Sunday, November 13, 2011

Raid on Frederikshavn Playtest 1

This weekend, not only did we play ADD on Friday, but Saturday was our wargame/boardgame day at our new FLGS. While we did play a great game of Red Dragon Inn at the end of the day, the lion's share of our time was spent playtesting a new scenario I've been working on for Ogre Miniatures; the Raid on Frederikshavn.

This was a very early test-run, and we ended up using the "Raid" scenario from the Ogre Miniatures rulebook with a few modifications. I just wanted to see how things worked, in order to be able to do some tuning with actual results to work from. I count the playtest as a rousing success from that standpoint. Lots of excellent data gathered.

The basic scenario is that the PanEuropeans have developed a new space shuttle and are preparing a test-launch from their spaceport in Frederikshavn, Denmark. The Combine has sent one MK-IIIB Ogre across the bottom of the North Sea to rendezvous with a fast attack group of GEVs (including GEVs, Light GEVs, GEV-PCs, and hovertrucks). The attacker got 60 points plus a MK-IIIB, and the defender got a Fencer, 24 squads of infantry grouped into 8 platoons, plus 24 points of other units. Each turn the defender rolls randomly to determine what sort of reinforcement will arrive-- anything from a mobile howitzer to GEVs to infantry. A variety of small buildings (3 structure points/10 victory points) and large (10 structure points/15 victory points) were there, plus the shuttle on the gantry itself (15 structure points/30 victory points). Various town areas were on the board (which measured 4'x4') itself, which could be destroyed piecemeal for victory points as well.

The game begins as the Combine forces (bottom) hit the beach. The main objective-- the PanEuropean shuttle-- is visible at the top of the picture.
The PanEuropeans selected a pair of howitzers as their defense, counting on the Fencer and infantry to hold the fort until the reinforcements arrived. The Combine had a variety of GEVs and Light GEVs, plus one GEV-PC holding a platoon of infantry.

Alas for the invaders, the Combine infantry and supporting GEVs got pasted almost immediately by missile fire from the Fencer (the white smoke plumes in the lower-right corner of the picture above). Although the Combine MK-IIIB did a number on the closest buildings and town areas, gaining some early victory points, almost the entire right flank of the Combine raiding force was taken out by the Fencer. The left flank, as shown above, penetrated deep into the spaceport facility, and made short work of that town area and building. 

The Combine MK-IIIB, code named "Skorzeny" faces off against the Fencer, code named "Pinky". Pinky was able to maintain distance and pummel Skorzeny with missiles while remaining relatively unscathed; it still had one missile rack and both secondary batteries intact at the end of the game.

 Pinky retreats, drawing Skorzeny into range of the howitzers and the defending infantry.

The Combine GEVs on the left flank take out buildings and town areas, wracking up victory points but unable to help Skorzeny as the MK-III takes all kinds of damage.

Badly damaged, Skorzeny still pushes forward, taking out three of Pinky's missile racks and moving towards the large rocket fuel tank, but there's a LOT of infantry to overcome. At the top, PanEuropean reinforcements are sent to slow down and destroy the Combine GEV flank.

Duel of titans. Unfortunately for the Combine, Skorzeny was badly damaged at this point and was reduced to naught but AP weapons. Pinky did an overrun and took out all of Skorzeny's treads, and that was all she wrote for the Combine Ogre. Defeated by a cybernetic tank the size of a mini-mall and painted pink, Skorzeny hung its virtual head in shame.

The Combine GEVs ultimately took out many of the PanEuropean reinforcements and inflicted enough damage to the fuel depot immediately adjacent to the shuttle to eke out a marginal victory on points. But the shuttle itself was unscathed and the PanEuropeans were about to wipe out the raiders when we called the game.

Lessons Learned

I am immensely glad we played this through, and will do so a few more times, prior to rolling it out for Dreamation in February. Some points we came up with:
  • Objective buildings should not be placed on top of town areas
  • The space shuttle itself should be giving much more significance to encourage the attacker going for it rather than going for the "cheap win" by just wrecking the joint
  • Victory points should not be awarded for destroying town areas, only buildings
  • The victory point range might need to be adjusted based on the fact that there is now an Ogre among the defending units
  • Possibly, destruction of the Ogre should not count towards victory points
  • Victory points for buildings should be set so that half (or slightly more than half) need to be destroyed to ensure a Combine victory; as it was, only a third were destroyed and a marginal victory was still achieved
All in all, I had a great time, and once the scenario gets tweaked appropriately, it'll be the talk of Dreamation.

6 comments:

mksiebler said...

Looks like a cool game!

"...our new FLGS..."

Which FLGS is your group playing at nowadays? Did another one open along the Route 10 corridor?

Joseph said...

All In One Collectibles. They took the same space that Mighty Titans used to have on Route 10. Nice space; open, bright, not insufferably noisy, and the store owners seem much more interested in getting stuff for us as customers.

Northy said...

I, too, can't rate highly enough the new venue. I can't speak for intentions, and haven't managed to order anything yet (but the list is definitely going to grow!), but from just a short conversation with the owner it does certainly seem like they're more willing to try to get products for us.

People need to get down there for our next game day. It's a heck of a great time, not only just with Ogre, but with a whole slew of fun games.

Thanks for organizing, Joe, they're always a great time.

Hamlet said...

Indeed, and they seem capable of not only turning on the climate controls (which the new Mighty Titans is not) but also keep the place insect free. Always a plus.

I think that having the two ogres on the board seriously changes the dynamics of what happens, but in a curious kind of way. As you observed at the time, Ogres tend to "attract one another." Ironically, I am thinking that if Skorzeny had flat out ignored Pinky, charged up the road as fast as possible, perhaps unloading a few missiles in Pinky's direction on the way by, and then unloaded everything it had at the rocket, the game would have been dramatically different.

And I definately agree that the rocket has to be the big draw, tot he point that the attacker cannot win without taking it down, but can, at best, hope for a draw.

Joseph said...

Someone over at the SJGames forums suggested that the shuttle itself should explode as if it were a cruise missile when it's destroyed. I like that idea.

Hamlet said...

Stupid thoughts: perhaps a way to balance the "main target" against the anccilary targets of the supporting buildings is to have an effect great than simply victory points upon destruction. Perhaps a reinforcements table weighted based on how many of the supporting buildings remain. Destroy a few of them, and the reinforcements that show up get smaller and smaller perhaps.

Or that would probably get too complicated in the end.