While i'm pleased by the news that Steve Jackson Games is re-releasing Ogre, the scope of the release and scale of the final package is more than a little bewildering, for someone who loves this game and wants to see others discover its' value as well.
Ogre is the first microgame I ever owned. At $2.95, it is a lot of game in a little package.
The premise is simple. On one side, an array of future-tech combat units: heavy tanks, ground effect vehicles, missile tanks, and nuke-firing infantry.
On the other, one huge tank, dubbed the Ogre.
The Ogre's mission: to destroy the defending army's command post.
Ogre had lots of replay value, as the defender can select different combinations of units, each time she plays, to see which combination of units and strategy is most effective at stopping the Ogre's advance.
I'm not surprised that SJG has decided to re-print this classic game. On eBay, used copies of Ogre command high auction and buy-it-now prices. Nor am I surprised by the price they are asking, for this reprinted game. The bits for SJG's new Ultimate Ogre look gorgeous. No doubt the game will be well-worth the money.
But the $100 pricetag, and limited quantities, means very few will have the opportunity to own and play Ultimate Ogre, and that's a shame, since this is one of those games that everyone aught to have the chance to play.
At $2.95 in 1978, Ogre was accessible to just about anyone. At $100 in 2011, who, but the high-end collector or Ogre fanatic, is likely to purchase Ultimate Ogre?
Microgames in general, and Ogre in particular, embody the essence of what good games are all about. Simple rules. Quick play. High replay value.
It's too bad so few modern games espouse those design goals. And too bad SJG isn't releasing a more affordable version of Ogre for those who would love to own this, but can't afford the $100 touch they are proposing.