Guest Column – 1963 Game Diary – Sid Sackson – An Overview by Chris Kovac

From time to time, the Opinionated Gamers are happy to host writing from some noted gamers.  Chris Kovac is a good friend of mine, despite his Canadian-ness ;), who asked to contribute a piece on Sid Sackson.  This is a timely request given Joe Huber’s recent article on Acquire.




1963 Game Diary – Sid Sackson


An Overview by Chris Kovac



The following is an overview of a bit of gaming history, namely the 1963 Game Diary of the game designer Sid Sackson (1920-2002). Sid Sackson was a major North American game designer of the 1960’s – 1980’s who created such games as Acquire, Can’t Stop and Focus/Domination among others.


First some background on how I got a look at this game diary at the Gathering of Friends gaming convention Dan Bloom managed to organize a small behind the scenes tour of the Strong National Museum of Play. The Strong museum is located in Rochester New York and its mandate is collect and preserve toys and games as well as related material by American designers from colonial times to the present day. This includes collecting board and video games. Nicolas Ricketts one of the curators at the museum was nice enough to give us a behind the scenes tour showing us the storage rooms containing the board games of the collection including many of Sid Sackson prototypes. As part of the tour we got a chance to visit the research library at the museum where much of Sid Sacksons papers now reside including the game diaries. Julie Rossi one of the archivist at the library showed us a selection of the Sid Sackson papers including the diaries (from 1963 to mid 1990’s) and correspondence files. She was kind enough to forward to those that were interested the only diary which has been digitized (1963) and the correspondence files of Sid Sackson relating to the 3M company which published Acquire among other games. Now onto the overview of the game diary.

Continue reading

Posted in Commentary | 1 Comment

Game Preview: Hyperborea

HYPERBOREA_coverDesigner: Andrea Chiarvesio and Pierluca Zizzi
Publisher: Asterion, Yemaia
Players: 2-6
Ages: 12+
Time: 90 minutes
Times played: many plays at different stages of development but this preview is about the final rules of the upcoming release

The game release is planned for this summer

Was almost 2 years ago that I played Hyperborea for the first time and was love at first sight. I really like Andrea Chiarvesio design and I think this one could be his best one.

Hyperborea is a tactical “bag-building” game where players develop a civilization getting new technologies, improving production, conquering new territories and fighting enemies. Everything in simple-to-learn, not-so-easy-to-master for a 2-3 hours gaming experience.

Over centuries, six rival reigns were born from the ashes of the hyperborean civilization: the militarist Red Duchy; the Green Kingdom and its death delivering archers; the Purple Matriarchy fanatically worshipping the goddess of life; the skilled diplomats and merchants of the Golden Barony; the Coral Throne with its efficiently organized society and finally the secluded and enigmatic Celestial Reign.

It is a strongly thematic game, with combats, explorations, developing with well-tested core mechanics: the perfect mix of the best from American and German design school.

[Liga] Theme and materials are typical for an American style game but I know you are more fashinated by german mechanic. What do you think Hyperborea really is ?

[Chiarvesio] An hybrid. It’s a fancy American car with a strong and reliable German engine (and stylish Italian bodywork). It’s likely closer to the American style gameplay (direct interaction with your opponents, fighting, territory control) than to the German style of building stuff and scoring victory points, but it has elements from both worlds. Extremists of both genres won’t like this mixture, but other games have proved there are people out there that like to experiment different gaming styles. It’s a game for people tired of playing so many different games that all will leave you with the same feeling at the end.

In this preview, as you seen, are included also the answers to some questions I have done to Andrea Chiarvesio.

Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | 2 Comments

HP got games with Ventonuovo

western_front_map_webI don’t know if this could be a new frontier of the print-and-play or just a singular event but I think it is something of interest to talk about. It was announced during last edition of PLAY: The Games Festival but got not a real widespread diffusion. What do you think about it ? Which future for the print-and-play if HP, the printer producer par excellence, directly support/produce games ?

The 15th of March 2015 Ventonuovo Games announced the launch of its new World War I historical wargame series named “1914: The World at War” which will depict some of the events that shook the world a 100 years ago. Thanks to a partnership with Hewlett-Packard, the game will be offered in its full version through HP web-connected Printers starting July 2014. Historical facts and maps, rules, and a tutorial will be available to HP web-connected printer owners with an Internet connection, free of charge. Customer can access at (in the US, UK, Germany or France) or at

Continue reading

Posted in Site News | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

2013 Meeples Choice Awards: Final Results

The Spielfrieks user group has completed its voting for the Meeples Choice Awards and the winners are:


Russian Railroads dominated the voting.  The race for the last two spots, however, was very tight and Nations and Lewis & Clark finished closely behind.  Caverna, which has pushed its way onto the Geek’s all-time top 10 list, finished a distant ninth.

Here are the vote totals for each of the 27 games which were nominated.  For each game, the first number shown is the number of votes received during the final round.  The value in parentheses is the votes the game received during the nominations stage.

1. Russian Railroads – 28 (32)
2. Bora Bora – 18 (21)
3. Concordia – 17 (34)
4. Nations – 16 (17)
5. Lewis & Clark – 15 (20)
6. A Study in Emerald – 12 (16)
7. Amerigo – 11 (15)
8. One Night Werewolf – 10 (10)
9. Caverna: The Cave Farmers – 9 (17)
9. Glass Road – 9 (16)
9. 1775: Rebellion – 9 (12)
9. Madeira – 9 (9)
13. Spyrium – 8 (17)
13. Coal Baron – 8 (13)
13. Concept – 8 (7)
16. Bruges – 7 (17)
16. Forbidden Desert – 7 (12)
18. Augustus – 6 (12)
19. La Boca – 5 (10)
19. Pathfinder: Rise of the Runelords – 5 (8)
21. Bruxelles 1893 – 4 (15)
21. Machi Koro – 4 (8)
21. Francis Drake – 4 (7)
24. Rococo – 3 (10)
24. Cuba Libre – 3 (7)
24. Prosperity – 3 (7)
27. Rialto – 1 (7)

Posted in Uncategorized

Quickie report from Origins

Due to a number of schedule constraints, including but not limited to my upcoming trip to Hamburg for the Kinderspiel des Jahres award ceremony, I was only able to spend a single day in Columbus this year… Here is a quick recap of my 6 hours at the show.  Just to see if I could do it, all of the pics are taken from my smartwatch (because I forgot my own camera and my smartphone camera lens has a big crack in it), and most of the text has been dictated into it.  My first smartwatch blog piece!



The view of the convention center from Vine St.  This was the site of many near-accidents as this street has suddenly become a one-way street, and people were constantly turning the wrong way down the street.

Continue reading

Posted in Convention Report | 2 Comments

Nominees for 2013 Meeples Choice Awards

Well, we’ve completed the first stage of voting for the Meeples Choice Awards on the Spielfrieks User Group ( and have come up with 27 excellent nominees for the award.  Now, everyone picks their three favorites of the group and the top three games will be the winners.  If you want to help us select the winning trio, come over to Yahoo and cast your votes.

Here are the nominated games, in alphabetical order:

1775: Rebellion
A Study in Emerald
Bora Bora
Bruxelles 1893
Caverna: The Cave Farmers
Coal Baron
Cuba Libre
Forbidden Desert
Francis Drake
Glass Road
La Boca
Lewis & Clark
Machi Koro
One Night Werewolf
Pathfinder: Rise of the Runelords
Russian Railroads

Posted in Uncategorized

Now less blurry

For wem


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Live from origins

Ok. More later. But breaking news here.

New promo for dominion secretly released by RGG.


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Game Review: Völuspá + Order of the Gods (expansion)

VoluspaVöluspá /Order of the Gods

  • Designer: Scott Caputo
  • Publisher: Stronghold Games
  • Players: 2-5
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Times played: 6 plays (1 of Kachina, 2 of Völuspá, 3 with the Order of the Gods expansion)
  • Review copies provided by Stronghold Games

When the majority of your knowledge about Norse mythology comes from reading The Mighty Thor comic books (some 35+ years ago), watching the most recent Marvel films, and playing board games like Heroscape & Yggdrasil (and SPI’s Ragnarok: The Twilight of the Gods way back in the day), you have to do some research to figure out why Stronghold Games would name a game with Odin & Thor & Loki “Voluspa”. For the record, the word is “Völuspá (Stronghold got it right on the box cover) – and it’s the title of one of the best known Old Norse poems. Translated, it means “Prophecy of the Seeress” (the völva referenced in the title).

That’s a whole lot of background for a game that is essentially a gamer-friendly version of Qwirkle.


First, a heartfelt thank you to Stephen B. and the folks at Stronghold Games for giving us an appropriately sized box. I thank you, my shelves thank you, my wife thanks you.

The box is stuffed with attractive, thick tiles – seriously, the artwork is very nice. You also get a scoreboard, 5 scoring pawns & 5 tokens to indicate when you’ve “circled” the board (+50/+100).

But wait, there’s more! While there are no Ginsu knives or Salad Shooters included, you do receive the first expansion (Saga of Edda) in the box with the base game. This adds four new tile types to the mix. Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Tagged ,

Kickshot Review

Dale Yu: Review of KickShot


It’s that time again, when for a brief moment every four years, the American public looks up and realizes that there is another “football” being played here.  Despite the fact that youth participation in soccer is steadily increasing, there is still not a lot of attention paid to professional and international soccer.  I’m sure that some of this is due to the fact that the United States has really not been able to generate any long lasting success in the international game.  In any event, with the World Cup slated to start later this month (Thursday June 12, 4pm Eastern) – anyone who is even remotely interested in soccer should be giving the sport whatever attention they can!  The United States has a difficult road ahead of itself as their qualifying group includes two of the top three rated teams in the world (Germany and Portugal).


In our household, we have three members that are actively playing soccer (myself and my two boys), and as a result, we’re all pretty excited about the upcoming World Cup.  We were also pretty excited to learn about a new soccer game, KickShot.   Meant to appeal to all ages, the game has also had a increase in its exposure/marketing as the World Cup draws near.  From its website:  “Experience the thrill of an actual soccer game with KickShot®! Designed for up to 6 players, 5 year old kids through adults, play KickShot Soccer Board Game with two dice, offense, defense and referee cards to advance the ball across the board, intercept, and score goals. One KickShot game includes three levels of play, depending on age and desired challenge, but you may wish to develop your own creative variations as well.  KickShot is the only soccer board game that teaches young players the mental side of soccer and helps lift their soccer game beyond just kicking and running straight for the goal”

Continue reading

Posted in Reviews