Saturday, December 13, 2014

Origin Systems OGRE - Apple II

The tank-type vehicle, considered obsolete by the end of the 20th century, ruled the battlefields of the 21st.

Several factors led to the reappearance of mechanized warfare. The first was the development of biphase carbide armor (BPC). Stronger than any steel, it was also so light that even an air-cushion vehicle could carry several centimeters of protection. The equivalent of a megaton of TNT was needed to breach even that much BPC armor -- which meant that, in practice, nothing less than a tactical nuclear device was likely to be effective.

Infantry, which had for a time eclipsed the tank, declined in importance. Although an infantryman could carry and direct a tactical nuclear missile, he had to be extensively (and expensively) protected to survive the nuclear battlefield. Thus, the "powered suit" was developed. Four cm of BPC, jet-equipped, it could guard a man for about a week (in increasing discomfort) from shrapnel, background radiation, and biochem agents. However, the cost of equipping infantry reduced their value. They were still more flexible and maneuverable than armor, and now they were almost as fast -- but they were no longer cheaper.

Long-range nuclear missiles, which had been expected to make a mockery of "conventional" operations, likewise declined in value as jamming technology and laser countermeasures improved. Without satellite guidance, no missile could hit a less-than-city-sized target at more than 30 km -- and no combatant could keep a spy satellite operational for over an hour. Missiles big enough to carry jam-proof guidance systems were sitting ducks for the big laser batteries -- for, although lasers had proved too temperamental and fragile for battlefield use, they were fine as permanent antiaircraft units.

Thus, the tank-type vehicle -- fast, heavily armed and armored, able to break through enemy positions and exploit disorganization -- returned to wide use. And once again, planners fretted over priorities. More guns? More armor? More speed? Increase one, and lose on the others? Increase all, and build fewer units?

Some interesting compromises appeared. The 21st-century infantryman, especially with the later "heavy powered suit," was a tank in his own right, at least by 20th-century standards. The armed hovercraft or ground effect vehicle (GEV), equipped with multi-leaf spring skirts for broken ground, could attain speeds of 120 kph on any decent terrain, and 150 on desert or water. Conventional tanks were slower but tougher. All fired tactical nuclear shells.

The ultimate development of the tank-type weapon, though, was the cybernetic attack vehicle. The original tanks had terrorized unsophisticated infantry. The cybertanks terrorized EVERYONE, and with good reason. They were bigger (up to 50 meters), faster (hovercraft models proved too vulnerable, but atomic-powered treads moved standard units at 45 kph or better) and more heavily armed (some had firepower equal to an armor COMPANY). And two to three METERS of BPC armor made them nearly unstoppable. What made the cybertank horrifying, though, was its literal inhumanity. No crew was carried; each unit was wholly computer-controlled. Although true mechanical intelligence had existed as early as 2010, and fully automated factories and military installations were in wide use by the middle of the century, the cybertanks were the earliest independent mobile units -- the first true war "robots."

Once the first cybertanks had proved their worth, development was rapid. The great war machines aroused a terrified sort of fascination. Human warriors devoutly hoped never to confront them, and preferred to keep a respectful distance -- like several kilometers -- even from friendly ones. They were just too BIG.

One fact, more than anything, points up the feeling that developed toward the cybertank. Unlike other war vehicles, they were never called "she." Friendly units of the speaker's acquaintance were "he;" others were "it." And the term "cybertank" was rarely used. People had another name for the big war machines -- one drawn from the early Combine units and, before that, from dark myth.

They called them Ogres...


Steve Jackson's pen and paper Ogre brought to virtual life on the Apple II. This game comprises of the Basic and Advanced scenarios for the first edition of Ogre from 1977. Two players may play the game as intended (one player operating the cybertank, the other defending the command post using normal units) or one player may "match wits" against the Apple by having the computer control the Ogre while the player defends his command post.


OGRE - Apple II Game Play Screenshots








OGRE Computer Game Review
Space Gamer/Fantasy Gamer Magazine, Issue 81, 1987
(Contact me if someone has a pdf of this issue)

Additional Sources:

Giant - OGRE Game Credits, more screenshots and releases.

OGRE for the Apple II - Gameplay video (Apple II)

Virtual Apple 2 - Play OGRE Online -  Ogre Manual (In-Game Manual Version) - Gameplay video (MSX 2 Version) - Download and play DOS version

Friday, December 27, 2013


 Pictures of any of the original Martian Metals Ogre Line

Please contact me if you have any of the above miniatures.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Ogre Mark III & Mark III-B Blueprints

Ogre Mark III Blueprint

The little brother of the fearsome Mark V, the Mark III was still big enough to stand in the line of battle . . . and like the Mark V, it fought on both sides, built by the Paneuropeans from captured templates. It adds 100 points to your army – on whichever side you choose!

The Ogre Mark III cybertank was the first Combine cybertank built in an articulated fashion. The rear module was for holding and servicing the two Ogre missiles, as well as carrying additional detection and jamming gear.

The Mark III was purpose built for long ranged fire, and could not deal with close up fighting; only the blazing speed of the computer brain coupled with well built machinery could the Ogre be quick enough to identify and destroy threats before they got close.

Paneuropean forces seized the Sheffield, England Ogre factory intact and managed to build Ogres for their own armies. Paneuropean Mark IIIs were designated the Legionnaire.

The Mk. III-B was an upgunned version of the trysuty Ogre Mk. III.  

This model was another interim design when the Combine forces needed something better to combat the large number of Legionnaire cybertanks; Paneuropean forces had a cybertank advantage against the Combine Mark IIIs and the solution was to add a few more weapon systems to the Mark III's chassis. The number of main guns and missiles were doubled, but all other things remain unchanged (except for some sub-system upgrades).

Revealed! Cybertank Doppelsoldner Blueprints

The Doppelsoldner, named after a medieval warrior who carried a two-handed greatsword, was the Paneuropeans' last and biggest cybertank. About the same length as the Ogre Mark VI, it was even more massive. Doppelsoldners were also more plentiful than the Mark VI, but never truly common. The Doppelsoldner represented a fusion of the Fencer design with the Ogre concepts; in particular, the Fencer's lack of any "main" batteries was seen as a weakness and remedied in the new unit, while the Fencer's four missile racks were increased to six. The seemingly-baroque design was intended to bounce shells away and to minimize the chance of collateral damage when one weapon was taken out. Overall, the "Dopp" can dish out damage faster than the Mark VI, but the Mark VI can take considerably more punishment. A Dopplesoldner carries 2 main batteries, 8 secondary batteries, 12 AP batteries, 6 missile racks with 18 internal missiles, and starts the game with 60 tread units. (Its sheer mass puts such a great demand on its treads that they're effectively less durable than those of the Mark VI.)

This cybertank was the Paneuropean attempt to fuse the Fencer and Huscarl designs together into a "final" model, much like the Combine's Mark VI. The Doppelsoldner's production was centralized and put to fore by the Paneuropeans. When this model went to production, the Huscarl was relegated to spare parts and maintenance of surviving units.