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Subject: Heard new edition is coming out... Is this game actually any good or is it mainly nostalgia? rss

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A buddy of mine was going crazy the other day telling me about how he's going to order multiple copies of the new Ogre because the new edition will be amazing beyond belief, that it will never be printed again, I'd better be sure to pre-order a copy or I will cry, blah blah blah.

From looking at the game entry here, I'm kind of puzzled. This is made by the guy that does Munchkin...

Is the hype I'm hearing nostalgia, or is this game a hidden gem? Considering what companies like GMT are offering today, is an old wargame like this one even worth taking a look at?

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That depends on your idea of "good".

I realize this isn't very helpful, but truth be told, you'll probably always be able to find the game in places like eBay. So no need to rush and buy the new one unless you're certain you're going to like it. Just buy one of the smaller editions secondhand on eBay to try it out. I don't know how to describe it or compare it though. It's a dated design, but then again, so are ASL and SFB. I thought it was very fun back in the day and still do, though the sheer amount of games I've acquired and have to pick from keeps Ogre from getting played more.

So I'd say if you like hex and counter war games with a futuristic Scifi theme, you wouldn't be disappointed with one of the older editions. They offer great bang for the buck. Once you factor in the likely high cost of the upcoming fancy edition, that could change. Without a doubt the component quality should be better than what any other edition had, but there exists the possibility that this new edition will be a bloated monstrosity that's extremely high-priced, ($100+), but lacking any real upgrade in gameplay beyond a component upgrade.

So long story short, nostalgia will drive some people to buy the new edition. It is a good game, but hold off on committing to the new edition until you've had a chance to play with one of the less expensive, lower frills version of the game.
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Wulf Corbett
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Ogre - in any edition - is a very old-school hex-&-counter, CRT wargame. The only real difference between editions - and it's a huge difference! - is the component quality. The originals came with sheets of counters printed on thin card to be cut up. They're double-sided, so you can't glue them onto thicker card either (you could scan them & print to thicker card, mind you...)

Is it a good game? It's simple, quick, fairly challenging as a wargame, deeply thematic, and pretty different to most other wargames. However, the counters are fiddly, and the game system old-fashioned (Igo-Ugo, CRT resolution, very few outcome results, etc). Personally, I have no problem whatsoever with the game system, I made up bigger, thicker counters, and scanned & blew up the maps, and I play quite happily.
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George Husted
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JOKE

Q. What is more powerful than every Ogre ever created combined and is capable of destroying all future Ogres?

A. A box of Munchkin cards.soblue
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Marshall Miller
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It's a pretty simple system that is easy to teach and has a small footprint and high replay value. By all accounts it's a good starter wargame to see if you or someone else will like more complex wargames. The phrase 'beer & pretzels' gets thrown around a lot.
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Scott Pizio
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This is Steve Jackson's first game design. The company is doing it for nostalgia reasons, calling it a labor of love. They have said in blog posts that it is a labor of love and would be happy breaking even on the game. Don't judge the game by the fact that SJG floods the market with Munchkin, they do that because it sells well. They are responsible for other games as well like INWO and the Gurps RPG.

As to being able to try it before committing then yes what others have said about secondhand copies of earlier editions is true. Talk to your friend though. If he is this excited he likely has one.
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Kent Reuber
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I plan to order a copy of the new edition as well. Ogre is a good simple sci-fi microgame and yes, there's a fair amount of nostalgia involved.

At the same time, the mechanisms are a bit dated. Units in Ogre move, then attack, and the defender has to wait until his turn to respond. If you want a more updated microgame of sci-fi combat, look at Metagaming's Helltank and Helltank Destroyer. In the latter games, there are rules for evasive movement and for opportunity fire.
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Andrew Walters
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Ogre is a good sci fi wargame. Obviously there is a lot of nostalgia tied to it, but the game itself is solid. To wit:

It's a simple hex-and-counter wargame, but the setting, the system and the scenarios are well-tuned and give a neat experience. Smash the CP! is the basic scenario, with the giant AI tank trying to destroy the command post while conventionally-sized, manned armored fighting vehicles try to stop it. Both side have a variety of strategies they can experiment with. It's very dramatic, nearly always coming right down to the wire. The math is straightforward enough that you can appraise how to apportion your fire on the fly, which is kind of fun. While it's a "small" wargame, Poe's The Raven and Strauss's Blue Danube are also "small" pieces, but no less awesome for it.

The background is great: a semi-dystopian future, hard sci fi technology for a cataclysmic war, powered armor infantry, very capable AFVs, and then there's the Ogre. The setting is also skull and cleavage free, standing on more cerebral merits.

If it doesn't sound like your kind of game, there you go. If it does, you should certainly try it. You probably know someone who owns a copy, and they'd probably love to drag it out. If you like it you can get any of the small footprint editions on BGG or eBay for $10 if you're patient.

Does the game warrant a $100+ edition? Well, if I suppose if it were coming out for the first time in 2012 this would not be the edition you'd publish. This isn't really the casual player's edition or the first time player's edition. This is the fan edition, the deluxe edition, the collector's edition, whatever. But it will get used, as this is an easy game to fit into the schedule, and always gives a good time.

I think it would also be great for tournaments, so I'm pondering, "two copies, or *three*?" But then, I'm crazy. Ogre made me a gamer. Beyond that, I think Ogre has actually caused me to look at games a particular way, and I happen to really enjoy the perspective it's given me. And if I had three copies, they would get used, though the first one would get used more often than the second or third. And three copies will still take up less space than the miniatures...
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Matt Lee
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It's really short sighted to classify a designer based on a single game when there are decades of published games in his repertoire. While most of the more recent games are light, take that games, you owe it to yourself to check out Illuminati and Car Wars as well as Ogre and see the variety of games he's developed over hte years.

Just know that like any other designer, you may not enjoy many (or any?) of his games, but it's like knocking Reiner Knizia for making only light auction games like Modern Art while ignoring the depth of Tigris and Euphrates.
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Rob Rob
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Ogre was a fine microgame as described above. A simple component upgrade as with the recent reissue of SJG's The Awful Green Things From Outer Space wouldn't be a bad idea and wouldn't raise the price of the game too far beyond its worth. Call it < $20 online.

OTOH, ramping up the components (as nice as the 3D cardboard minis may be) and producing a 3' square, $100 game is maybe gilding the lily?
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Bob Slaughter
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red black wrote:
Which is the best microgame in terms of game play?

I have all three, and have played each solitaire, so I guess I should answer.

Quote:
Ogre

I think its the oldest of the three. I always felt an odds-based CRT didn't really work for me on a single-vehicle tactical game, in term of feel. This has the most maps an scenarios available (considering all of the expansions, not just the base game), so the most variability and flexibility. It's certainly I-go/You-go (IGUG), with not very much if anything to do during your opponent's turn. No morale checks or leadership/command rules.

Quote:
Helltank and Helltank Destroyer

A very interesting,and IMHO under-rated game. Still dated somewhat, this used alternating unit activation instead of the IGUG method. As a general rule, units could fire OR move in a turn, not both (or was it fire once and move once, OR evasion move? I don't recall). Combat was by matrix -- cross-index the firing weapon with the target, get a number to kill the target. I don't recall any intermediate effects. No morale rules or command/leadership rules. While a bit weak mechanically, the feel of the firefight was quite nice. One map in each game, and point-buy of forces versus set-piece.

Quote:
Grav Armor?

The most interesting of the three. Your fire phase is the opponent's movement phase (essentially, all fire was opportunity), so great interaction between the players instead of nap-time. Units were platoons not individuals (more like Panzerblitz/Panzer Grenadier in that regard) Fire results were mostly dead/not-dead, but the LOS rules were unique -- you had points and terrain had values, so if you could trace a path around a mountain to a hex, and the hex was in range, you could shoot 'through' the mountain (recon drones combined with satellite telemetry, in case you were wondering). Great idea to use basic hex colors combined with world-type to set up custom terrain effects. No morales rules or command/leadership considerations.

I always felt this scale of interaction was better suited to miniatures, and one great set of (now free) rules is Dirtside II, so you may want to look at that as well.
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Seth Owen
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andreww wrote:


Does the game warrant a $100+ edition? Well, if I suppose if it were coming out for the first time in 2012 this would not be the edition you'd publish. This isn't really the casual player's edition or the first time player's edition. This is the fan edition, the deluxe edition, the collector's edition, whatever. But it will get used, as this is an easy game to fit into the schedule, and always gives a good time.


This is really the nut graf. This is the edition for lifelong fans of the game. My first copy was the little Microgame and I've gotten several editions over the years as upgrades and enjoyed it. While not state-of-the-art there's nothing wrong with the game play. It's still a good introductory wargame that's fun and dramatic to play.

The company has made it clear that this will be the final edition of the game. There are enough of the earlier editions floating around that you can probably find a cheap copy to try out. This is definitely aimed at the hard-core crowd. I know I'll definitely get at least one. I believe this edition is also going to include the GEV material as well, so it's really a 2-game combo.

In any case, this isn't a game for someone who needs to be talked into getting it. If you're a potential buyer your only debate is whether you will get just one copy or two so you can have a 'keeper' and a 'playing' copy.
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Philip Reed
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wargamer55 wrote:
The company has made it clear that this will be the final edition of the game.


Never say never. This is the edition we currently have planned and are producing. That doesn't mean we'll never release a new edition of the game; chances are, though, if we ever do produce a later edition it will not be of the same scale as this one.
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andreww wrote:
Both side have a variety of strategies they can experiment with. It's very dramatic, nearly always coming right down to the wire.


In my experience (and from what I've read, the concensus outcome for most players their first ~10 times out), the only 'wire' it comes down to is, does the Ogre win convincingly or does he merely win marginally? Whether the Ogre wins or not is seldom in question, it is only the degree of the victory.


I've heard that with extensive experience a defending player could put up a good fight. But man, you have to slog through a lot of Ogre-sided stompings and be willing to come back for more to reach that point.
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Jefferson Krogh
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Boogalou wrote:
From looking at the game entry here, I'm kind of puzzled. This is made by the guy that does Munchkin...


To those of us who know the long history of Steve Jackson, it's really "Munchkin is by the guy who did Ogre. And GEV. And GURPS. And The Fantasy Trip. And Car Wars. And Illuminati. Etc. etc. etc."
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Todd Pytel
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Boogalou wrote:
Is the hype I'm hearing nostalgia, or is this game a hidden gem?


I'll keep my opinion brief...

Simply the best introductory hex-and-counter wargame ever printed.
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Seth Owen
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PhilReed wrote:
wargamer55 wrote:
The company has made it clear that this will be the final edition of the game.


Never say never. This is the edition we currently have planned and are producing. That doesn't mean we'll never release a new edition of the game; chances are, though, if we ever do produce a later edition it will not be of the same scale as this one.


And straight from the horse's mouth.

I think I misinterpreted Mr. Jackson's statement in his letter to retailers last summer when he said: "I don’t expect to keep this in print. Realistically, I expect to print it once and let people spend the next 30 years fighting over the remaining copies. The people who get it are going to show it off at parties and conventions."

This doesn't preclude some smaller, cheaper edition from appearing someday, of course. It just seems to indicate that THIS super deluxe edition will be a one-time thing. So there ya go. If you want a super-duper deluxe humongous edition, (and I do) then this is your one chance.
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PhilReed wrote:
wargamer55 wrote:
The company has made it clear that this will be the final edition of the game.


Never say never. This is the edition we currently have planned and are producing. That doesn't mean we'll never release a new edition of the game; chances are, though, if we ever do produce a later edition it will not be of the same scale as this one.

I am eagerly anticipating the next version that is a bit scaled down from this one.
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Cracky McCracken
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Big Ogre game good!
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If you're not a fan of oldschool CRTs and full Igo-Ugo turns, you can always check out the no CRT phased activation variant from that crazy Talorien guy

Tal's no CRT Variant
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gary rembo
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HI,
I have many of the old editions of Ogre and had great fun in the day.
I do feel compared to many of todays offering the game is a little dated and simplistic.
It is pretty basic stuff and the only thing that really made it stand out was the notion of a super tank against a whole army.

if they intend to do a straight republish of the rules it may seem quite basic although that would be a great intro to wargames.

G.E.V the follow up actually improved the game greatly adding loads of variety and smaller units on both sides.

After G.E.V Ogre felt kind of like a half hour episode of Lord of the rings while G.E.V felt like The trilogy..
i would be far more interested if they were re-making G.E.V.
But thats just me.

Having said that I will be tempted for my collection.

If you want to know any game specifics I will be happy to help.
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James Lowry
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You're in luck, the new Ogre isn't just Ogre, but includes GEV and Shockwave as well.
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John Holder
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red black wrote:
Which is the best microgame in terms of game play? Ogre, Helltank or Grav Armor?


Melee / Wizard / Death Test and the TFT bits were always the best IMO.
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Rob Heinsoo
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What you said, Jefferson.
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PhilReed wrote:
wargamer55 wrote:
The company has made it clear that this will be the final edition of the game.


Never say never. This is the edition we currently have planned and are producing. That doesn't mean we'll never release a new edition of the game; chances are, though, if we ever do produce a later edition it will not be of the same scale as this one.


For some reason I imagine a re-release of Ogre (just Ogre) in a munchkin-sized box with flat unit counters and a cardboard construction Ogre for about $35-40. Cardboard units and ogre with a paper map, charts, and a die.

Is it silly to believe such releases are possible after all the development that went into the big box for Ogre? I really want to have the game... not just for myself, but also my gaming group, since it would be a great way to have hex-and-counter games represented without going too overboard. I'm strapped for cash and might not be able to get this Ogre release... but would it be possible to see the fruits of this effort later in smaller packages?

Or is this the only Ogre product we're going to see for a decade?
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