Going to try something a little different here (for me) – an OGRE session recap.
I am hosting an upcoming OGRE Mini-Tournament, and wanted to test the scenario since it was planned for Day 2 but I’d never played it before.
Pre-Game / Setup
The game didn’t start very auspiciously – the other player cancelled at the last minute, and I ended up running it as a solo game. Luckily, there are guidelines for a solitaire game provided – which I heartily approve of.
The next issue I ran into was building placement. I was using the Designer’s Edition, but the scenario requires placment of some lasers plus “all of the other white building counters supplied with the Shockwave set”. This proved to be a bit tricky, as my old Shockwave counters are already cut up and mixed with everything else.
I made a guess at which buildings to use, and also posted a question to the SJ Games OGRE/GEV Forums. The OGRE community came through and provided the complete list of buildings for the scenario:
2 × 20 SP Laser Tower 2 × 20 SP Laser Turret 3 × 10 SP Admin 3 × 20 SP Admin 3 × 30 SP Admin 2 × 60 SP Reactor 2 × 60 SP Strongpoint 1 × 70 SP Strongpoint 1 × 80 SP Strongpoint
And here’s my first concern with the scenario – it took quite a long time to set things up. I wouldn’t want to make another player wait around for this.
Here’s my setup before I got the “correct” buildings list (and when I assumed there would be a second player) – click to embiggen:
For the solo scenario, I selected “building” tokens from OGRE 6e and randomly distributed them around the locations I chose.
So I decided to release my LGEVS in the central hex, and that they needed to escape west (to the left of the Shockwave Map). In the short story accompanying the scenario, they’re stolen PE LGEVs, but I used a mix of the standard (black) Combine LGEVs and the Black Rose Mercenary units.
I immediately broke my hovercraft into two (colour-coded) groups. I was able to spend quite a long time checking out buildings undetected. In fact, this is my second concern with the scenario – now it’s the other player’s turn to sit around waiting. In the end, I was able to identify all but three of the buildings before deciding to make a pre-emptive assault on the laser towers.
Steve Jackson wasn’t kidding when he said that the scenario was “conceived as a showcase for the new LGEV unit”. I never realized how nasty they could be to buildings! At this point the scenario got interesting – the LGEVs were able to inflict heavy losses by taking out the laser towers early, avoiding enemy armour, and keeping out of the line-of-sight of the laser turrets.
A lucky reinforcement roll brought a pair of light tanks within striking range of my Black Mercenary LGEVs. Believing that they were safe from enemy attacks, they were dangerously close together (8 units stacked), and after some lucky Paneuro rolls their numbers were thinned. There was still enough LGEVs remaining, however, to take out the two reactors in quick succession.
The Paneuro reinforcements were increasing in number, and around this time a pair of PE GEVs caught the flank of the the other LGEVs swarm and was able to destroy quite a few. It wasn’t until a turn or two later that I realized I had forgotten to apply the “Destruction of Reactors” special rule and that the LGEVs would have survived.
Somewhat frustrated by this, I threw the LGEVs at the remaining easy-to-hit buildings (losing several units) then escaped with three LGEVs.
Endgame & Analysis
In the end, I had identified all buildings, destroyed 2 reactors, 4 admin buildings, 2 laser towers, a few town hexes, and a small number of armour units; then escaped with 3 LGEVs. The PE side destroyed 13 LGEVs (and preserved all trucks and hovertrucks).
I got a grand total of 382 points, which was enough for a “Routine Results” victory for the Combine. This felt like kind of a “stalemate” result to me.
As I mentioned above, the first two phases of gameplay – building setup and LGEV reconnaissance – were very one-sided (first for one player, then the other). Once the LGEVs were discovered, both sides participated – but gameplay then bogged down with Structure Points. Keeping track of SPs for all the buildings was a pain; I had mentioned to Ashley that I like SPs if they’re the only ‘extra’ rule in a scenario. And since there was so much to keep track of I ended up forgetting the “Destruction of Reactors” special rule.
In terms of positives, I did enjoy the “stealth” aspect to the scenario. And it certainly highlighted the LGEVs strengths and weaknesses. (Also, I was pleased with the prompt response from my question to the OGRE/GEV forum.)
Overall, Operation Newspaper is a cool idea (and the solo rules were appreciated), but too fiddly for my tastes. I give it 2 out of 5 nuclear trefoils.
Operation Newspaper (Scenario): ☢☢◯◯◯ (2/5)
I was testing this in advance of my upcoming OGRE Mini-Tournament; after playing I’ve decided to remove it from the roster.