A Gamut of Games

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A Gamut of Games is an innovative book of games written by Sid Sackson and first published in 1969.[1] It contains rules for a large number of paper and pencil, card, and board games. Many of the games in the book had never before been published. It is considered by many[who?] to be an essential text for anyone interested in abstract strategy games, and a number of the rules were later expanded into full-fledged published board games.

Some of the games which were later sold separately include Focus, Property and Origins of World War I; Robert Abbott expanded his game Crossings, published here, into the more-refined title Epaminondas. Many of the games covered in the book were creations of Sid Sackson himself, who was a prolific game designer.

The sections of the book and the games covered therein are as follows:

In Search of Big and Little Games[edit]

  • Mate, a card game by G. Capellen
  • Blue and Gray, a board game by Henry Busch and Arthur Jaeger
  • Le Truc, a revived French card game
  • Plank, a serious revamp of the concepts in Tic-Tac-Toe
  • Zetema, a Victorian card game similar to Bezique
  • Hekaton, a card game originally published along with "Yankee Notion Cards" from the 19th century

Game Inventors Are People Too[edit]

Those Protean Pieces of Pasteboard[edit]

All of the games in this section use a standard pack of cards.

New Battles on an Old Battlefield[edit]

All of the games in this section use a checkerboard.

Grab a Pencil[edit]

All of the games in this section are meant to be played with pencil and paper.

A Miscellany of Games[edit]

A second edition of the book was published in 1982; Dover Publications released an unabridged reprint, with an additional preface by Sackson, in 1992.


  • Sackson, Sid. A Gamut of Games. ISBN 0-486-27347-4


  1. ^ Harold D. Stolovitch; Sivasailam Thiagarajan (1980). Frame Games. Educational Technology. p. 99. ISBN 978-0-87778-144-8.