Sci-Fi

MERCS — Resources

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MERCSWe’re still painting our CCC unit for MERCS. You’d think six guys wouldn’t take too long but you stick in a squad of Terminators, a detour into Dropzone Commander and a little affair with Sedition Wars and there you go. Not to mention our next squad of Bolt Action Germans staring at us the whole time….

But we got some extra motivation to get going again following Beasts of War’s MERCS Week. They really did some outstanding coverage of the game and probably some of their best work overall yet. Our favorite quote of the week was, “Did you say nukes?!” Below are some of the highlights and other useful links.

One thing many folks comment on when seeing MERCS played, and which you’ll see in the BoW videos, is that the cards used as movement templates not only seem annoying but somewhat gimmicky. We agree but you can dispense with them altogether and we think it actually improves the play. The cards are fine for those playing MERCS more as a board game on the paper map but any miniature player is going to want to dump them. Just use a fixed 2.5″ template/stick to measure movement. You can move up to that maximum. We also made the various fire templates out of card so we don’t have to keep holding two or three cards down on the table to check coverage. Basically you just need a 7″ circle, 7″ straight and a T with a 6″ long base and 7″ wide top (the 3-card T) and a T with a 6″ long base and 3.5″ top (the 2-card T). The cards are 2.5″ wide. This all speeds play and allows you to leave your cards free for reference and initiative order sequence.

Also don’t miss the MERCS Bag. It is a nice small convenient size that still allows you to carry 6-10 squads with room for your cards and other misc gaming stuff. It is also useful for any 28mm skirmish game or even 6-15mm games as well.

[Updated: 14APR13]

Now THAT’S a Tank! — 15mm Khurasan

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Superheavy GravtankWe just picked up some Khurasan 15mm sci-fi minis including the, somewhat, new Advanced Superheavy Grav Tank. We had no idea when we ordered it that they weren’t kidding about the superheavy part!

Like most of the Khurasan vehicle minis, the tank is made out of a nice resin that is very crisp with little flash or mold issues. The resin is a bit soft so you need to be careful when prepping it. The tank is made of five pieces and assembles easily. The kit includes two barrel options that are easily magnetized. But it was the sheer size for which we were unprepared. As you can see in the accompanying photos it is easily one of the largest 15mm tanks we have seen. It is even larger than their own Tracked Superheavy Tank (also has grav options) and even Critical Mass Games’ Kaamados Dominion Dragamaa Heavy Tank. The design is such that it could easily be used in 20mm games as a medium tank or possibly even in 28mm as a small tank.

We really like the look and the tank goes well with 15mm power armored troops such as Khurasan’s own Mid-Tech Humans in Power Armor troops or Critical Mass’ Arc Fleet Heavy Drop Troops and Augments.

VTOL GunshipWe also grabbed the Khurasan 15mm Red Faction VTOL Gunship. It is sort of a cross between a Mil Mi-24 Hind gunship and an OV-10 Bronco aircraft, which is to say it has a nice mean look to it. Its size is also very good without being too big. As you can see from the photos below it scales well with a Battlefront 15mm UH-1 Huey helicopter. If you want to bring your troops to the battlefield with style check it out for yourself.

The 28mm Camel’s Nose — Game Musings

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Well as I feared, Dust Warfare has proven to be the proverbial nose under the tent. Getting deep into Dust Warfare has led us to look at other 28mm scale games. This of course is natural as you get in the mode of painting in that scale, start to gather some terrain, get some more figs, etc. Perhaps an even bigger influence is just the fact that there are lots of excellent rule systems out now that do not require a large number of miniatures to play. This makes it even easier to get into these games without a large investment in hoards of 28mm figure.

I’ve already written about Saga. It continues to be a challenging and fun game. It appears a Roman army is now inevitable. But thanks to Saga I still only need around 50 figs so collecting one is not a particular burden in time or money. The metal and plastic Roman figs from Warlord Games are excellent. But we also grabbed some of the plastic Romans from The Wargames Factory and they are almost as good as the ones from Warlord Games. If you want to have some plastic options they are worth a look. And of course the next Saga expansion, The Raven’s Shadow, with four new factions, is due out soon.

We have officially taken the plunge into Bolt Action as well. The figs are great and the rules are even better. Like Saga you can play great games with just 20-50 figures and maybe a vehicle or three. The rules are very streamlined yet give a nice tactical feel. For more on Bolt Action don’t miss Bolt Action.net and the BAR (Bolt Action Radio) podcast. Anyone interested in Bolt Action might also want to check out Victory Decision: World War Two from A.D. Publishing. It is somewhat 40K-ish and larger scale but still a streamlined game.

Mantic Games recently released a new line of sci-fi figures for their Warpath game. The new Enforcer figs look quite nice. We have always liked the Corporation line in general. Along with the figs Mantic released a new version of the Warpath 2.0 beta rules. The rules look interesting and have a unique activation mechanic. Honestly we can’t say we are fans of the Warpath universe in general but we like the Enforcer and Corporation figs enough that we would like to do something with them.

Spartan Games probably deserves a mention as well. Their new Dystopian Legions game looks quite nice. The miniatures look interesting and well cast. We originally thought the minis were to be resin but for the most part they are pewter. We are unsure how the vehicles are going to be but if Forgeworld can pull off 28mm resin I suppose Spartan can as well. The quick-play rules are available for download and look quite interesting. But we will probably pass on this one. We are fans of Dystopian Wars because we like naval combat but are not big enough steampunk fans to jump into Legions but it appears to be a good effort. But then again we may weaken….

Perhaps the biggest recent find came about as a result of playing the XCOM: Enemy Unknown computer game. The game is a great tactical sci-fi game and gave us an instant desire for some sci-fi tactical tabletop gaming. We dug around a bit and discovered Mercs. It is very much XCOM on the tabletop with five figure units and an emphasis on fire and maneuver at the skirmish level. The miniatures are outstanding and the rulebook is one of the best presented rulebooks we have ever seen. In fact the rulebook is perhaps the new gold standard for rules. Not only are the production values high but it includes fluff as well as a look at the game design and miniature creation as well. We wish all publishers would do this. Thankfully the rules themselves seem to be as good as they look. We have not gotten in a game yet but the card-as-ruler mechanic certainly has to go — A simple fix — but otherwise the rules look very solid and the snap-to-cover mechanic is unique. Also be sure to check out SnaptoCover.com a nice Mercs fan site. We will certainly have more on Mercs after we get some games in.

Below is a look at the Mercs CCC starter pack. This is a quick way to get into the game (you’ll need the rules as well). Games are played with five troops to a side but you have six (and soon seven) to choose from so pick wisely.

[Updated: 1NOV12]

4Ground 28mm Buildings — Review

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4GroundWe got sucked into Bolt Action in a big way. But because we had sworn off all 28mm games (pay no attention to our Saga and Dust Warfare gaming…) we didn’t have any buildings for the scale (especially WW2). Thankfully along comes 4Ground with their new line of pre-painted 28mm buildings. They have a WW2 line as well as a few buildings suitable for Saga and much more. They also have undamaged and damaged versions to add some variety to your gaming table.

The 4Ground buildings are all laser cut MDF or, in other words, wood. They come ‘pre-painted’ but this could be considered slightly optimistic. They are painted but in just four colors: off-white/cream, red, blue, gray (and perhaps a brown as a fifth color but it is very close to the natural MDF color so it’s hard to say for sure). The colors are a very simple basic application to the top of each wood frame. Because the edges are not painted once the buildings are assembled there are certainly some un-painted areas showing. But overall they still look pretty good and you could certainly touch-up the exposed bits with paint for a more polished look on the table. The laser cutting process scorches the paint a bit and that then gives the buildings a nice weathered look. Overall they look good but not stunning.

Assembly is very easy. Each building does consist of dozens of pieces, many quite small, but the included instructions are very thorough with both text and photos. Note that some of the assembly photos are actually split showing multiple views of the same piece. This is not immediately evident and can cause a bit of confusion. You assemble the buildings using white glue (we used wood glue and that worked just fine as well). Once you build your first one others will be easy. The destroyed buildings take a good hour and the non-destroyed buildings maybe 30-45 minutes. The construction of the buildings is quite interesting and basically consists of outer walls and inner walls. Each floor assembly is also separate and thus removable during play for placement of and access to figures. The laser cutting is very precise and clean and the parts will drop right out of their frames or just need a good tap. The only downside to this is that each part is labeled on the frame not the part itself so you will need to exercise care during first assembly so as not to get confused over what piece is what. Only the slightest filing or sanding will be needed on each part if anything at all.

Once assembled the buildings are very sturdy and durable and should hold up to even the hardest play. The scale of the buildings is also very good and fit in great with the Warlord 28mm Bolt Action figures and even look fine with the larger 30mm Dust Warfare figures [Note: Depending on your figure poses and basing 28mm figures will fit fine inside or may be too tall to fit and still be able to place the above floor on top. Larger armored figures will certainly have this problem.]. Also the doors and other bits can be assembled open/closed or left off etc adding more variety to each building. Considering the cost, pre-paint and durability of these buildings any gamer should give them a serious look. Recommended.

Also see: Café Gondrée

[Updated: 28FEB14]

Dust Warfare Resources — September 2012

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Dust Warfare[Note: See our new updated post that reflects the distribution change from FFG to Battlefront.] FFG’s sci-fi miniatures game Dust Warfare is really picking up steam. The game is not only gaining in popularity but FFG and the DW community are really putting some quality effort behind it. Below are some useful resources for Dust Warfare fans.

  • Dust Warfare Force Cards — The cards that come with the miniatures are actually for Dust Tactics. While one could modify those cards easily enough it seems a shame not to keep them for games of Dust Tactics. Plus there are some unique DW attributes that are difficult to add. Well Rodney Smith and others to the rescue. Rodney has created a great set of Dust Warfare specific cards you can print out and use. So far there are two sets: The Core Set and the SSU Set. Also see post 449.
  • Dust Warfare Force Builder — So far there is no official Army Builder app or anything for Dust Warfare. Luckily C. Jackobson decided to just build his own. It is a website that gets the job done and produces basic text output for your army.
  • Paolo Parente’s Dust Site — The man who started it all. Here you can see the Premium Models as well as the unique Dust 48 line. There is also Dust Terrain and of course Dust publications. If you can’t find these things at your local retailers or favorite online store you can order from Paolo and he will ship out quickly.
  • Dust Warfare PDF Rulebooks — You can get the PDF versions of the rules from Wargame Vault.
  • Dust Chronicles — There is a new fanzine devoted to Dust Warfare and Dust Tactics. Only one issue so far but very well done.
  • Fantasy Flight Games’ Dust Warfare Forum — FFG’s Dust Warfare forum is a great source for news and questions.
  • FFG’s Official Sites — It can be a bit confusing because FFG generally covers the miniatures under their Dust Tactics section but then covers Dust Warfare book releases under their Dust Warfare section.
  • BattleTactics TV — BTTV has some excellent videos that cover the Premium Models as well as other aspects of the game.
  • Beasts of War Dust Warfare Coverage — The blokes over at The Beasts of War occasionally have some good DW bits including video unboxings of new units. Also see their YouTube Channel.
  • BoLS Dust Warfare Coverage — The Bell of Lost Souls occasionally pulls itself away from 40K and covers Dust Warfare.
  • Unit Forward — Unit Forward is a Dust Warfare fan site with nice coverage. Great photos and lots of AARs.
  • Dust-War — Another fan site with solid Dust Warfare coverage.
  • Watch It Played — A series of videos on how to play Dust Warfare.

[Updated: 7MAY13]

Dust Warfare — August 2012 Update

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DW minisFantasy Flight Games is busy churning out Dust Warfare goodness. GenCon 2012 provided us all with some nice peeks at new upcoming products. Thanks to Russ from The D6 Generation and BattleTactics.TV for their great coverage. For a great look at the upcoming DW minis see BattleTactics.TV’s excellent video. FFG also now has a post with more information. Below is a recap of the recent news:

  • First up is the release of the Campaign Book: Zverograd that introduces the SSU and a few additional Allied and German units. You can also get the book as a PDF on Wargame Vault. (Note: For some odd reason the book still does not show up in search on Wargame Vault but if you follow the link you will be fine.)
  • FFG also announced Campaign Book Hades. It will include the first Soldier 4 unit in the game, the SSU Hero ‘Winter Child’.
  • The various SSU helicopters have started to hit the stores.
  • As you can see in the BTTV video  there is a huge amount of upcoming goodness for all factions. This is what you’ll see:
    • Allied: British Commandos and French Foreign Legion Kill Squad. Both are three-man Solider 3 squads. They are in the Allied suit armor but with bare arms. They come in the same package and you just swap heads to make one unit or the other.
    • German: Two new vehicles shown. They are large walkers based off the Vehicle 7 walker chassis. Shown were the Prinzeluther and Sturmprinz that both are sort of a mix of the WW2 SdKfz 251/D and SdKfz 232. They both have small turrets and open topped transport compartments. For infantry there are the new Jagdgrenadiere and Laser-Jagdgrenadiere. What is unique about those is that they are both three-man squads all based together on a single base (similar to GW IG heavy weapons). Perhaps the biggest surprise was the new German aircraft model prototypes. Also see BTTV’s aircraft video. FFG has now officially announced these with the upcoming Operation Icarus expansion for Dust Tactics. Also the P-38-eque aircraft in the page art is rumored to be the Allied fighter.
    • SSU: The SSU get the most love with all sorts of new goodies:
      • Hero Winter Child
      • IS-48 Karl Marx – Heavy Tesla gun-armed heavy tank
      • IS-5 Vladamir Lenin – KV2-like heavy tank
      • IS-5 Mao Zedong – AA tank. Both IS-5s also carry troops.
      • IS-48 Lavrentiy Beria Tank w/155mm main gun – Looks like an IS-3 tank
      • KV-3 Matrioshka – Walker with two main guns
      • KV-3 Babushka – Walker with Gatling guns
      • Red Guards Assault Squad
      • Red Guards Antitank Squad – With 2 Bazookas

Dust Warfare FFLAll in all life is looking very good for Dust Warfare fans. FFG is providing strong support for the game. Now if we only knew what the fourth faction will be!

[Updated: 12OCT12]

Dust Warfare — Revisited

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Dust Warfare

It’s your choice but I warn you not to underestimate my powers.

Ok, well maybe we underestimated Russ just a bit! Just a few weeks after our first look at Dust Warfare we’ve had something of an about face. We liked the rules from the start but had said we had sworn off 28mm gaming. Well, ok, maybe not. After actually playing a game and seeing the Premium Edition of the models we got sucked in.

The reasons for our change of heart came about from a variety of factors. First of all, while we liked the rules after first looking at them, we really like them after playing a game. We won’t go quite as far as Russ by saying they are ‘the best army-scale rules ever’ but they are very elegant, fast playing, and provide just that right amount of tactical flavor and decision making to produce a fun and challenging game. You will pick up the basics of play very quickly and after just a game or two will be focused on tactics not trying to remember rules.

Hammer and Reaper Compare
On the left is the stock, out-of-the-box Assault Squad figure and on the right is a quick-painted Attack Squad figure. The entire Attack Squad was painted in just a couple hours.

The second reason is the models themselves combined with the units needed for the game. Like most sci-fi miniature games Dust Warfare uses a points system for force building. A small game is under 200 APs and a medium game is around 300 APs. A small game will have one or two platoons and a medium game probably at least two platoons. What is nice about Dust Warfare is that a small game is still a lot of fun and has a low model count. A squad is generally only 3-5 figures not 10-20 like other games. A 150-200 AP force will only have about four infantry squads and one or two walkers. Thus at most you are probably looking at twenty figures or so and one or two vehicles to get started. This is extremely manageable both from a painting and a cost perspective. It is then an easy task to build up from there over time. Combine this with the pre-assembled and pre-primed nature of the miniatures and you can be playing faster than almost any other miniatures game out there. This fact combined with the great rules is a real winner.

Officer Reaper Compare
On the left is the stock Premium Edition Allied Heavy Ranger Officer figure (with base painted by myself) next to a quick-painted Grim Reaper figure.

Another reason, related to the above issue with the miniatures, is also the fact that you can get the Premium Edition models or simply quick-paint your figures. The Premium Edition figures are very well done. They are not cheap but they are about the same cost as a unit of 40K infantry that come un-assembled and un-painted. Thus with a combination of a couple of Premium units and some quick painting you can get your basic starting force on the table, fully-painted, in literally a weekend or two. Included here are some examples of the basic miniatures, the Premium models, and our quick painted models. We couldn’t quite bring ourselves to do Russ’ 10 minute paint job but with just a few hours of attention the Dust minis look great.

Dust Heavy Infantry
In the front are our own quick painted Reapers with the Premium Edition Heavy Command Squad units in the back. We did texture and paint the Premium bases but that was all.
Jagdluther and Mickey
These two walkers are from the Dust Premium line. Both are stock out of the box with the exception that I textured and painted the bases. But nothing was done to the walkers themselves.

In the accompanying photos you will see comparisons of the stock miniatures with ones we quick painted and the Premium Edition units. In all cases we did texture and paint the bases. We will do another article covering how we did the paint job on the infantry. It is also worth noting that the markings on both the stock infantry and walkers do not appear to be decals. To us they seem to be painted on. This makes them durable and also easy to paint over if you wish. [Note: On the Premium models they are decals for sure.]

Axis Zombies
Dust Axis Zombies as they come out of the box. These are the most ‘bendy’ of the figures we have seen so far. But they are durable.

All is not perfect. In the D6 Generation review Romeo remarked he thought the infantry were ‘gumbies’. For the most part we do not agree with this sentiment but there are a few figures were this is an accurate statement. As you can see by the photo of the Axis Zombies a couple of the figures are in rather gravity defying poses. These figures are very flexible but this also makes them durable. Unlike many of the 40K Tyranid models these won’t snap in play. Of course whether or not they will shed paint with regular use remains to be seen but we really don’t think so unless you really tend to mush them. Some of the other infantry figures are a touch bendy at the ankles as well but none to the extent of the Zombies (that we have seen anyway).

Last, but certainly not least, the community support for Dust Warfare has been outstanding. The FFG Dust Warfare forum is a useful and civil place to get help and support for Dust Warfare. And the work by both Rodney and Craig has really been outstanding. The new Unit Forward site is looking very nice. The Beasts of War and BattleTactics.tv are ramping up their coverage as well. It is always helpful to get into a game when there is an active community behind it.

So, overall, while we would still have preferred the game in 15mm scale we will take it as it is. The combination of the great rules and the miniatures were enough to pull us back into 28mm once again. And the journey has been a whole lot of fun!

Also see the Dust Warfare — August 2012 Update.

[Updated: 10JUL12]

Overheard at Steve Jackson Games Studios

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Agents were out and the following comments were overheard coming from the studios of Steve Jackson Games over the past 24 hours:

“Well that’s how many streets 37 shipping containers take up….”

“It’s gonna be HOW deep?!”

“Didn’t we once work on some sort of card game?”

“Make it stop….”

“‘Yes Mr Jackson is very concerned about deforestation….'”

“‘Yes the Chinese food is great. But I want to come home….'”

“Smith…Agent Smith. I need to speak with you regarding alleged leaks of weapon blueprints to foreign nations….”

“Yes, nineTEEN pounds….”

“‘Yes, Mr Jackson has plans to plant more trees….'”

“‘Oh, it’ll NEVER break 35’…idiot….”

“Wake up….”

“I swear we did. Yeah it used these little cards….”

“‘What do you mean you don’t have that many trucks?'”

“‘Jackson. Yes, two please. Yes, those are one way. C-A-Y-M-A-N….'”

“WE have to do the fulfillment?!”

“Cotton futures just did what?!”

“We’re gonna need a bigger warehouse….”

“‘No, I do not have a military export license but….'”

“Well tell him if 5XXL is too small he’s just gonna have to lose some weight.”

“No way. Run that calculation again….”

“‘Yes the hotel is very nice. But my wife….'”

“Well yes, that is a lot of pewter….”

“Phone. He says he’s from the FBI….”

“Ok, so I found an old abandoned airbase we can use…”

“Well why wouldn’t I think ONE box would have been enough?!”

“No seriously. It had these little rules on cards….”

“Well tell him he better START liking egg rolls…!”

“Phone. She says she’s from the IRS….”

“Well I guess we COULD build it now….-maniacal laughter-”

“Yes resin. We’d need HOW many gallons?!”

“ZZZZzzzzzzzzz….”

“No, no…that can’t be right….”

“‘Well then add a third shift….'”

“Say ‘reprint’ one more time and you’re OUT!”

“‘Yes sir. No sir. Yes, I assure you it is fictional….'”

“Look at me I’m Bob! ‘Oh that Kickstarter thing will NEVER work!’ -laughter-….”

“-mumble-…passport….”

“Staff. I have an announcement! If we hit $925,000 you will all get a Porsche!! Huh, what’s that? $923,680? Oh, well that’s a darn shame….”

“What do you mean THIS #%&@ November…?!”

“OK. So the closest without going over was Janet with $28,001….”

“‘…L-A-N-D-S. Today. Yes, just the two bags….'”

“Thank you and goodnight….”

[Reproduced and edited with permission and apologies to SJ Games ;-)]

Also see Ogre Designer’s Edition — $923,680!, Ogre – A look Back, Ogre Designer’s Edition.

Ogre Designer’s Edition — $923,680!

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11MAY12 : 1128hrs : The Ogre neutral steers on the command post. A $923,680 count registers. It detects 5,512 friendly infantry nearby. SMILE routine executed.

Ogre Designer's EditionSteve Jackson Games successfully completed its first Kickstarter project just before Noon PDT today. The Ogre Designer’s Edition closed with 5,512 supporters pledging $923,680 in funding. Ogre is officially the highest funded Board & Card Game project on Kickstarter easily beating out the previous, just recently crowned, champion Zombiecide. Ogre reached and exceeded 31 Stretch Goals that brought not just new goodies but early shipping, better packaging, a game assist app, promises of a computer game, restarting the miniatures line, and even doing a future Car Wars Kickstarter project. At times the Stretch Goals seemed crazy out of reach and at other times they were met almost as soon as they were posted. You can see the celebration in Update #36.

Ogre Blueprint ShirtThe final tally of gaming goodness is almost hard to quantify let alone comprehend. Besides the extra four patches, four shot glasses, two dice sets, two pins, military cap, eight t-shirts, polo shirt, three extra counter sheets, classic counter sheets, tote bag, wood cut Ogre, Tournament package, and Giant Battlefield set…whew!…that one could purchase the actual game contains:

Standard Edition Includes:
– The outer shipping carton – about 22″ x 18″ x 4″?
– The game box. Currently 21.5” by 17.625” by at least 3.5”.
– Vacuformed counter tray insert / “Ogre garage”

Maps:
Ogre map (2 pieces )
GEV type maps G1, G2, S1, S2 (2 pieces each)

– Plastic storage trays to hold the maps in the box

Counter/overlay sheets:
All about 11 x 17, printed 4/4, diecut – right now I count 16 of them.
– Combine 2D units (2 identical sheets, about 65 units each, 1.5 mm)
– Paneuropean 2D units (2 identical sheets, about 70 units each, 1.5 mm)
– Basic map overlay sheet (3 identical sheets, 1.5 mm)
– Stretch overlay sheet (1.5 mm)
– Assorted Ogres and buildings (3 different sheets, 2 mm)
– Sponsored sheets for $3,000 supporters (5 different, some 1.5, some 2 mm; all use existing dies)
— (1, 2) “Mercenary” sheets – two, using Combine units
— (3) Maaaybe one w/ hidden buildings. Under discussion.
— (4) One with a whole troop of Ogres in a new color.

— (5) One, probably, with a new color of Paneuro units.

Booklets and other paper:
– Rulebook – 24 pages?
– Scenario book – 12 pp?
– Reference sheets with CRTs, unit lists, and so on (2 copies)
– Ogre Record Sheet masters (2 copies, black only)
– Blueprint poster
– “How to Build the Ogres” flyer

Two 19mm acrylic dice, one blue with Combine logo in white, one red with Paneuropean logo in white.

Kickstarter Copies Also Include:
– Kickstarter sticker on the box front
– Kickstarter Exclusive Counter Sheet (“Targets Go Boom”)
– Kickstarter Exclusive Counter/Overlay Sheet #2, still unnamed and under development
– Kickstarter Exclusive Counter/Overlay Sheet #3, still unnamed and under development
– Signed Certificate of Support

Also Included At KS $100 US Level
– Website and box-side listing as supporter
– Three PDFs and 30 Minutes of Music (actually, these kick in at $25)

Swag Added At $150 US Level
– A second copy of the “Targets Go Boom” sheet
– Humongous Canvas bag
– Pair of lapel pins
– Exclusive T-shirt

Support Outside The Box
– Record sheet app
– 12 scenarios, so far
– Constructable Ogre/building templates
– PDFs of classic counters
– PDF record sheets

[Above updated to include later items. See Update #16 for even more details. Also see the official list of extras. Many of these items will appear in Warehouse 23 for sale later…while supplies last.]

All in all an amazing adventure. Is it November yet?!

Also see Overheard at Steve Jackson Games Studios, Ogre – A look Back, Ogre Designer’s Edition.

Ogre — A Look Back

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With the Ogre Designer’s Edition now past $550,00 in funding on Kickstarter and seemingly going to include everything but the kitchen sink it might be worth taking a look back at Ogre‘s past for a bit of perspective.

Ogre Collection
Ogre and expansions circa 1984 and 2000.

The original 1977 Ogre release was in a plastic bag. Later this was updated to a ziplock bag and then to an 80’s Steve Jackson Games’ favorite, the plastic ‘Pocket Box’. In the photo, the Ogre and G.E.V. pocket boxes are circa 1984 and the ziplock bags are from the late 80’s and 2000 release. When looking at the new Ogre Designer’s Edition it is worth noting this is what Ogre has always been. Except for the miniatures, Ogre has always been a small, cheap release. It never had mounted maps or counters nor full color rules.

Perhaps the closest Ogre got to a deluxe treatment was…well…Ogre Deluxe published in 1987. It was just Ogre but it had a heavy cardstock map and standup counters that fit into plastic stands. This was the flashiest Ogre yet.

Ogre/G.E.V. 2000
Contents of the 2000 Ogre/G.E.V. re-release. Both games in one box.

In 2000 Steve Jackson Games re-released Ogre and its expansions. For the first time since 1982 Ogre and G.E.V. were combined into one box (literally a plastic VHS tape box). The components were basically the same as earlier releases. It contained the same counters and you had to cut the maps apart because they were printed on the same sheet. The rules were in one book and it had Ogre on one side and when flipped over it had G.E.V. on the other.

Now maybe one can understand why many older gamers want the classic counters in 1″ mounted format. For decades all we have had is cardstock, cut-apart-yourself, 5/8″ counters. The counter art was always great — in fact it is now classic — it was just the physical quality that was lacking. A sneeze or slight breeze from any open window could wreak havoc upon a game as counters scattered on the wind — Although admittedly a great lesson in G.E.V. physics!

Classic Ogre and Delux Ogre
Here we see the original Ogre box and map on top of the Deluxe Ogre map with 1.5″ hexes. At the upper right of the original Ogre map is a Deluxe Ogre MkIII miniature.

2000 also saw the release of Deluxe Ogre and Deluxe G.E.V. that combined the boardgame rules with the miniatures. None of the expansions or new maps were ever released in the Deluxe format. The Deluxe version delivered huge 1.5″ hex Ogre/G.E.V. maps and lead minis. Of course not all boardgamers appreciate minis and the lack of bases with stats made the game a tad fiddly. You needed an off-board sheet or cards for all your unit stats and some sort of marker for Disabled status. Veteran gamers were once again denied mounted counters.

These maps are essentially the same maps we will see in the Ogre Designer’s Edition but they will now be mounted. We will also get the new ~1.25″ mounted hex-shaped counters. Perhaps best of all, at long last, all of the counters will be available in the classic style in 1″ mounted format as an extra purchase!

Ogre Books
The Ogre Book 2ed and Ogre Scenario Book 1 from 2000 and 2001. Again, an Ogre MkIII miniature in the middle.

In 1982 Steve Jackson Games released the Ogre Book. It was one of the first of its kind. It was a book dedicated to Ogre and G.E.V. that covered the development of the game along with history, fiction, expansions, and strategy. Much of it came from articles previously published in The Space Gamer magazine but having it all combined in one spot was wonderful. It is probably worth mentioning that 1982 was long before the Internet and printed books and magazines were the only ways to get information on games. When Steve Jackson talks about getting letters from gamers he means actual handwritten, sent-with-a-stamp letters! In 2000 SJ Games released the Ogre Book Second Edition now updated with new info and a few new articles. In 2001 we got the Ogre Scenario Book 1 (so far no Book 2) that provided seven new scenarios.

So as you gaze upon the ~15lb wonder that is Ogre Designer’s Edition it is worth taking a moment to reflect on how far the game has come since its humble beginnings. Ogre is BACK baby!

Also see Ogre Designer’s Edition.

[Updated: 6MAY12 to include Ogre Deluxe. Thanks to McKinley Hamby for jarring the brain cells and BoardGameGeek for the only photos I could find.]