Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Speculating on Pocket GEV

When Steve Jackson Games ran that Kickstarter for Ogre Designer's Edition, one of the stretch goals was Ogre Pocket Edition.  This throwback to the 1977 edition came in a ziplock bag with two sheets of 70 half-inch cardboard counters each, an 8.5" x 14" map on heavy paper, and a small rulebook.
The current version of OGRE comes in a plastic bag.
The most remarkable thing about this product was that SJG kept the price at its 1977 level: just $2.95 for the game, even though all the components mean it should cost around $10 in today's market. 
An older edition of GEV came in a black plastic box.
So naturally there's been fan speculation about whether Steve Jackson will release a pocket version of the game's sequel, G.E.V.  (Frankly, I don't think it will happen; an SJG honcho said maybe if they sold all their Pocket Ogre copies by Oct. 1 of this year, but there's no indication that they did sell out of the game.  Still, it's fun to ponder.)

So what should be included in a new ziplock edition of G.E.V.?  I'm gonna presume that in order to keep costs down, the publisher will use the same die cut counter sheets, just with different printing.  So there are 140 counters to play with.  The rulebook will be about the same (or a little thicker) than the Ogre booklet, but this edition will require a larger, color map.  So it might end up costing around $12 or $13, instead of the inflation-adjusted $10 of Pocket Ogre.

But what units should be included with those counters?  The original G.E.V. introduced only four new vehicles: the light tank, the mobile howitzer, the Ogre Mk IV, and the train.  But the Designer's Edition also included units from other supplements, such as light and personnel carrier GEVs, superheavy tanks, missile crawlers, hovertrucks, and other models of cybertanks.

Me, I think a new edition of G.E.V. should have all the units that were in the original game, along with light GEVs and superheavy tanks--these types provide an interesting mix of combat vehicles, without having to get into special rules (like infantry riding in GEV-PCs or cruise missile detonation).  Also, this counter mix would still give players enough of each unit type to try out various strategies.

Like I said, this game will probably never go into production--but it's fun to think about.  And if it ever does go on sale, I'll be buying at least two copies. If Pocket G.E.V. does see the light of day, what would you like to see it have?

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