A little bit of cratering among friends

This is not meant to be solely a Magic blog, although it ends up being that the vast majority of the time as my resources (money, time) go toward Magic more often than toward any other game.
That said, even in my limited repertoire of games there are some fun, solid choices that I should be highlighting more frequently.
Back in 1977, Steve Jackson came out with Ogre, a game about apocalyptic future warfare between a force of infantry and armor and one giant, cybernetic tank. Ogre was the second wargame I ever played, and is a classic answer to the question “What’s a good introductory wargame?” It has the advantage of covering a lot of basic ground (movement, terrain, differing weapon ranges) with the option of handing the new player whichever side they find easier, whether that’s a bunch of simpler units or the Ogre.
In 1978, the Ogre universe expanded with the introduction of G.E.V.. G.E.V. uses the same basic rule set as Ogre, but expands on it to include more detailed terrain options as well as some other more complex rules such as overrun attacks. The default G.E.V. game is armor and infantry versus armor and infantry, but since the game is simply a slight “leveling up” in complexity from Ogre, it accommodates Ogres just fine (and is, in fact, the default rule set for all the follow-on products).
Although the setting of the game is pretty damn bleak (seriously – all the tanks fire nukes, and the fight is happening largely in Western Europe), the game play is swift and fun, with most games clocking in under the hour mark. Ogre/G.E.V. do, indeed, represent a good pair of starter wargames for those who are a new to the concept.
You can read one of my writeups of a G.E.V. game over here at Boardgamegeek. Here’s a brief excerpt:
Rushing to head off the assault, PE heavy tanks rolled southeast and engaged the northern pincer of the Combine GEV assault, supported by a GEV and a missile tank, with an infantry company bringing up the rear. The heavies exacted vengeance on the Combine GEVs, using their open firing lines to take two of them apart…