Steve Dodge’s latest project.
December 11, 2019 by Ultiworld Disc Golf Staff in Sponsored with comments
This article is sponsored by BIRDIE!, the disc golf board game.
Looking for that great Christmas gift that no disc golfer has but all disc golfers want? Get them a disc golf board game!
We had an opportunity to catch up with Steve Dodge about his new venture, BIRDIE!, a disc golf-based board game. The Kickstarter campaign is going on right now — getting your copy of the game today will save you over 30%. Only two weeks left to save!
First things first, do we need a disc golf board game?
The short answer is yes, at least for my house. Table top board games are a great way to get people and families together having fun. This was part of the reason for the Festival of the Flying Discs at the Pro Tour events. The goal is to get people interacting and being the social creatures that we are. So, yes, a disc golf board game is absolutely needed. It links us humans with our common interests together in an additional way, plus you get to sneeze during your brother’s backswing.
Can you quickly describe the game for us so we know what we are getting into?
BIRDIE! is a roll and move, strategy-based party game. There are numerous strategies that can be used when building your player, throwing the dice to move your disc, and affecting others during their throws. I don’t do well with down time during a game and this spills over into the game design of BIRDIE! No matter what is going on, there are things to think about and actions to take.
Okay, that leads to the next question. Some games, like disc golf, you play your own game and try to do better than your opponents. In BIRDIE!, it sounds like you interact with the other players.
You are correct. In addition to using your skills and karma to card the best score, you also can help or hurt your opponents by playing karma cards on them. Helping opponents can build your karma to be used later in the game. Hurting opponents (hopefully) negatively impacts their score.
For example, if your drive lands Off Fairway, someone can play the Lost Disc Karma Card on you. This means you go back to the tee with a penalty stroke. Just like in disc golf, it is devastating.
However, there is a Found Disc card, and if someone else has it and plays it, your disc is found and they get two Karma Cards. It is a very interesting strategic decision as to when you should find someone else’s lost disc. Plus, there is real life karma that may come into play later in the game.
Interesting. So in some ways there is a built-in meta game.
Absolutely. In fact, there is a Courtesy Violation card which can be played on people when they swear, play out of turn, are rude, or even take too much time. For example, we had a friend miss a Circle 1 putt and another player went over the top making fun of them. The Courtesy Violation card was played, shut them up, and made everyone laugh. Even the player that missed the putt.
This Courtesy Violation card has nothing to do with the actual game play, it is all about how the game is played. In disc golf, it is nice to think that both are important.
Another example is a Foot Fault card. Just like disc golf, it must be seconded and is a one stroke penalty. There is also a note on the card that if you tell anyone you have the card, it must be discarded. In game tests, we have had this happen once and when someone else played a Foot Fault on the leader, no one was able to second it. The loss of the card due to a conversation outside the game play impacted the game. It was wonderful to watch.
Are there any Maple Hill specific cards?
There absolutely are! There are two Maple Hill Karma Cards. One memorializes the greatest disc golf fans on earth, the Eight Holes. The other references Chipmunkgate, when a chipmunk may have cost Michael Johansen the tournament, knocking his disc OB during the playoff in 2016. There are tons of great moments that have happened at Maple Hill and this was a fun way to give a tip of the hat.
One other thing to note is that each of these cards has a QR code printed on them. Scanning the QR code will take you to the YouTube video that shows the Eight Holes cheering or a slomo review of the chipmunk shot with analysis. Using the technology this way is really fun.
The game is also played on the Maple Hill Gold Course and you are a 1020 rated player. Dustin Juliano, of 7X7 Design, created the Maple Hill tee signs (as well as most of the tee signs used on the Disc Golf Pro Tour). His immaculate work is highlighted in the game adding to the feel that you are actually at Maple Hill.
Being intimately familiar with the land and course was very useful in placing the landing spaces for various shots, both good and bad. I’ve thrown and watched discs go to each space on the board, including into the drink.
I see numbers on the spaces, which I’m guessing correspond to the roll of the dice. How were those numbers determined? Did you just play until it just felt right?
A pretty big spreadsheet was created utilizing UDisc stats. For every hole at Maple Hill, we have detailed data about the percentage of shots that go into Circle 1, Circle 2, Off Fairway, and OB, as well as the expected score breakdown.
Using these stats, along with the probability of the dice roll (three 6-sided dice), we created the number model. There was a little tweaking after the fact because the numbers did not always line up with the probabilities, but overall, the numbers came straight from the data.
On the game board, I see a DGX logo on hole 1. Are there advertising opportunities within the game?
Good eye and yes there are. Disc golf is a young and growing sport. We don’t quite have the base to support a lot of our mainstream ideas but if we all pull together, we can make positive things happen. These advertising spots are designed to help the fun and creativity of the game, promote some good people and businesses, and will help make the game possible.
Karma Cards are very fun, create a positive association, and, yes, the QR codes go to whatever link the business/brand wants, be it an info, landing, or buying page.
There are also hole and player sponsorships available. One fun aspect of this is directly incorporating the player and hole sponsorships into the gameplay. For example, when a player is playing a hole that is sponsored by their sponsor, they get +1 on the die roll for the hole. This will encourage players to pay attention to the hole sponsors as well as their player sponsor.
There are a ton of costs to make this game a reality. Without advertisers, it would not happen.
Earlier, you mentioned building the players and you just mentioned the players being sponsored. Do the players start with standard skills? And how do you build their skills?
There are six players in the base game as well as six advanced players in the expansion pack. Each player has unique inherent abilities. Based on those abilities, you will want to adjust your strategy in the Build Phase.
There are five skills: Distance, Karma, Driving, Putting, and Focus. All of these skills are set at the beginning of the game based on a strategic build phase. Distance is used on the tee of every hole. Karma determines how many Karma Cards you get. Driving, Putting, and Focus are represented as Skill Chips and they are used whenever you want to get extra dice for a critical shot. It is always fun watching players try to maintain their position while also trying to save their skill chips for the final holes.
The Skill Chips also allow you to use the 20-sided dice, which increases your chances of getting a great shot, or a lousy one. Using the 20-sided dice is basically a ‘go for it’ type of shot and really amps up the tension!
Last question. The new company is named Boda Brothers. Is there an origin story for the name?
There absolutely is, but rather than saying it here, I’ll say that my daughter Rachael came up with the company name after I had come up with some real doozies!
Thank you to everyone that is backing this project and helping to make our dream come true. Roll with us!