People, games, and companies referenced in The Sackson Diaries.
These 35 diaries cover Sackson’s activities related to game design, development, and collecting, including ideas for games and the strategies involved in them; games he play-tested with family and friends; information about games he purchased or heard about; relevant books, magazines, periodicals, and articles he read and acquired; business activities with his agent and with game manufacturers; and trips taken to publicize his games and to look for games he wanted to collect.
From 1963–1969 Sackson indexed each diary by the name of each game, book, and magazine referenced in his entries. For the 1970–1988 diaries, he indexed by the name of each person, game, book, and magazine referenced in his entries. There are no indexes from 1984–1986 or from 1989–1997.
This Glossary defines more than 130 games, people, companies, and publications which appear throughout Sackson's diaries.
Robert ("Bob") Abbott (1933-2018) was an American game designer who began designing games in the 1950s. Abbott designed several card game collections and invented logic mazes (a maze with a set of rules), the first of which appeared in Martin Gardner's October 1962 "Mathematical Games" column in Scientific American and helped Abbott gain some notoriety. Some of Abbott's notable designs include a changing set of rules as exampled in Metamorphosis (a complex trick-taking game where the rules change three times) and one of his most difficult logic maze, Where are the Cows? Abbott was a New York Game Associate and supplied a game for Sackson's A Gamut of Games.
Abbott appears in Sackson's diaries from 1963 through 1990.
Arthur Amberstone (1921-1973?) is the father of game designer Wald Amberstone and both had designed the game CUPS published in Sackson's A Gamut of Games. Amberstone was a philosopher and mystic with a passion for tarot. He and his son, Wald designed the High Deck: A New Universe of Symbols in 1947 and released it to the public in 2013. Over his lifetime, Amberstone created a variety of symbolic games.
Many of Sackson's diary entries from 1963 to 1974 document his correspondence with Amberstone discussing NYGA meetings, rules, and games such as Versailles (Amberstone's game), Lines, Cups, Play Dance (games mentioned in 1966 diary). There are also notes on Arthur's High Deck, including edits adding a "pariah" card (1968 diary).
Wald Amberstone (1941- ) is a game designer and son of Arthur Amberstone, also a game designer. Both appear starting in Sackson's first 1963 diary and are credited with the design for the game CUPS which was published in Sackson's A Gamut of Games. In 1995, Amberstone and Ruth Ann Amberstone founded the Tarot School and are authors of several books dedicated to the art of Tarot.
Dr. Thomas V. ("Tom") Atwater was a former assistant professor at MIT and private consultant. He corresponded with Martin Gardner on John Conway's game Phutball which appeared in Winning Ways. He was a game agent and edited newsletter Soma Addict.
Sackson's diaries from the 1960s and 1970s contain entries about Atwater, specifically as an agent. Entries document their meetings and discussions about contracts, finances, games, clients (Alex Randolf) and companies (Hallmark, Saxon Industries, Entex, 3M).
Fay Baker (Fay Schwager) (1917-1987) was an American actress and author under the pen name Beth Holmes. She performed on stage, in over two dozen films, and television appearing in over 30 different series. When a problem with her back stopped her from acting, she began writing. She was married to Arthur Weiss in 1940 and they had two children: Jonathan Baker Weiss (1950-1971) and Amy Ellen Weiss (1953- ). Baker's notable works include The Whipping Boy (1978) and My Darling, Darling Doctors. As an actress she was known for Notorious (1946), The House on Telegraph Hill (1951), and Deadline - U.S.A. (1952).
Baker worked on Treasure Hunt: A Computerized Television Game (referred to as Treasure Hunt in Sackson’s diaries) along with Sackson in the 1960s with the game design first mentioned on March 14, 1967. Baker primarily worked on the game over the next few years and continued marketing it into 1973.
William Allen ("Bill") Bentzin ( -2015) graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1956 and was a news and sports reporter for the Globe Gazette in Mason City, Iowa. He then worked as the Senior Division Publicist for 3M, helping coordinate the Sid Sackson's two one-week television tours to promote the seven 3M bookshelf games. He later formed his own marketing communications business and also started the Committee for Rejection of Obnoxious Commercials (C.R.O.C.). Bentzin was editor of the Twin Cities Free Press and held various executive roles.
Bentzin appears in Sackson's 1960s diaries.
Morris Berdick (1897-1990) was Sid Sackson's father-in-law and Bernice Sackson's father. Berdick was born in Ukraine in 1897 to parents David and Esther Berdick, immigrating with his family to the United States in 1904 and settling in New Rochelle, New York. Berdick married Adele Hoffman in 1919 (who also immigrated from Russia/Ukraine in 1904). Berdick worked as a pharmacist in Westchester where his two daughters Marilyn and Bernice were raised. Morris Berdick may occasionally be referenced as "Dad" in Sid's diaries.
Eamon Bloomfield (1952- ) is a British game designer who managed and eventually owned one of Britain's first game shops. He later owned board game stores Games Unlimited in southwest London and Games Corner in Watton, Norfolk. He amassed the largest collection of 6,500 board-games in Europe which he tragically had to sell during the recession in 1991, but because the auctioneers went bankrupt, Bloomfield didn't receive any of the money from the sale. Some of Bloomfield's games include Sorry! Revenge Card Game (2009), Dark World (1992), Doctor Who Collectible Card Game (1996) and 5 Alive (1990), which sold over 200,000 copies in America alone. He also wrote Trivial Pursuit questions and anglicized American games. Bloomfield now lives in Germany (?).
Warren Buell (from California) appears throughout Sackson's diaries in the 1960s and 1970s beginning in October 1963. The brief and infrequent entries document their correspondence, meetings, Buell's travels (Mexico, London, Asia), and sharing clippings and game materials.
Mel Bush first appears in Sackson's diaries in the early 1980s after Leonard Willett's death as recorded on October 23, 1983. Sackson's diary entries show Bush taking on the financial responsibilities for Felicia Parker and Sackson, frequently corresponding about federal correspondence, taxes, and expenses.
Chris Campbell worked at Parker Brothers along with Phil Orbanes. Sackson's October 7, 1982, entry states that Chris Campbell is the Director of International Marketing. Entries document correspondence between Sackson and Campbell including names of games such as Focus and Can't Stop, an invitation to a Parker Brothers party, and the takeover of Parker Brothers by Hasbro (July 1, 1991). Some entries also include Felicia Parker in conjunction and she believes Campbell is unhappy at Parker Brothers and may leave (1988).
William J. ("Bill") Caruson (1926-2008) worked at 3M (Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company) for 32 years and was responsible for expanding the company into the boxed game market. He played a thousand games a year, screening potential games to manufacture and facilitating further screening with college students and families across the country. Caruson was critical in the publication of Sackson's game, Acquire in 1963 and he first appears in Sackson's diary on April 2 of that year.
Fabio Coen (1918-1998) was a children's book editor and editor-in-chief of the juvenile list at Pantheon Books and Alfred A. Knopf. Coen worked with many writers and illustrators including Roald Dahl, Roger Duvoisin, and Robert Cormier.
Sid Sackson's diaries describe working with Coen on manuscripts and contracts for publications including A Gamut of Games (1969) and "The Art of Games" (Beyond Tic Tac Toe, 1975) as juvenile and family game books.
Jeff Conrad spent three years as Mattel's vice president of design and development and two years as brand manager at Wizards of the Coast (?). He also had his own consulting firm, New Aim Inc. and was vice president of design and development at Radica USA Ltd.
Conrad first appears in Sackson's diaries on March 26, 1982, which notes his role at International Games in charge of new products. Conrad continues to appear in diary entries through the 1990s.
Julius ("Jules") Cooper was promoted to Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Ideal Toy Company in 1972. He helped design games such as Buckaroo! (1970) and Electronic Detective (1979).
Cooper worked with Sackson on The Case of the Elusive Assassin: An Ellery Queen Mystery Game published in 1967. This game was part of Ideal's Mystery Classics series which also included Murder on the Orient Express (1967) and Fu Manchu's Hidden Hoard (1967).
Diary entries show that game Operation Search became The Case of the Elusive Assassin. The board used in The Case of the Elusive Assassin inspired the mechanism for Sackson's game Sleuth (1971).
Ronald M. ("Ronnie") Corn (1956- ) was born in New York City and worked for 37 years as an engineer and manager for the U.S. Department of Defense and also taught engineering courses. He and his wife, Audrey, had two children. Corn was a game collector and amassed over 1,000 games beginning in the 1960s. He first met Sid Sackson in 1977 and Sackson encouraged Corn to invent games. His first published game, Buried Treasure, appeared in Sackson's Card Games Around the World and Playing Cards Around the World in 1981. Additional games by Corn include Crime Solvers (1986), Stronghold, Color Guard, MARK, and Sponsor. Corn later focused on computer games.
Laurie Curran is first mentioned in Sackson's diary on February 15, 1977 as Andrea Green's replacement as Assistant to the Vice President of Research and Development at Parker Brothers. She was later appointed Director of Licensing. Diary entries reveal what games he shared with Curran and their correspondence, frequently through Felicia Parker.
Gerald W. "Jerry" D'Arcey invented and developed with Alice D'Arcey the game Blockhead! (1952). Based in San Jose, California, D'Arcey also invented Coup-d'état (1966, later the foundation for Dragonmaster, reworked in 1981), Cross-Up Poker (1968), and Plug-A-Jug (1969). D'Arcey's son David invented Trust Me (1981). Both sons, Rich and David, invented SUDS (1986).
A letter dated August 11, 1966 from Frank Thibault introduced Sackson to D'Arcey. D'Arcey first appears in Sackson's diary on January 17, 1967.
Bernard Louis ("Bernie") DeKoven (1941-2018) was a game designer, author, and fun theorist. He was known for his book The Well Played Game, written in 1978, as well as his website deepfun.com. DeKoven also pioneered computer game design including Alien Garden (1982), one of the first computer art games; Ricochet (1981), one of the first abstract strategy games; and Light Waves (1984). DeKoven also worked with toy and game manufacturers including Mattel Toys, Ideal Toy Company, and LEGO to develop and design new products with many becoming award-winning games. He was a lifetime member of The Association for the Study of Play (TASP). DeKoven passed away from terminal cancer in March 2018.
DeKoven first appears in Sackson's diaries on July 12, 1975, in association with The Games Preserve.
William "Bill" F. Dohrmann III (1935-2018) was originally from the advertisement fieldand joined Parker Brothers' research-and-development department in 1968. He helped bring hundreds of games to the market including iconic Nerf Ball (1970) and Boggle before retiring in 1998. Dohrmann was known for his humor, sense of adventure, and love of poetry.
Entries in Sackson's 1970s and 1980s diaries document their interaction on behalf of Parker Brothers regarding Sackson's games (including Masterpiece and Can't Stop).
Michael ("Mike") Donner first appears in Sackson's diary on August 30, 1977. Sackson recorded that Donner succeeded Allen Bragdon as editor of Games magazine.
In the late 1970s, Donner won a unique crossword puzzle contest. The almost impossible puzzle was created by Jordan Lasher and took participants 12 hours to complete, even using the hosting bookstore's reference material. The following year, the contest was won by Will Shortz, also an editor of Games magazine, New York Times crossword puzzle editor, and host of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in 1978.
Donner is also author of I Love Me, Vol. I: S. Wordrow's Palindrome Encyclopedia, Calculator Games, and Bike, Skate, and Skateboard Games. He continued to appear in Sackson's diary entries until 1984.
James F. ("Jim") Dunnigan (1943-) is a game designer, author, commentator, and pivotal to the history of wargaming. His first wargame Jutland was published by The Avalon Hill Game Co. in 1967. Dunnigan founded Simulations Publications, Inc. (SPI) in 1969 which published Strategy & Tactics magazine with Dunnigan as an editor. He designed over 100 wargames, of which his most notable games include: PanzerBlitz, 1914, and Origins of World War II. Dunnigan co-authored and authored multiple books including The Complete Wargames Handbook and supplied a game for Sackson's A Gamut of Games. Dunnigan has been honored as a game designer and was inducted into the Charles Roberts Awards Hall of Fame in 1975.
Carl Eisenberg worked at Ideal Toy Company and CBS Toys in the early 1980s, according to Sid Sackson's diary entries. They show that Eisenberg worked with Marvin Silbermintz (his assistant) and his role was later taken over by Sam Goldberg in 1983.
Eisenberg was Vice President and COO of Maruca Industries from 1984 to 1990 and responsible for the company operations and manufacture of games and puzzles. The company licensed Scruples, a game of morality, designed by Henry Makow in 1984. Maruca sold 500,000 copies of the game before selling the license to Hasbro, a larger and more capable company to produce the game. Maruca Industries also was responsible for Crime Solvers and The Bottom Line. Eisenberg then became Executive Vice President for Pastime Industries, a juvenile craft company, from 1991 to 2003. Eisenberg later moved into consulting for product development and systems implementation companies and concrete services. In 2017 he moved to Portland, Oregon and continues work as a consultant.
Dan Ferrone's company, Market Force Communications, Inc., published Sackson's Tele-Fun game in 1983 and, according to Sackson's diaries, was working on publishing Attain in 1984-1985. Sackson notes on May 24, 1984, that he met Ferrone in 1969, as connected with Bob Hubbard and Gerald Dougherty, but in 1984 his company Market Force Communications, Inc. was interested in having Sackson design a new game.
Dan Ferrone's company, Market Force Communications, Inc., published Sackson's Tele-Fun game in 1983 and, according to Sackson's diaries, was working on publishing Attain in 1984-1985. Sackson notes on May 24, 1984, that he met Ferrone in 1969, as connected with Bob Hubbard and Gerald Dougherty, but in 1984 his company Market Force Communications, Inc. was interested in having Sackson design a new game.
Dale Sackson Friedman is Sid Sackson's daughter. She graduated school with a classical literature degree and later achieved a Masters in Library Science from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and worked as a town librarian for 25 years.
Friedman married at the age of 21 to Phil Friedman and after living in Brooklyn for a time, moved to New Jersey in 1977 where they have lived since. They have two children: Brian and Stephanie as well as 5 grandchildren. Friedman was admittedly not as interested in games as her father, but she is often referenced in Sackson's diaries along with her children who do enjoy games.
After Sackson died Friedman reluctantly took responsibility for the auction of his games and the eventual donation of Sackson's collection materials to the Strong Museum of Play in 2006 and 2015.
David Galt (1946- ) is a card games expert. He mastered pinochle by the age of 8 and by 25 he was named a Life Master in the American Contract Bridge League. A Yale graduate, Gale is the director of the Manhattan Bridge Club and is the author of three books: All-Time Favorite Card Games, 101 Card Games, Card Games for One or Two. Galt has also amassed a large personal collection of 5,200 games, puzzles, and cards.
Galt appears in Sackson's 1990s diaries.
Martin Gardner (1914-2010) was a prolific author whose works covered popular science, recreational mathematics, scientific skepticism, micromagic, philosophy, religion, and literature. He published over 100 books during his lifetime and wrote articles for Scientific American and Humpty Dumpty that created a movement and inspired many to field of mathematics. Sid Sackson's game "Patterns" from A Gamut of Games appeared in Gardner's November 1969 column in Scientific American as well as appearing on the issue's cover. Gardner's notable works include Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, "Mathematical Games" column in Scientific American, The Annotated Alice, and The Ambidextrous Universe. Of the many awards Gardner received over his lifetime, most notable are the Leroy P. Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition (1987) and the George Polya Award (1999).
Bob Gellman first appears in Sackson's diaries in November 1971, meeting at Brentano's (a bookstore) while Sackson was demonstrating some games. Gellman worked at Research Games, Inc. (RGI, later Athol Research Corporation (ARC)) and liked "games that are tied to something definite, such as travel." Sackson's entries including Gellman continue through the 1970s and document their meetings, correspondence, and work on games.
RGI published games including White House (1971), Movie Moguls (1971, Ken Morgan) and Sackson's Holiday! (1973).
Andrea (Donahue) Green, according to Sackson's diary entries, was Director of Public Relations at Urban Systems in 1972, but later worked at Parker Brothers, Ideal Toy Corporation with Jules Cooper, and Reiss Games. Sackson noted that she was great at writing game rules.
Green appears throughout Sackson's diaries in the 1970s and 1980s. She can be found in a diary index under Donahue prior to 1976 and afterwards under Green due to her divorce. Sackson also recorded her plans to marry in 1985.
Paul E. Greenough (-2001) was an international champion chess player and retired defense industry accountant. He attended Gettysburg College and the University of Buffalo, served during World War II. Upon returning from service Greenough worked at Bell Aircraft as an accountant and later for the U.S. Department of Defense, retiring in 1983. In addition to being a chess champion, Greenough was also a Buffalo, NY, tennis champion, an avid golfer, and enjoyed white-water kayaking.
Greenough appears in many of Sackson's diaries from the 1960s through the 1990s.
Walter Luc Haas was well-known game collector, a Swiss pioneer of CoSim-hobby in continental Europe, and author for the German RPG magazine Spielwelt. He also authored fanzine Europa, in which Gary Gygax was a contributor making the publication the platform for distributing Dungeons & Dragons among its readers. The Walter Luc Haas Award, given by German Gesellschaft für Historische Simulationen since 2000, is an annual wargame award given to the best historical simulation in memory of Hass's pioneering work.
Haas is frequently in Sackson's diary entries from the 1970s to 1990s. Entries document their correspondence, sharing of games, reproductions, and printed materials.
Bob Hallowell turns up in many entries in Sackson's diaries. His name is synonymous with Bridgeeveryone (Hallowell Industries, distributed by Bob Reiss) which was published in 1969, a game designed to teach Bridge. Entries document Hallowell's desire and eventual success in forming his own company, Gametime, Inc., and his interest in developing a line of games from Phil Orbanes and Sackson. Diary entries document Sackson and Hallowell's get togethers, correspondence, and sharing of games.
Burt Hochberg (1933-2006) was an internationally acclaimed chess expert, author, longest-serving editor of Chess Life from 1966 through 1979, and editor for Games magazine. Hochberg worked at RHM Publishing as acquisitions editor and was key in releasing notable titles by world-class players. He later worked at Random House's McKay Chess Library as consultant and editor. After a long illness, Hochberg passed away in 2006. Subsequently, he was inducted to the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame in 2009.
Haar Hoolim (-1978) was a game designer whose work includes Three Musketeers (notably, this game and the character in it was once used as the mascot for the Zillions of Games software product) which was published in A Gamut of Games, other games designed include Stack-Up and Haar Hoolim Perception Games. Hoolim passed away before the second edition of A Gamut of Games was released in 1982.
Hoolim can be found in Sackson's diary entries starting in 1963, having met Sackson through Bob Abbott. A Gamut of Games states that Hoolim was originally from Canada but lived in Israel until his passing on August 20, 1978.
David ("Dave") Horn and his family (Susan, Laurie) were friends with the Sacksons. Many diary entries describe them playing games together and sharing books and games. Their opinions and gameplay are often part of the entries.
Jack Jaffe is a British game designer, entrepreneur, and was good friends with Sackson, visiting him in the Bronx for dinner and games. Jaffe's games include Velodrome (2014), Persona, In the Money, Libido, and Save the President! (1984). A participant in the Mind Sports Olympiad, Jaffe also founded and ran the Society of Inventors of Games and Mathematical Attractions (SIGMA) for eight years in the 1970s. He is the owner of Games for Pleasure, Ltd.
Jaffe first appears in Sackson's diaries on December 10, 1975, and he continues to appear in entries into the 1990s.
April 28, 1972 diary entry introduces Bob Johnson as Jim Goldsberry's new assistant at Hallmark. Johnson previously had a small crafts business of his own. Subsequent diary entries document Sackson and Johnson's correspondence about games for potential publication.
"To me, selling [Sid Sackson’s] collection in bits and pieces is like taking a giant beautiful tapestry that took years to make, and undoing all the threads and selling them and the canvas separately.” – Robin King
Robin King ( -November 28, 2013), late wife of John McCallion, was a brilliant writer, game strategist, and chess aficionado. They had met through a correspondence chess group and settled in New York City. Both had contributed game reviews to Games magazine and built a game collection that quickly outgrew their home. Friends with the Sacksons, they helped to playtest and were nicknamed the saints of tabletop gaming: "St. Robin the Beatific and St. John the Gruff." King almost always won. King succumbed to pulmonary hypertension and passed away after a lung transplant in November 2013. McCallion, due to grief, resigned from Games and stepped away from board gaming.
King first appears in Sackson's 1984 diary and continues to appear through the 1990s.
James M. ("Jim") Kraus worked at 3M (Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Company) with William "Bill" Caruson and Keith Tuggle. Kraus was a product merchandiser as noted from correspondence in 1969 and appears in many 1970 diary entries.
Annette Laurence, along with husband, Phil, and daughter, Jill, helped to test games in Sackson's A Gamut of Games and Card Games Around the World. She first appears, along with her husband, in Sackson's first diary in 1963.
Phil Laurence, along with wife, Annette, and daughter, Jill, helped test the games in Sackson's A Gamut of Games and Card Games Around the World, contributing the game Paks to the former, which Sackson helped to polish. Laurence was a structural engineer and nuclear power expert.
Phil and Annette Laurence first appear in Sackson's 1963 diary and have a prominent presence that continues through the 1990s.
Graeme Levin was an opportunist, game designer, and writer. He was a South African who founded Britain's first game shop, Games Centre, in 1974. He opened 13 stores in prime locations. His designed many games, of which two were published: Speculate and Card Cricket. He began Games and Puzzles magazine, the first consumer magazine on indoor games which ran from 1971 to 1984. Levin then focused on founding and running one of the first gambling portals with his son, Craig, starting in 1997, Gambling.com, which also had its own currency (Ludos, Ludo coins). The portal sold in 2003, after which Levin and son also developed game software Bingo Tech and site Bingo Drome which sold to Microgaming. Upon the sale, Craig Richard Levin was killed in a motor accident. Levin stepped away from work for a period of time, but developed a commemorative website. Levin continued to attend gambling events, network, and run hist latest site, GamblingCity.com.
Levin appears in Sackson's diaries in the 1970s and 1980s.
Herb M. Levy (1949-2023) was the President of Gamers Alliance, the international gaming network and publisher of quarterly Gamers Alliance Report, since 1986. Sackson would submit game reviews which would appear in the Gamers Alliance Reports until 1998. (Other contributors to the publication included Al Newman, Steven Kurzban, Nick Sauer, Greg Schloesser, Pevans, and Dave Rapp.) Levy was also one of the original voters for the International Gamer Awards. He was the recipient of the 2011 Bradley-Parker Award from the American Game & Puzzle Collectors organization. Levy also built a game library. He and his wife, Lynn, had two children: Alana and Daniel.
Scott Marley appears in Sackson's diaries starting in 1982. Marley was an associate editor for the reviews section of Games magazine from 1984 to 1989. Diary entries descirbe Marley and Sackson's discussions of games and collaboration on reviews.
Marley is credited with games Guillotine (1983), Archimedes (1975 with Philip Cohen), and, according to Sackson's diary, Musical Ghosts, One-Lie Pigs and Bulls, and The Games Exchange.
John McCallion, husband of Robin King, was an author and game reviewer. McCallion and King had met through a correspondence chess group. McCallion moved from London and settled in New York City. Both had contributed to Games magazine and built a game collection that quickly outgrew their home. Friends with the Sacksons, they helped to playtest and were nicknamed the saints of tabletop gaming: "St. Robin the Beatific and St. John the Gruff." Long-standing Wednesday night playtesting had McCallion always reading the rules and commanding adherence to them. They hosted a end-of-year dinner for all playtesters. After losing his wife in November 2013 McCallion, due to grief, resigned from Games and stepped away from board gaming, moving back to Ireland.
McCallion appears in Sackson's 1990s diaries although his wife first appeared in Sackson's 1984 diary.
Alan ("Al") Newman was a game designer (computer, board, and card games) and friends with Sid Sackson; they and had met in 1973 through Sackson's agent Felicia Parker who later represented Newman. Newman actively designed between 1973 and 1982, producing Super 3 (1978) which sold a half million copies in Europe. Other games include Babushka, Dark Minions, and Tin Soldiers. Newman also wrote game reviews and freelanced for New York based ARC Games and Pressman Toys. He also enjoyed golf.
Newman appears in Sackson's diaries beginning on July 2, 1973.
Alice Nichols (1905-1969) was a writer and Sid Sackson's agent at I-S Unlimited, Inc. (Individual Services?).
Born in Kansas in 1905, Nichols began writing at the age of nine with her own newspaper, The Nichols Journal. She graduated Kansas State College in 1927 and moved to New York where she worked as an editor for many years. In 1954, Nichols published Bleeding Kansas, a renowned book which factually tells the history of Bleeding Kansas - territorial violence from 1854 to 1861 occurring from the debate of the legality of slavery in Kansas.
Also in 1954, when Nichols and Felicia Parker, who was an advertising copywriter at the time, fell in love with the word game Bali, they started I-S Unlimited, Inc. and put the game on the market. They started to market services to other toy and game inventors and incorporated, selling 30,000 shares at $1 a share.
In 1963, Nichols was key in facilitating the editing, negotiation, and correspondence between Sackson and 3M for the game Acquire. She passed away on January 6, 1969 prior to the release of A Gamut of Games.
Philip E. ("Phil") Orbanes (1947-) took a strong interest in playing and inventing board and strategy games during his youth in New Jersey. After graduating high school in 1965, Orbanes founded Gamescience Corporation, the first of many entrepreneurial endeavors. Over the next few years, he and his partners provided game designs for companies such as Renewal Products, which bought the assets of Gamescience in 1968. Gamescience soon became Operation Design Corporation (later integrated into Orbanes’ new company, Infinity Quest Corporation). Infinity Quest focused on developing strategy games, consumer electronic programs, and puzzles. It also acquired the game magazine Strategy & Tactics.
Orbanes joined Ideal Toy Corporation in 1976 as director of its games division and in 1979 joined Massachusetts-based Parker Brothers, where he became director of new product research. Parker Brothers named Orbanes vice president of product development in 1980, then senior vice president of research and development in 1985. During his time at Parker Brothers, Orbanes developed a reputation as an authority on the game Monopoly, serving as a chief judge at U.S. and world Monopoly tournaments.
In 1990, Orbanes left Parker Brothers to establish his own consulting business. Along with three other seasoned game industry professionals, he launched another game company, Winning Moves Games, in 1995, which produced classic card and board games licensed from companies such as Hasbro, Inc. As of 2013, Orbanes served as vice chairman of Winning Moves, following his lengthy tenure as president of the company.
Orbanes is author of The Monopoly Companion, The Game Makers: The Story of Parker Brothers from Tiddledy Winks to Trivial Pursuit (2004), Monopoly: The World’s Most Famous Game–And How It Got That Way (2006), and Monopoly, Money, and You: How to Profit from the Game’s Secrets of Success (2013).
Throughout the 1970s, Orbanes cultivated strong relationships with other game designers, including Sid Sackson after meeting in 1968 at a Toy Fair. This meeting is documented on March 13, 1968 in Sackson's diary.
The Brian Sutton-Smith Library & Archives of Play also houses the Philip E. Orbanes papers.
Felicia Parker O'Neil (1923-) was Sackson's agent and president of I-S Unlimited, Inc. She started as an advertising copywriter who wrote the brochure for Scrabble. When Parker and Alice Nichols, who was a writer and editor, fell in love with the word game Bali, they started I-S Unlimited, Inc. (Individual Services?) and put the game on the market in 1954. They started to market services to other toy and game inventors and incorporated, selling 30,000 shares at $1 a share.
Parker is in many of Sackson's diary entries from the 1960s to 1990s with content documenting her work as his agent: their get togethers, correspondence, reviewing and marketing of games, facilitating correspondence with publishers, other designers, and finances. She introduced Sackson as "America's greatest game inventor."
Earl Jay Perel was an American poet who has been published in the Lyric, The Formalist, Parnassus Literary Journal, The Pegasus Review, The Iconoclast, and other journals. Perel's books include Romantic Odyssey: A Quixotic Poet's Random Memoirs (1998), The Case Against Socrates (2000), and Human oh so human: Shades of Pope and Horace (2000). He has also been among the award winners in annual contests run by World Order of Narrative and Formalist Poets.
Sackson's 1970s diary entries about Perel document their discussions about games, books, agents, NYGA meetings, and their get-togethers. Some of Perel's games that appear in the diaries include Zodiac, Astro Track (a gambling game adapted from Zodiac), Traffic Shades (reviewed by 3M), and The American Way.
Philip ("Phil") Friedman married Dale Sackson in 1972, becoming a son-in-law to Sid Sackson. He and his wife had two children: Brian and Stephanie. The Friedmans donated Sid Sackson's collection materials to The Strong National Museum of Play in 2006 and 2015.
John Peter Riva (1950- ) is an American literary agent and producer who licensed toys and games in the 1970s and 1980s. A literary agent and co-founder of International Transactions, Inc. since 1972, Riva and wife, Sandra Anne, have represented authors including Stieg Larsson, Peter Beard, and Pieter Aspe. Riva has produced television documentaries, series, and art exhibits, as well as managing the Voyager's "Round the World Flight Program" in 1986. Riva has won several awards including a Telly Award in 1991.
Peter Riva is the son of Sackson's overseas agent, William "Bill" Riva, and appears in Sackson's diaries starting in 1979 assisting with marketing Sackson's games overseas.
William ("Bill") Riva (c. 1920-1999?) was Sackson's overseas agent and helped get FOCUS produced in Germany, which was awarded "game of the year" in 1981. Riva was a Broadway theater and television set designer and in 1947 married German-born Maria Elisabeth Sieber, the daughter of actress Marlene Dietrich. They had four children including Peter Riva (1950- ), a literary agent and producer.
Sackson's diary entries, beginning on October 10, 1976, document the correspondence, games, and additional materials sent to Bill Riva. Felicia's interactions with Riva are also represented. Peter Riva is also mentioned in conjunction with Bill Riva, corresponding about Sackson's games in Europe such as Can't Stop and Focus.
Herb Roth first appears in the October 9, 1970, diary entry. Sackson writes that Roth knew Felicia Parker from the early Scrabble days (Parker wrote material for the game as a copy editor). According to that entry, Roth was a representative for Crestline games, Psychology Today games, as well as others such as Body Talk (1970) and Byzantium (1970) [possibly also The Cities Game (1970) and Blacks & Whites (1970)]. Roth continues to appear in Sackson's diaries through the early 1980s.
Aaron Sackson (~1891-1983) and Esther Sackson (1894-1969?) were living in Chicago when Sid was born in 1920. While Sid was young, his parents divorced, and he moved to South Bronx with his father. Sackson was a draftsman (civil engineer) who was greatly affected by The Great Depression. Throughout his life, Sid remained very close with his father and they would have weekly dinners together and occasionally vacationed together as a family. Aaron Sackson remarried in 1969 to Lilian "Ilka" Ferber. One of his stepsons, likely Harry Ferber, became close with Bernice Sackson.
Bernice Pearl (Berdick) Sackson (1921-2005), Sid Sackson's wife, was integral in developing Sackson's games through playtesting, typing manuscripts, and providing support by managing the household, finances, and cooking for the many times they entertained.
Bernice's parents were Morris D. Berdick (1897-1990) and Adele Hoffman (~1898-1984), both of whom came to the United States in 1904. They had two daughters, Bernice and her sister Marilyn Cynthia Berdick (1929-). Bernice and Sid married in 1941 and settled in the Bronx. They had two children, Dale and Dana who helped playtest games. Bernice went back to school in the 1960s and later worked at an upscale preschool. However, she left at Sid's request to help him with the game business, which would not have been what it was without her. Bernice is also occasionally referred to in Sid's diaries as "BB."
See external document for content used for a bio page.
Dana R. Sackson (1947- ), Sid Sackson's son, helped playtest many games and proofread the manuscript for A Gamut of Games.
Sackson was a radio engineer and later opened an electronic repair shop prior to retiring. He lived for a while in Cleveland with his wife, Mary Ellen Waithe, Claude Soucie’s daughter. She was a professor of philosophy and although retired, remains active. Sackson now lives in Maryland.
According to Sackson's diary entry for May 26, 1983, Sam Goldberg temporarily replaced Carl Eisenberg as Product Manager of Games at Ideal Toy Company/CBS Toys.
Goldberg continues to appear in Sackson's diaries through the 1980s. The January 13, 1989 entry states that Goldberg went to Acclaim [Entertainment, Inc.].
R. Wayne Schmittberger is a game designer and former contributor and editor-in-chief of Games magazine. He has invented many board games and puzzles, and is the author of books including New Rules for Classic Games.
Schmittberger appears in Sackson's diaries from 1979 through the 1990s.
Ruth Shaler is credited with helping to develop the game Holiday.
Thomas N. ("Tom") Shaw (c. 1928- ) is a game designer who was founder and editor of The General magazine in 1964. He was vice president of Avalon Hill Game Company for three decades starting in (1960?) 1963 and was responsible for the publication of games including Sid Sackson's Bazaar and Acquire (with rights from 3M). Shaw was involved in the design of many games, but his own designs include Baseball Strategy (1960) and Football Strategy (1959), published by Avalon Hill. Shaw hired Donald Greenwood to takeover at Avalon Hill in 1972, but he remained a consultant until 1996 and continued to be involved in all phases of game development. Shaw was inducted to the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design Hall of Fame in 1976. He has also authored Confessions of an 84 Year Old Teenager documenting his role in Avalon Hill and has been an avid baseball player and fan throughout his life.
In 1979, Will Shortz competed in his only crossword tournament and won the crossword puzzle contest hosted by a Cleveland bookstore. The almost impossible puzzle was created by Jordan Lasher and took participants 24 hours to complete (but only 9.5 hours for Shortz), even using the bookstore's reference material.
Will Shortz, also an editor of Games magazine, New York Times crossword puzzle editor, and host of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in 1978.
Marvin A. Silbermintz is a writer and producer whose work encompasses The John Kerwin Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, political speechwriting. Silbermintz is also a member of the Academy of Magical Arts. His connection with Sid Sackson was likely during his role as a manager and designer at CBS Toys and Ideal Toy Corp. in the 1970s and 1980s. Silbermintz designed puzzle products with Erno Rubik, creator of Rubik's Cube, and designed 25 board games including Rubik's Race and Square Up! Silbermintz is co-author of Backwords: The Secret Language of Talking Backwards ...and More Incredible Games, Stunts and Mind-bending Word Fun.
Silbermintz first appears in Sackson's diaries on February 18, 1982, being introduced by Zeke Rose to Sackson.
Edith Slotskin is a friend of Bernice and Sid Sackson and appears in the diaries beginning around 1982 with an entry on November 6 stating that Gilda [_____] brought Slotskin to the Sackson's to have dinner with the Corns. Entries also describe outings to bazaars with Slotskin and document what was purchased. Sackson recorded brief entries when he received a call or correspondence, many times noting articles she sent to him and which paper it originated from. Correspondence and get-togethers includes games such as Nine of Swords.
Anne Reiss Soucie (1923 - 2011) was the wife of game designer Claude Soucie. They had seven children: Mary Ellen Waithe, Barbara Strakele, Francis Soucie, Jacqueline Soucie, Raymond Soucie, Richard Soucie, and Martin Soucie. Mary Ellen Waithe is the daughter-in-law of Sid Sackson from her marriage to Dana Sackson. Anne died on July 1, 2011, at the age of 88.
Soucie appears in Sackson's diaries from the 1960s to 1990s.
Claude Soucie (June 14, 1923 - November 18, 1996) was a Canadian-born game designer and long-time friend of Sid Sackson. Soucie invented the game Lines of Action which was recommended by the Spiel des Jahres in 1988 and was also included in Sackson's A Gamut of Games. Soucie was a fellow New York Game Associate and appears in Sackson's diaries from 1963 through 1990.
His wife was Anne Reiss Soucie. Together they had seven children: Mary Ellen Waithe, Barbara Strakele, Francis Soucie, Jacqueline Soucie, Raymond Soucie, Richard Soucie and Martin Soucie. Mary Ellen Waithe was also Sackson's daughter-in-law, married to Dana Sackson.
Millens "Mel" Taft (1922-2017) was a board game company executive and member of the board of directors at both Milton Bradley and Radica Games. While at Milton Bradley, Taft worked closely with many designers, including Sid Sackson.
Roland Leslie ("Rollie") Tesh, Jr. (1958-2019) was born in Tampa, Florida, in 1958 to Mary Lou and Rollie Tesh, Sr. Early on he became passionate about chess and traveling. After high school Tesh went on to become the Pente world champion in 1983. Along with friend and fellow Pente champion, Tom Braunlich, Tesh co-designed a media license-based collectable card game which was utilized by Decipher, Inc. for Star Trek: The Next Generation, released in 1994. Following this success, Tesh traveled for a decade, then lived with his sister in 2008 after becoming sick. After recovering, Tesh traveled again and joined non-profit Spielbound as "Game Maestro" in Omaha, Nebraska. Tesh passed away on January 6, 2019 after a lifetime dedicated to the gaming industry. He is also credited with the Star Wars Customizable Card Game, Star Trek Customizable Card Game, Unusual Suspects, and NCIS: The Board Game.
Tesh appears in Sackson's diaries in the 1980s and 1990s.
Frank Thibault (August 21, 1924 - June 16, 2017) was a high school teacher and game inventor based in California. He designed games during the summers when on break from school. Thibault's first game was Ploy, published by 3M in 1970. His other games include Contigo, Topple (Thibault's most popular game), Cue Me!, and Regatta (originally titled Tack and published by 3M).
Sackson's diary entries described his correspondence with Thibault, starting in 1966, sharing games, articles, and experiences in the game industry.
Sid Sackson's diaries contain entries mentioning Keith Tuggle as taking over responsibility of the game program from Jim M. Kraus and William "Bill" Caruson at 3M (Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Company) (from January 31, 1973 entry). Sackson records his meetings with Tuggle as well as the games to be reviewed, including Foreign Intrigue and J' Accuse.
John Vernon was Director of Creative Design at Milton Bradley during the 1970s and 1980s. Vernon is credited with expanding the company from traditional boardgames into adventure gaming, including the publication of Larry Harris' GameMaster Series. He knew Sid Sackson well and they shared a love of spicy food. Vernon visited Sid and Beatrice in the Bronx on many occasions.
Vernon first appears in Sackson's diary on February 9, 1978, which documents their meeting at Milton Bradley.
Chris Wagner was the founder of Strategy & Tactics in 1967 as an alternative to Avalon Hill's The General. The wargaming fanzine was originally published in Japan as Wagner was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and stationed there. Upon his return to the States, Wagner hired Redmond Simonsen to improve the graphic design of the magazine. In 1968, for the price of one dollar, the magazine was taken over by James F. Dunnigan under Simulations Publications, Inc. (SPI) when the publication began to have financial difficulties. Wagner returned as a consultant in the 1970s.
Phil Wiswell is the author of books such as I Hate Charades and 49 Other New Games, Kid's Games, and Great Party Games for Grown-Ups. He was a contributing editor of PC Magazine, writing book and game reviews.
Wiswell appears in Sackson's diaries beginning in the 1960s.