As a part of Mark and I’s cycle of lighter game playing, we went back to GEV last November, and tried out the scenario “The Train”. I don’t think it held enough interest for me to try it back in the day, though I remember some of the others in the group mentioning they tried it; I can’t remember what they said about it. The main goal is to stop a train from crossing from the west side of the GEV map to the other, with it arriving sometime between turns 4 to 8, while superior Combine forces start on the ‘island’. That’s  in addition to the normal VPs, and you can sacrifice armor units to arm the train (which neither of us did), and the Paneurope defender can loose points for blowing the main river bridge.

I got the first go with the attacking Combine forces, and took ten GEVs, plus four light tanks, two heavies and a mobile howitzer, plus two more GEVs and a superheavy as the turn 2 reinforcements. Mark set up a light screen of infantry, with six GEVs on the road network, backed up by a couple light GEVs, a missile tank, and two howitzers. The first turn was occupied simply with getting across the river and establishing a proper bridgehead, taking out a pair of infantry squads in the process. Mark split up his infantry for dispersed defense and reshuffled his armor.

I went up to the limits of howizter range, knocked out two more squads, and disabled a GEV with the mobile howitzer. Mark reshuffled the infantry, and the GEVs largely pulled back to the area between the two howitzers. I moved forward, leading with a heavy tank overrun in the central city to kill the one infantry there. Then I stacked everything else I could in the city hex, while moving up the GEVs. I picked off another four squads of infantry and the disabled GEV. Sadly, the spillover wrecked the 1508 city hex, cutting the road there.

With me committed to the center, he started massing on the roads out, and the two howitzers fired on the stack of GEVs in 1508, disabling the target, and one other with spillover, as well as completely rubbleing the hex. I went west, with a pair of heavy tanks down the west road to overrun infantry in the way, and get in range of the howitzer, while I started pressing towards the second one. Meanwhile the ‘reserve’ of GEVs (who’d been waiting in 1911) went over the lake and scattered north of the woods on the second move. Fire took out another two squads, both GEVs, and of course the howitzer.

The train arrived on Mark’s turn 4, going maximum speed, which got it just short of where the howitzer had been. Mark tried mixing it up with my forward units, taking on a GEV with a pair of his in overrun, but lost both of them, and two squads of infantry in other overruns. His fire did knock out three GEVs, and a heavy, and disabled another heavy tank. However, I then pressed forward, and killed the other howitzer with a shot from a GEV, while another destroyed the tracks beneath it. In addition, I killed another three squads, two GEVs, disabled the missile tank, and wrecked the train itself with fire from the superheavy.

And we basically called it at that point. There wasn’t much left of the Paneurope forces, and the VPs were at 134-24. I only needed a 40 point lead for a decisive victory.

I set up fairly concentrated forward (though still back from the four-hex line you can start at) for the second round with me as the defender. It seems like the main point of variable entry on the train is so Combine can’t just do a lunge at the entry area and try to ambush it as it comes on, even if that means getting cut up in the process. So… I set the train to come in on turn 5. I took six light tanks to add some bulk to the twelve defending armor units, two missile tanks and one howitzer for ranged support, four GEVs, and one heavy tank. I also took one platoon of marine infantry in case he tried to use the lake as a staging point.

Mark had two GEVs in the north, with four light tanks, two heavies, and a missile tank, with infantry riding on most of them. Down along the river, he had seven more GEVs, plus two fully-loaded GEV PCs. He established a small bridgehead in the north while the GEV force started working around the south-side forests. I started sending a pair of GEVs and a light tank back to block the west-side north-south road, and sent forward a single light tank who could use road bonus to get into range of the lead units, killing a light tank, and the infantry that had just dismounted from it.

The light tank died in Mark’s turn, but it took a couple shots to do it. He took two GEVs and a superheavy as his reinforcements (hmm, familiar…), and I sent another light tank and GEV back to deal with the mass moving through the south. I moved up to take on the front elements in the north, and took out two light tanks and a squad of infantry. He successfully overran one of my light tanks, and reconcentrated his units around the road, knocking out a heavy and light tank. The southern force split up, with four of the GEVs going NE to cross the stream just south of the main point of contact, while the rest scattered around the north-south road.

I tightened up around where I could get at his units, with infantry boiling out to engage the armor. A heavy and light tank were disabled, and three squads were knocked out (mostly by spillover); I also knocked out a GEV in the west, and another in the stack south of the stream, with spillover disabling another.

The superheavy then overran the light tank on the road, and then got the missile tank in a second overrun. He overran my GEV guarding the bridge in the west with a GEV-PC, and lost it before the infantry clobbered my GEV. In combat, he took out the heavy, a light, disabled a GEV, and mopped up two platoons of infantry in the open. With things going bad, I headed a GEV back from the west, leaving me with a single light tank in position to block the second stream bridge. I managed to disable the superheavy and destroy the missile tank, which still left way too much active in front of me.

Mark started going around my much-reduced forces, knocking out five infantry squads, and one marine squad. He also disabled the GEV that had moved from the east road to guard the railroad. The train came on at full speed, with too many Combine units already in the area. I managed to finish off the superheavy, but that was all I could do, partially because it took two tries, which robbed me of chances to take on a light and a heavy. He attempted to overrun the light tank guarding the west with an infantry platoon, but it managed to pick off all three squads. This lead the second GEV-PC to dismount its infantry, and then head around the city for a crossing. Combat finished off the marines, reduced an infantry, and disabled my last GEV.

He had four GEVs in range of the train but couldn’t kill it. However, one of them parked on the tracks ahead of it, and the rules allow such a unit to automatically cut the track before the train reaches it, wrecking the train. There wasn’t much left of my forces, and the blocking light tank escaped off board, while I killed one more GEV. The total this time was 152:69


Well, I did better than Mark’s try, but it was still a very solid decisive victory. I think if I’d actually entered the train on 4 it would have gone better since he wasn’t in range of the tracks yet, and turn five would have seen it get under the howitzer umbrella.

Which leads to the question of why ever not have the train enter on 4. With 20:12 odds (not counting the infantry), time is not on the defender’s side, and four turns is enough to serious damage to the defender. My more solid setup gave him more trouble, especially as nearly half his force was well away from everyone, but he still took it apart in time. A single howitzer was definitely a mistake, though I’m unsure what the better allocation would be. A mobile howitzer on the tracks could be interesting, but it’d just be too far back with its six range. Perhaps a couple missile tanks instead. Certainly bulking up with the light tanks was a good choice, and they did well.

Mark spreading out of the infantry in the first game doomed them. The main strength of infantry is their defense, with it being increased in most terrain, and the D2 and D3 of multiple squads together really accentuates that. Three squads in a city definitely halted Mark for a bit as he couldn’t immediately deal with that D9. I also had a task for every unit in that force, and they really worked together well to disassemble his front line.