Born To Lose, Live To Win
Metal Undivided, Chaos For All
Submission Notes: I did not write this. David Morse did, I am submitting it with permission implied at the bottom of article. It has been my experience that very good game material is out there on the internet, but it has a tendency to disappear over the years as individuals lose interest or don't have the resources to keep their websites going. With that in mind, I'm going to to try and repost cool stuff that I find out there here on BGG (presumably a longer term and more stable reference), as long as I have the permission of the contents creator. The original document can still be found at http://tank.osaurus.us/train-strategy.html as of the date of this posting.
This article gives some ideas for how to play The Train, in SJ Games' GEV. I'll concentrate on the defense, since this is the trickier side to play.
In The Train a huge attacking force swarms over from the southwest island. Its the defense's job to occupy them for seven turns while the train races through. We'll assume neither side can buy cruise missiles or heavy weapons infantry. Furthermore, the attacker should not be allowed superheavy tanks, since he has to squeeze through a bottleneck. If the defender takes his force in mixed armor, and fights on the flats just over the bridge, he will be annihilated immediately.
The defender gets to examine the attacker's setup before deploying. This is the key to victory, but even in the best case it will be a close thing.
I prefer a defense composed of mostly howitzers, since I can typically squeeze 3-4 shots from each howitzer. Where to place them exactly depends on the way the attacker initially deploys, and constitutes the bulk of this article.
First some general guidelines: Howitzers should be arranged in a pyramid, with the point facing the oncoming forces. The point keeps the attackers from loitering and concentrating. Once the attackers commit, the base joins in the bombardment, but with a few more precious hexes between them and the hordes. All howitzers should have some GEV-unfriendly terrain at range two on the island side, otherwise they're too easy to rush. Ideally they should be in forest as well, as that extra MP and disable roll makes them harder to overrun in secondary movement phase.
Support forces should loiter near the howitzers, and wait until the howitzers are directly threatened before deploying. The tendency is to throw them into the fray whenever they have a 1-1 shot. Avoid this urge! The attackers are overwhelming initially. Wait as long as possible for the howitzers to soften up the attackers. Commit only when the howitzers are directly endangered, and even then only if a 1-1 shot is available. When in doubt, retreat a hex or two and attempt to balk their move for another turn.
Here I'll digress to strategy for the Attackers. Attempt to spread the defense too thin. Feint with some LGEVs to the west. The defense must respond, or else he'll lose. Also send GEVs into the lake. Its just five hexes from there to the train track. Put a howitzer on the pier at 2111. This can shell units hiding in the two town hexes in the middle of the board. If they don't hide there, target the town in 1408 anyway, just to cut the road, then reduce it to rubble the following turn.
The main thrust should come from heavy armor moving across the bridge and either due north into the forest, or northwest towards the towns. The offense has such a firepower advantage that (as long as they don't stack) they can afford to forfeit the first shot.
Don't bother with mobile howitzers. They'll be singled out for attacks by the defense before they can get in range. Missile tanks are more survivable.
Infantry should swim across the river, rather than taking valuable stacking slots along the road.
The Defenders Again
Now that I've discussed a concrete attacker setup, its time to show how to counter it with a concrete defense. Put the point howitzer in the woods at 1606. Put the base howitzers at 1703 (swamp howitzer) and 1205 (western howitzer). Notice how the point howitzer may hit anything over the river bridge. Notice how lake GEVs wanting to shoot the point howitzer must come in range of swamp howitzer first. Notice how the western howitzer is far enough away from the others that even if they're overwhelmed, its still got a chance, and yet it can fire in support of both of them.
As for the mobile units, put a few light tanks and infantry to guard against west-feinting GEVs. The rest should be HVYs and MSLs in a loose formation around the point howitzer. If the attacker goes GEV crazy and hits one flank hard, they need to quickly plug the hole there. If the attacker comes right up the middle, they'll be needed to defend the howitzers.
Remember, if the train gets through, even though your force is annihilated you will probably come away the victor. Good luck.
This document copyright 2000 David Morse. Permission is hereby granted to make and distribute copies of this document for non-commercial use.
Dist of Columbia
Thank you for posting this, but without telling us which version of the rules, and which exact version of the map is being referred to, it's all uselesss....
Please choose a state
Actually an nicely written strategy article.. the map locations look like they're from the color map (the version published in 2000?). That swamp howitzer should probably be in 1705.
Have been planning to run a session of GEV so might give this a whirl. Thanks for sharing.
The map used for the article is the one from the 3rd edition of G.E.V. first published back in 1982 and is the map and numbering that's been used since.
The 'swamp howitzer' is in the correct position at 1703, the idea being as he says in the article to have G.E.V. unfriendly terrain at a two-hex range from the howitzer positions, which 1703 gives quite well from the swamp hexes to the south.
The incorrect hex reference is the one for the Combine howitzer being placed in 2111 which is actually in the middle of the lake. Hex 2113 appears to be the hex he was referencing.
An interesting article to be sure however, and worth trying out.