A million years ago I talked about the board game Ogre. Back then, I talked about the board game and how elusive it was and how awesome that they were finally reprinting it.

Well, they’ve done better than reprint it. They’ve released a vidja game for it. Available on Steam, you can finally get the joys of playing this game without the hassle of having people come over to your house (or having to leave your house in order to go to theirs).

The downside: the AI isn’t that great. The upside: if you looked at the board game and said “holy cow, that looks really interesting but the mechanics look too wonky and I’ll never pick them up”, then you should definitely get the video game and master such things as putting your infantry in your tanks or the nuances of getting across a stream with a vehicle before tackling the board game yourself (or playing multiplayer with other humans).

The game does a bang-up job of keeping track of the multitudes of little things that it’s easy to forget when playing a boardgame that you’re not familiar with. What gets dice rolls (like moving through a forest), the bonuses that cover gives you, the penalties that shooting at someone in cover takes away from you, and the joys of light tanks versus heavy tanks.

Now, as I said, the AI isn’t great. You’re going to win games against the computer that you’d never in a million years win against a decent human playing the board game. But that’s okay. If you’ve been thinking about playing this classic game with your group, the video game will teach you the mechanics and prepare you to be the decent human playing the board game yourself.

So… what are you playing?

(Picture is HG Wells playing a war game from Illustrated London News (25 January 1913))

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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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9 thoughts on “Saturday!

  1. I’m playing Railway Empire, a train building game. I’m enjoying the hell out of it.

    It’s reminiscent of the ancient Sid Meier’s Railway Tycoon, though it adds some very nice things like goals and custom routes, and lots more engines, and doesn’t require you to figure out how many cars to put on.

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  2. I finally decided to take Call of Duty WWII for a spin, just for the campaign mode. As playable remakes of Saving Private Ryan go, I have to say, it’s a pretty slick and playable one, even if it’s not very deep.

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      • Hyperspace is the only standard FTL now, and ships have to move through a system at STL to reach the jump point to move to the next system. This means travel times are way longer now. Combined with the fact that pirates now regularly spawn in unclaimed systems near your border (and with the new border system, more systems will be unclaimed for longer) you need multiple fleets to cover your angles of approach. There still may be circumstances where it makes sense to combine your fleets into a big task force (I did this recently to deal with a a marauder empire that united under a Great Kahn), but it’s now a situational tactic, not SOP.

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  3. I had a computer version of Ogre for the Amiga way back when I was a kid. I never really got into the game (which was evidently just playing board game scenarios against an AI), but as was the custom for games in the ’80s, it came packed with cool stuff, including a “manual” full of colorful fluff about the bombed out wasteland the game took place in, and even a radiation badge.

    As for my own games, I’ve been playing Dragon Quest Builder, which is a lot like Minecraft, but has enough structure in the form of quests and a (lightweight and silly) story to keep me engaged instead of feeling overwhelmed by the unfettered freedom, leading quickly to boredom and finding something else to play.

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  4. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh! Steam has “Invisible Inc” on sale for 75% off (five bucks)! (For the next 36 hours only.)

    If you liked X-Com, you owe it to yourself to pick this little number up. (Get the game *AND* the expansion for six bucks!)

    It’s a stealth game rather than a kinetic one, but it has the upside of removing chance entirely. If you use a tool, it will either automatically succeed (and you’ll know beforehand) or you will automatically fail (and you’ll know beforehand).

    And it’s made by Klei, so you know that it works.

    And it’s only five bucks! Check it out.

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