OgreCave is committed to the promotion of games, primarily non-computer, non-console games. Don’t get us wrong: Halo 3, Stardew Valley, Tomb Raider, and the rest are loads of fun, and we’ve done our share of mashing buttons and fragging our friends. But computers have yet to fully capture the social aspect of getting friends together for a game of Magic, and haven’t even come close to what a tabletop role-playing game feels like. Traditional board games and RPGs were our first love. As long as the pen and paper games have something the PCs and PlayStations don’t, we’ll keep promoting them and playing them.
And quite frankly, tabletop games need the extra press far more than PC or PS3 games. But we’ll slip in a mention of our favorite console titles and flash games now and then, because, well, we’re cross-training gamers. If it’s fun, we’ll play it.
Our most important goal at OgreCave is to write everything we post with intelligence and humor. We promise to keep our readers informed of what the industry is up to, for better or worse. We won’t limit ourselves to just board games, just card games, or just role-playing games: a game is a game, so if we can have fun playing it, we’ll cover it. If we mention some cool console or cell phone games along the way, great, but we’ll go out of our way to uncover the latest in tabletop gaming.
Meet the Cave Dwellers:
Allan “Sven the Ogre” Sugarbaker – OgreCave’s founder Allan Sugarbaker has been gaming for over three decades. He was the first Unplugged Games Editor for Gamers.com, having supervised and built the framework of its Unplugged section from the ground up. While at Gamers, Allan ran extensive playtests, researched a variety of out-of-print games, and reported on the industry daily until the site ceased editorial operations. Allan went on to run RPGnet for several years, where he was responsible for most daily operations, review coordination, and established forums moderation. He served as editor for GameBuyer magazine for two years, and continues to do freelance writing and editing of various sorts.
Allan started OgreCave to bring the most important and entertaining game news and views into sharper focus for the average gamer. To help him with the task, Allan gathered a team of other former Gamers.com employees and freelancers (see below). Allan’s nickname of Sven the Ogre comes from his rather large stature (5’19”), and his tendency to use uprooted trees to swat those who anger him. He likes odd games, role-players who find low stats a challenge, and attending game conventions. Allan can be emailed at sven (at) ogrecave (dot) com.
Mike “MiSuBa” Sugarbaker is the site’s chief maintainer and editorial loose cannon. If something on the site is broken, it’s probably his fault. When he’s not busy playing in rock bands, breaking hearts, doing random web work, or eating red meat, he works on his game designs and tries to stop sucking at Icehouse. Email him at mike (at) ogrecave (dot) com.
Lars Roberts – Lars is a lifelong games and geek culture enthusiast. As a true child of the ’90s, she grew up with a Sega Genesis, organized books of Lisa Frank stickers, an Angelfire account coded entirely by hand, and a painfully large collection of Pogs. These days, Lars can be found playing D&D, searching Steam for bargain games, drinking ample amounts of coffee, and advocating for diversity in the gaming community. Currently, Lars does independent contracting as an occasional game tester for PlayStation, helps OgreCave document conventions with her skilled photography, and cosplays her favorite geek culture characters at local events. And to this day, she’s still trying to beat The Lion King game on Sega Genesis – that Elephant Graveyard level, though.
Steve Kani – At 135 pounds soaking wet, Steve is probably the least ogre-like of the bunch (he’s more like a kuo toa or something). One of OgreCave’s staff reporters, Steve has been playing roleplaying games since the the very beginning. The very beginning of roleplaying gaming, that is. He quickly moved from D&D to Traveller and RuneQuest and has played, and run, role playing games continuously for the last 25 years or so. Oh, there was that two year break when he was hooked on wargames like Fire in the East and Advanced Squad Leader. Good times. Recently, he has come back to D&D albeit that newfangled 5e version. Currently, Steve is honing his Maya skills, doing a little consulting, and looking for that next big break. He’ll play almost anything, these days, just as long as you’re running.
Demian Katz, a vegetarian, is the author of the Kobolds Ate My Baby! solitaire adventures. He is an obsessive collector of interactive fiction and the maintainer of the infamous Comprehensive Gamebook Checklist. As if this weren’t enough, he’s also a computer programmer/librarian at Villanova University by day and a devoted Doctor Who fan, bad-movie viewer, amateur snail wrangler, and (don’t laugh) philatelist by night. When not involved in any of these activities, he eats and sleeps, which is something of a drag.
Lee Valentine is a game designer and public policy analyst living in Boston, MA. Lee firmly established his gamer geek status at a young age when, as an undergraduate at Harvard College, he petitioned for admission to the campus science fiction association by submitting an exhaustive “resume” of games he had played. As the President of indie game publisher Veritas Games Company, he has designed ten board and card games. He was also the lead designer of Live Action Clue, a game still played at his alma mater. He compiles and shares resources on game manufacturing for first time indie game publishers. Lee is one of the OgreCave’s more prolific game reviewers and also helps out with news coverage and the occasional convention report. At 6’0″ and a bit over 200 pounds, he barely meets the minimum physical qualifications to be called an Ogre, and has been named “Deputy Ogre” by the Cave’s larger dwellers.
Dennis Hancock – While Dennis was a latecomer to the “low tech” gaming community, he was no stranger to ‘high tech’ computer games of the early 80’s. He started with a pong console and grew into the Atari 800XL. His youth was spent exploring the worlds of Ultima, Zork, and Alternate Reality. It wasn’t until his early 20’s when he was introduced to the pen & paper RPG. D&D and its variants were his bread and butter to start off, but he soon found himself looking for something more. When he first played Gamma World, he knew sci-fi was the way he wanted to go. He has been fortunate enough to find himself a regular game group, and together they play D&D, Call of Cthulhu, Dark Heresy, and many a board and card game when time allows. When not gaming, he also takes part in the SCA, where he fights for the Kingdom of the West. There he goes by the name of Decimus Valerius Castus, or just Castus for short.
Owen Fletchyr – Owen is a solitary man who serves in the army of the West. When Owen slips out of his SCA persona, he sometimes goes by the name of Colin Adams, and does all the artwork you see here on OgreCave. His illustration portfolio is online at www.colinadams.com. You’re damn right he’s for hire.
Matthew Pook is an Englishman living in Birmingham (no, not the one in Alabama) as the un-lifestyled partner of his Goth fiancée. Currently working as a Projectionist (no, he doesn’t get to watch movies at work), he has been gaming for over twenty years. He has worked for Hogshead Publishing, and written/reviewed for White Dwarf, Voodoo Penguin, RPGnet, Pyramid On-line, Valkyrie Magazine, and RPGshop, among others. He collects old RPGs, his favourites including Call of Cthulhu, SkyRealms of Jorune, GURPS, Star Trek, Empire of the Petal Throne, SLA Industries, Star Wars and WFRP. Currently, he thinks he has about three hundred single RPGs and some fifteen hundred supplements, and he keeps buying more. He does not own enough books, and the Klingon in him likes prunes. Friends call him Pookie, but bears have nothing to do with it.
Joe Kushner – At 6’6″ 300 lbs, many suspect that Staff Reviewer Joe Kushner is the prototype Ogre for the Cave. Introduced to AD&D 1st edition through a friend who saw him playing the first edition Marvel Super Heroes, he has since moved onto Rolemaster, Hero, GURPS, Call of Cthulhu and other goodies but always comes back to D&D because of its wealth of support and his love of fantasy. Joe’s currently enjoying the wealth of new superhero material with Silver Age Sentinels and the return of Champions. Aside from going to DeVry Chicago (which he often mocks), Joe works at Federal Mogul in Skokie. In his spare time (a concept he has difficulty understanding), he enjoys painting and collecting miniatures with his favorites currently being the new Celtos (I-Core) and Warlord (Reaper) lines. Joe has also written reviews for ENWorld, RPGnet, d20Weekly, and Gaming Frontiers, among others.
Craig C. Robertson – Craig has been roleplaying since the tender age of eight, when his first-level fighter died fighting a hydra atop Orc Hill. After D&D was forbidden by his parents, he switched to Traveller, which was permitted because, in his own words: “It’s science fiction, Mom. It doesn’t have magic or anything.” Later, Craig took up wargaming, beginning with Steve Jackson’s Ogre and culminating with a financially crippling investment in Avalon Hill’s Advanced Squad Leader. Craig has been spending the last decade honing a talent for purchasing CCGs that are just about to fail, including Star Wars, Babylon 5, and INWO. His current projects include cruising eBay for more Epic 40K miniatures than he could ever possibly paint, and attempting to prove a unified field theory for the Palladium megaverse. His only fear is that someday his wife will find out how much he really spends on gaming-related purchases.
Brian Darnell – Another gamer of ogre-sized proportions, Brian worked at Gamers.com as the Card Games Editor, covering all things drawn or tapped. Brian assists OgreCave’s news coverage of card games and tournaments, and tries not to look too imposing.
Orion Holcomb – aka Antony the Freeman, Orion lives in the wild, rugged, forested wilderness of the north, giving rise to the bigfoot myth. He does enjoy a good game, any game, and has for a long time. Like Owyn Fletchyr, Orion is involved in the SCA, as a warrior of the Barony of Allyshia. He has mediocre skills at many things, including gaming, writing, carpentry, geology, farming, astronomy, music, anthropology, and living in a car.