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What is OGRE? Part I -- Classic Ogre

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Welcome back to the second blog installment!

One question we get a lot from those who've never played is: "What is Ogre?"

Ogre Designer's Edition (out later this year) covers previous editions of Ogre, G.E.V., Shockwave and more.

Pocket Ogre (also out this year) mimics the 1977 first edition of Ogre -- but with die-cut counters! The price is unchanged, at just $2.95. ($2.95 in 1977 dollars is over $10 today when adjusted for inflation; this is Steve's way of saying "thank you" for your support!)

But what was actually in those earlier editions? I thought you'd never ask... whistlestop tour of the Ogre/G.E.V. game family, initiate!

Basic Ogre

"The Classic Game of Future Tank Warfare"

Basic Ogre is a fast-playing wargame (with design elements which can be traced to games like Panzerblitz), set in a rich and evocative sci-fi background.

Ogre comes with multiple scenarios, played on a crater-strewn hex map. Typically, an Ogre is on a mission to destroy the enemy Command Post.

Heavy Metal, Baby

Each game counter represents one armored vehicle, or a squad of battlesuited infantry.

Unless, of course, it represents an Ogre, a giant cybernetic tank bristling with weapons -- a force unto itself!

Units have four stats: attack strength, weapon range (in hexes, so a Missile Tank can shoot at a target up to 4 hexes away), defense strength, and movement points (a Missile Tank can move 2 hexes).

The Heavy Tank is a workhorse of both the North American Combine (red) and the Paneuropean Federation (blue). It packs a big punch, and is strongly armored. It's short-ranged, but can close in quickly.

The Missile Tank provides mobile fire support. It has excellent range, but is rather slow.

GEVs are fast hovercraft, with the special ability to move again after firing.

This allows them to "shoot-and-scoot", though a fresh Ogre can chase them down.

The mighty Howitzer has a massive attack, and huge range.

However, it can't move and counts as two units if picked. It's a prime target for the Ogre's long-range missiles!

Infantry -- poor lambs -- are the cannon fodder of the late 21st century. Slow and vulnerable to the Ogre's anti-personnel (AP) guns, they can still do damage in numbers.

The Ogre has a veritable arsenal of weapons, including main and secondary batteries, missiles, and AP guns. It's only destroyed one piece at a time -- and only stopped by losing all its tracks.

The Command Post (CP) is immobile -- easily destroyed once the Ogre's in range. It's the defenders' job to stop it!

Yes, It Has Dice

Combat is rolled on a simple Combat Results Table. The "combat odds" header is simply a comparison of attack strength vs. defense.

Let's say a Missile Tank and GEV (5 attack total) combine their shots at an enemy GEV (2 defense). The attacker rolls under the 2-1 column, since combat odds are always rounded down in the defender's favor.

The possible results on a D6 roll are "NE" for "No Effect", "D" for "Disabled", and "X" for "Say goodnight, Gracie!"

Battlesuits for breakfast. Yummy in my tummy.

Nine-Hundred-Pound Ogre!

The classic Mark III Attack! scenario pits a single Ogre against a bunch of armor and infantry... but it's the latter who are quaking in fear!

Teachable in 5-10 minutes, playable in 30, and superbly balanced, it has probably single-handedly introduced more folks to the world of wargames than any other.

These dudes' job is to guard the CP at the top. Poor suckers.

Can You Stop It?

The defender picks any 12 armor, plus infantry, to protect the CP (Howitzers count double).

Setup is variable, so various strategies are possible.

The attacker takes a Mark III Ogre, entering anywhere along the bottom.

The basic scenario is highly replayable, and has a surprising amount of strategy for a simple ruleset.

In fact, it's been compared to Chess.

Ogre has inspired a number of articles.

These include "Basic Ogre Strategy" by Steve Jackson and the classic "Four Howitzer Defense" by Chester Hendrix.

In the Mark V Attack! scenario, the defender gets more armor and infantry -- against the much larger, tougher Ogre Mark V!

This little gem is just $2.95 later this year!

Coming Soon To A Crater Near You

Ogre Designer's Edition will cover all of basic Ogre, and much more.

It comes with mounted maps, 3-D constructible Ogres, and over 1,100 large counters, in a 25-or-so pound deluxe package.

If you'd like something more affordable (and more portable!), Pocket Ogre will cover just basic Ogre.

Your Secrets?!

What's your take on basic Ogre? What's your favorite strategy for stopping the Ogre or crushing the Command Post? Share below!

-- Tal

Next: What is OGRE? Part II -- G.E.V.


"Notes on the Ogre" by Steve Jackson

"Ogre, A Review" by Robert C. Kirk -- one of the first reviews

"Basic Ogre Strategy" by Steve Jackson

"The Four Howitzer Defense in Ogre" by Chester Hendrix

Ogre Designer's Edition at Steve Jackson Games

Pocket Ogre at Steve Jackson Games
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