Game inventor: Christopher Clark

Christopher Clark was born January 19, 1940, in the city of Barnstaple near Devon's north coast in England. Britain was at war, and city children were being sent to rural villages to escape the bombing. So Chris and his mother went to the country home of a kind elderly lady. His very first memories in life were of trying to gather eggs from very protective chickens. Food rationing was in effect, so each egg was precious.

Later, they found themselves in a convoy heading across the Atlantic Ocean to Canada and safety at last. Theirs was the end ship in the last row of the formation. Luckily, the convoy went undetected by enemy submarines. After landing in Nova Scotia, they headed south by train to New York City. Chris recalls nothing of the voyage but does remember many uniformed men talking and singing in the railroad car.

His father was already in New York, having narrowly escaped the hostilities in the Far East. Destined for San Francisco, his ship had arrived in Hawaii just 10 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Long Island was home for the Clarks for the next few years. Their apartment was on the second floor of a three-story brick building with a huge grass lawn in back, the playing field for croquet during the summer months.

In March of 1944, Chris' mother, at the urging of a neighbor who had entered her daughter, took Chris to a baby show sponsored by the Brooklyn Women of the Moose. Before long he was featured in magazine ads for products like J&J Band-Aids, Kodak film, Wheaties cereal, and Colgate toothpaste.

In 1947 his father took the family back to England on the steamship Queen Elizabeth, with the intention to stay. But recovery from the war had been slow and hardships still prevalent. So after a year they returned to New York, then traveled west to California. They settled in a suburb of Los Angeles. Bonnie, a six-month-old collie and soon to be faithful companion, joined the family. And for Christmas 1949, Santa left the first bicycle. Later that year a baby brother entered the picture. Life was fun.

The summer after his high school junior year, though, was a time of turmoil. Chris was experiencing a mental breakdown. Practically homebound for many months, eventually he was able to return to school and to graduate.

The next 20 or so years were spent doing the things that people do. First came college courses. Those in science Chris liked best. A six-year enlistment in the Coast Guard Reserve followed, plus many years working for an international food company. And somewhere along the way a very special gal was found, then lost.

Another severe episode of depression was just around the corner. Bewildered, unemployed and unable to cope, Chris went back to live with his loving and supportive parents. He was 40 years old.

On a cold December morning in 1982, with six inches of new overnight snow on the ground, an idea for a board game was born. That game became Gallop. And for a guy with no known talents this was exciting stuff. It raised Chris' spirits and was the lifeline to recovery.

In time they left the mountains behind for the central coast of California, where Chris found work at a local bank. Then, within only a few years, once again depression struck. But this time good things were about to happen. With the newly discovered medications, in just a couple of months Chris was back on the job. Shortly thereafter came another board game idea, which would become Transpose.

And a few years later inspiration struck again, and Chris's wonderful Reveal and Hmm... game ideas were published by Kadon in 2006.

All these games are continuing to be produced and published by Kadon Enterprises, Inc., and Chris is happily promoting the gamepuzzles website with a sign on his car and sent us this picture to prove it.



No longer is there a fear of this illness returning. Now the future looks bright and making the wooden game sets gives passion to his life. Here is a touching vignette about his successful recovery.

In his leisure time Chris enjoys California living, the beaches and the sea. When he's not working at the bank or practicing his fine woodworking on the Transpose and Gallop gameboards and Reveal checkers, Chris likes to read mystery novels and anything to do with European paleolithic art. Time at the local beach is also high on his list, along with attempts at body surfing in summer months when water temperatures permit. And, quite naturally, seeking knowledge of the earliest known games is a primary interest.

Chris finds beaches peaceful, "a good place to contemplate." We're just waiting to see what neat new game ideas will come out of his contemplations next.

Incognito:   The arch-reserved and extremely proper British gentleman, Christopher Clark, in a reckless Halloween 2001 moment as a wild biker, complete with temporary mustache and tattoo.

Below, at Halloween 2002 office party as Rocky!




Chris hangs out in California and refuses to travel, so has never visited Kadon headquarters. In fact, we've never laid eyes on him in this entire quarter century. Looks like we'll have to cross the continent ourselves to meet him in his lair.



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