(The Fencer Arminius from the Man Cave.)
I got the urge this weekend to pull out the Big Box o’ OGREs. I checked out the SJ Games Forums and noticed a new(ish) scenario from Steve Jackson himself – GEV Screen. It’s a variant of the old Fencer Attack scenario, except with a Combine OGRE instead of a Paneuro Fencer.
I tried two solitaire sessions of GEV Screen, followed by two games of Fencer Attack.
An OGRE plus GEV screen (4 units) face a defending force on the original (orange) map. The defender can select either a Mobile Command Centre or a Hardened (D2) Command Post – I went with the D2 Post.
I used the Mk. III version of this scenario, and since it’s been a few years since I last played OGRE I used the ‘beginner’ loadout (with two extra defending armour units). I first tried running the GEVs as a second force to split the defenders, but it didn’t work out well. There were a number of very lucky rolls against the attacking GEVs, and the Defenders won a Complete Victory.
The next time I kept the GEVs with my Mk. III. This worked much better – I was able to clear all the mobile and long-range defending units and sneak a GEV into the back field. The defenders were able to immobilize my OGRE and pick off the GEV on the way back, though, so it ended as a Marginal Attacker Victory.
There’s some discussion on the forum post about the role of luck in this scenario. It does seem to be pretty “swingy” depending on the dice rolls – but I see this as a feature not a bug. It’s short enough to play several games in quick succession without getting boring; I quite enjoyed it.
Overall, I give GEV Screen 4 out of 5 nuclear trefoils.
GEV Screen (Scenario): ☢☢☢☢◯ (4/5)
This is the classic Fencer mission, featured in the OGRE Book, with the Paneuro tank and four GEVs attempting to destroy two targets on the original (orange) map.
I played this one twice through as well (with my kids helping). It plays very differently than the GEV Screen – surprisingly differently. The first time, my Fencer got bogged down in ‘melee’ combat and was chewed up before getting all its missiles out. It ended up as a Complete Defender Victory.
The second time, I used the Fencer properly as a sniper with the GEVs acting as support units when defending got too close. I made good use of my missiles (the final one destroyed the defender’s last armour unit), and even managed to retain a GEV through to the endgame. I destroyed both targets and escaped, ensuring a Complete Attacker Victory.
I didn’t enjoy this scenario quite as much as GEV Screen, but it’s an excellent tutorial on combat tactics. I’ve got a soft spot for the Fencer, too, so I’m rounding my score of 3.5 up to 4 out of 5 nuclear trefoils for Fencer Attack.
Fencer Attack (Scenario): ☢☢☢☢◯ (4/5)