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Ogre, anyone?
September 22, 2008 2:32 PM   Subscribe

From Steve Jackson to TSR to FASA to Mayfair - an awesome retrospective on the joys of microgames.
posted by jbickers (48 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hey, you forgot the other Steve Jackson!
posted by GuyZero at 2:36 PM on September 22, 2008


What, no love for Games Workshop? Space Hulk FTW!
posted by Artw at 2:39 PM on September 22, 2008


Also, check this out: a complete solo RPG adventure on a single two-sided piece of paper. And it's free!
posted by jbickers at 2:41 PM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Chainsaw Warrior was an awesome single player game. Don;t bother with the online version - it's shit.
posted by Artw at 2:47 PM on September 22, 2008


I think I owned every one of the Steve Jackson games and about half the TSR games (included in Dragon Magazine). But I don't see Food Fight (Gary Gygax), basically a re-enactment of the food fight from Animal House.
posted by stbalbach at 2:51 PM on September 22, 2008


I think some people here are missing the concept of MICROgames. I had several of them back in the day. Necromancer was one of my favorites, of course the OGRE series, Car Wars, but the one I loved more than any of those was TSR's Viking Gods because you got to actually play out the twilight of the gods. Man, I totally loved that little game. It was a great time killer for down time on game night and at conventions.
posted by GavinR at 2:53 PM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Space Hulk is as much a microgam as Ogre is, though both have ties to bigger table top minatures games.
posted by Artw at 2:56 PM on September 22, 2008


Hmm, unless the determening factor is fitting in one of those weird little boxes.
posted by Artw at 2:57 PM on September 22, 2008


Ah, Ogre. Like so many of my board games, I bought it and could only get someone to play it with me once.
posted by adamdschneider at 3:08 PM on September 22, 2008 [4 favorites]


Car Wars was so awesome in theory and such utter shit in real life.

Theory: Mad Max + you = super sweet
Real life: Spend ten minutes calculating the angle and length of a skid to determine the correct location to move your little car across the hexagon map while you erase your armor score so often that you tear holes in the notebook paper.
posted by Bookhouse at 3:08 PM on September 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I had a whole bunch of Car Wars stuff and played it maybe three times. The Autoduel computer game, though? Badass.
posted by the dief at 3:13 PM on September 22, 2008


Probably-not-a-micogame (by reason of coming in a big box with lots of peices) but I had a lot of fun with Dark Future (GW again).
posted by Artw at 3:15 PM on September 22, 2008


Man, that World War 1 game by SPI looks really sweet. I found a review of it. Now if I can only convince one of my boardgame geek friends to acquire a copy...
posted by Kattullus at 3:17 PM on September 22, 2008


Microgames were awesome... though all those tiny, fiddly bits of card board were a nightmare. And those maps that never folded out flat, so it was like playing on the Himalayas.

Car Wars was a much better games to read about than to actually play. Especially where all you freinds are power-games who insist on designing tanks.

I liked Sticks and Stones where fought woolly mammoths as a cave man.

Oh and Kung Fu 2100 I remember owning that one too... (drowns in wave of nostalgia...)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:17 PM on September 22, 2008


Melee pretty much replaced all other combat systems in my posse once it (and the magic one) came out. Didn't Steve Jackson get in a whole load of clusterfuck sometime after 9-11 over Illuminati?
posted by mwhybark at 3:26 PM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Are you're not thinking of Ye Olde Hacker Crackdown?
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on September 22, 2008


Illuminati, that was another one... zillions of microscopic bits of money.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:40 PM on September 22, 2008


The only one of these I still own is Illuminati Crime Lords (actually, I guess that's not a mini-game, but I already found the link, so there it is).
posted by Bookhouse at 3:45 PM on September 22, 2008


I have Revolt on Antares in my desk drawer.
posted by jdfan at 3:52 PM on September 22, 2008


Bookhouse: Theory: Mad Max + you = super sweet
Real life: Spend ten minutes calculating the angle and length of a skid to determine the correct location to move your little car across the hexagon map while you erase your armor score so often that you tear holes in the notebook paper.


Gamer, please. No hex maps, no armour score and I never found it took ten minutes to suss out "hold the front left corner of the counter in place and move the back right counter one square." Maybe you're thinking of one of the two or three knockoffs like Battlecars and such. I doubt I have ever found a game that produced as many memorably cinematic moments as Car Wars (people 'round these parts still talk about the time that Ed fired his ejection seat while his car was rolling). In its latter days it became a bloated mess, of course, but the original game is peerless.

mwhybark: Didn't Steve Jackson get in a whole load of clusterfuck sometime after 9-11 over Illuminati?

As pointed out, you may be conflating this with the 1990 Secret Service raid over GURPS Cyberpunk. However, any number of websites which purport to explain "The Truth About 9/11!!!!" will show you the 1995 art for the Terrorist Nuke card from Illuminati: New World Order which shows one two identical towers being bisected by a massive blast.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:07 PM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


No hex maps, no armour score and I never found it took ten minutes to suss out "hold the front left corner of the counter in place and move the back right counter one square."

Hmm, could be. To be fair, I was very young (ten-eleven) when I started playing with my older brother, so who knows what homebrew rules we played with.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:19 PM on September 22, 2008


Too bad these aren't readily available. I had Car Wars, Alamo, and Vampire but never played them. They sat next in a place of coolness, in my D&D box.
posted by Senator at 4:22 PM on September 22, 2008


I only ever played this once but I deeply loved it: Clay-O-Rama.
posted by webmutant at 4:48 PM on September 22, 2008


FWIW I found my Gamma World books last weekend when we looked inside some mystery moving boxes.
posted by GuyZero at 4:48 PM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


OMG, I had Car Wars and Chitin-1 and Ice War and a bunch of others! I had completely forgotten these! They were awesome! A great way for a kid on a budget to get his nerd on. Plus, they didn't take forever to play. In one hour you could do several runs of Car Wars. I also had the Car Wars expansions, like Truck Stop and Sunday Drivers and the Armadillo Autoduel Arena...

I can't believe this, what an awesome find.

God, I am a nerd.
posted by Xoebe at 5:15 PM on September 22, 2008


What about Cheap Ass Games?
posted by empath at 5:50 PM on September 22, 2008


Someone needs to do flash versions of all these games.
posted by empath at 5:51 PM on September 22, 2008


Ah, nostalgia. I spent many an hour playing Car Wars with my highschool friends, and played Ogre/GEV on occasion as well. (I still would like to try out the Ogre mini rules I picked up a few years ago, but I don't have the time/skill/inclination to paint up microarmor SF tanks). Awful Green Things from Outer Space I played back when it was a TSR game, along with Snit's Revenge. Ice War, Black Hole, Melee/Wizard (in fact, I later ran a Fantasy Trip campaign), Rivets, WarpWar, Sticks & Stones -- I still have many of them in my game box, but I am afraid I've probably lost some of the counters.

Is there any good place to play any of those online?
posted by fings at 6:04 PM on September 22, 2008


Artw, ricochet b.: I do believe you are correct.

I had tons of these, too. Most from really early on, bag editions. I also had a killer Ogre minifig as well as little hovercraft (from GEV), all carefully painted in matte black with tiny spots of white and silver trim. Rivets was particulary fun and hilarious.
posted by mwhybark at 6:08 PM on September 22, 2008


Hey... Where's BioOne, Harpoon and Air War? These were originally released as ziplock games. I purchased them in 1982 at The Complete Strategist on 33rd street in NYC.
posted by thrakintosh at 6:46 PM on September 22, 2008


I used to "work" as a builder for SJG on their Metaverse MOO. My "pay" was a free isp account that lasted for over a decade on io.com. The MOO eventually collapsed but I still relish the meetings I attended at their South Austin headquarters with all the gamer geeks hopping around being weird.
posted by jim in austin at 6:50 PM on September 22, 2008


The Autoduel computer game, though? Badass.

Oh hell yes. I bought the Commodore 64 version long after its best-by date for $2.50; it came with a very small toolkit.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:36 PM on September 22, 2008


Man, my brother and I played Revolt on Antares (TSR) until we couldn't find the pieces anymore. After that, we started to make up our own pieces and boards. Drawing hex grids with a stencil - those were the days.

Let me put in a shameless plug for Fat Messiah's SHAPESHIFTERS (disclaimer: I was a playtester and nearly got my girlfriend to do the artwork). That was a sleeper that deserves to be top-tier. Every FMG game is well worth owning (and you can still buy them today from the designer, and email him with your questions!)
posted by newdaddy at 7:48 PM on September 22, 2008


TWERPS
posted by flotson at 7:53 PM on September 22, 2008


We're counting the little insert games in Dragon magazine? Then count me in. I loved a few of those far more than many full scale boardgames.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:59 PM on September 22, 2008


OMG TWERPS!

I haven't thought about this game for, oh, more than a decade. What a fine game TWERPS is.
posted by Kattullus at 8:00 PM on September 22, 2008


Car wars rocked... and non of this microgame stuff... you needed to scale it up to fit matchbox cars.
posted by pompomtom at 8:57 PM on September 22, 2008


OMG, I had Car Wars and Chitin-1 and Ice War and a bunch of others! I had completely forgotten these!

Holy shit! I loved Ice War!! I too had forgotten about the little minigames. How could I have forgotten "The Creature That Ate Sheboygan"? Those little bag games kicked ass. Didn't someone (SPI?) publish a magazine that had a minigame in every issue?
posted by MikeMc at 9:24 PM on September 22, 2008


I went through the entire list on the site, and there wasn't one that I didn't have or play. Dear god almighty I am such a game nerd.
posted by illiad at 9:27 PM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


The OGRE links, let this guy show them to you. Also.
posted by eccnineten at 10:33 PM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fond, these memories-- somewhere, high above, an inscrutable UFO is pulsing; from somewhere else, the All-Seeing Eye gazes on us, its lids narrowing-- gently?-- , for a moment, ever so slightly, as if to say, "Screw our 'alliance'. That Mafia card is mine."
posted by darth_tedious at 10:58 PM on September 22, 2008


Ha! Ogre minfigs!
posted by mwhybark at 8:02 AM on September 23, 2008


Illuminati was a seriously sweet game. Awful Green Things was pretty fun too. Have a distinct feeling that I might have spent about 99% of my time designing cars in Car Wars, and 1% only actually playing. Actually that's probably fairly reflective of my time spent with RPGs too.
posted by bifter at 9:25 AM on September 23, 2008


I still had some of these until last year, when I gave them away to a friend's nerdy teenage son who actually has a gaming group which plays non-computer games.

At one point or another I had: Ogre, Rivets, Warpwar, Vector 3, Panzer Pranks, One Page Bulge, Car Wars, Illuminati, and The Last Starfighter Tunnel Chase (I must have been really bored at the game shop that day).

We played a lot of Star Fleet Battles, but that was after it had expanded from its microgame form. (I was too young when most of these games were originally released.)

Illuminati was the only one which really got played much – not with my high-school gaming geek friends, but a few years later, during smoke- and alcohol-filled college-era parties.
posted by D.C. at 9:53 AM on September 23, 2008


Wow, so it's OK if I admit to an Autoduel Quarterly subscription here? Finally, the feeling of relief at setting down that burden!

We played Car Wars in middle school in the mornings when classes started late. Then again, two of us were also in a class of fourth graders who played Dawn Patrol in the cafeteria. Not normal, then?
posted by wenestvedt at 10:13 AM on September 23, 2008


Illuminati

The RL United States Illuminati Black Ops team is made of fail.
posted by Artw at 10:08 PM on September 23, 2008


Artw, I thought maybe you were talking about the bailout.
posted by mwhybark at 10:43 PM on September 23, 2008


I have no doubt that the Illuminati will be making out like bandits there.
posted by Artw at 10:50 PM on September 23, 2008


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