Playing G.E.V. on Vassal

Tuesday , 10, October 2017 2 Comments

Ogre and G.E.V. are easily among the top 100 best games ever created. The gigantic cybernetic battle-tanks tend to get the most attention, and that’s understandable. Winchell Chung’s depictions of the Ogre Mark V is among gaming’s most iconic illustrations of all time. And the awesomeness of one single unit plowing through an entire army of tanks and infantry never seems to get old.

Connoisseurs of great gaming can tell you, though: Ogre is even better when you take away the giant cybertanks that are synonymous with the franchise! The endlessly textured interactions between two opposing groups of armor units and infantry…? It’s a masterpiece of game design whether you’re pushing breaking through a defense line with a group of G.E.V.’s or conducting a raid with the survivors.

What are your options for playing this today…?

  • You can play the original microgames of course, but these are so small and the game components are so cheap, most gamers today will simply turn up their noses at them.
  • You can play the incredibly large Designer’s Edition if you can get your hands on a copy– and if you have a vehicle that can transport it.

There is a third option, however: you can install Vassal and install the OGRE-GEV_Deluxe module. The up side is that you don’t have to worry about laying claim to space on the kitchen table, there are Battlefields maps available electronically that do not come with the Designer’s Edition, and you can even play against someone on the other side of the world.

You do have to know what you’re doing, though. There’s nothing in the code to prevent you from moving a piece farther than its movement allowance. You’re opponent may get overexcited with a spillover fire attack and forget that kill results are downgraded to just “disabled”. And if you’re playing someone that’s depending on the scenario to allow towns to be degraded according to the rules from the early eighties, you’re going to have to persuade them yourself to go along with with changes that were published with the more recent Designer’s Edition.

How’s it play…? Well, it doesn’t beat the experience of playing face to face. It seems to take about half again as long to play. (Hint: open a Google Hangout while you play rather than just depending on the chat window.) Purists will note that the maps are not an exact replica of Denis Loubet’s original paintings. And there really ought to be a better way to confirm that the movement is correct besides comparing an image export of one turn with the next.

But the price is right. The rubble hexes look rad. And you never run out of counters.

If you are short on opponents in your neck of the woods and you haven’t gotten the hang of Vassal, then this is something you’ll definitely want to look into.

  • Rhialto says:

    There’s also the smaller Ogre Sixth Edition: somewhere between your options, with actual usable pieces (though the playing board is limited).

  • DanH says:

    We used to have the whole set of these games Ogre, G.E.V. and Battlesuit and were avid players. We constructed large, built-up topographic playing fields from foamboard.
    There were indeed very well designed games.

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