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Subject: Mk III vs ten armour units and 20 infantry squads rss

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Josef Tham
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Malmö
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I’d love to hear any stories about the Mk III attack “handicap” scenario where the Ogre faces only ten armour units and 20 infantry squads, because in my experience it’s very different from the usual basic Mk III vs twelve armour units scenario! Is a guns-first defensive strategy the way to go?

Most articles/advice on defensive strategy in the basic Ogre Mk III attack scenario tell you to focus heavily on the treads after taking out the main battery (and sometimes the missiles, depending on the article, some of which tell you to ignore them unless they pose an immediate threat to either your howitzers or CP). But I’ve noticed that all those articles seem to assume you face the Ogre with twelve armour units, and they also tend to say that the Ogre stands little chance against an experienced defender.

In the Designer’s Edition it is specifically suggested the defender plays with a handicap of two armour units if both players are experienced, facing the Mk III with only ten armour units. So how does that affect defensive strategy?

After going down to defeat against my inexperienced girlfriend (and subsequently against my brother) I did a few solo sessions, testing out different defensive set-ups and compositions. I ignored howitzers in favour of various combinations of heavies, GEVs and missile tanks, with GEVs often making up the larger part, as is frequently recommended in strategy articles. (I haven’t tried the all-Light Tank defence, which is often toted as an example of a “broken” set-up.)

I followed the standard doctrine of going for the treads as soon as the main battery was out, trying to reduce the Ogre’s movement points as early as possible so the GEVs could do their hit-and-run thing. As the Ogre I would favour kills over forward progress if given the opportunity to take multiple defenders under fire.

What happened was always the same, pretty much a repeat of the match against my girlfriend, with the Ogre eventually reduced to two movement points but not enough defenders remaining to stop it before it reached the CP. A GEV or two would usually be the only things left on the map, with the Ogre even escaping successfully if left with enough tread units and facing only a single GEV. Most times it would be a marginal attacker victory, with the Ogre immobilized by the few remaining by-now-untouchable GEVs after it flattened the CP. The infantry always died wholesale under a hail of secondary battery and AP fire!

Clearly either something was wrong with the way I played or the defensive strategy recommended by so many other gamers simply didn’t work as well when defending with only ten armour units. The Ogre simply killed most of my defenders before they were able to slow it down, and it didn’t matter whether or not I tried to overwhelm it with a single massive wave (often setting up for that very purpose, with fast units in the rear, then spending the first few turns getting everyone into place for a mass attack) or just started hitting away as soon as possible.

Since the basic problem seemed to be the Ogre’s offensive capabilities overwhelming the numbers of the defenders, I decided to do the very thing few strategy articles seem to recommend, namely focus heavily on the Ogre’s guns.

On my first attempt I went no GEVs, instead picking six heavy tanks (placing five of them spread out in a line in the centre, just out of first turn missile range) and four missile tanks. The Ogre, seeing this set-up, naturally guessed the defenders’ intentions, and went down one flank, trying to get as far as possible before the heavies were able to mass against it. (Well, duh! Solo play, remember?) Firing off its missiles against the first heavies in range on the second turn, the Ogre went unmolested for the first couple of turns as the heavies manoeuvred for a massed strike. At first it all looked depressingly similar to my early sessions, with four heavies knocked out and not a scratch on the Ogre. Then the missile tanks got into range and Ogre main and secondary batteries began dying at a rapid pace under the combined fire of the two remaining heavies and the four smaller tanks. Then the infantry got into play and I was amazed at how well they held up without numerous secondary batteries to wipe them out of existence even before they got into AP range.

Having suffered little more than the loss a few more squads of infantry the defenders now went for the defanged Ogre’s tread units with a vengeance. With the heavies behind it and the missile tanks well out of range to the flanks the Ogre went line-straight for the CP, having no reasonable opportunities for rams except for the occasional over-run against infantry along its path. It was eventually immobilized four hexes away from the CP, having been pounded by two heavy tanks, four missile tanks and at least two units of infantry every step of the way for the last several turns.

I would say the guns-first strategy, or at least my first attempt of same, turned out a success! Luck-wise I’d say the defenders had above-average luck when gunning for the secondary batteries and below-average vs the treads, so I’m positive it averaged out; a few less surviving defenders could also probably have stopped the Ogre given more average rolls.

On my second attempt with the same strategy the Ogre tried to get smart, staying back in order to get as many heavies as possible before the rest of the defenders appeared. This almost got it cornered way too close to its starting point as the missile tanks and infantry came on in huge half-moon formation and it had to burst through the centre of the defenders to create some manoeuvring room. It lost its guns but managed to stay ahead of most of the infantry in the subsequent race for the CP. Rolling even worse than before, I failed to get all the tread units this time, despite three heavies and three missile tanks hammering away at them. Still, I was closer to stopping it than in most treads-first sessions I’ve done, and my luck really was appalling this time.

So... only two sessions so far, trying out this new-fangled de-fanging thing, but I’m positive I’ve hit upon something better than the apparently non-effective tread pounding, which really doesn’t seem to work with only ten armour units (at least not without outrageous luck on your side). It sure is fun, because the decision when to switch fire to the treads if you don't get most of the guns quickly is decisive! Way more challenging than single-minded tread bashing and hoping for lucky rolls! Comments?
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Darin Sunley
United States
Draper
Utah
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Yeah,You can think of defanging early in the game as really significantly increasing the number of defending units you have remaining late in the game.

You do need to slow the Ogre to a halt, but as you've discovered, you also need to drastically slow the rate at which it kills your units, or you'll run out of units even before you run out of map.
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Steve Hatherley
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Playing solo, I've hit upon the same strategy as you.

I discovered that if I take out the main battery and then target the treads, the Ogre usually wins. So I changed strategy and now take out the main battery and then at least three of the secondaries.

Then it's treads, treads, treads.
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David Rock

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The way I typically play it is on each turn:
Main first
Take one or two shots at secondaries to see if I get lucky
then spend the rest on treads

The idea is; you do have to stop it from shooting at you for tread attacks to be effective. You just can't wait too long.

Additionally, it's very important not to waste attack strength (eg, use MSL tanks to attack secondaries, not HVY tanks). If you do have something that will be over-firing, that's usually a good time to target treads.
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wolf90 (Drew)
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granitepenguin wrote:
Additionally, it's very important not to waste attack strength (eg, use MSL tanks to attack secondaries, not HVY tanks). If you do have something that will be over-firing, that's usually a good time to target treads.

Absolutely. If there is "left over" attack strength in what you're thinking of attacking, then don't with that unit. Go for the treads. Every non-tread attack should be at an exact ratio (1-1, 2-1, etc) without "wasted" attack strength.

D.
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David Damerell
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I think treads-first attacks do rather assume that you have at least one HWZ somewhere that can cover the route to the CP but which is not _on_ the route to the CP.
 
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