Finally, a true "beginner's wargame"

I think in my very first blog I harped on people labeling games as "beginner's wargames" in spite of the fact they were priced at over $60 and had more than 20 pages of rules.  Now maybe price range and rules' length isn't the best way to determine whether a game is suitable for a novice, but for the teens I teach these features would make a poor selling points. To the rescue comes Steve Jackson's new offering: Ogre.  The same game (although with better quality materials) I bought over 30 years ago. 140 Die cut counters? Check! Hex map? Check! Short, concise and easy  to learn rulebook? Check! $2.95? CHECK!!!!  Wait a minute....   $2.95????

Yes, even my cash-strapped students can afford this game. Even better, I can afford to buy a dozen copies (which I did) to give away to potential future wargamers. This Fall, I plan on running some Ogre games and giving away copies of SJG's "pocket edition" Ogre.  Thanks, Steve, for doing this for the hobby.


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Comment by Dave Smith on June 28, 2014 at 8:59am

Good luck with building a school club. I started my game club by looking for the kids who play Magic the Gathering and RPGs and asked them if they wanted to form a club. We met (and still do meet) once a week during lunch and once a month on a Friday night at the school. I started with about a dozen kids (up to 50 now...), bought the sodas and pizza (Domino's Pizza gave me a special deal to support the program) to feed them and get them through the door on a Friday night. I sold the idea to the administration as a "safe and sober" Friday night activity and they made I one of my adjunct duties. I've had some financial help from the PTA (a little), and some help from a local wargame club (and Consimworlders). But of course, most of the funding comes out of my pocket (unfortunately). That being said..... Worth every penny!
Comment by Bill Wood on June 27, 2014 at 9:01pm

Man, I think I will order a dozen of them and put them in out lending library.

Comment by Enrico CS Viglino on June 25, 2014 at 6:38pm

 Enrico, love the videos. Any more from Consimworld?

Not from me. Jason Young put one up though:

Comment by Wayne Rotella on June 25, 2014 at 6:20pm

This is great news Dave. I teach in an urban environment where 70% of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch. I have wanted to start a gaming group with the interest in developing critical thinking skills, not just war gaming enthusiast. I still attribute RISK to my learning the continents and in some degree the countries/regions of the world. Pricing is the big bugaboo in regards to getting this started. This price-point certainly helps level the field.

Comment by Dave Smith on June 25, 2014 at 5:06pm

I've been teaching teens for 28 years and I've run the game club (at the high school where I teach) for 12 years. My observation is this: kids who like non-video/computer/playstation games -- like those in the game club -- will take to a game if it's good and they have a good time playing it. Cards Against Humanity, for example, is starkly black and white.  

Ogre has a lot going for it.  The kids know Steve Jackson, they know and play his games and will buy into it enough long enough to give it a try. Kids like to customize their games; Ogre invites players to find the "perfect combination" to defeat the Ogre. It's a puzzle, even if it's a black and white one. And finally, kids (yes, even teens) love manipulative elements they can push around. I've watched in wonder (esp. over the past few years as electronics have taken over) as entire classrooms of 15 y. o. kids play with the counters I use in lesson plans. 

So I wouldn't write it off so quickly. We'll see. I could be wrong. But I think I'll have some good results with the games.

Dave Smith

P.S.: Enrico, love the videos. Any more from Consimworld?

Comment by John Kranz on June 25, 2014 at 2:06pm

When I think beginner/introductory type game, I think the visuals become very important -- especially for a younger kid. I'm not sure kids would ever take as well to counters as they would to plastic/wooden pieces or miniatures.

Comment by Enrico CS Viglino on June 25, 2014 at 10:43am

Nowadays, I don't think it could work. Yeah, someone could produce a huge run of a $10 game with
Ogre quality components, but today's youth wouldn't catch to it the way our era's did. They have 
plenty of more attractive outlets for their military desires - primarily on the computer.

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