The original Ogre was one of the Steve Jackson micro-games, and was designed with a very specific philosophy in mind:
"The original idea was to 'think small.' Something that could be played on a legal-sized map, with a total supply of 50-100 counters, that could be learned in an hour or so and would take about the same time to play. ... The limitations of the small format provided that wrinkle. Thinking about writing a scenario using maybe 30 counters and just a few hexes, it hit me: give one side one counter. One big counter. After that, it started to fall into place."
- Steve Jackson, The Ogre Book, p. 5 (emphasis in the original)The rest, as they say, is history. For those not "in the know", an Ogre is a cybernetic tank (and has its literary roots in Keith Laumer's Bolos) of vast size and firepower, able to take on several companies of "ordinary" armor and mobile infantry in a fair fight. Armed with tactical nuclear weapons, anti-personnel weapons, and armor plating meters thick, the Ogre is one tough mother.
Miniatures followed as well, first produced by Martian Miniatures back in the 1980's (which had those terrifically oddball advertisements in Dragon magazine that were upside-down-- they did come from Mars, after all!), then Ral Partha (another company that deserves a post unto itself), and later (and through today, I believe) by Steve Jackson Games itself. Miniatures rules, as an adaptation of the hex-and-counter rules, were written, and they are just as fun to play. I have a boatload of the Ogre/GEV miniatures myself, and I regret that I don't play it as often as I would like, even if it's just a solo game.
It's not a perfect game, of course. Some people feel that the cut-apart-yourself counters are too flimsy (a complaint I do not happen to share). There was the clunker pair of "Deluxe" games, with blown-up maps and die-cut counters, that added nothing to the original, but were in turn not compatible with all the stuff that had gone before, as the counters and maps were the wrong size. But aside from a couple of flubs, I found the steady stream of expansions; the Ogre Reinforcement Pack (more counters and maps, allowing for larger scenarios), Ogre Battlefields, Shockwave, 2 scenario books, and even a crossover GURPS Ogre book, all well worth the money (which, at the time, was not much, although the miniatures could get into money, as all miniatures games tend to do!). There's even a sub-line of Ogrethulhu miniatures; Ogres that rolled through R'leyh and fared the worse for the experience. There was also a computer game, which I hear is good, although I never played it myself.
Steve Jackson is coming out with a new edition of the classic game, rumored to have three-dimensional cardboard Ogres. No word on a release date as far as I'm aware, but Ogre/GEV is so versatile, so easy to pick up (even with the expansions), and so fun that it easily counts as one of the Games I Love.