In 1987 we found ourselves expanding in three directionshistorical and wooden games, especially for the Maryland Renaissance Festival; major combinatorial tiling sets that we'd been incubating for a few years; and portable, "softpack" versions of some games. Here are their start-ups:
The Royal Game of the Goose (and Labyrinth)
Having discovered that The Royal Game of the Goose was a notable Renaissance invention and the ancestor of all modern games, we decided to embody it our own way on a large wooden board with original artwork, a timeless artifact and a sensation at the Maryland Renaissance Festival.
Peter Aleff told us of an even older related game, the 3500-year-old Labyrinth, and thus a two-sided board was created, with original artwork by our then-resident artist, Kamran Sedaghatkish. The handfinished wood board, screen-printed and then framed by our master craftsman, has had undiminished beauty, interest, appeal and quality through all these years, and we have never found a reason to change it, including its elegant velvet carrybag. The 25th anniversary edition just added a little silver highlight.
Renaissance Playing Cards
Kate remembered playing with these cards as a child in Europe, and the opulent costumes on the cards and their medieval artistry made them a perfect adjunct to games Ye Olde Gamery could offer. We found a Hungarian source for the cards and added tapestry-style slip cases. Kate also translated game rules not found in Hoyle's to add into the booklet, plus vintage solitaires from a mid-1800s book. Let's deal!
Grand Tans®, in felt carry bag
The first version of this fine old puzzle was served up in 1982 in a framed wooden tray, suitable even for wallhanging. By popular demand for a portable set, in 1987 we also provided it in a handy drawstring pouch to take along. The pieces are crafted from one piece of wood with different nice finishes.
Proteus®, rolled up for travel
Folks asked for a travel version, and we were happy to oblige. Since Proteus already had a vinyl mat that we'd glue to a large wooden board, without the board it could just roll up into a long drawstring corduroy tube. Instant portability, and the bag can even store on a doorknob.
Leap®, the softpack edition
Requests for a smaller, cheaper version, especially for schools, got us to add Leap with just its lively green vinyl mat, no wooden board, and plastic checkers, in a slim white box. It has a huge repertoire of challenges to keep you hopping. Years later we would add the great "Take a Number" companion that today's version includes in both the softpack and deluxe editions. It's endless fun; count on it.
Void®, the travel version
This favorite game went portable in several incarnations. We made some vinyl mats printed with the circular grid and paired it with a procession of wooden and plastic checkers, in a white box to match Leap. Finally we replaced the box with a green felt drawstring pouch, rolled up the mat, and gave it the same nice engraved wood cylinders as the deluxe version. That should hold it for the next 25 years.
We discovered Charles Butler at the Maryland Renaissance Festival in 1986, a kindred spirit and polymath. He showed us an early prototype of these 12 tiles he had designed, and we could not resist seeing how it would look in our gleaming lasercut acrylic. Awesome! Hexmozaix joined our family in 1987 as an instant bestseller and pioneered the transparent green (aqua) Lucite we've used ever since in many of our other puzzles as virtually our signature color. For Hexmozaix's 25th birthday, we introduced frosted mirror colors. Even more awesome!
limited edition, out of print
We met Rich Maiers, an enthusiastic young man, at an art show in Harrisburg in 1986. He had come to commission us to make him some wooden boards for an abstract game he had invented to simulate football strategies. He wanted only the best quality, and Kadon took it on. It needed special pawns that would fit compactly as pairs within one space, and the curvy shapes we designed and made suited our new Game of the Goose as well. Scoozie turned out so beautiful that Kadon included it in its catalog and website showcase. We were shocked when Rich Maiers passed away suddenly in 2005, still a young man. At the request of his uncle, Kadon continued to carry the game while supplies lasted. After 25 years only a very few sets remained, and in 2018 the last set sold out. Those who own these beautiful sets can treasure them as collectors' items.
Limited edition, during 2012 only.
This baby brother of the Kolossal Pyramid had a very brief public existence before retiring for lack of parts. It was adorable, with two surprisingly different solutions. We even made a giant-size wood model for a museum exhibit. To commemorate its 25 years in limbo, we offer a very limited number in wood, painstakingly handcrafted, on a sculpted wood base. A handsome collector's item, while they last or by custom order.
Now in brilliant new colors and silver. We've been making this classic polyform set of hexagons orders 1 through 5, forming a beautiful ring, for a quarter century. Ironically, its rule book is still under construction, though each year we think will be the one when it's done. It will include hundreds of challenges. In the meantime, many websites by puzzle scholars offer more material for it than you can imagine.
Delicious complexity in gorgeous new colors. Iamond Ring is the third in the trilogy of polyforms made of the three classic polygons that tile the infinite plane without gaps: squares (polyominoes), hexagons (polyhexes, our Hex Nut above), and triangles (polyiamonds). Iamond Ring has all the shapes of order 1 through 7 triangles. Its book now encompasses decades of research.
TriangoesTM and Triangoes Jr.TM
One of our grandest productions, Triangoes started out as just a stationary colorful gameboard. Its division into parallel rows of isosceles right triangles suggested to Kate that there could be puzzle pieces lurking in there, and the five-color set was born. Its gameboard echoed inventor Manuel Garcia's original triangular mosaic and became the field for a game for up to 5 players and a unique tiling puzzle, while a blank grid on the reverse side served for 14 other games. Such a huge "gameroom in a box" was a bit overwhelming for many people, so we extracted the two-color subset as a stand-alone package, the adorable and versatile Triangoes Jr. that soon became one of our bestsellers.
This year we heard repeatedly from customers wanting portable versions of our games, and more wood and historical games for our Renaissance pavilion. We also pursued our passion for combinatorial tilings, a theme now accepted as our leitmotif. Being responsive to customers' wishes within our own creative mission became our sixth rule.
A Quarter-Century Retrospective (1980-2005)
1982-2007: The first wave of growth
1983-2008: The lesson of quality
1984-2009: Some things old, some things new
1985-2010: Guests and clones
1986-2011: Thinking big... and bigger
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1987-2012: Growing three ways
1988-2013: Compounding complexity
1989-2014: Grand visions
1990-2015: Herculean heights
1991-2016: Happy marriages
1992-2017: Diamonds forever
1993-2018: Opulence in acrylic and wood
1994-2019: Angles, gold and gala
1995-2020: Tilting towards tilings
1996-2021: Gorgeous geometrics
1997-2022: Big and little
1998-2023: Boards and beauties