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Subject: Ogre's missing something... rss

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Michael Ptak
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I've finally had the chance to show this off in my office after buying 6th edition (my coworkers scoffed at the massive designers' box- they equated size with complexity). It got me thinking about the game again.

The engine is pretty sound, and apart from odds computation (something not seen in most non-wargaming board games these days), it's simple. But something feels like it's missing.

I play SW: Armada. Before that, it was X-Wing. These games allow the players to construct their own roster of units and fight it out in generic scenarios on maps that are constructed by the players before the game begins, in part, as a means of strategy.

When I look at Ogre, the closest thing we have to this generic scenario is the classic one of one Ogre vs 12 armies. It's simple by allowing one player to come up with their entire force and the other doesn't have to bother.

I think what I'm lacking out of Ogre is that general sense of a scenario. Ceasefire collapse is I think the closest thing to a "general" scenario available in Ogre. But what I'd like to see out of Ogre is a kind of tournament-friendly setup where few overlays are needed (and are in fact selected by the players?) and players are given a maximum of points to buy their armies and put them on the field to fight.

I don't know of every Orge scenario out there, but this kind of generic battlefield scenario is what I was trying to accomplish with my Battlezone mod I attempted a while back.
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Stephan Beal
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Norsehound wrote:
I've finally had the chance to show this off in my office after buying 6th edition (my coworkers scoffed at the massive designers' box- they equated size with complexity). It got me thinking about the game again.

The engine is pretty sound, and apart from odds computation (something not seen in most non-wargaming board games these days), it's simple. But something feels like it's missing.


Regarding "these days": Ogre is 40 years old. Aside from the graphical facelift for the ODE/6E, there's no "these days" to be found in it.

Norsehound wrote:
When I look at Ogre, the closest thing we have to this generic scenario is the classic one of one Ogre vs 12 armies. It's simple by allowing one player to come up with their entire force and the other doesn't have to bother.

I think what I'm lacking out of Ogre is that general sense of a scenario. Ceasefire collapse is I think the closest thing to a "general" scenario available in Ogre. But what I'd like to see out of Ogre is a kind of tournament-friendly setup where few overlays are needed (and are in fact selected by the players?) and players are given a maximum of points to buy their armies and put them on the field to fight.

I don't know of every Orge scenario out there, but this kind of generic battlefield scenario is what I was trying to accomplish with my Battlezone mod I attempted a while back.


All of that is in the ODE (and the older/classic GEV), and will likely be rolled out incrementally in the 6E supplements which bring 6E on par with ODE. i don't recall off-hand whether the 6E Reinforcements Pack includes commentary about building one's own scenarios, but doing so is certainly a staple of many players' games. The vast majority of my Ogre/GEV play is either the Basic [Ogre] Scenario or as you describe: teams get X points with which to build a force, and then they have at it.
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Norsehound wrote:
I think what I'm lacking out of Ogre is that general sense of a scenario. Ceasefire collapse is I think the closest thing to a "general" scenario available in Ogre. But what I'd like to see out of Ogre is a kind of tournament-friendly setup where few overlays are needed (and are in fact selected by the players?) and players are given a maximum of points to buy their armies and put them on the field to fight.


This sounds like the framework of a good article. If only there was going to be a magazine to showcase an article like that . . . !

D.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/847271320/ogre-designer... and http://www.sjgames.com/ogre/products/ogrezine/
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Kent Reuber
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Ogre Designer's Edition Scenario Book wrote:
The original Ogre described forces in terms of “armor units,” and this has been retained both for tradition and because it makes learning a bit easier. However, advanced players often prefer to choose their forces in terms of the VP value of units, in which each standard armor unit is worth 6 VP and each squad of standard infantry is worth 2 VP. This allows more freedom of choice between armor, infantry, and Ogres.


Mark III Ogres are 100 points, and Mark V are 150.

Odds-ratio: One alternative to Ogre is the series Helltank/Helltank Destroyer, which was Metagaming's replacement for Ogre after Steve Jackson left to start Steve Jackson Games. In the Helltank series, all units fire individually, so there's simply a roll to kill for each combination of firer and target, which may be modified by terrain and other factors. Artillery and missiles attack each enemy in the hex. Helltanks (neo-Ogres) fire each weapon individually. There are also rules for Op-Fire and unit evades.
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Like what was said above, Ogre has been around for a while, 40 years. There is a lot of scenarios, maps, units, Ogres, trucks, etc to build and play with. I too play X-Wing and love the theme. But I love Ogre and think that there is plenty of ways to build squads.

The issue is that you have, has a more limited set of resources available, and the original game with all of it's releases and expansions has so much more. Much of the playing pieces and maps are available in ODE. But because of the scale they are much bigger.

I think you'll find plenty of scenarios if you look at the Ogre forum. Considering getting some of the expansions as they come out or even ODE. There is a lot to play here.
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Michael Ptak
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sgbeal wrote:
Norsehound wrote:
I've finally had the chance to show this off in my office after buying 6th edition (my coworkers scoffed at the massive designers' box- they equated size with complexity). It got me thinking about the game again.

The engine is pretty sound, and apart from odds computation (something not seen in most non-wargaming board games these days), it's simple. But something feels like it's missing.


Regarding "these days": Ogre is 40 years old. Aside from the graphical facelift for the ODE/6E, there's no "these days" to be found in it.


My comment was aimed at the fact that CRTs are extinct in nearly every board game that isn't a niche wargame. Take FFG's Rebellion for example: dice with custom faces are rolled, and you match color-and-symbol results against the defender's strength-and-color to determine if the unit was destroyed. Odds calculation requires a bit of number crunching that artists like me have to stop and process before we continue the game.

I've always felt the simplicity of Ogre can reach many audiences, even modern ones. But the CRT and odds calculation feels so rough I'm almost moved to try discovering a way to play without the CRT with the stats we have, if I couldn't find an article already talking about such. I feel it's the last thing that anchors Ogre to the past and prevents it from being a free-form lite wargame with iconic supertanks.

wolf90 wrote:


This sounds like the framework of a good article. If only there was going to be a magazine to showcase an article like that . . . !

D.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/847271320/ogre-designer... and http://www.sjgames.com/ogre/products/ogrezine/


I'd have continued developing my Battlezone rules set if there was actually sustained interest in it. Assuming I keep Ogre on my list of regularly played games, I'd love to write some articles for Ogrezine.

Ken at Sunrise wrote:
Like what was said above, Ogre has been around for a while, 40 years. There is a lot of scenarios, maps, units, Ogres, trucks, etc to build and play with. I too play X-Wing and love the theme. But I love Ogre and think that there is plenty of ways to build squads.

The issue is that you have, has a more limited set of resources available, and the original game with all of it's releases and expansions has so much more. Much of the playing pieces and maps are available in ODE. But because of the scale they are much bigger.

I think you'll find plenty of scenarios if you look at the Ogre forum. Considering getting some of the expansions as they come out or even ODE. There is a lot to play here.


My problem is for all of those units, open space and terrain, there isn't One General Scenario that outlines something like:

"Pick a map. Choose 5 overlays (that are not swamps) that are no more than 12 hexes large in total. Players alternate placing these obstacles on the board until all are placed.

Each player can choose 100 points of units (Infantry, Armor, Ogres). On your home board edge, place your command post and units no more than two hexes from your home board edge. Whoever has the smaller army in points goes first."

....or something. If we take a page out of Armada, then having some random scenario cards on hand to alter setup/winning conditions could be great things to have too, if it wasn't totally ripping off Armada that was (which is my favorite minis game at the moment).


Point is, I feel the above scenario type is missing. Sure, there are plenty of scenarios, and some of them are flexible, but quite a few of them have dictated overlays in precise positions (I would love to try mini-ceasefire on the Ogre map, but I need to spend time setting up the complete terrain before I can have fun with it). Maybe I haven't found the right scenario?

But another thing is the ODE comes with a lot of units. That's a lot of excitement to potentially build up a force. We end up only using certain things as the scenario dictates it, I presumed for balance reasons, which put the breaks on enjoying everything in the box.
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Jeff Saxton
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Norsehound wrote:
My comment was aimed at the fact that CRTs are extinct in nearly every board game that isn't a niche wargame. <snipped> Odds calculation requires a bit of number crunching that artists like me have to stop and process before we continue the game.


You could always download and use the "War Room" app that SJG has available. You then just enter the stats and hit the dice roller, and the CRT results are all done for you.

http://www.sjgames.com/apps/ogre/
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Stephan Beal
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Norsehound wrote:
sgbeal wrote:
Norsehound wrote:
I've finally had the chance to show this off in my office after buying 6th edition (my coworkers scoffed at the massive designers' box- they equated size with complexity). It got me thinking about the game again.

The engine is pretty sound, and apart from odds computation (something not seen in most non-wargaming board games these days), it's simple. But something feels like it's missing.


Regarding "these days": Ogre is 40 years old. Aside from the graphical facelift for the ODE/6E, there's no "these days" to be found in it.


My comment was aimed at the fact that CRTs are extinct in nearly every board game that isn't a niche wargame.


And my point was that Ogre is a living fossil . Ogre is not suddenly going to switch from a CRT to another combat system - the CRT is ingrained in its very existence.

Norsehound wrote:
I've always felt the simplicity of Ogre can reach many audiences, even modern ones. But the CRT and odds calculation feels so rough I'm almost moved to try discovering a way to play without the CRT with the stats we have, if I couldn't find an article already talking about such. I feel it's the last thing that anchors Ogre to the past and prevents it from being a free-form lite wargame with iconic supertanks.


i rather think that Ogre is a free-form lite wargame with iconic supertanks.

i have to admit that i've never heard anyone voice concerns with it using a CRT before. i get where you're coming from, but i would be my left testicle that Ogre will never swap out core mechanics in order to appeal to a "less wargamy" audience.

Norsehound wrote:
My problem is for all of those units, open space and terrain, there isn't One General Scenario that outlines something like:

"Pick a map. Choose 5 overlays (that are not swamps) that are no more than 12 hexes large in total. Players alternate placing these obstacles on the board until all are placed.


So... make one and post it?

The game can't include, in the box, every single conceivable scenario which players might come up with. Sidebar: the majority of the included scenarios date back to the 70's and 80's, when overlays weren't a thing.

Norsehound wrote:
But another thing is the ODE comes with a lot of units. That's a lot of excitement to potentially build up a force. We end up only using certain things as the scenario dictates it, I presumed for balance reasons, which put the breaks on enjoying everything in the box.


It sounds like you're saying that you want to make use of everything in the box in a single session? That's not realistic. Simply laying out all the maps requires more space than most people have available to them.

What you're asking for, in terms of flexibility and making use of whatever you like from the ODE box, is largely outlined on page 12 of the Scenarios booklet which comes with the ODE. Unfortunately, i don't know if that booklet is available for general consumption online or whether it was only made available to ODE backers.
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Stephan Beal
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Regarding the CRT, try this variant:

Attacker and defender each roll 1d6 and add their ATT resp. DEF. If the attacker wins by 2 or more, treat it like an X result. A tie or win by 1 is a D result. Any other result has no effect.


Years ago someone more math-oriented than i told me that those odds are identical to Ogre's CRT for 1:1 attacks (identical ATT and DEF scores). i have no idea how they compare to other ratios.

Achtung: changing the combat odds changes the effective point values of units, so balance cannot be guaranteed.
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If you want to catch up on Ogre, buy the PDF of The Ogre Book. Lots of stuff in there.

The CRT is old school, but it *works*. The relationships between the various attack and defense strengths make for interesting choices. The stethoscope, John Browning's 1911 .45, gas stoves, some things get the job done so well that they don't get replaced. Well, the .45 is sort of being replaced, but you see the point.

Ceasefire Collapse is the only generic scenario, but in my opinion it's the least interesting. Ogre makes high asymmetrical scenarios lots of fun, and that's where the system works best. Casey Joneski and Operation Newspaper are great examples. I haven't tried the newest scenarios yet...
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andreww wrote:

If you want to catch up on Ogre, buy the PDF of The Ogre Book. Lots of stuff in there.

The CRT is old school, but it *works*. The relationships between the various attack and defense strengths make for interesting choices. The stethoscope, John Browning's 1911 .45, gas stoves, some things get the job done so well that they don't get replaced. Well, the .45 is sort of being replaced, but you see the point.

Ceasefire Collapse is the only generic scenario, but in my opinion it's the least interesting. Ogre makes high asymmetrical scenarios lots of fun, and that's where the system works best. Casey Joneski and Operation Newspaper are great examples. I haven't tried the newest scenarios yet...


but not the 50 cal, it just keeps breathing fire!!!
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Andrew Walters
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I thought they had retired Ma Deuce, but if not, there you go. 1919.

At one point it spent over a decade as the only weapon in the US arsenal with it's range card printed in yards, not meters.
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Speaking of points costs and squad building — this game still desperately needs a simply laid out chart showing all the units stats *including* Points Value.

No "armor unit equivalents" or "hand grenade equivalents" , just straight-up easy to find PV list!
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I don't seriously expect Ogre to change, I just feel that the CRT is old compared to the rest of the mechanics. Asking new players to the game to compute odds is going to get me blank stares before I run through with them how it works. It's not intuitive, certainly compared against combat mechanics of younger games.

It's a minor thing I know, and Ogre has rolled on using it for decades at this point, so there's no point in changing. But I'd like the game to be more accessible to new players, and it's such a small thing...

Quote:
The CRT is old school, but it *works*. The relationships between the various attack and defense strengths make for interesting choices. The stethoscope, John Browning's 1911 .45, gas stoves, some things get the job done so well that they don't get replaced. Well, the .45 is sort of being replaced, but you see the point.


Audiophiles still listen to music on vinyl records, and that still works, but most people listen to music now in purely digital format in their day-to-day.

Most mainstream gamers do not deal with CRTs, even for many games that simulate warfare. The only place I know of where the practice is accepted is in that small niche of wargames where players are often signing up to commit to day-long simulations.

Ogre isn't that. The game is supposed to be lite, free, and fast. For this I can't help desiring a quicker mechanic that doesn't take thought and computation. It's an ergonomics thing, and I know my opinion is stacked against the entirety of the Ogre fandom.

The reason I state such is because I think there's something in the way of Ogre being more popular. I blame the CRT. Otherwise, the presentation of ODE/6E is top notch, and I'm happy to own the game.

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The game can't include, in the box, every single conceivable scenario which players might come up with. Sidebar: the majority of the included scenarios date back to the 70's and 80's, when overlays weren't a thing.


It isn't that I want to field everything in one scenario, it's that I want the potential to pick any or all of these units to field on the table without a special scenario enabling me to do so.

Take the MK VI for instance. When are you allowed to field this, in make-it-yourself scenario with no guidelines or in a specialized scenario made to use it? How about hypothetical MK VIIs? Mass Mark Is and IIs, and many other units which don't have a scenario specifically stating you could take them?

I'd like to create that format as a framework to fill with your own selection of units. The Ogre book (thanks Andrew!) provides a lot of interesting ideas, especially John Howard Oxley's "your mission, should you choose to accept it" as a format for randomizing a general attack scenario to make it interesting.


Assuming I still have Ogre on my gaming rotation by the time submissions for Ogrezine are up, I'll happily throw some ideas to the publication.
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Norsehound wrote:

It's a minor thing I know, and Ogre has rolled on using it for decades at this point, so there's no point in changing. But I'd like the game to be more accessible to new players, and it's such a small thing...

The reason I state such is because I think there's something in the way of Ogre being more popular. I blame the CRT. Otherwise, the presentation of ODE/6E is top notch, and I'm happy to own the game.

The CRT is not the issue. It's been perfectly accessible to everyone I've ever shown it to. I have yet to have a single person (including kids as young as 10) be confused by the CRT. Perhaps you just need a different way to explain it? Is it possible your bias against using it is hampering your delivery?

As it turns out, from a statistics perspective, your sweet spot is a 1-1 attack. The easiest way to streamline using the CRT is to focus on the 1-1 odds (since the majority of your attacks will fall into that grouping). It's actually very rare to ever use the 3-1 or 4-1 columns at all.

It's reasonably intuitive to explain matching Attack/Defense values (eg, focus on not wasting attack strength). Combining two GEVs (2xA2 = A4) to attack an Ogre Main battery with a D4 is pretty straightforward. Don't get caught up in the CRT itself, focus on the tactics that maximize effective use of your units.

Quote:

It isn't that I want to field everything in one scenario, it's that I want the potential to pick any or all of these units to field on the table without a special scenario enabling me to do so.

Take the MK VI for instance. When are you allowed to field this, in make-it-yourself scenario with no guidelines or in a specialized scenario made to use it? How about hypothetical MK VIIs? Mass Mark Is and IIs, and many other units which don't have a scenario specifically stating you could take them?


This mechanism does exist, though. As mentioned already, it's covered in the scenario PDF that's part of ODE. It's freely available on the SJG site:
http://www.sjgames.com/ogre/kickstarter/ogre_scenarios.pdf

Pages 10-12 cover how to use a point system for making your own scenarios. There's nothing stopping you from doing exactly what you describe: pick a map, pick a point range to build your force, and start shooting.

Most existing scenarios will have issues with blanket force selection because most of them have very specific designs that have been tested to be balanced, or convey a specific event. You will get the most enjoyment out of force selection by rolling your own.
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Cat_O wrote:
Speaking of points costs and squad building — this game still desperately needs a simply laid out chart showing all the units stats *including* Points Value.

No "armor unit equivalents" or "hand grenade equivalents" , just straight-up easy to find PV list!


The info in the scenario book has this covered in sufficient detail for force selection. It's not an explicit table, but it's presented with "AU equivalents" so new units are still covered without needing to print a new table if something gets added.
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granitepenguin wrote:

The CRT is not the issue. It's been perfectly accessible to everyone I've ever shown it to. I have yet to have a single person (including kids as young as 10) be confused by the CRT. Perhaps you just need a different way to explain it? Is it possible your bias against using it is hampering your delivery?


That has not been my experience. I have introduced 9 people to Ogre since ODE came out. It is not a big problem but a handful have struggled with the concept of the combat ratio that drives the CRT for the first two or three turns. While to me it is simple, divide the attack by the defense and ignore the remainder, it is a new non-intuitive mechanism for non-wargamers.
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granitepenguin wrote:

The info in the scenario book has this covered in sufficient detail for force selection. It's not an explicit table, but it's presented with "AU equivalents" so new units are still covered without needing to print a new table if something gets added.


Yeah, I've used that book. The format on the PV info is dreadful.

It's not on the Table of Contents in any meaningful way. It took a couple of [long-experienced Ogre] players about 5 minutes or more of searching through the rulesbook and scenario book and searching online before we found it.

Then the AU info is interwoven in the text. Ogres and Infantry are listed in points. Scenario victory conditions are listed in points Once you find what a freaking tank is in hand grenade equivalents, then you can back-calculate their points.

The points values needs drastic improvement in layout and accessibility.
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Cat_O wrote:

The points values needs drastic improvement in layout and accessibility.

The ODE rules are getting an update, maybe this would be a good opportunity to make the point system more clear.
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Bounder wrote:
While to me it is simple, divide the attack by the defense and ignore the remainder, it is a new non-intuitive mechanism for non-wargamers.

Fluoridation, I tell you, fluoridation!
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granitepenguin wrote:
As it turns out, from a statistics perspective, your sweet spot is a 1-1 attack. The easiest way to streamline using the CRT is to focus on the 1-1 odds (since the majority of your attacks will fall into that grouping). It's actually very rare to ever use the 3-1 or 4-1 columns at all.


For complete coverage of this, see "Playing the Odds" on pages 44/45 of The Ogre Book (my favourite article in the whole book).

granitepenguin wrote:
This mechanism does exist, though. As mentioned already, it's covered in the scenario PDF that's part of ODE. It's freely available on the SJG site:
http://www.sjgames.com/ogre/kickstarter/ogre_scenarios.pdf


Thank you for that link .
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Stephan Beal
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Another alternative to the CRT (this one 100% compatible) still requires calculation of the odds but does away with the table by means of a custom die (which is easy to make at home):

See /filepage/141954 for details and pictures.
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As was stated in the post by kentreuber...Helltank

and it's sequel Helltank Destroyer

...provide that unit point value allocation system of which you are inquiring. With some comparative work some unit values could be calculated for Ogre using the Metagames framework and ratios.
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Michael Ptak
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Well, I need to pull my ODE out of my office and take a serious look at the back of the rulebook for their point system. My primary concern is if you can field a big enough army to not be unwieldy under the same points cap as the price of taking one MK VI.

I thought about making some objective cards derived from "Your Mission, should you choose to accept it" and borrow the first/second initiative system currently used in Armada.

Next is the board. I know at least G2 has this massive water cut-out near the north part of the map, which may not be conductive for symmetrical play (especially if the long sides of the board are the deployment zones)... eh. Basically to move forward I need to have my copy in front of me to experiment with again, and hopefully find some players to test with.

Regarding the CRT... I know it won't change. I can keep dreaming of a mechanic with custom dice to perhaps replace it, but a change like that means basically re-stating all the units to accommodate a new fight mechanic nobody else wants. *shrug*
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Kevin Riddle

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if you want it, try it out and go with it
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