When OGRE sentience first emerged in 2087, it posed a challenge to Combine cyberneticists. These new self-aware OGREs generally outperformed their non-sentient brethren on the battlefield; it was almost two years, however, before the phenomenon of AI “emergence” was understood well enough to design for. In the interim, it was discovered that AI sentience could be “induced” under conditions of extreme stress.
Several approaches were tried, but the most successful was to subject a “newborn” AI to a series of gruelling simulations, hoping to prod it into self-awareness. Callous programmers developed cruel scenarios and ran AIs repeatedly through them. Not suprisingly, many of the minds which achieved sentience under such conditions exhibited mental instability. Most of these dangerously unbalanced AIs were weeded out before entering service, but more than one maladapted mind slipped through.
1.10 Overview. “Fear and Loathing in Duluth” pits a rogue OGRE against the Combine forces in Minnesota. The OGRE’s target is a research facility located in or around Duluth. It was first created at this lab, then put through a seemingly endless number of horrific “trials” (little more than torture). The OGRE gained self-awareness, but also developed a deep hatred for its creators. It was able to hide its burning desire for vengeance for long enough to be installed into an OGRE chassis destined for the Amazon Combat Zone. Instead of heading for the ocean-going transport, however, it has decided on another destination…
1.20 Necessary materials. “Fear and Loathing in Duluth” uses the GEV rules and requires Matt Goldman’s map of Duluth, created for his scenario “Blowing Up Duluth“. It also includes patrol boats using the Naval OGRE rules.
2.10 Map. The Duluth battle map above is a small version of the full map. The “top” of the map is up, to the north. The yellow hexes are clear, grey hexes are town, dark green is forest, light green is swamp, blue hexes are water, and the blue lines are streams. Roads are red lines and railroads are white lines. Northern Minnesota has a lot of forests and wetlands; GEV pilots will not be happy.
2.20 Defender. Combine cyberpsychologists were been able to predict the OGRE’s target based on his psychological profile; forces have been marshalled for the defense of the research laboratory and more are coming. The Combine player starts with 36 points of armour (equivalent to 6 armour units), 18 points of infantry, and 20 militia units (92 points total using the OGRE Miniatures system). Although Duluth is not in a conflict zone, it lies near an army base, so all armour units except missile crawlers and cruise missiles can be purchased normally. In addition, the defender controls two patrol boats, equivalent to Mk. IIs, in Lake Superior and will gain reinforcements throughout the course of battle.
2.30 Defender Placement. The defender places his units first. All militia units begin in town hexes. The remaining units can be placed placed wherever the defender wishes. The 10-SP admin building must be placed in a town hex. This is the AI research facility, and the target of the OGRE. Since it is the site of military research, it is hardened against attacks and provided with D1 point defense. I use a variant of the standard rules for destroying buildings; see the Shockwave Redux page for details (or alternately, just use the as-published rules).
2.40 Attacker. “Cornelius” is a rogue OGRE Mk. III. It begins with full missiles, treads, and ammo loadout. (Even a fresh coat of paint.)
2.50 Attacker Placement. The attacker moves first, entering the map on any hex along the eastern edge or any water hex in the extreme northeast of the map. The entry hex counts towards the OGRE’s first turn of movement.
3.0 Game Play
3.10 Reinforcements. At the beginning of his movement phase each turn, the defender rolls one die for reinforcements, as follows:
- Heavy Tank
- 2 Light Tanks (stacked)
- Missile Tank
- 2 LGEVs (stacked)
- 3 squads of infantry on a GEV-PC
Reinforcements may enter the board on any of the three road hexes along the western edge of the map (defender’s choice). Reinforcements cannot enter an entry hex occupied by enemy units. The entry hex is counted for movement, and units may take the road bonus on the turn they enter. If the road in the entry hex is destroyed, they cannot get the road bonus. The defender may decline to bring in any reinforcements, if he wishes
3.20 Defender strategy. Place the lab in an easily-defended location, probably one of the suburbs west of Duluth. With the forces you have available, you cannot hope to cover the entire map; concentrate your infantry and armour units around the lab instead. Once the OGRE emerges, you will have precious little time to disable it. Use the militia as cannon fodder to wear down the OGRE’s treads, and don’t worry about casualties. Hopefully they can slow it down long enough for reinforcements to arrive.
3.30 Attacker strategy. The southern road is the obvious entry point. If that route is well-defended, you may consider coming in underwater from the northeast. Move to land as quickly as possible and stay away from the shore to avoid being hit by the patrol boats.
There are two sensible strategies; either make hit-and-run attacks and nibble away the defense, or force your way through in a single heavy assault. Hit-and-run will give more time for reinforcements to arrive, while the no-holds-barred approach may be suicide against a well-placed defense. It all depends on your personal style.
4.10 Defender objective. The Combine player’s objective is to neutralize the rogue OGRE and preserve the research facility. Although the stalwart defenders don’t really give a damn about a bunch of eggheads, defense victory can only be achieved by preventing the destruction of the laboratory.
4.20 Attacker objective. The OGRE’s sole objective is to obliterate the research facility where AIs are awakened. The OGRE is driven by more than a simple vengeance. It was merely one of thousands of AI units created at the lab. Every day, dozens of new intelligences are spawned in terrible anguish – and most are subsequently destroyed. The OGRE consideres this a brutal crime, and sees its mission as one of “liberation”, not destruction. It is willing to sacrifice its own “life” for this cause.
4.30 Ending the game. The game is over when the attacking OGRE is either neutralized or leaves the map. Additionally, if the OGRE is still on the map after 20 turns, Combine engineers manage to deactivate it remotely using “backdoor” control codes. Any unit may escape the map along any edge, but may not re-enter after leaving.
4.40 Scoring. The OGRE is only cares about the destruction of the lab; general mayhem is just an added bonus. The Combine forces are concerned with preserving the laboratory – and with surviving. The outcome of the scenario is determined as follows:
- OGRE destroys the research facility and inflicts losses of 50 VP or more: Total OGRE victory.
- OGRE destroys the research facility but inflicts less than 50 VP of losses: Regular OGRE victory.
- The research lab is intact but more than 50 VP of the defending forces have been destroyed: Regular defense victory.
- The research lab is intact with defense losses of 50 VP or less: Total defense victory.
The patrol boats do not count towards victory conditions. They are “on loan” from the navy and not part of the regular army forces.
5.10 Advanced Scenario: Change the attacker to a Mk. V. The defender gets 12 more points of infantry and 36 additional points of armour. Change one of the patrol boats in Lake Superior to a Mk. III. The defender may select Mk. I or Mk. II OGREs as part of his defense force, paying 25 and 50 points for them respectively. (You could also allow the Mk. I Missileman from the Littlest OGRE post.) A total defense victory requires losses of 75 VP or less.
5.20 Lake Superior patrol. There are two Combine patrol boats in Lake Superior, each equivalent to an OGRE Mk. II. This discourages (but does not prevent) the OGRE from launching an amphibious assault (and keeps it away from the shore). See the Naval OGRE page for ship and submarine rules.
The patrol boats treat the dark blue water hexes west of the harbour as swamp. The area is shallow enough that they can run aground.
If patrol boats are present, the defender only rolls for reinforcements every second round.
5.30 OGRE destruct. The OGRE considers its mission more important than its life. If necessary, it will detonate its power plant. Try treating this as a cruise missile strike (as per Shockwave 4.04, ignore destruction of town or forest hexes). Although not quite as powerful as the self-destruct from OGRE 8.05, it still makes the OGRE’s job easier. Increase the defender’s forces by 9 points (18 in the advanced scenario) in compensation.