Friday, March 25, 2011

It's Official! Steve Jackson Games to Release Ogre 6th Edition This Year!

Every gamer has a game, or 12, for which he or she feels a certain nostalgia. These games have likely been out of print for some time and may not have the market cache to justify a new release. The nostalgic gamer wishes that the publisher would release a version that "gets it all right," but understands that game publishers must make profits in order to continue and thus these wonderful -- but niche -- games get left behind. It should be noted that many of these now niche games were once huge successes that launched vibrant companies -- Gettysburg, Broadsides & Boarding Parties, The Fantasy Trip, and Ogre are fine examples of this phenomenon.

And at the top of that list -- for me -- lies Ogre. The game was released in 1977 and sold a very reasonable 8000 copies at he extremely reasonable price of $2.95. The game has gone on to sell well over 100,000 copies in various editions -- with continually higher quality components and prices scaled to match the increase in component quality. My favorite two editions of the game are the Deluxe Ogre edition printed in 1987 -- a 10,000 game print run -- which featured a traditional hard mounted map and large easy to read/play with counters and the 2000 combined Ogre/GEV which included these two fantastic games in a sturdy VHS like case. These were the game at its non-miniature aesthetic pinnacle.

Ogre's game play is simple and fun. It was the game that introduced me to the Wargaming hobby with its tiny chits and arcane rules formulations (e.g. rule 1.1.9 "Set Up") and showed me that abstract images on small pieces of cardboard could represent epic struggles against extreme odds.

Earlier this Month, Steve Jackson announced that a 6th edition of the game would be released this year -- even though market forces don't demand it -- and that the edition would be the game that players always dreamed of playing. Steve Jackson promises this new edition will include well designed counters and constructable Ogre miniatures. To quote the man himself:

Why? Because I want to. Ogre was my first design, and the boardgame version hasn’t been available for years. And people keep asking me for it. So some of our Munchkin money is going back to support the people who bought my very first game, by bringing them an edition with the best possible components.

It won’t be “Euro” style. No meeples, no plastic. This will be the kind of hex wargame that we dreamed about 30 years ago, back when our heroes were SPI and Avalon Hill. HUGE double-sided map boards. HUGE full-color counters with HUGE type. A HUGE box to hold them in. And giant constructible Ogres!

The first images of the prototypes were very impressive, but looking at the sales package that SJG put together for the GAMA Trade show are mind-blowing to me.

The unit counters are intuitive and elegant in their design.

But the Ogres...oh, the Ogres...

They are beautiful.

I must have this game!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post!

But I don't think you need to italicize the names of board games, as you do with films or books. Monopoly, Candyland, Agricola, and the like are games like Hot Wheels and G.I. Joe action figures. I don't know why this matters to me. I suppose I'm an italics snob . . .