Basic Ogre Defense
by Michael Nahas
The attacking side in Ogre is fairly easy to learn. Not so the defense. At first, it seems as though the defenders have an impossible task; the Ogre is so heavily gunned and invulnerable that it's hard to do more than scratch it... while it eats your units. With practice, though, a defender can learn to make those "scratches" add up to a dead Ogre. This article, therefore, is a guide to defensive play for the beginning Ogre player. One of the Ogre Book articles covered the "four howitzer defense." This is the opposite: the "no howitzer defense."
Selection of Units
I cannot think of a more useless unit in Ogre than the howitzer. Instead, I'll take two heavy tanks. The tanks have a combined attack factor of 8 as compared to the howitzer's factor of 6, eight times the defense ability, and profile two separate targets for the same cost as the howitzer.
GEVs have the advantage of great speed, at relatively small expense. Their weak point is their armor; with a defense of only 2, they're as good as gone if hit. Played right, the GEV attacks the Ogre and uses its speed to move out of the Ogre attack range. However, a force with more than 50% to 60% GEVs is too lightly armed. He won't have enough attack strength to do the job.
The heavy tank and the missile tank are of approximately the same value. The heavy tank has the edge in speed, defense, and firepower. The heavy tank's weakness is its range; it must move in so close to attack that its destruction is almost certain. The missile tank, on the other hand, can stay at a relatively safe distance and take pot shots at the Ogre, but its speed will not let it keep up with a healthy Ogre.
I usually take 10 GEVs, 6 heavy tanks, and 4 missile tanks in the advanced game. In the basic game, I'll take 6 GEVs, 3 heavy tanks, and 3 missile tanks. This seems to be a good force mix, with the GEVs for speed, and the tanks for firepower.
The GEVs should be positioned as far toward the top of the map as possible and not hemmed in by rubble. Spread them out so that some of them can reach the Ogre on its first turn, no matter where your opponent starts. Second in priority is the missile tank. Position the missile tanks near the middle of the map and off to the east and west edges. That leaves the infantry and some heavy tanks behind the "crater line." The infantry won't be needed until later, and the heavy tanks, with their great speed, will be able to catch up to engage the Ogre. As for the Command Post, put it on the far north edge in the center, so we can encourage the Ogre to come up the middle.
Ogre can be divided into three distinct tasks: hit and run, engage, and hold at all costs. The first portion of the game is where the GEVs make their hit and runs. The GEVs should target the main batteries, if you can gather enough firepower for good odds. Otherwise, fire at the secondary batteries, and any GEVs in firing range not taking part in that attack can fire on the treads.
(So why not fire on the missiles? Because they are used up when fired, which is just as good as being destroyed. Look at it this way: You move your tank in close enough to shoot at a missile, but the Ogre shoots up your tank with its batteries. That's one missile for one tank. What is the difference if the Ogre shoots at your tank with one of its missiles? The exchange is still one missile for one tank, and the tank might even survive.)
After the GEVs have made their attack, it's time for them to run... I call it "GEV flee time." Scatter your GEVs in all directions, but keep them within range of the next anticipated location of the Ogre.
When the Ogre approaches the middle of the map, it's time for some good fighting. If you can't move your units in close enough for a first strike, make sure they are far enough away so the Ogre won't get the first strike. The first attack should still be an attempt to pull the Ogre's teeth. When the Ogre has reached the middle of the map you must start attacking the treads; this is to slow the Ogre down so your infantry and missile tanks can keep up with it. You have been moving your infantry up all this time, haven't you? The whole idea is to surround and attack with as many units as possible. Surrounding the Ogre is easier if the Ogre is coming up the middle of the map in stead of running up one of the sides. If the Ogre player has been smart enough to save his missiles, then you will have to knock those out before the Ogre gets any closer to the CP.
Now you have a wounded Ogre limping along toward your CP. Your infantry units are charging the Ogre and are being cut down by the cybertank's antipersonnel weapons. The Ogre must be stopped, all attacks must be concentrated on the treads. You cannot afford to attack antipersonnel weapons, and the mains and most of the secondary batteries should have been knocked out by now.
I hope this will give you a good start in learning to play the defense. Maybe you could talk your opponent into some optional rules to give you a handicap. Try using this one: if a unit attacking treads is one-half or less its maximum range away from the Ogre, then boost the odds up to 2:1. This can give a beginning player quite a bit of help when that Ogre comes rolling down the pike.