Ogre

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.

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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.]

Ogre Designer’s Edition

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Ogre Designer's EditionSteve Jackson Games has posted the Ogre Designer’s Edition (also known as ‘Ogre Deluxe’ or ‘Ogre 6th Edition’) as a Kickstarter project. In only its second day, it has passed the $100,000 funding mark. This already makes it one of the top board games on Kickstarter and it still has 28 more days to go.

Ogre has been on our Top Picks since the start and we have been reporting on the upcoming release for a few years now. It is the third or fourth wargame we ever bought and one we’ve probably played more than another other game. That is quite a mark. It is great to finally see this classic game get the treatment it deserves and heartening to see the obvious swell of community support.

Those who have never played Ogre (and its follow on titles G.E.V. and Shockwave) may wonder what all the hubbub is about. Ogre was originally published in 1977 as a ‘microgame’ or in other words as a small 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ ziplock bag game with cardstock counters you had to cut out. Like any great game it transcended its poor components with great gameplay. Various versions were released over the next few decades including the pocket box version, miniatures version, and deluxe version (not to be confused with the Designer’s Edition). There were also scenario and map expansion packs as well as an Ogre Book.

Ogre BookWhat has made Ogre such a classic game is certainly a combination of its great gameplay and its fictional setting. Ogre was certainly heavily influenced by Keith Laumer’s Bolo: Annals of the Dinochrome Brigade book that was published in 1976 as well as the Cold War itself. Similar to a Bolo, an Ogre is a massive cybernetic tank with advanced armor that runs on massive track groups and fires tactical nuclear shells. In the world of Ogre tactical battlefield separation is mandatory because of the nukes and lasers make aircraft useless (oddly missiles still have a function). Ground Effect Vehicles (G.E.V.’s) are the new cavalry. It is  future warfare that is not only plausible but, for the most part, not outdated by the 30+ years of technological and warfare advances since its introduction. Perhaps best of all, it is a future treadheads dream about: The tank ascendant once again.

The original Ogre game pits one player in control of a single unit, the Ogre, versus his opponent in charge of roughly a battalion of tanks, G.E.V.’s, artillery and troops on a nuke cratered battlefield. This odd matchup is certainly a large part of the appeal of the game. It was not only unique for the time (and somewhat even to this day) but also great for solitaire play as well as an easy way to introduce new gamers to the hobby. Watching a single unit charge forward to its ultimate goal of destroying the Command Post as a horde of smaller units try to stop it is simply fun, and challenging. The game is quick and multiple games can be played in a couple of hours allowing for gamers to try different strategies or for players to swap sides.

Of course players wanted more and G.E.V. brought a more conventional battlefield that featured all of the more traditional units pitted against each other on a non-nuke cratered battlefield. Shockwave introduced huge cruise missile launchers and other new units as well as a new map. And of course one could still throw an Ogre into the mix! All of this was with low production-value components, even for its day, but high art style. The units, especially the Ogre, had great designs and the map was colorful and holds up as great art to this day. But again, the simple idea of a G.E.V. able to skim over a water obstacle that stops a tank dead gives Ogre/G.E.V. that crunchy real-world feel that is often missing in historical games let alone sci-fi titles.

Best of all it all works! The game is balanced, challenging, replayable and, especially with the expansions, offers huge variety. It uses a points system that allows players to field custom forces and constantly challenges players to not only try different tactics but different force mixes. In many ways it what gamers always wished Warhammer 40,000 could be.

So now we are to see perhaps the ultimate version of Ogre released. Many will quibble with the choices Steve Jackson Games have made. We personally wish they went in a different design direction for the game and wish they perhaps offered a new modernized version of the rules along with the classic rules. But the fact is us old timers and a new generation of gamers will be able to enjoy Ogre once again. Tired eyes as well as tiny hands will have huge components to gaze upon and grasp. It is an occasion to be enjoyed for what it is, not for what it could have been — One also not to be missed.

Now we just need to get Steve Jackson to produce an iPad version!

Also see Ogre — A Look Back.

Ogre Miniatures Lite — Beta

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Steve Jackson Games posted a beta test version of its upcoming free Ogre Miniatures Lite rules download. It is very light. The pdf is only two pages with one page of rules and one page of unit stats.

Ogre — News

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From the Ogre Website:

March 19, 2008: Return From The Darkness!

It’s been more than two years since any new Ogre support. We are happy to announce that that is changing.

A new edition of Ogre, with high-quality components, will ship later in the year.

A PDF edition of Ogre Miniatures will be available soon from e23. This will not be a brand-new edition; it will be a scan of the first edition, with the addition of many pages of new rules, record sheets, other play aids, and complete errata.

And a new version of Ogre Miniatures Lite will be available very soon as a free e23 download. Ogre Miniatures Lite is not intended as a stand-alone rules set (though it really does get most of the rules, and a lot of tactical advice, onto the two sides of a letter-sized sheet). It’s intended as a quick reference for the experienced player and a quick-start handout to help new players, whether at a convention or in the living room.

For frequent updates on the new projects, visit the Ogre forums.
— Steve Jackson

August 2011 update from Steve Jackson: “The status is: Still planned, still the super-fancy as per the prototypes you can see on that page…And definitely still not on track for 2011. I warned everyone in May that it might not happen in 2011, and now I can say it definitely won’t. I knew that at the end of June, before I took July off, and I should have shared.”

See previous Ogre news.

[Updated: 14SEP11]