The tabletop wargame classic ‘Ogre’ roars into the digital age on Steam

Steve Jackson is a legendary figure in the world of tabletop gaming. His company, Steve Jackson Games, was a prolific publisher of sci-fi themed wargames in the ‘70s and ‘80s with titles like Car Wars and GURPS, the “Generic Universal Role-Playing System.”  Now, thanks to a monstrously successful Kickstarter campaign, one of the company’s biggest hits is available for PC on Steam.

Tabletop wargaming is undergoing a renaissance right now, with new Kickstarter projects cropping up every month and games based on Fallout and Civilization hitting the market. Board games have proven to be the most popular game-related category on funding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

The concept behind Ogre is simple enough – it’s an asymmetrical futuristic combat game, where one player controls the titular “Ogre” (a giant, nearly indestructible tank), while the other player wields a variety of conventional units such as hovercraft, infantry, and armor in a never-ending world war across irradiated battlefields. First released in 1977, the game was played on a hex grid with various terrain modifications using a large rulebook, damage charts, and multiple dice rolls. It was basically Bismark, except with hovercraft and laser beams.

steve jackson ogre steam

Forty years later, Ogre is now available on Steam for a new generation of wargamers as the result of a wildly successful Kickstarter fundraiser. Back in 2012, Steve Jackson started the campaign to create a “Designer’s Edition” of Ogre, a massive 14-pound behemoth that would sell for $100. The modest goal of the initial campaign was $20,000.

As of this writing, funding has surpassed $900,000.

One of the campaign’s “stretch goals” was a computer version of Ogre, and it’s now available on Steam for $25. Developed by Auroch Digital, it’s a turn-based strategy game with a 10-mission solo campaign that pits you against different Ogres (Mark I to Mark VI) in various scenarios, as well as online or hot-seat multiplayer. The game also allows you to design your own maps and scenarios for custom games against computer or human opponents.

For fans of classic wargames, this is great news. Jackson has already announced that another campaign for Car Wars will begin soon (another stretch goal), so hopefully this will start a new renaissance of classic tabletop-style wargaming.


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