(Photograph courtesy Nick Koudis and GAMES Magazine)
Many of you have noticed that this site hasn't been updated in a long, long time. There are a number of reasons for this. The main one has to do with the way that the Sackson family chose to dispose of Sid Sackson's irreplaceable collection. The fact that no care was taken to isolate and preserve the unpublished games and prototypes from the games that were sold represents an incalculable loss to the world of games and those who love them. The fact that this ultimately will result in a loss of income to the family from those games that could have been published and correctly attributed to Sackson is certainly ironic and a little cosmic justice at work. The fact that no one who is in possession of these priceless items has chosen to contact this site to allow for greater enjoyment of Sid's work just adds to the sadness I have regarding all of this. I've spent a lifetime working in the entertainment business, and I know that the portion of an artist's work that is published doesn't usually represent the best portion, for various reasons. There's no doubt that among the lots of commonly available review copies of games in the collection, there were many unpublished games that were probably as good as, if not better than, the few he was able to get published. The fact that we'll never get to play most of these games, and that some of them will probably see the light of day without Sid's name attached to them is a tragedy. And the fact that among these lots sold were prototypes and notes that would have allowed us a precious glimpse into the working of this brilliant mind is equally tragic.
Of course, none of this was Sid's fault, and this site has always been conceived as a tribute to his genius. So, while my enthusiasm for the site has, understandably, dimmed, I'll still keep it up as long as I can, as a reference source for those who want to further investigate his work. Since I last updated it, a splendid company called Face2Face Games has sprung up and reprinted some of Sackson's best games, including Sleuth and Kohle, Kies & Knete (as "I'm The Boss."). They've also discovered a previously unpublished word game called BuyWord, and in 2006 will publish the first English-language version of Metropolis and will bring Can't Stop back into print. Obviously, I urge you to support this effort. On the down side, Acquire is out of print again, awaiting a new home somewhere.
I hope this clears some things up for those of you who've wondered what's going on here. I'll leave this "open letter" here, in case there's still someone who has some of these treasures who might want to do the right thing. Meanwhile, I do hope that the rest of you enjoy the site, and have a lot of fun with these terrific games.
On November 6, 2002, the man you see pictured above passed away at the age of 82 after a long illness. His face was not a famous one; his is not a household name. Yet, in the world of games, he was Beethoven; he was Shakespeare; he was Michael Jordan. His name was Sid Sackson, and he was responsible for an unparalleled variety of brilliant games. This site pays tribute to the greatest of the unsung heroes of the world of games-- the game designers. Their names rarely can be found on the boxes that contain their creations, and only occasionally will you find them even in tiny print on the rules booklet. Yet, without them, we'd probably be sitting around playing "Count My Toes," or something equally as exciting.
Most game designers have a tendency to specialize in one certain type of game. The truly remarkable thing about Sid Sackson was the scope of his output. At various times in his career, he set his fertile mind to financial games, dice games, card games, abstract strategy games and more; and the resultant games stand with the best in each category. However, one thing most of his games have in common, which makes them so engrossing, is the interrelationship of the various elements in the game.
As I continue to hunt down as many of Sackson's games as I can find, there's a moment of discovery that I absolutely adore. His rules are almost always laid out very simply, and a cursory reading of them, along with a quick look at the board and/or parts is usually deceptively disappointing. But the first time you play these games, there comes a moment when all of the various possibilities present themselves, and you can see that this is no ordinary game, and it came from no ordinary mind. This website is a collection of the Great Games of Sid Sackson, with as many complete descriptions and/or reviews as I've been able to assemble.
I've designed this site to be accessible in a variety of ways. If you follow the links in large type at the lower left of each page (like the one below that says "Right this way...), then you'll go through a pretty organized overview of the man's career and games. That's pretty much the way it was designed to be read. However, if you're hunting for information about a specific game, you can click on it in the frame at the left, which will also take you directly to sections about his books, or the interview with him by Stephen Glenn, etc. You can jump around to your heart's content, since that navigation frame will always be lurking there on the left. Or, if you don't see the Sackson game listed there that you're interested in, you can go to the alphabetical listing of all of his games and get to it that way. I've tried to include at least a photo of every game of his I've been able to get my hands on, if not a more thorough description.
Please bear in mind that reading and writing about games is much less fun than playing them, and if you can get your hands on some of these games and play them with family or friends, it'll be a much more rewarding experience! Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy THE GREAT GAMES OF SID SACKSON!
Right this way...