Letter from the Editor
(October, 1997)

Hullo, yes, sorry I'm late and welcome home!

Thanks, Games!

First off I would like to thank Burt Hochberg for his kind comments on the Game Cabinet in his article on "The OTHER Games Magazines" as featured in the 20th anniversary issue of Games magazine. It was quite a thrill to be part of the anniversary issue! I can still remember buying the first issue of Games with the Thinker on the cover twenty years ago.

Congratulations are also in order for Mike Siggins, whose Sumo took the lead review in the article, Peter Sarrett for his Game Report, Theo Clarke and Paul Evans for their Games, Games, Games, Micheal Keller for World Game Review, Herb Levy for his Gamers Alliance Report, and the American Game Collectors Association for their fine publications, Game Times and Game Researcher's Notes. If you are not reading all of these fine publications (and certainly some mix of them is required reading for a true game fanatic) you can find subscription details on the Game News page here in this Cabinet.

Abbot Award

Sid Sackson was given the 1997 Abbot award by the American Game Collectors Association at their convention in September. Sackson is one of the old school of American designers who invented many beloved games such as Acquire and Can't Stop. He was also the first of a growing line of American designers who has enjoyed more appreciation abroad than at home so it is nice to see him receiving due recognition here in the States. Perhaps a more telling tribute would be to recognize Mr Sackson tireless efforts to win recognition for game designers by proudly displaying the name of the designer on the box of American games, a practice which is quite common in Europe but seems to offend American corporate sensibilities.

Deutscher Spiele Preise

Klaus Teuber picked up four out of the thirteen awards given in this year's Deutscher Spiele Preise as awarded by Die Pöppel-Revue! The Teuber juggernaut will not be stopped!

Congratulations to db-Spiele, as well! The Queen Games reissue of their Showmanager took the number three spot (below two Teuber games!). Quite a leap up from selling games out of their backpacks, the traditional method of distribution for Dirk and Barbara!

Congratulations to all of the other winners and their publishers!

Magic on TV?!

ESPN2, an American cable television sports network, will broadcast the Magic: The Gathering World Championships during its fall schedule. The segments will focus on both individual and team competition and will air as follows: Tuesday, October 21 at 10:30 P.M. (PST); Wednesday, October 22 at 1:30 A.M. (EST); Tuesday, November 25 at 10:00 P.M. (PST); and Wednesday, November 26 at 1:00 A.M. (EST).

I'm stunned. There must be something in that Seattle air that encourages world domination...


Speaking of Seattle, I was there for Bumbershoot and PeterCon! Bumbershoot is a huge festival of music and crafts. My sister and I took in a ton of bands, watched several troupes of jugglers, checked out the same troupe of clowns that Jos and I really enjoyed in Victoria whose name refuses to stick in my slippery old brain, and listened to various poetry readings over the course of two days. Wizards of the Coast had a booth set up where they were handing out copies of Portal, the new introductory game for Magic, as fast as people would take them.

PeterCon is Peter Sarrett's effort to get a regular games gathering, similar to BillCon (which is in turn an adjunct to the Gathering of Friends), happening on the West Coast. Peter had a pretty good turnout for his first go round but it didn't end up being the free-for-all game-till-you-drop sort of event that BillCon is reputed to be.

We tried out Murder at the Abbye but had trouble with folks claiming to have seen monks that they hadn't really seen. It was a note taking problem, really, which is always a problem with whodunnit sorts of games. We then moved on to Symbioz, which I'll be reviewing for an upcoming Sumo. Peter brought out a very cool game whose name also escapes me that involved a board with all the letters of the alphabet and trying to think of words on specific topics that started with all the letters. Timers were involved. Bullets were sweated. How about a review, Peter? The day was rounded off with a seven person mega-game of Liar's Dice. A good time. I'll be back next year if Peter is up for it.

While in Seattle I visited a few of the friendly local game stores. Games & Gizmos in Redmund is a top notch game store. Neatly stocked to the gills with just about any American game you might want to lay your hands on and more than a few English games, as well, in the form of Games Workshop's teaming hordes o' metal figures games. Ludicrous Games turned out to be a bit of a hole in the wall but at 20% off on all the games who can complain (well, to tell the truth, several of the people at the Games & Gizmos did when I asked directions - apparently Ludicrous could be more friendly to rugrats...)?

'rents and San Diego

Jos' parents, my in-laws, came to visit earlier this month. They brought along a nice pressy for me - the latest game by that gaming wizard, Jack Jaffe. In the Money looks to be a send up of big business. More on that when we, uh, get round to playing it (yeah, that's the ticket).

We joined the 'rents in a jaunt to San Diego, land of sunshine, warm weather, and, as it turns out, nice game shops. Game Empire is tucked away in the backside of a rather obscure mall but is a top notch shop. They're not as slick as Games & Gizmos but I do believe they pack in more gear. They had a nice selection of American board and card games, abstract games gear (including obscurish bits like Pai Gow sets), and a wide selection of roleplaying bits. Game Town is in Old Town San Diego, an historical tourist attraction that would probably be of more interest to me if I hadn't grown up in another state that used to belong to Mexico. Game Town is also packed to the gills but seemed to stock more obscure bits - I even spotted several games that I'd never even heard of before. They have a nice stock of the Nutmeg Ace of Aces style games, including the Battletech ones, so give them a ring if you're looking for that sort of thing (and several people have written to ask so I know you are). I picked up a huge stack of On the Edge cards for $8. I had been looking to pick up some on the advice of a friend who said the game was way underrated. We still haven't had a chance to play, though.

Jos was thrilled to see JJ, the baby grey whale that is recovering at SeaWorld. JJ is less than a year old and was found beached and, apparently, orphaned. They've managed to nurse her back to health but plan on releasing her during the next northward migration of the greys in the early part of next year. Keeping her is out of the question because her adult size would demand a huge tank. It also would be cruel to keep her in a tank on her own. As it is, her tank connects to the orca tanks, which is a bit like being a canary caged in a room full of cats. In any case, she seems to be doing well and hopefully she'll manage to move back to the wild.

Yeah, Monthly, What of It?

Well, the experiment with switching to bi-monthly was a disaster. It just encouraged me to let two months worth of submissions and emails pile up and when I finally did sit down to process it all it took a week! So look for the next issue in November, complete with Essen wrap-up! See you then!

take care,

The Game Cabinet - editor@gamecabinet.com - Ken Tidwell