Welcome to Opie Games

Consider this website a documentary of a card and board game designer's discovery. While many of the articles address serious topics and are intended to report and inform, they are intended to entertain as well. Like the games in design, this site is a form of play and sharing a passion. If you like what you read here or have other ideas, requests, or words of wisdom, PLEASE COMMENT.

Realizing that the website layout is still very plain, the priority is to have new articles every week and hopefully the site will become prettier over time as well. We continue to add content, new functionality, and will work on the site theming over time.

Summaries and links to the latest articles are below, but there are many ways to find the site content through the menus, subject tags, search, etc. Enjoy your time looking around.

Game Makeover: Nines – Thinking Outside the Box

Design Workbench

Design Objective

It has been a while since I first did the makeover of Nines to form Picky Packrats and I have played hundreds of rounds of the game as-is. So, why would I change anything? Well, to see if I can make it better. In this design round, we break the game layout out of the box and into a circle. A circle is more reminiscent of the rat midden that our theme is suggesting and it opens the game up to more scoring possibilities.

Industry Focus: The Full Weight of the Spiel des Jahres - Part 2

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The Spiel des Jahres (SDJ) award is intended to recognize games for “family and friends.” Does it hit that mark? The Kennerspiel des Jahres (KSDJ) was created to recognize more advanced games. Anecdotally, this is obvious from the difference in games that have won the awards, but is there a way to quantify this difference? Not dissimilar from other media, the complexity level of a game is represented by what gamers generally call “weight,” which is available as a community contributed measurement on BoardGameGeek.com.

Let’s take a look at the weight of SDJ and KSDJ winners and nominees over the years for insight into their level of complexity:

  1. What are their average and relative weights?
  2. Have their weights changed over the years? (Are the games getting more or less complex?)
  3. Have there been major changes over the years? What were the likely events that caused these changes?

Note: If you are starting your reading with this article, you might want to jump to the introduction here: Industry Focus: Spiel des Jahres & the BGG Community Part 1

Industry Focus: Spiel des Jahres & the BGG Community Part 1

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Though some table top gaming enthusiasts believe that the Spiel des Jahres annual awards are not relevant for them, there is no doubt that these awards are important drivers in table top games in general. There is enough urban legend and pontificating about the awards that don’t report the facts that a deep dive into the statistics related to the awards is perfect for an article in the Analysis Paralysis series. Through this analysis, we will have a better idea of what makes a Spiel des Jahres game, the common aspects of the games that have been named in the awards – as winners, nominees, or recommendations – and how the awards have changed over the years. In particular, we will viewing this information through the lens of the BGG community (as expressed in the game and user data available on the BGG website). Eventually, we will also be able to compare data for the 2017 nominees before and after the awards to gauge the impact.

Outdoor Dexterity Games: Tossing and Turning on the Lawn

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While my focus in most of my articles is on tabletop games, with the advent of summer comes the desire to play outside. There are many such games and activities, but the games of interest here are ones that involve rolling or tossing objects at another/other object(s). I think for most in the US, this is associated with Horseshoes or Bocce, but there are several variations on this theme – more than I realized – that are popular primarily based on the country or region of origin. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Game Sessions: The Return of the Dragon

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As mentioned in 2017 Preview – Gaming Goals, I have taken a very high level approach to goals related to how many games, what type of games, etc. that will hit my table this year. This is fortunate because I would have already headed down a path that probably is contrary to anything I would have imagined just 2 months ago.

About 18 months ago, I started looking hard at Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition (D&D 5E). An old friend who was the primary DM in my wife’s college D&D group was also looking at it, but we didn’t think we would be able to get any momentum toward playing. We are all just too busy and the old gang lives at different corners of the Denver area (Lori and I and another couple are actually “remote”), so getting together is always an ordeal. We also looked at Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds as possible tools to facilitate being able to play.

Can we pull it together to play D&D?

Community Focus: BGG Community Information

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The BGG games pages include tons of community contributed content. Obviously, I am an avid user of the site, but have traditionally participated to a limited degree and have been remiss in tangibly thanking others for their contributions. Let’s take a quick look at the various ways you can contribute to the site information and recognize the efforts of others, using Pandemic as our example..

Community Focus: The Real BGG Accessibility Question: Careful What You Wish For

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The BGG website (boardgamegeek.com) is the most comprehensive source of information and collection of commentary about board games anywhere ever… and it feels like it. Asking a simple question about a game on BGG is a bit like asking for the most common use of a word and having someone cart in the all of the unbound pages of the OED in a stack and saying, “Here, find it.” OK. So maybe not that bad, but it can be almost as intimidating to a new user.

Tabletop media has complained, criticized, and suggested improvements continuously for years now, so I don’t need to pile on any more than I already have. This article is not that. We will touch on the general sentiments and suggestions a bit for context, but this is not intended to be piling on.

Instead, let’s consider what a perfect BGG world might look like. Will there be a rush on rainbows and unicorns in that perfect world?

Community Focus: BGG Ratings Part 5: Rating and Tracking Data and Methods

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If you are coming to this article first, you may want to start at Part 1 of this series to be sure you have the full context.

A review of the data collected of those who rated Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 as a “1” provides some insight into some rating and tracking practices. This is a short article to review some of the methods that I saw in the data and some of the difficulty experienced in analyzing the data.

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