10 Great Sid Sackson Games (Article by Erik Arneson)

This article is part of our “10 Great” series that features 10 great games in a given subcategory. We pick a mechanic, theme, publisher, etc. — in this case, games designed by Sid Sackson. The Opinionated Gamers then vote behind the scenes to create a list of 10 great games.

About Sid Sackson

Sid Sackson, by any measure, is one of the most significant and well-respected game designers of the 20th century. His games have influenced several generations of players and designers alike — and continue to do so today.

Born in 1920, Sackson was most active as a game designer in the 1960s through the 1980s. (According to BoardGameGeek, Sackson’s earliest published game is the card game Poke from 1946.) He focused primarily on designing strategy board games for adults at a time when others seemed to be more interested in other areas of tabletop gaming such as children’s games, roleplaying games, and party games.

One of his greatest contributions to the world of gaming is the 1969 book A Gamut of Games, which continues to be widely available.

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Simmy Peerutin’s Final Days at SPIEL.digital – Report from South Africa



For me, it ended with a whimper, not a bang. At about 9.50pm local time (I’m in South Africa) I found myself visiting various gaming tables to find I was the only person there and typing into the void that was Discord, asking plaintively “anybody here?”. Finally Joe Huber took pity on me and responded and we had a good chat before he had to leave.

It was not all like that. Life did intrude yesterday – with a visit to the hospital and watching a soccer match where my favourite team, West Ham United, held the giants, Manchester City to a 1-1 draw – but I played Polynesia and Anno 1800 and enjoyed both. Both games have been written up by Simon Weinberg, with whom I played, so I’ll only make general comments. I found Polynesia somewhat dry and mechanical although I thought the tension created by the diminishing number of actions one can take each phase – from 3 to 1 – quite tense. However, for some reason I was allowed to operate almost alone (in a 4 player game) in a corner of the board so interaction was minimal for me. As for Anno 1800, you have to overcome the game visuals and the sheer quantity of information to absorb at the outset, and then I think there is a good game here. It reminds me a little of Nations, but the focus is exclusively on technology and production, and so depending on your gaming likes, you could find the building of a very specific resources engine (I need coal and cotton to build clothes and I need clothes and beer to build…Er not sure what…) either irritating or satisfying.  I’m on the fence at the moment but willing to give it another try.


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Simon Weinberg – report for SPIEL.digital, Day 3

Here are my impressions for today.


Farm Shop – This probably would have flown under most people’s radar if it hadn’t been for the Author – Rudiger Dorn, who is sometimes erratic but always worth checking out. In this case The Farm Shop is a childish looking game disguising a very decent filler, reminiscent of Point Salad and Sushi Go in its feel. Fast and easy to play, players roll three dice on their turn, choose one to use to buy one of 6 cards on offer in the centre of the table, and the two other dice to score one of the cards already on their mat, catan style fashion, according to the sum total of their two dice. Just like catan, everyone else also gets to use the two dice to activate their card too. The cards that are printed on the player mat are fairly basic, yielding tokens of milk churns, honey, and other farm produce. However some cards give you a burlap sack, which can be paid to increase or decrease a die by one; and some give you sunflowers in exchange for farm goods, which may be placed next to a number to increase the yield of a card placed in that slot. As the game progresses, players will upgrade their player mat with cards obtained with that one die I mentioned in the beginning, and will gravitate towards a preference for a few of the many farm products. They do this because some cards they upgrade to give you coins (which are Victory points) for one or a combination of products that you store in your farm shop. So the fun comes from arranging to have a good little “machine” going to for example, produce eggs and sell two for 4 coins. Since the game plays very quickly and evolves quite rapidly the feel is similar to the other filler games mentioned above, where you feel you do have a choice of how you use your dice and what upgrades you go for. All in all a very nice filler game that I will be buying – I love it.


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Dale Yu: New York Zoo in 36 hours (First Impressions, Unboxing, etc)

New York Zoo

  • Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
  • Publisher: Capstone Games/Feuerland
  • Players: 1-5
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: 30-60 minutes
  • Played on review copy provided by Capstone Games


So, SPIEL week is always an exciting time – so many new games to see and learn about. Often times during the fair, a new game opportunity would come up, and we’d be thrilled to get an unexpected copy/prototype of a game and then rush back to the hotel to play it at night.    While we were playing games as part of our SPIEL.digital@home plans on Friday, I got an email from Clay over at Capstone Games.  He had just gotten a shipment in, and he wanted to know if we were interested in New York Zoo.  

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Dale Yu: Review of Detective: Season One (Spoiler Free)

Detective: Season One

  • Designers: Ignacy Trzewiczek, Merry Nowak-Trzewiczek Weronika Spyra
  • Publisher: Portal Games
  • Players: 1-5
  • Age: 12+
  • Time: 90-120 mins
  • Played with review copy provided by Portal Games

TL;DR from the box – “Detective: Season One is a fully cooperative, deeply immersive, board game in which 1 to 5 players take on the roles of investigators trying to solve a crime. It consists of 3 stand-alone cases that can be played in around 90 minutes each. Each of the cases challenges players with different settings and case styles”.  The game is a descendant of the original Detective game from 2018.

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Lorna’s Spiel.Digital Report

So this year’s Spiel was a little different than usual. No jet lag Instead of running from booth to booth it’s comparing prices and availability of new releases. Instead of running through the halls of the messe to stand around waiting for tables we are clicking though virtual rooms and waiting in virtual tables for games to become open. At least me feet don’t hurt this year but I’m mindful not to get a sore ear from the headphones.

There are a few similarities, surprisingly I still get that same awkward feeling being a party of one and joining a table. Luckily everyone is friendly and the game masters have all been very good and seem to know the games and interfaces well.

So in between real life duties, I’ve tried portions of some games just to get the feel of the game and how it flows. A friend and I tried Anno 1800, no GMs were available. We powered through the rules. It’s a solid Euro, multiplayer solitaire with an emphasis on efficiency. The only difficulty was that at least on my screen some of the icons were small and blurry and we made some assumptions as to what they were. I’m looking forward to trying the real thing. My only concern is that it may well be better with more than 2 (my current gamegroup size).

I also got a thorough explanation of Paleo a new cooperative game. I like the way they did the cooperative mechanism with each player making the choice to help another or do an individual action. The game is also very easy to learn. I’m definitely interested to see the various modules.

Today I was able to play Paris, the Kramer and Kiesling. I was happy to learn since my copy will hopefully be here soon. Again it’s easy to learn and after the first play through it’s good to be able to see some different strategies.

I also played Macaron, a cute little trick taking game with yummy looking macarons. I think it’ll make a great filler. You can also apparently play solo, interesting for a trick taker.

Hegemonia Senki is another fun game it’s great to be able to try at Spiel.Digital. It’s a fun game of trying to take over Hegemonia using variable factions. It’s easy to learn and interesting to play.

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