Last month my son and I went down to Austin to pick up our copy of the Ogre Designer’s Edition. In case you missed it, this was the wildly popular Kickstarter last spring by Steve Jackson Games. The original goal of the Kickstarter was a low $20,000. Just enough money to tool up for a small run of a super-sized game. Almost a million dollars later the Kickstarter ended with jaws agape and budgets blown.
Ogre was originally released in 1977 as a two player pocket sized microgame so it’s a bit ludicrous that the designer’s edition is just north of ginormous. While the game weighs in at 24 lbs and includes 31 square feet of maps, it is possible to play a simple scenario on a kitchen table with a single Ogre and a dozen or so markers.
Since getting the game home, my son I have had two chances to play. I was fun relearning and teaching him the game and we both enjoyed it. Or game room is taken over now with robots, but we’re planning on making some room for scenarios over Thanksgiving and Christmas break. Hopefully we can introduce a few friends to the game in the process. With the size of this edition there are more than enough game pieces to run three or four concurrent games, or even dig up or invent a three or more player scenario.If you missed out on the Kickstarter and want a copy there is a small chance you can find it at a local game store, or pick one up on eBay for $250 to about $400. If that’s too rich, wait until next spring and SJ Games will have the Ogre Pocket Edition available for the original price of $2.95.
One of the great things about this Kickstarter has been the endless fount of updates. As with all Kickstarters that wildly exceed their goals, this one was no exception in wildly exceeding their timeline. The economics of making 200 games is a little different than making 12,000 of them. Steve and Phil started the journey with the assertion that this was going to take a lot longer than planned. In the end it took exactly a year longer than planned, but a lot of that time was consumed with stretch goals, sourcing materials, and redesigning the box and garage insert to hold the massive amount of material.
In the end Steve Jackson and crew produced an epic game for an epic audience. The quality of the game is really top notch and if anyone were to try to reproduce this and turn a profit they would likely have to price it near $400 retail. I’m very pleased with the outcome and would quickly back another SJ Games Kickstarter, even though Steve and Phil swear that is unlikely to happen.
You can read more on their Kickstarter page, and be sure to check out the updates. 134 updates in about 19 months meant that I never felt out of the loop and always had hope for the game. More info about the game itself, including PDFs of much of the material, is available on the SJ Games’ Ogre page.