The Overlooked Ogres

by Mike Fischer

It seems like certain Ogres get all the fun. The Mark V is the "reference standard" by which all other units are judged. The Mark IV gets some scenarios in the GEV rule book. Everybody seems to be in lust with the monstrous Mark VI and Doppelsoldner. The Mark III gets its share of action simply because everyone has one -- it comes with the Ogre boxed set. But what about all the other Ogres? We collect one of each, paint them, and that's about it.

This document includes scenarios that are variations on the basic Ogre-attacks-the-command-post battle. What makes them special is that they don't use garden-variety Ogres.

First, there's the "little guy," the Mark I. At 25 points, it doesn't seem that Ogre-ish. One gun and a few AP's, no secondaries or missiles, a weak set of tracks -- whoop-de-doo. But consider a Mark I against four heavy tanks. The Ogre needs four hits at 1-1 odds to wipe out the tanks, and that doesn't include ramming attacks. To kill the Ogre, the tanks need six hits at 1-1 -- one on the main gun and five on the tracks. They'll need fewer hits as the Ogre loses tracks to ramming attacks, but those rams will also reduce the number of tanks to do the shooting. The Ogre will win almost every time.

Against four GEV's, the Mark I won't do so well. Now the enemy needs nine hits on the tracks, and two GEV's have to team up for the 1-1 attack on the main gun. The GEVs' double move will keep them out of trouble if they can kill that gun quickly. If not, they will suffer. A quick and dirty guess at the odds says the Ogre will die, at a cost of 1-2 GEV's. This might be worth it in a big game, because after they get the main gun, the remaining GEV's will be tied up for 3-4 turns shooting the Mark I's tracks and dodging its rams, so they won't be doing anything else useful.

Also consider the Ogre's psychological impact. Put an Ogre on the map, any Ogre, and it will become a magnet for anything the enemy can throw at it. One "little" Mark I can hold a huge area captive just by being there, while your other forces do what they please elsewhere.

A lone Mark I against a command post should fight three armor units and six infantry. It doesn't seem like much of a battle, does it? Use it to introduce beginners to the game, or to play a "quickie" during your lunch break. Don't use the hexes beyond row 16 or column 12. Or you can pit four Mark I's against the forces that normally fight a Mark III. Points-wise, it's even, but I suspect the Mark I's would usually win.

Then there's the unjustly-overlooked Mark II. This "little" tank has 100% of the main gun power of a Mark III, 50% of its secondaries, 75% of its AP's, 0% of its missiles, and 67% of its tracks. That makes it 58% of a Mark III for only 50% of the point cost -- a bargain!

A good opposing force for a Mark II is six armor units and nine infantry. The Mark II doesn't have that many guns and treads to kill, so it's not a robust adversary. But the defenders have such a small force that any casualties at all will hurt them badly. Six and nine leaves an awfully empty-looking battlefield, especially if their set-up is concentrated. Tactics for playing the Mark II are about the same as for the III, except you don't have any missiles.

Why does the Mark III-b get so little attention? This one plays more like a small Mark V than an improved Mark III. The extra missiles, in particular, force the defender to play very differently than he would against a Mark III. Even its psychological effect on opposing forces is greater. The tank crews and infantry in my little Ogre world refer to the III-b as the Little Five.

To oppose the Mark III-b, I recommed 14 armor units and 21 infantry, which you can do with the mini's that come with the Ogre boxed set.

Finally, there's the Fencer. The upgunned Fencer-B should get the same opposing force as a Mark V. The "basic" Fencer has only secondary guns, but with all those missiles, guns are strictly a back-up weapon anyway. Use them (and ramming) to finish off disabled units, and to tag tanks and infantry that get too close.

I suggest an enemy force of 15 armor units and 21 infantry against a basic-model Fencer. I also suggest you close in on it fast, overwhelm it with targets, and shoot out those missile racks before it can empty them on you. The smart Fencer player will dodge, zigzag, and do all he can to keep you at a distance while he lobs his bottle-rockets at you from maximum range.

Any of these scenarios can be made slightly harder against the Ogre by adding one armor unit and removing three infantry. The point values are the same, but when playing with the basic Ogre rules, armor is generally more useful.

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