describes itself as a strategy wargame, and I suppose
it is a wargame insofar that it deals with the systematic
destruction of a war machine by other war machines --
but the supertanks employed in Ogre are entirely
fictional. This isn't a fault by any means -- Ogre
has a classic concentration, simple where it helps the
gameplay and complex where it makes things interesting.
We are, in concept at least, on the battlefields of
the 2lsl century. The predominance of small-scale nuclear
weapons have made infantry troops rather too expensive
and cumbersome to use in battle, and defences against
long-range missiles have become so sophisticated and
widespread that they're no longer an option. The development
of a new kind of wonder metal means that tanks are back
in fashion, the most advanced kind being a 50-metre-long
'cybernetic attack vehicle' -- the Ogre.
action takes place on an unidentified battlefield. There
is no assumption, not even an implicit one, of an East-West
conflict, and the situation is highly stylised. The
Defender, who is always the player, has a command post
and an assortment of mechanised tanks. The Ogre, the
single piece controlled by the computer, is out to destroy
the command post.
very simple hex map fills two screens. It's glaring
white, which I found fatiguing to look at for a period
of time, and its blankness is interrupted only by a
few unclear squint lines which are intended to represent
rubble, and a sprinkling of red circles which denote
craters. The rubble lines, which are not particularly
distinct, run between hexes and prevent a piece moving
from one to another. Hexes with craters in them can't
be entered at all.
are selected from a series of pull-down menus, and are
carried out by pressing fire. At the start, the player
chooses a 'field' -- merely a particular arrangement
of rubble and craters on the hex map -- and deploys
his forces. For a quick start, there's a choice of five
preset fields with the defences already deployed, and
a further five pre-designed maps which allow the user
to place his units as desired. The third alternative
is for those who like to play around with editor programmes
and make an entirely new 'scenario'. I'm not convinced
that the shape of the map has much effect on the outcome
of the game, but the type of tanks chosen and their
arrangement certainly does.
the single computer-controlled Ogre, the Defender has
a range of five weapons. The capabilities of these are
defined by five parameters: attack strength, attach
range, defence strength and movement. Attack strength
determines the percentage chance of hitting the Ogre,
attack range determines how many hexes ahead the missile
weapons travel, defence strength is the measure of how
resistant they are to attack, and movement is self-explanatory.
Heavy tanks have a high attack strength and are fairly
strong, but their range is short. Missile tanks have
less chance of doing damage and are slower, but they
have a longer range. Howitzer tanks have a range far
wider than the Ogre's own, and are extremely accurate,
but are almost defenceless and can't move at all. Ground
effect vehicles are super-fast -- they actually have
two movement phases in one turn -- but are moderate
on other abilities. Finally, the player has some infantry
at his disposal, and disposal is usually the operative
defending player has quite an assortment of these weapons
at the ready, all ranged against a single enemy piece.
But the Ogre is a thoroughly nasty collection of hit
points and has four clusters of weapons, each equivalent
to an ordinary tank, two missiles, one main battery,
four secondary batteries, and eight anti-personnel.
In addition it can move at a speed of three hexes per
turn. The defender's task is to wear the Ogre down weapon
by weapon, chipping away at its attacking strength and
attempting to slow it down by blowing up its caterpillar
action takes place in turns of multiple phases, with
the defence moving first. Details about each piece may
be accessed, and it can be moved if required. The Ogre's
details can also be examined -- useful, since a knowledge
of the Ogre's state is essential when the attack is
you try to exit the movement phase without having moved
all your pieces, you're asked to confirm this decision.
A similar query at the end of the firing phase is very
useful, but I found it irritating here. Quite often
it's tactically acceptable to leave tanks in position.
manoeuvred the defence weapons, the player gets to fire
at the Ogre. Moving tanks close is essential, but it
also means that in its firing phase, the Ogre fires
back. Each tank has a choice of shooting at one of the
Ogre's weapon banks in an attempt to take them out,
or going for the treads to slow it down. The Ogre has
forty-five treads, and every fifteen destroyed means
one less movement point per turn. It's fairly important
to attempt immobilisation, because even if the Ogre
is stripped of its weapons, it can simply roll over
the command centre and crush it.
on the target's attack and defence strength, a tank
has a percentage chance of hitting a weapon of its choice.
The powerful Howitzer tank has 100% chance of hitting
the poorly-defended anti-personnel weapon, while the
Ground Effect Vehicle has only a 17% chance of destroying
the main battery. This percentage chance is increased
by combining the attacking force of several tanks. Any
number of tanks can aim at the same target and increase
the chance of hitting it, but the effect will be the
same as if a single tank has made a lucky roll, and
the firepower of the extra tanks, who only get one shot
per turn, might well have been wasted. All tanks have
a 33% chance of hitting the treads, but they can't combine
firepower on the target.
clearly-defined percentage chance-to-hit system is well
suited to the game's stylised nature, although it seemed
to me that the Ogre managed to hit my tanks much more
often than I managed to hit it! One major advantage
which the Ogre has is the ability to disable the player's
tanks on a 'roll', where the same result for the player
just 'glances' the Ogre, and has no effect. So every
time the Ogre hits, it does some effective damage.