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EDITORIAL – SUMMER 2006 – VOL 2. NO 19

Strong & Stronger

 

If you’re reading this, you probably know game designer Sid Sackson and I were good friends for a number of years. We would meet with our wives on a regular basis to talk about and play games. And, from time to time, the subject of what was going to happen to Sid’s unbelievable collection of games and related items in the (distant) future would come up.

Like most collectors, Sid took his collection very seriously. He always hoped that sometime, somewhere down the line, he would be able to house his collection in a museum with himself as a “curator” of sorts but he wasn’t very optimistic about that. Museums were only too happy to help themselves to his collection but had no use for a “so-called games expert”. The fact that Sid WAS an internationally recognized and acclaimed games expert as well as an amazing and successful designer didn’t seem to hold much weight. Sid claimed that there was a distinct prejudice against him because he didn’t have PhD after his name and maybe that’s true. In any case, that dream of a museum for his collection was never realized and we all know what happened to that amazing collection – scattered to the four winds after his death. But, fortunately, not all was lost.

While some of Sid’s papers were thrust into boxes sold in the two Sackson game auctions, a great deal of Sid’s correspondence and papers remained in the possession of the Sackson family. These archives, BOXES of them, consisted of correspondence between Sid and the many game companies, designers and just plain friends and fans that Sid was in contact with throughout the years as well as a few of Sid’s diaries, varied game catalogs and game-related publications. What to do with them? His daughter Dale and her husband Phil asked if I could help find a genuine home for these archives.

I began by contacting several places I thought would be good homes for the archives. Several expressed an interest but one place stood out to me as the ideal home for them. Fortunately, they agreed. As of June, 2006, the Sid Sackson archives have been donated to the Strong Museum in Rochester, New York.

The Strong Museum is an amazing place. The outgrowth of a an incredible doll collection amassed by Margaret Strong, the museum has grown to encompass all forms of play. In fact, the museum has changed its official name to the “Strong Museum: The National Museum of Play” and has completed a $37 million expansion, nearly doubling the size of the museum. It already is home to the National Toy Hall of Fame and houses the world’s largest collection of toys, dolls and play-related artifacts while becoming the ONLY museum in the world devoted to the study of play as it illuminates American culture.

Now, Sid’s papers and related material will be available for researchers and scholars in the field in a setting dedicated to the joy of play. I cannot think of a better place for Sid’s archives. Sid’s lifelong dream was to have a museum for his collection and work. It was my great pleasure to play a role in making at least part of that wish come true, keeping his memory and his immeasurable contributions to games and American culture both Strong and stronger.

In this issue, we spend lots of time in Ancient Egypt building a palace (in one game lifetime) and digging for archeological treasures (in another)! We build walls and break them down too! Chris Kovac exerts a little clout while Ben Baldanze gets wet! We welcome new contributor Pevans (aka Paul Evans) in his impressive debut in our pages. Plus a bloody adventure with the return of Game Classics and, of course, much more! Until next time, Good Gaming!

Herb Levy, President


 

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Summer 2006  GA Report Articles

 

Reviewed by Ben Baldanza (Schmidt Spiel + Freizeit, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 30 minutes; about $30) Network games are a genre unto themselves, and the variety created over the years has given gamers a lot of good things to try. Santiago (Winter 2004 GA REPORT) emerged as an interesting four player but hugely strategic and nasty five-player game that still hits many game ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Kosmos/Fantasy Flight Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; about $40) Reiner Knizia has a reputation as one of the most prolific and adept modern game designers. He has also claimed not to play games designed by others, preferring to draw his ideas from within himself. True to his word and inspired by his own Blue Moon collectible card ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Days of Wonder, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, about 60 minutes; $50) Although the title may win a prize for the longest game name in recent memory, the premise of Cleopatra and the Society of Architects is simple. In this design by Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc, Cleopatra yearns for a new palace. The players, assuming the persona of architects, ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Hidden City Games, 2 to 4 players or more, ages 8 to adult, 10 to 30+ minutes; 30 chip starter sets $14.95; 2 chip booster pack $2.50) Occasionally as a gamer one finds games a little off the beaten path. This is one of those games. Clout Fantasy, designed by Jesper Myfors and Paul Peterson, is sort of a cross between ...
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Strong & Stronger If you're reading this, you probably know game designer Sid Sackson and I were good friends for a number of years. We would meet with our wives on a regular basis to talk about and play games. And, from time to time, the subject of what was going to happen to Sid's unbelievable collection of games and related items in the (distant) ...
Read More
[Pevans is the pen name of Paul Evans (well, a Paul Evans – hence the pseudonym). This Paul Evans is a British gamer who has been writing about games for well over 20 years. He was founding editor of Games Games Games magazine and edited it for 12 years. He has contributed to Games & Puzzles, Games International and Counter and is a regular ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy [So many games, so little time. It's no wonder so many great games have vanished from the market. Once again, it's time to resurrect one of these lost gems. In past issues, our Game Classics series has showcased some remarkable games including Astron, Bantu, Broker, Can't Stop, Daytona 500, Focus (aka Domination), The Game of Politics, The Godfather Game, Holiday, Kimbo, ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Abacus Spiele, 3-5 players, ages 8 and up; 15 minutes +; about $8) Joshua fought the battle of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down. From that biblical event springs the new and aptly named card game from Abacus, designed by Tom Lehmann: Jericho. The game consists of a deck of 110 cards divided into 75 wall cards (in denominations of ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Hans im Gluck/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 45 minutes; $39.95) Medieval times has served as a background for many games and cities have often played a part in them, whether in grasping for power or scoring prestige. In Masons, the latest design from Leo Colovini, a new perspective on cities is presented as players become "master masons" ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Ystari Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 30-60 minutes; $29.95) Ystari Games has been making a name for itself with its maiden and subsequent releases. Ys (featured in the Winter 2005 GA REPORT and one of my favorite releases of that year) followed by Caylus (Winter 2006 GA REPORT) already established Ystari as a company to be reckoned with. With ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Front Porch Classics, 2-5 players, ages 8 and up, about 60 minutes; $50) The thrill of auto racing has been the subject of many tabletop simulations. One of the best looking of the bunch comes roaring down the pike from Front Porch Classics in their new release Raceway 57. Handling up to five players, this edition of the game comes in ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Avalon Hill, 3-5 players, ages 10 to adult, 45 minutes; $35) The time is the future and the place is Rocketville where a mayoralty race is heating up. Players are candidates vying for that office by campaigning throughout the different areas of the city in this newest Avalon Hill release, designed by Richard Garfield. Rocketville comes with a mounted board divided ...
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