What is OPie Games?
Opie Games is the home of table top game designs and musings by John Parker and links to resources that may be helpful to the beginning designer or the person with an affinity toward table top games. Hopefully, you find the content here interesting.
Who is OPie Games?
Johnny Opie (John Parker). My story seems to be fairly typical of people with a burgeoning interest in game design these days. I started my love of games and puzzles at a very early age. In a picture taken on my 4th birthday I am sitting on the floor with two 500 piece puzzles unwrapped before me and a huge grin on my face. As one of the younger brothers in a large family, there were plenty of better gamers to challenge me growing up. In those days, it was mostly the classics (Monopoly, Risk, Stratego, etc.) and card games – a whole lot of card games – that got the most play. At age 10 I started taking a real interest in how games worked and studied an old family copy of According to Hoyle. I was the one teaching “new” games to the rest of the family. This being the early 70s and a time when the original Star Trek was aired daily in the after-school slot, my brother Robert and I thought the game of Fizbin was a grand idea and started adding “Fizbinish” rules to every game we played. New rules were introduced at will, but once invoked were permanent for that game. A fan of gin rummy, I designed, play tested, and wrote the rules for my first “real” game around that time and called it FizGin.
Much of the mid years between childhood and now are described in Lori Opie’s bio. I played a lot of games with our kids. I still designed and prototyped several games, but did not pursue them beyond the occasional play. Unfortunately, the kids were growing up and, living in a relatively remote area, I was distracted by the electronic variety of gaming just as things at the table top were really getting interesting. So I feel like I am playing catch-up and am enjoying the discovery process.
I was much more keen on winning in those early days, but now mostly play for the enjoyment in the experience and the study of the game and gaming behavior. It is amazing what you can learn about a person at the gaming table and the moments immediately before and after.
My desire to tinker with games and to design new ones is stronger than ever; thus this site.
Lori Opie (Lori Parker) was playing D&D in college before I met her and her old RPG gang is still some of our closest family friends. Since Lori and I were the married-with-children in the group, we would host a game night every Saturday; provide dinner, watch Star Trek Next Generation (never missed an episode), then break out the games. Fellows in the gaming world of this era understand how many hours of Talisman that means. We played a little of everything and enjoyed most of it because we were with friends.
Lori enjoys the light to mid-depth games the most, but will indulge me in something more challenging occasionally. We live in the sticks, so our primary game group is the two of us, but we get together with those same old friends monthly.
Now she is also my fellow play tester and is starting to help with prototyping. Lori is a good tester for the approachability of a game rule set and intuitive play.
Robert, not Bobby, Opie (Robert Parker), my older brother, shares a love of games. Robert played a dual role in my early game development life as both nemesis and partner. We pitched battles with cards and dice daily and were a force when partnered up at the card table. Even as young tweens and teens we ran the table on our elder siblings and elder generations in the traditional trick-taking, rummy, and set collection (e.g., canasta) games. As two card-counters who quickly figured out our opponents’ strategies, we were often accused of cheating. We would sometimes make obvious, ridiculous, and meaningless gestures to one another just to hint that there was something to their suspicions and that we were not just out-playing everyone. Metagaming at 10…
Though we have far less opportunities to partner up at the card table, we still enjoy pitting our game skills against one another. I run my game ideas past Robert for his insight and critical mind.
Like our father, Robert is a real craftsman and just plain knows how to make stuff. His creations are both beautiful and functional. We share a passion in making wonderful and unique experiences for our friends and family through food, brewing, various forms of craftsmanship, and whatever looks interesting. I hope that our combined creative energies result in immersive and intriguing games that just work.
Other Contributors: We have several other contributors, primarily as playtesters, and we would like to thank them here. This is a shout-out to playtesters Douggy Opie and Mikey Opie and to Danny Opie who provides a video gamer perspective and general analysis.
Why OPie Games?
As boys growing up, the last name of Parker meant a lot of harassing, “Hey, Parker Brothers, make any games lately?” “Hey, Parker Brothers…” Ironically, despite my responses to the contrary at the time, that is exactly what I was doing and thinking about when I got home from school. OPie Games is both a reference to the “Other Parker Brothers” and an attempt to capture what I find captivating in games – the fun. Sure, I still love the deep strategy games and thinky, mind-bending, puzzley games, but in all games, I am looking for the fun; which for me lies in the childlike wonder of exploring something new or revealed in a new light. As the occasional fiction writer, I am also interested in the story told in a game and hopefully “OPie Games” invokes the beginning of a story that interests you.