Sid Sackson (February 4, 1920, Chicago – November 6, 2002) was a prolific American board game designer and collector.
His most popular creation is probably the business game Acquire. Other games he designed include Can't Stop and Focus (Domination), which won the prestigious German Spiel des Jahres game design award in 1981.
Other notable works include his books, especially A Gamut of Games and Card Games Around the World; both titles include a large array of rules for games both new and old, and Sackson himself invented a number of the games covered by these works.
For several years in the mid-1970s, Sid Sackson wrote a monthly column for Strategy & Tactics magazine called “Sackson on Games” in which he reviewed games (other than wargames).
Sackson collected games throughout his life; at the time of his death, his collection was estimated at over 18,000 titles. Many of those were unique, sent to him by hopeful game developers who wanted Sackson's advice. At one point in his life, Sackson turned down an offer to bring his collection elsewhere for permanent safekeeping; the games were sold at a series of auctions after his death, breaking up the collection. Sackson’s personal papers are stored at The Strong in Rochester, New York.
Sackson was inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design's Hall of Fame, along with Acquire, in 2011.
Some of Sackson's notable games include:
- Bowling Solitaire
- Can't Stop
- Fields of Action
- I'm the Boss!
- The No Game
One of Sackson's lesser-known works was a 1977 book entitled "Beyond Competition" which contained six original pencil-and-paper games designed to be played by multiple players who could only win as a group through cooperation in achieving a mutual goal.
The No Game
The No Game is a party game with only one real rule. Sid Sackson wrote about it in A Gamut of Games, but it undoubtedly existed beforehand.
Play is as follows:
- Locate a nice prize.
- As everyone enters the party, pin a small ribbon on their clothes, one per person.
- After everyone has arrived, gather them together and give a speech similar to the following:
- "The object of tonight's game is to collect the most ribbons. To collect ribbons, you must have an opponent say the word 'No' to you. Upon uttering that word, you may promptly collect every ribbon currently pinned on them; they are yours, at least until you say 'No.' Other words, phrases, and actions, like 'Nah,' 'Certainly not,' and a swift slap, are perfectly valid; only uttering the word 'No' causes a lack of ribbons. At [some time here], the person with the most ribbons wins the game, and receives a nice prize."
- Play as the speech above states.
While simple in concept, it is surprisingly hard to remove the word 'No' from one's vocabulary; see lipograms for a literary equivalent.
- Sackson, Sid, Card Games Around the World, ISBN 0-486-27347-4
- Sackson, Sid, A Gamut of Games, ISBN 0-486-28100-0
- "Sid Sackson Game Collection Auction", http://boardgames.about.com/cs/sacksonauction/
- Bob Claster (13 August 2005). "The Great Games of Sid Sackson".
- Sid Sackson at BoardGameGeek
- Nick Sauer and Herb Levy (2002). "GAMERS ALLIANCE REPORT SPECIAL ISSUE: A TRIBUTE TO SID SACKSON". Gamers Alliance.
- Minda Zetlin (Feb/Mar 1987). "The Guru Of Games". GAMES Magazine.