Sunday, March 22, 2015

Pandemic, 5e Multiclassing, OGRE

Last night there were games!  And it was good.

First was a game of Pandemic with the In the Lab expansion active, and we actually won on the last possible turn.  Having never won a Pandemic before, that was pretty neat.  Part of it was obviously that we didn't need five cards of one color on a single person and could spread them out over multiple people, which helped, but I think part of our success was also that we built more research stations than we usually do, which made getting to troublezones easier than it is in most of our Pandemic games.

Then I read 5e's multiclassing rules while others played Smash.  I approve of these multiclassing rules - spell slots scale with multiclass total caster level in a Trailblazeresque fashion, you don't necessarily get all the proficiencies with your first level of a new class, and there are minimum ability score reqs to multiclass - 13+ in all of your classes' main stats (typically one per class).  I was originally skeptical of the minreqs, but on further reflection this seems like a good way to reign in the "dipping for class features" issue common in 3.x, since your odds of having a 13 in everything are fairly low.  Sort of a blunt/brute-force solution, but I can appreciate that.

Finally, there was a game of OGRE with Matt.  We rolled for it and I drew the OGRE.  His armor picks were two GEVs, two howitzers, two missile tanks, and four heavies.  I initially wanted to go down the left flank, but he came after me there.  The GEVs engaged first near the edge of the howitzer bubble and did a little tread damage before being chased down and destroyed.  Meanwhile the rest of his armor moved forward, and I caught some of his infantry and two tanks without having to come under howitzer fire.  I moved back around to the other flank, hoping to spread his units out a bit, and then pushed down the one column of hexes on the right flank that were outside of the range of the left howitzer (so as to only take fire from only one howitzer as a time).  I managed to spread out being engaged by the remaining tanks over two turns - took fire from the lead elements, overran and destroyed them, took fire from the tail elements, then overran and destroyed those too, with a missile for the right-flank howitzer.  This reduced the firepower that could be stacked against me on any one turn; I did still lose my main battery to heavy+howitzer fire, but with all of my other systems in good order and no remaining mobile armor units, we called it.

We concluded that the main tactical error was Matt's eagerness to engage me at the edge of the howitzer bubble rather than making me "tower-dive" into howitzer fire in order to attrit his mobile units (at which point I might as well just go for broke and drive for the command post...).  Concentration of force was an issue too, as with splitting firepower across turns.  There was some discussion of running a very GEV-driven defense, possibly foregoing howitzers, for a "light cavalry" mass of GEVs that could encircle and engage as a group, stack firepower, and then scatter out to the sides, requiring the OGRE to move laterally / not towards the objective in order to attrit the armor.  Such a force would work much better with an "offensive defense" posture than a howitzer-bound one could.  On the other hand, the OGRE counter to such tactics is probably to hug the edge of the map, to limit the number of directions you can be engaged from and force the GEVs to get in each other's way.  This does suggest a deployment area for the defense's infantry deployment, I guess.

On the other end of the scale, I think a fixed-ish defense of howitzers and missile tanks with a mobile reserve of GEVs might also work.  We're still not really sure what to do with infantry; there was some speculation about using them en masse to attack treads.  I definitely think it's winnable for the defense, but it also seems to me that you want to have everything hit the OGRE all at once to improve your odds.  At the end of the day the main asymmetry is in concentration of force - the OGRE is inferior to the defense in terms of total firepower, but it's much more concentrated.

In any case, an interesting game; would play again, though I should probably play defense next and give someone else a change to OGRE.

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