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Old 01-12-2018, 02:16 PM   #1
tbeard1999
 
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Default Hold Fire in Ogre/GEV

I have very few criticisms of Ogre/GEV. They have to be ranked as nearly perfect tactical wargames - engaging, fast playing, simple and elegant. There is, however, one very minor complaint - no opportunity or overwatch mechanic. This is not a big problem, since (a) the movement allowances and ranges are small; and (b) line of sight isn't required (which avoids the panzerbush problem). However, there are some odd situations that can develop, particularly with GEVs. These problems generally occur more when playing games with non-Ogres on both sides.

Examples:

1. GEV is 6 hexes away from light tank. It moves 4 hexes closer and shoots at the light tank. It then moves 3 hexes back. The light tank can't shoot back unless it moves 3 hexes closer. And if the terrain won't cooperate, the light tank won't be able to get within range of the GEV.

2. Enemy GEV on water hex ends its movement 3 hexes from friendly light tank. Friendly light tank is occupying a key piece of terrain. At this point, friendly light tank is well out of range. Water prevents it from closing the distance. On the next turn, enemy GEV moves 2 hexes and attacks friendly light tank.

3. Enemy light tank ends movement 5 hexes from friendly light tank. Friendly light tank is occupying a key piece of terrain. At this point, friendly light tank is well out of range. On the next turn, enemy light moves 3 hexes and attacks friendly light tank. Friendly light tank could only avoid this if it gave up its position and moved towards (or away from) the enemy light tank.

Despite being in position and waiting for the enemy, each of the non-moving tanks either had to give up their position or let the enemy shoot first.

While this gives Ogre/GEV a certain chess-like quality, it's wholly artificial. In my own Fistful of TOWs 3 rules, I have two solutions to the problem:

The first is Overwatch. If a stand does not move and is eligible to fire, it can take an Overwatch marker instead of firing. This allows it to fire before, during or immediately after the enemy's next movement phase. If the overwatch stand fires before or after the enemy movement phase, the attack is handled normally. If it fires during the enemy movement phase, a negative modifier is applied. (This discourages players from slowing the game down by taking gratuitous Overwatch shots while the enemy is moving).

The second is Hold Fire. If a stand does move and is eligible to fire it can take a Hold Fire marker instead of firing. This allows it to fire during the enemy fire phase, with results being applied simultaneously. In Ogre/GEV, the best approach would be to conduct all Hold Fire, then let the phasing player fire and apply results. Then apply the Hold Fire results.

I don't think that Ogre/GEV would benefit much from the Overwatch rule. As noted, there is no line of sight issue and Overwatch mostly addresses "panzerbushing".

However, the Hold Fire rule might be worth trying. In the above examples, the attacking unit would still get to fire, but it would be potentially vulnerable to counterattack without the enemy having to give up its position. You could come close to a true overwatch mechanic by letting the non-moving stands fire fire first and immediately apply the results. But I wouldn't do that. I'd like to encourage aggressive play.

Just a thought.

Last edited by tbeard1999; 01-12-2018 at 03:01 PM. Reason: Additional Comment
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Old 01-12-2018, 04:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: Hold Fire in Ogre/GEV

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
These problems generally occur more when playing games with non-Ogres on both sides.
I'm not sure I agree that these problems exist.

Quote:
1. GEV is 6 hexes away from light tank. It moves 4 hexes closer and shoots at the light tank. It then moves 3 hexes back. The light tank can't shoot back unless it moves 3 hexes closer. And if the terrain won't cooperate, the light tank won't be able to get within range of the GEV.
This is a phantom issue. It relies on "the terrain not cooperating" but in your example, there are few places the GEV can retreat to that the LT can't follow. About the only example is if a stream is in the way, but the LT is most likely out of position if this happens. Besides, the whole point of a GEV is that it's able to do exactly this; they are supposed to be fast strike-and-retreat units.

Quote:
2. Enemy GEV on water hex ends its movement 3 hexes from friendly light tank. Friendly light tank is occupying a key piece of terrain. At this point, friendly light tank is well out of range. Water prevents it from closing the distance. On the next turn, enemy GEV moves 2 hexes and attacks friendly light tank.
You haven't given a clear enough description of where the units are relative to the edge of the water. Don't forget that GEVs must stop at the edge of the water in current rules. If the GEV is far enough into the water that the LT can't reach it, it's also not on the water's edge and can't advance close enough to attack.

Quote:
3. Enemy light tank ends movement 5 hexes from friendly light tank. Friendly light tank is occupying a key piece of terrain. At this point, friendly light tank is well out of range. On the next turn, enemy light moves 3 hexes and attacks friendly light tank. Friendly light tank could only avoid this if it gave up its position and moved towards (or away from) the enemy light tank.

Despite being in position and waiting for the enemy, each of the non-moving tanks either had to give up their position or let the enemy shoot first.

While this gives Ogre/GEV a certain chess-like quality, it's wholly artificial.
That's what makes the game interesting. The positioning is the hallmark of why the game is good; it's supposed to be hard to get the first shot. You have to decide if you want to hold the position or advance; that's the whole point. This example also presumes single units, which is rarely the right tactical move in G.E.V. This issue is nullified by bringing a different tactic to the board (flanking, numbers, etc). I don't see this as a problem, or artificial.
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Old 01-12-2018, 04:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: Hold Fire in Ogre/GEV

It seems like it would just add complexity, for the occasional ability of the 'defender' to get first reaction fire in. Might as well then add LOS rules, and Morale, and from there Supply ... in which case, then I'd just play ASL.

Ogre/GEV is meant to be fast and deadly ...
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Old 01-12-2018, 05:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: Hold Fire in Ogre/GEV

I do see it as kind of artificial, but deliberate, especially considering GEV split movement. Allowing attacks of opportunity drastically changes the dynamic between treaded armor and hovercraft, to the point of throwing the entire system into confusion. Think about how much more powerful this makes Ogres. The usual tactic for using GEVs against cybertanks is in a series of slashing attacks: move a group close in the first movement phase, make attacks in the firing phase, then scatter in the GEV second movement phase. The Ogre player has to make a decision between grinding for the CP or trying to run down some of the GEVs. If the Ogre can instead hold its fire then it can devastate the GEVs as soon as they come into range, eliminating their entire special game mechanic.

Remember that Ogre/GEV is not meant to be a realistic simulation, just a fun game. Sometimes things will happen that might not make real-world sense.
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Old 01-12-2018, 05:06 PM   #5
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Default Re: Hold Fire in Ogre/GEV

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack_JB View Post
It seems like it would just add complexity, for the occasional ability of the 'defender' to get first reaction fire in. Might as well then add LOS rules, and Morale, and from there Supply ... in which case, then I'd just play ASL.

Ogre/GEV is meant to be fast and deadly ...
At roughly the scale of Ogre, I still unhesitantly recommend Tac-Air, if you can find a copy.
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Old 01-12-2018, 08:47 PM   #6
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Default Re: Hold Fire in Ogre/GEV

Quote:
Originally Posted by GranitePenguin View Post
I'm not sure I agree that these problems exist.


This is a phantom issue. It relies on "the terrain not cooperating" but in your example, there are few places the GEV can retreat to that the LT can't follow. About the only example is if a stream is in the way, but the LT is most likely out of position if this happens. Besides, the whole point of a GEV is that it's able to do exactly this; they are supposed to be fast strike-and-retreat units.
Sorry, but it’s real. I used it to defeat another wargamer awhile back. He was unhappy that such artificial tactics worked.

And a tank that is waiting on an enemy unit to enter range would be able to engage that enemy unit when it did so. Particularly with the kind of advanced targeting systems that one would expect in 2085. The fact that it isn’t that tank’s “turn” wouldn’t matter in real life.

Quote:
You haven't given a clear enough description of where the units are relative to the edge of the water. Don't forget that GEVs must stop at the edge of the water in current rules. If the GEV is far enough into the water that the LT can't reach it, it's also not on the water's edge and can't advance close enough to attack.
Breakthrough scenario. Lt tank was occupying the 1 hex of clear terrain between the swamp and wood hexes. Hex 2007 on color map; 1608 on original map. Occupying that hex was critical because it was the GEVs only clear route on that end of the board. (I’d have put a heavy tank there, but I digress). The GEVs came up the river into the lake, then “strafed” the light tank.

Quote:
That's what makes the game interesting. The positioning is the hallmark of why the game is good; it's supposed to be hard to get the first shot.
The problem is that it’s artificial. There’s no rational reason why a tank can’t engage a target when it enters effective range.

Quote:
You have to decide if you want to hold the position or advance; that's the whole point. This example also presumes single units, which is rarely the right tactical move in G.E.V. This issue is nullified by bringing a different tactic to the board (flanking, numbers, etc). I don't see this as a problem, or artificial.
Then we disagree.
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Old 01-12-2018, 08:56 PM   #7
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: Hold Fire in Ogre/GEV

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack_JB View Post
It seems like it would just add complexity, for the occasional ability of the 'defender' to get first reaction fire in. Might as well then add LOS rules, and Morale, and from there Supply ... in which case, then I'd just play ASL.

Ogre/GEV is meant to be fast and deadly ...
I don’t think that one very simple rule change turns GEV into ASL. And line of sight is explicitly contraindicated by the future history - the rules specifically state that the AFVs are armed with non-line of sight weapons. So it’s not necessary to go there.

Anyhow, the hold fire suggestion was the simplest way I could think of to address my friend’s concerns. And now mine, since I feel like I beat him with gamesmanship, not superior tactical ability.

Also, the Hold Fire rule as proposed doesn’t give the non-moving player the first shot. And since the unit using Hold Fire foregoes his attack in his turn, it won’t be used except for meeting engagements. Once the units get “stuck in”, Hold Fire will likely rarely be used.
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Old 01-12-2018, 08:59 PM   #8
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: Hold Fire in Ogre/GEV

Quote:
Originally Posted by ColBosch View Post
I do see it as kind of artificial, but deliberate, especially considering GEV split movement. Allowing attacks of opportunity drastically changes the dynamic between treaded armor and hovercraft, to the point of throwing the entire system into confusion. Think about how much more powerful this makes Ogres. The usual tactic for using GEVs against cybertanks is in a series of slashing attacks: move a group close in the first movement phase, make attacks in the firing phase, then scatter in the GEV second movement phase. The Ogre player has to make a decision between grinding for the CP or trying to run down some of the GEVs. If the Ogre can instead hold its fire then it can devastate the GEVs as soon as they come into range, eliminating their entire special game mechanic.

Remember that Ogre/GEV is not meant to be a realistic simulation, just a fun game. Sometimes things will happen that might not make real-world sense.
No question about it. I would not add Hold Fire, except as an optional rule. And I wouldn’t use it in a game of Ogre. The issues - assuming agreement that they are issues - arise when you have lots of non-Ogres on both sides.
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:50 PM   #9
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Default Re: Hold Fire in Ogre/GEV

Then, of course, do whatever you want to do in your own games. Rumors that Steve Jackson personally employs teams of Gaming Ninja to enforce his games' rules are base slander.
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Old 01-13-2018, 07:01 AM   #10
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Default Re: Hold Fire in Ogre/GEV

I'd say that the interactions that tbeard1999 uses to justify Hold Fire overlook that all of that is 'baked into' the rules. They're *supposed* to work that way and if a unit can 'interrupt' and fire on any enemy the moment they come into range then just exactly how are we to simulate a GEV doing hit-n-runs on a Missile Tank?

Yes, the You-Go-I-Go nature of Ogre introduces artificialities as tbeard1999 rightly points out. However, it's the only way to keep certain realistic tactics (hit and run with GEVs) without making the game really complicated.

That said, I could see Hold Fire or 'interrupt' rules for, say, fixed defenses: gun bunkers and fortresses that supplement howitzers in the back. There might be a place in OGRE for fixed defenses that don't open a 17 hex gap in your line when taken out. But to do that, they need shorter range, and so that their not easy meat they'd need to attack at the same time. This can be justified as them having huge magazines to shoot from. So imagine a 4/3 D4 Gun Bunker that can interrupt fire at any enemy in range. Just a suggestion.

Also, what did you have in mind for Hold Fire rules? A simple -1 on the CRT with mutual destruction being very possible, seems the simplest idea, not have to remember if you moved, etc.
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