Kevin WhitmoreUnited States
For the past month, Steve Jackson Games has been leading a very interesting Kickstarter effort around the old game of Ogre. This has been fascinating to watch, and I decided to back their project.
I have fond memories of playing Ogre back in my youth. I still own the black pocket box editions of Ogre and G.E.V., along with the various supplements, including a first edition Ogre Book. I even own the semi-related Battlesuit game, and a copy of Ogre Miniatures. (Although I did sell off my metal miniatures years ago, accepting that I was never going to actually paint or use them.)
So I am their prime target in releasing a big edition. I will admit that I backed the project, somewhat despite some of their decisions around this giant edition. I guess the box is as large as a zipcode and weighs roughly the equivalent of a Mack truck. They also decided to make the Ogres 2 hexes large, even though that is completely wrong with the scale. Then they opted to make the counters some sort of weird flying wedge shape. Wow. I suppose this is all fine, just not what I would have asked for. In my heart of hearts I would have asked for some sort of GMT type of treatment, a nice box, filled with square counters, although I do appreciate the mounted mapboards.
Ah well, I'm not really all that worked up about the design decisions. Different strokes for different folks...
But I do want to comment about the whole stretch goal thing on Kickstarter. This has proven very interesting. I signed up early and have been pleased and surprised by how much extra junk is going to come with my purchase. At some point the folks at SJG announced they needed to stop adding stuff to the box so that they could work out the shipping details. (Especially for non-USA folks!)
This is where I find it has gotten especially interesting.
A number of their later goals have revolved around, "Order XXX dollars, and we will do YYY." I find this bizarre. At $300k they agreed to release a computer version of Ogre. At $400k they agreed to produce a new pocket version of the game. At $450k they agreed to relaunch Ogre Miniatures. At $550k they agreed to hire a new employee and have Ogre become a main part of their product development.
To my way of thinking, they are now making decisions around how to operate their company based on faulty logic. Can a company really count on long term support from gamers who are possibly just making a nostalgia purchase?
Oh I might buy the computer game, and I am likely to buy expansions. But I'm not going to repeat my purchases of miniatures - I know they are not for me. Each gamer will have their own answers to the future purchases. But I find it weird that Steve Jackson Games is making management decisions around certain financial thresholds. I suppose it makes some sense. But, really? Wouldn't you want to assess the amount of labor/reward this effort yields?
6th edition represents a reprinting of pretty much all prior work done in the Ogre universe. Older players like me are going to take advantage of this opportunity - especially as at one point it sounded like this was going to be the last chance. I have my doubts that future sales could as easily come. This 6th edition is feeding pent up demand. There seems much less assurance that future demand will be so robust.
So I salute Steve Jackson and his game company. Its great to finally once again care about one of their current products. I wish them great success with the future efforts to support the Ogre product line. But I would also tell the new Ogre line editor at SJG to learn to speak Munchkin.