Making a Life Sized OPERATION Game - Part Three

I'm back, sorry for the long delay following up on this project. When we last left off, the main game board was done. Now it was time to lock in and layout the body parts to be removed.

The original idea by producers was to make the Operation game DIY themed, each organ had a crafty/how-to pun. Sort of like the original game where a bucket represented "water on the knee" and not an actual body part.

The initial part list was very long with a lot of fun ideas, but the segment producer and I needed to edit it down to what parts would work well spaced across the board.

As I began to lay it all out and make templates for the holes yet to come. The hope was to make each body part an actual 3-dimensional representation of that body part (as illustrated by the picture below, using wrenches for the "wrenched ribs" and a piece of wood for the "plywood patella").

Just then, at this point, the game was revised. As happens often in TV. Instead of the DIY theme, it was decided to make it a challenge to see how well the players knew ACTUAL human anatomy, picking and pulling the right body part based on a clue. I must admit, this made me very happy. The clock was against me, and making a faux liver was time consuming enough, but also having to glitter it?

There was a second revision that also worked to my deadline advantage. I suggested this one, and was thankfully approved. While trying to make 3-dimentional parts work, I discovered some parts would be far more difficult and awkward to remove than others. It would really slow the game play up. My change was that all be flat cut-outs (like the original game) so each part was similar in weight and thickness, but the odd shape of each would prove challenging. I would also add (again like the original game) a knook or cranny the tweezers could easily grab (if the players noticed it).

Now that the game was figured out. I plotted out the parts and sizes on the board in actual size by placing tracing paper over and drawing each body part hole. I then sketched the actual body part onto the trace paper obviously smaller than the hole so it could be removed. Next, I inked each sketch, scanned, and colored in Photoshop. Several examples...

Happy to say each happened to be under 8.5' x 11" in size so I could print out on my own printer. I spray-glued them onto black foam core (so the outlines matched the edges) and cut out with an X-Acto. Body parts to remove done!

This may seem redundant, but to ensure each hole was the right size, each finished part became a new template that I re-traced onto the board. Only then did I cut the hole in the board for each (about a 1/2" wider than the part).

Next in Part Four, making the boxes under the holes to hold the body parts, and the electronics to make BUZZ and the nose light up!


  1. GENIUS!! I may have to make one of these boards myself...just because. Can't wait to see how you work out the buzzer part....

  2. This will be great fun! You always put a lot of thought into your projects.
    What a lot of work!

  3. What are the body parts made from?