Throughout his life, Sid Sackson was always inventing, improving and critiquing games and keeping records of virtually everything! Here, from the Sid Sackson archives (with special thank to Sid’s daughter, Mrs. Dale Friedman, for making this possible) are some pearls from that treasure trove.



Bazaar is one of Sid Sackson’s classic 3M “brain burner” games. When 3M was in the process of putting “finishing touches” on the game, Sid received a letter from the company on February 14, 1968 with a question/suggestion.

“Has any consideration been given to assigning penalty points for chips left in the players hands at the conclusion of the game? I assume that this could be handled on either an optional or mandatory basis. If so, would you make it a one point per chip penalty or a fraction of a point?”

A mere 10 days later, Sid responded.

“After giving the suggestion considerable thought, I came up with the enclosed variation which, as you can see, can cause penalties every time a card is purchased. This adds a new dimension to the play. It becomes necessary to keep a close watch on what the opponents are doing, both to try and catch them with a handful of tokens and to avoid being caught yourself.

I think that it should definitely be presented as an optional variation. Some players who have tried it, much prefer it to the original, while others are equally strong in their preference for the original. It appears to be a matter of temperament, the variation appealing to those who are strongly competitive by nature while the original appears to those who like a more relaxed game.”

So here, for the first time, are Sid Sackson’s rules for:

Penalty Bazaar: An Optional Variation for Competitive Players


In this variation, every time a player purchases a Wares card, he may, in addition to the points he scores, also cause his opponents to lose points by penalties. The penalties are based on the number of tokens that the purchaser holds after the transaction, compared to the number held by each opponent.

To the number of tokens the purchase has remaining, add 3. Each player who holds more than this total of tokens loses one point for each token in excess of the total.

Example: A player has two tokens remaining after a purchase. An opponent with five tokens receives no penalty; another with six tokens is penalized one point; and another with eight tokens is penalized three points. A player may, because of penalties, have a minus score.

Copyright © Sid Sackson

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Can’t Stop: You Wanna Bet?


Back in 1980, Sid had his brilliant dice game, Can’t Stop, published. But Sid didn’t stop there. In 1986, he devised a way to add betting to the game! Here, for the first time, is Sid’s rules for:


All of the rules of the original game apply – with the following additions:

  • NEW EQUIPMENT: Each player takes a blue disc marked “Make It” on one side and “Blow It” on the other. Each player also takes 5 white discs.
  • PLACING BETS: After a player has thrown the dice for the SECOND time during his/her turn – and has placed an/or moved markers in accordance with this throw – the player announces “Place Your Bets!”
    • Each opponent secretly chooses the “Make It” or the “Blow It” side of their blue disc and then covers it with from one to five white discs – depending upon how much they wish to gamble.
    • An opponent who does not have at least one of his/her colored squares along a column does not bet. Otherwise, all opponents must bet.
    • Once all the bets are down, the player continues in the usual manner – until choosing to stop or “blowing it”. All of the opponents then disclose their bets.
  • THE PAYOFF: Starting with the bettor to the left of the player, each one moves his/her colored squares according to the result of their bet.
      • If the bet is correct – either “Make It” or “Blow It”, the bettor moves one or more of his/her colored squares forward for a total number of spaces equal to the number of white discs bet. A colored square may NOT be moved to the top of a column NOR may a new column be started.
      • If the bet was “Blow It” and the player actually “Made It” , the bettor moves one or more of his colored squares backward for a total number of spaces equal to the number of white discs bet. A square can be moved off the column.
      • If the bet was “Make It” and the player actually “Blew It”, the bettor moves back a total number of spaces equal to TWICE the number of white discs bet.
      • If a bettor losing a bet cannot move back enough spaces to cover the bet, he/she moves back as many spaces as available. He/she also loses his/her next turn.
      • With 2 players – first to win any 5 columns
      • With 3 players – first to win any 4 columns

  • With 4 players – first to win any 3 columns


Copyright © 1986, Sid Sackson

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What’s up with JATI?


jatiOne of the “Holy Grails” for fans of the classic 3M series of games, a series of games that was home to many Sackson designs, was Jati.

Some more information about Jati:

According to an article published in the Minneapolis Tribune on December 5, 1965, Jati was designed by artist (“basically a painter”) Keith Havens from Mound, Minnesota. In its original incarnation, Jati was played on a piece of stiffened burlap, rolled scroll-style and packaged in a round tube. However, realizing that such a presentation would not fit in with the line of 3M games, Havens reworked the game with plastic boards and bookshelf box packaging. While the article states that the game “is being marketed by 3M”, that bit of information was premature and, as it turns out, inaccurate.

Jati was originally slated to become another bookshelf boxed abstract strategy game in the 3M line but before committing to a full scale production, the executives at 3M wanted some feedback. Naturally, they went to the “Games Guru” himself to see what he had to say. Here, from a letter to 3M dated July 29, 1965, is Sid’s take on this rarity.



The method of play is similar to Go-Bang, Pegity (Parker Brothers), 99 (Washburne Research & Mfg.) etc. The limitation in placement of pieces, the use of “boosters”, and the scoring system make Jati a much more interesting game, however. Montezuma (Wales Game Systems, 1952) uses a scoring based on bonuses for each completed row of 5 or more. There are also penalties for blocking an opponent’s row of 4. The board consists of squares of different colors which enter into the determination of bonuses and penalties.


jatipcsOn the basis of three games played, this appears to be an interesting and well worked out game. One possible drawback is the fact that the game is easy and pleasant to play using pencil on quadrille paper (the way I played it). This could be a serious detriment to sales. The word game Jotto enjoyed a considerably popularity, but most players used pencil and paper rather than buying the prepared equipment.


The rules are clear but somewhat repetitious. They could be considerably condensed without any loss. The “Basic Scoring Sequences” diagrams would be clearer if crossing sequences were not shown, particularly in the case of the diagonal sequence. The “Game in Progress” diagram hardly seems worth including.

(It seems that Sid’s input, particularly the comment that the game might be too easily played with paper and pencil and thus work against sales, may have had an impact. The 3M brass decided NOT to issue the game, resulting in a true 3M game collectors’ rarity! – HL)

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A SID SACKSON QUIZ: A Rose by Any Other…


In his long and prolific career, Sid Sackson created so many games of such high quality that they have withstood the test of time to remain favorites among game players the world over. But many of these familiar designs have not always been known by their more famous names. As prototypes, they carried a different title.

Below are the names of EIGHT Sackson designs as they were initially submitted for publication.

Can you guess the FINAL NAME of these prototypes?
(Hint: ALL of these games are fairly well known, some more than others, of course, but nothing arcane or obscure. Need help? Click the “Sackson Game List” link below for a full list of games by the master.)

1. Sit Down and Think  –  View the RIGHT ANSWER!

2. Plan Ahead  –  View the RIGHT ANSWER!

3. It’s A Deal  –  View the RIGHT ANSWER!

4. Infinite Plane –  View the RIGHT ANSWER!

5. Capital  –  View the RIGHT ANSWER!

6. Search  –  View the RIGHT ANSWER!

7. Go See  –  View the RIGHT ANSWER!

8. Vacation  –  View the RIGHT ANSWER!

Back to the Sid Sackson Special Tribute                                                                                                             HOME


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