Sid Sackson Design Documents
Sid Sackson (1920 - 2002) has always been one of my favorite game designers. Although his name is pretty obscure nowadays, he was quite prolific and developed loads of board and paper-n-pencil games that still stand up today. Two of his games, Acquire and Can't Stop are two of my absolute favorites, and I'm always up for a game if you ever find yourself in the area.
Sackson was also well-known for his research library, which consisted of tens of thousands of games, books, and magazines. Since many first-time game designers sent Sid prototype copies of their games, some of the stuff in the collection was truly one-of-a-kind.
While there was talk of donating the collection to a museum or library in the years of Sackson's declining health, nobody was ever able to get such a project together, and the entire collection ended up scattering to the four winds in a series of auctions. This collection included some, but not all, of his research materials.
Thankfully I was able to grab up a small sample of his personal design documents on eBay. It was a set of three manuals (one handwritten first-draft and two completed manuals) for a collection of board games. From what I can gather, Sackson wrote up a single set of rules for two different products from the same company. The first was a "Multi Game Rug", which was a rug with game-boards printed on it, a bag of playing pieces and, of course, a rule book. The second was a boxed collection of similar games, only printed on traditional boards.
While most of the games are common (chess, checkers, backgammon, tic tac toe), some of the variants I've never seen before.
- First Handwritten Draft - Dated October 1975. It includes 31 games. In this draft is a two-page list of the games along with references and page-numbers from where he got the rules.
If anyone can get me more info on the references, please email me and I'll include 'em here.
- Multi Game Rug - Instructions To Play 26 Great Games - Dated September 1976, this was a printed draft of the manual. It contains a couple of small handwritten edits by Sackson, but it is essentially complete.
- Instructions To Play 30 Great Games - Dated December 1976, this is a printed draft of the boxed games rules. The four extra games in this set are "Nine Holes", "Steeplechase", "The Inside Lane", and "Michigan Rummy". Presumably these were omitted from the Multi Game Rug because they required one more playing board and a set of playing cards.