fog of war, but I wanted to reduce recordkeeping such as writing down which hex your infantry are hiding in (and my map doesn't have numbered hexes). This is a good way to have concealed units while cutting down on paperwork.}
  • LASER TOWER: D4. No terrain bonus. Otherwise uses standard rules.
    {Using a defense factor instead of Structure Points eliminates more recordkeeping and also gets rid of an exception to Ogre's combat resolution system, meaning one less rule for convention goers who may be new to the game, to worry about. Besides, it's fun to see what the attackers do after they've disabled, but not destroyed, the laser.}
  • MINEFIELD:  Covers one hex until cleared.  On-road: Automatically destroys a vehicle or infantry squad or d6 Ogre treads and blocks the road. Off-road: Destroys a vehicle on roll of 6 or d6 Ogre treads on 5-6; slows infantry to M1. If they don’t move or fire, three squads of infantry can clear a mined hex in three turns, six squads in two turns, and nine squads in one turn.
    {Again, less recordkeeping and no need for special units in a convention game. Each minefield is represented on the map by three tokens per hex, remove them as above to indicate progress in clearing the minefield.}
  • SKYSCRAPERS: Town hexes with BPC-reinforced skyscrapers have D8 and treat a cruise missile detonation as if it were one hex further away.  Other than that, they use the same rules as regular Town hexes.
    {I just think the skyscrapers should be a little harder to turn to rubble. And yeah, I like how they look on the tabletop.}
    • COMMAND GROUP (player 1)
       Mobile CP
       Cruise Missile Crawler x 2
       Mk V Ogre
      {I gave the attackers nukes to see if they would ever use them.  Every time I ran the siege, the attackers used their nukes!}
    • PANZER COMPANY (player 2)
       Light tank x 2
       Heavy tank x 7
       Superheavy tank x 2
    • ROCKET SECTION (player 3)
       Missile Tank x 6
       Mobile Howitzer x 3
    • LUFTPANZER COMPANY (player 4)
       LGEV x 6
       GEV x 8
    • INFANTRY BATTALION (player 5)
       GEV-PC (w/3 Infantry squads each) x 6
       Infantry Platoon (3 Infantry squads each) x 8
       Heavy Weapons Squad (1 infantry squad each) x 4
       CP
       Laser tower x 1
       Minefields x 4
       Mk V Ogre
      {This was a Mark III in the convention game, but I upgraded it here because the defense needs the extra help.}
       Heavy tank x 5
       Superheavy tank x 1
       Missile Tank x 3
       Howitzer x 2
       Light Artillery Drone (w/hovertruck) x 1
       LGEV x 4
       GEV x 9
       GEV-PC (w/3 Infantry squads each) x 4
       Infantry Platoon (3 Infantry squads each) x 6
  • DEFENDER sets up first on the eastern half of the map except for the following:
    • MINEFIELDS: The defender places minefields in six hexes anywhere on the map.
    • COMBINED ARMS BATTALION: These units enter from the eastern map edge on any turn desired by the defender.
    • HIDDEN INFANTRY: The defender may designate some or all infantry units as hidden infantry. 
  • ATTACKER sets up last, up to five hexes in from the west side of the map.  The attacker does not have to bring on all units on the first turn; they may enter on any turn. Units entering on a road get the road movement bonus.
  1. Preserve your forces.
  2. Defend the city at all costs.
  3. Keep the attacker from occupying skyscraper hexes.
  4. Keep your Ogre alive; it is needed for the war effort.
  5. Destroy the enemy Ogre to thwart their war effort. 
  6. Keep the road open to the west.
  1. Preserve your forces.
  2. Capture the city at all costs.
  3. Keep the attacker from occupying skyscraper hexes.
  4. Keep your Ogre alive; it is needed for the war effort.
  5. Liberate the prison (have one platoon of infantry spend one turn in that hex without moving or shooting).
  6. Destroy power plants (target the hexes containing them directly or through spillover fire).
  7. Occupy the House of Government (have at least one vehicle or infantry in that hex until the end of the battle).
  8. Keep industrial areas intact; do not allow them to become damaged.
 {I didn't keep track of victory points or have any conditions for one side or the other to accomplish. Instead, like in most battles, each side has a number of orders, some of which contradict each other.  I wanted to throw these orders out there and see what the players did with them.}

Friday, December 26, 2014

Alien hyperspace subs

I finished a couple of spaceships for the first time in a long, long time.  It's wasn't anything complicated--just a couple of alien hyperspace submarines from the Stardate: 3000 line of miniatures.
I painted these to match the Federation subs and the other ships in my Slannish Treasure fleet (three drybrushes: metallic antique copper, metallic copper, and metallic Inca gold). 
I really like the detailing on these models.  No obvious weaponry, but a lot of mechanisms dedicated to the engines.  These are smugglers' ships.
These craft will mainly see use as scenario objectives (i.e., targets) in various games, as part of a convoy.  Here's to more spaceship painting and gaming in the new year!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Super Galactic Dreadnought!  I hope your holiday was a good one (and if you don't observe Christmas, I hope your day was a good one), and I hope you gamers have a chance to get in some playing. 

Me, I want to get in some Ogre with my brother later this weekend.  What sort of gaming do you have planned?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Planetary engineering

It's been a long time since I've mentioned anything space-related on this blog.  Just to show you that I haven't abandoned the genre completely, here's another planet for use in my starship battles.
This world is made from a 12-inch Styrofoam hemisphere from a craft store.  I coated it in white glue to protect it from aerosols which can dissolve the material, then lightly applied about four different colors in a mottled pattern.
This massive object provides takes up a lot of room on the gaming table and can shelter even the largest vessels, like this Victory-class super galactic dreadnought of the Terran Transsolar Federation Navy.
It's noticeably larger than my other planet model, but too small to represent a gas giant at this scale.  Instead, it's a larger (but less dense) Earth-type world with a thicker atmosphere, no oceans, and lots of plant life.  I plan on using both of these planets, along with an airless moon, in a future convention game.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Speculating on Pocket GEV

When Steve Jackson Games ran that Kickstarter for Ogre Designer's Edition, one of the stretch goals was Ogre Pocket Edition.  This throwback to the 1977 edition came in a ziplock bag with two sheets of 70 half-inch cardboard counters each, an 8.5" x 14" map on heavy paper, and a small rulebook.
The current version of OGRE comes in a plastic bag.
The most remarkable thing about this product was that SJG kept the price at its 1977 level: just $2.95 for the game, even though all the components mean it should cost around $10 in today's market. 
An older edition of GEV came in a black plastic box.
So naturally there's been fan speculation about whether Steve Jackson will release a pocket version of the game's sequel, G.E.V.  (Frankly, I don't think it will happen; an SJG honcho said maybe if they sold all their Pocket Ogre copies by Oct. 1 of this year, but there's no indication that they did sell out of the game.  Still, it's fun to ponder.)

So what should be included in a new ziplock edition of G.E.V.?  I'm gonna presume that in order to keep costs down, the publisher will use the same die cut counter sheets, just with different printing.  So there are 140 counters to play with.  The rulebook will be about the same (or a little thicker) than the Ogre booklet, but this edition will require a larger, color map.  So it might end up costing around $12 or $13, instead of the inflation-adjusted $10 of Pocket Ogre.

But what units should be included with those counters?  The original G.E.V. introduced only four new vehicles: the light tank, the mobile howitzer, the Ogre Mk IV, and the train.  But the Designer's Edition also included units from other supplements, such as light and personnel carrier GEVs, superheavy tanks, missile crawlers, hovertrucks, and other models of cybertanks.

Me, I think a new edition of G.E.V. should have all the units that were in the original game, along with light GEVs and superheavy tanks--these types provide an interesting mix of combat vehicles, without having to get into special rules (like infantry riding in GEV-PCs or cruise missile detonation).  Also, this counter mix would still give players enough of each unit type to try out various strategies.

Like I said, this game will probably never go into production--but it's fun to think about.  And if it ever does go on sale, I'll be buying at least two copies. If Pocket G.E.V. does see the light of day, what would you like to see it have?