January 19, 2018: State Of The Ogre-Verse, 2018
Whew! What a year 2017 was for Ogre! Obviously the big event was Ogre's 40th anniversary, and true to a massive, 25-meter-long cybertank, the celebration was huge!
We kicked things off with a look back at Ogre's roots, releasing PDFs of the classic Ogre supplements: Shockwave, Ogre Reinforcement Pack, and Ogre Battlefields. All of these have been out of print for years, and some were exceptionally difficult to find on the secondary market. Although not entirely compatible with Ogre Sixth Edition, many of the scenarios can be carried over with little to no work, and the supplements are a wonderful look into the history of the game.
Another "old" scenario had a renaissance: Will Hutton took the time to update "Operation Newspaper" to Ogre Designer's Edition standards and we released its PDF alongside the original. The classic scenario by Steve Jackson is now easily playable by those with ODE. If you haven't played this one, you owe it to yourself to check it out.
One of the hallmarks of "Operation Newspaper" was the use of LGEVs. Ogre Sixth Edition contained only the classic units, but in March, we released Ogre Reinforcements, bringing LGEVs and the other "advanced" units to the game. Now, both Paneuropean and Combine forces had all the major units available for play.
What better way to use these counters than to play some new scenarios? 2017 saw the release of Ogre Scenario Book 3 as well as a completely revised and updated version of Ogre Scenario Book 1. Ogre Scenario Book 3 was a collection of nine scenarios written by Steve Jackson, bringing us yet one step closer to completing the various promises from the Ogre Designer's Edition Kickstarter. These two books, along with Ogre Scenario Book 2 (released at the end of 2016), brought 30 scenarios to the game board.
Ogre Miniatures received some love this past year. Although we failed to release a second edition of the venerable rule set (more on that below), we did run a Kickstarter for Ogre Miniatures Set 2 and got Ogre Miniatures Set 1 on most of your tabletops. The Set 2 Kickstarter was a success and we are developing plans for Ogre Miniatures Set 3. For those who missed out on the Set 1 Kickstarter, we released both the standard Set 1 and Ogre Miniatures Armory Set 1 on Warehouse 23, the latter combining the red, blue, green and glow-in-the-dark sets with brand new black Mark III and Mark V Ogres.
There was other support for Ogre Miniatures as well. Ogre Miniatures Lite, the one-page starter rule set for Ogre Miniatures was updated and included with every copy of Ogre Miniatures Set 1. A free PDF download is also available on Warehouse 23.
Speaking of free releases, they just kept popping up. In addition to the above, there was Ogre Stream Overlays, a PDF on Warehouse 23 that brought rules for streams to Ogre Sixth Edition, as well as overlays that might be used on the Ogre map. A new scenario, and modifications to some old ones, was included in the release.
In a completely different vein, a set of BGG-Zilla rules were published as a free downloadable PDF over on Board Game Geek. This rule set offered a way of using the 3-D monster found on the BGG 3-D Units Sponsored Counter Sheet.
Finally, free PDFs of faction decals and terrain masters were released. The faction decals is for outfitting the new Ogre Miniatures in the finest livery, depicting many of the various factions found in, and after, the Last War. The Ogre Terrain PDF made it much easier for players to create their own overlays to alter maps for ODE or Sixth Edition, or create terrain templates for Ogre Miniatures. Steve penned a great article on Medium on how to use the terrain masters to create terrain for Ogre Miniatures as well as exploring other ways of changing a bland tabletop into a battlefield complete with various terrains.
Ogre made the rounds in national publications, too. Game Trade Magazine #210 had a gatefold that contained a playable mini-version of Ogre complete with a new scenario, "Bad Timing". Also last summer, Meeple Monthly #56 featured an article titled "40 Years of Ogre Miniatures," looking back on the history of the line.
Ogre articles were to be the theme of the second half of the year. Ogrezine was successfully launched on Kickstarter in August, and we have been gradually releasing the accepted submissions over the fall and winter. Fiction, variants, scenarios, artwork, and peeks behind the curtain are all represented. I've always known that there was a treasure trove of material floating out there with the fans; now we are collecting the best of it into one place.
The culmination of Ogre's 40th anniversary was the release of the Ogre Video Game on Steam in conjunction with our friends at Auroch Digital. Initially released just for PCs, it was later expanded to include Mac systems. This completes yet another of the Ogre Designer's Edition promises. The game has been a hit and everyone at Auroch has been incredibly responsive and involved with the release. Thanks again, Auroch Digital!
Of note, the free Ogre War Room app was updated to handle the recent iOS changes. If you haven't updated yours, please do. If you haven't downloaded it, what are you waiting for? It is a fantastic little aid for using with the game.
Despite the success of Ogre's 40th, not everything went the way I hoped it would. We had a pair of Organized Play dates earlier in the year and an Ogre Celebrity Multiplayer Game Event on Steam at the end of the year that were all poorly attended. Lessons have been learned regarding timing, publicity, and execution; we shall see were these lessons will take us.
We drew thick lines through many of our remaining Ogre Designer's Edition promises last year and I'm proud of the progress we've made. That said, there are still a few outstanding, including both the second edition of Ogre Miniatures and the expansion set Battlefields. Both of these products are nearing completion, but obviously neither made the 2017 slate and for that I apologize.
Another release that I had hoped to squeak into the end of the year was Nightfall. Regrettably, the pressing needs of other products have pushed this back, but I wish to reassure everyone that it is not forgotten. The Ogre Video Game offers a glimpse into the world of Nightfall and I hope to have this completed for the board game in the not-too-distant future.
Despite the above, I feel the Ogre had a wonderful year and celebrated its anniversary in style. We have a lot bubbling on the stove for 2018 and I can't wait to get it out to everyone. As a reminder, if you have not signed up for Ogre News, please do so by clicking the link here and join or subscribe to the group. I keep running into people who missed out on one thing or another; Ogre News really is the best way to keep abreast of the happenings here at Command Post Fnord. See you on the battlefield!
-- Drew Metzger
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