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Creation Date: March 1st, 2010 06:15 PM
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Musings of a Knight of the Imperium.
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In Moot Member Blogs OGRE thoughts Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #586 New July 24th, 2019 11:14 AM
I rarely played Ogre, but it was a game that I bought my friend, and we both really loved the simplicity of it. Yet at the same time it didn't hold our attention because of other games and other activities, and I think also because it was so simple, and still is.

Ogre was one of those early pioneering science fiction warsims that again put the players in Steve Jackson's imagination as we battled super tanks with hyper-intelligent AI. Ogres.

But the game was more abstract and impersonal, which was in contrast to Jackson's Car Wars, Miller's Traveller, and Cole's SFB--the big three games in my life. I liked Ogre. My friend for whom I bought it liked the game. It was very imaginative, very fun, and just added to the depth and layer of things that we did in our spare time when we weren't in school or at some after school job.

Ogre has the potential to be more fun now than ever before, but is hamstrung by a digital port that was buggy from its release. Which is too bad, because as per other posts on the topic, Ogre, for all its flaws, really shows what you can do with a game as a digital port if you put the time, money, and presumably care into the project. In this day and age with the virtual explosion of flash games, Steam games, Good Old Games, and just games available elsewhere, it seems like the natural venue for all of those old microame classics from the 80s is a digital port.

I really want to love the current computer version of Ogre than I do, but it's limited, there's hardly anyone online (largely because my net's being run through a military VA server), and its bug ridden reputation seems to have pushed away some people. Though I think the reason is otherwise.

We both played Ogre and GEV, and the one or two expansions that came later, but for whatever reason the game didn't hold our attention, though it has a massive following.

The truth of the matter is that I find the Ogre-verse both extremely interesting but somewhat one-dimensional due to its lack of "granularity" where other units are concerned. If the combat tables were upscaled to maybe 3d6 or even 4d6, then the introduction of current expansion units like militia or various infantry could have more application and survivability when faced with a Mark 3 or Mark 4. It seemed like the game was just too simple to be more than what it could be. That is to say it's not robust enough in terms of setting and units, to my way of thinking.

Even so I think the setting is unique and interesting, and wish I knew more about the Ogre-verse to maybe make something up for it.

In short, we spent most of our time with SFB, Traveller, and Car Wars. Ogre, as interesting as it was, just lacked some punch to make it more attractive. I mean it wasn't the art, I t wasn't the units per se, but rather their scaling and overall gamability.

A year or so back I bought the GURPS Ogre book, and read through my old "The Ogre Book" that I first saw at the back of the game store next to the GDW material. And for all of my reading of the history of the development of Ogres in the GURPS' book, and boning up on aerial units and new scenarios in "The Ogre Book", I'm still not getting a full picture of what the Ogre-verse looks like or how it operates.

In short, I get the AI tanks, I get the hex map, I get the various factions on the globe, and how air power is nearly useless and all that, but I don't get a sense of what it's like to live in the Ogre-verse, what the cities are like, what society is like, and all the rest. That verse Car Wars which has a rich tapestry of background material.

I guess a large part of that is that Ogre was never really designed to be an RPG of any sort in spite of the GURPS Ogre publication. It certainly doesn't lend itself to any kind of RPing due to the description of how powerful the weaponry is. Apparently Ogres shoot down aircraft at any altitude, can rest at the bottom of the ocean, and do a number of other things that keep more traditional military units out of the game.

I guess when all is said and done Ogre is a pretty simply and fun science fiction tank game, but it's simplicity is both an asset and a barrier to a far richer and more fulfilling game. Even so, it can be fun to play on occasion, and given its huge following I'm surprised I don't find more websites and just online stuff in general dedicated to the game. In fact I thought of writing an Ogre-Traveller crossover in the fiction thread, but begged off as I couldn't really think of a way to mesh the two other than to just write an Ogre story and then say that gaming groups could use the Traveller ruleset to RP an Ogre-verse setting.

I guess I don't have too much more to say about the game. I like it, wish I could play it more, think that my online access to players has been truncated, and that it isn't just the fact that the game is buggy. And overall because of its simplicity this makes it a fun experience.

But for all of that, the weapons, even though there is a certain variety, do seem limited as well as the role of infantry, or rather various infantry andother vehicular units. As an example, off the top of my head, I don't see any "combat cars" other than GEVs and tanks in the game. I don't see any anti-armor specific infantry units, nor AI "android" infantry with pluses and minuses. And I can't recall if trains are armed or not.

So, even though it seems like so much could be done with the game, not much more other than the introduction of new minaitures has been forth coming. It doesn't have the background of a Car Wars or Traveller, has a simple 2d6 combat table that keeps the game from expanding, but is otherwise fun to play.

I'd really like to write more here, and tell you the reader about how I fantasized about being in the Ogre-verse in my battlesuit or with my super-heavy tank crew stalking a mark five, or gliding over a river to the battlespace in my Ground Effects Vehicle, but, in spite of all the art work, in spite of the games long history, I don't have nay real personal fantasies inspired by the game. That may change who knows. But for now, Ogre is simply Ogre.

Still, it would be kind of cool to stand next to a non-hostile or even "Friendly" Ogre, and let people look upon both you and it in awe

Long live Car Wars. Long live Traveller. Long live Ogre.
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