Card Games Negotiation Board Games

The Sackson Legacy Collection Game Review

Respect Your Elders

Andrew cracks open two collections of obscure designs from one of modern board gaming’s forefathers in this Meeple Mountain review.

Disclosure: Meeple Mountain received a free copy of this product in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. This review is not intended to be an endorsement.

I love an archival project. Publisher Eagle-Gryphon Games went through the notes of legendary designer Sid Sackson, creator of Acquire and Can’t Stop amongst others, and selected four of what he considered his best unpublished games. The results are here, in the two volumes of The Sackson Legacy Collection, which combine those four unpublished games with new printings of two Sackson obscurities.

There is no publisher I would rather have do a project like this. Eagle-Gryphon’s production is always exemplary, luxuriant without being fussy. With Eagle-Gryphon’s typical thick box stock and vibrant colors, these are games that would look good on a bookshelf. I suspect that’s exactly what the team had in mind. All they’re missing, as far as I’m concerned, is a spine number.

I love a spine number.

The back of one box and the spine of the other.


The blue volume includes three previously unpublished titles: I’m the Boss!: The Dice Game, Banana Blitz, and Scope.

I’m the Boss!: The Dice Game is a negotiation game inspired by Sackson’s own I’m the Boss!. Players take turns rolling dice, attempting to move to the top of various Expertise tracks while jockeying to negotiate different deals. Any time a player earns enough stars to be the Boss, they choose one of two deals out on the table and start cutting other players in. Each deal requires some combination of the reigning experts in each field to participate. A given deal—they don’t have more detail than that—may require the current expert in Legal along with either Media or Tech, for example.

It’s unlikely a player will ever have all the necessary Expertise to complete a deal by themselves. Other players’ participation has to be bought. The negotiations in I’m the Boss!: The Dice Game are silly fun, and cards from the Influence deck that can change the state of play in a variety of ways increase the chaos.

A close up picture of the I'm the Boss dice.

Banana Blitz is a trick-taking game in which players “must follow fruit,” which, that joke alone qualifies it as my game of the year for 2023. Well done, Sid. The goal is simple: players try to avoid bananas, unless they are trying to shoot the moon and scoop up the whole bunch. There are two special scoring cards, the Rotten Apple and the Glorious Grape, that mix things up. I played Banana Blitz with a group of discerning trick-taking players, and everyone loved it. The rules are approachable, the gameplay is fast, and the colors pop. This is one I’d love to see printed in a standalone version.

Scope is a clever, clever little puzzle. Each player gets a grid of numbers. A card with a number on it is revealed from the top of the deck, and players cross off any number of adjacent squares that add up to the total on the card. The goal is to have the fewest empty spaces once the deck is empty. A certain number of cards are set aside so nobody knows exactly what will be in the deck. The result is deeply enjoyable, if unremarkable. This would be a great game to incorporate into an elementary school math lesson.


The red volume includes one unpublished title, Cinema, and two obscurities: Dig Site and Bowling Solitaire.

Cinema is a negotiation game in which players attempt to assemble the best movies, buying scripts and scouting talent. Everyone has scripts and Actors in their hands, but hiring your own talent is expensive, and it’s in your interest to cut other players in on the deal. The negotiation in Cinema feels similar to I’m the Boss!: The Dice Game, silly and low-stakes. Like I’m the Boss!, it overstays its welcome a bit, but I will say that I particularly adore the art style.

The board for Dig Site, a six by six grid of gems.

Dig Site was originally published in Germany as Corner back in 1974. Then a two-player abstract game, and now a game for 2 or 4, players take turns moving their shovel along the border of a grid, attempting to collect the most gems in various colors. I really liked Dig Site. I think a lot of modern games make the mistake of over-obfuscating the value of moves. In Dig Site, the goal is to get large groups of a few colors rather than small groups of every color, and you can see exactly how you and your opponent are faring. More than that, your choice will influence the choices available to your opponent on their turn, and you start factoring that into your decisions as the game moves along.

What Dig Site gets exactly right about games is the arc. The decision space starts out wide open, and narrows as you go, but the reduction in your options is accompanied by greater specificity in your choices. You start to be able to plan out four or five turns ahead relatively easily. That’s good stuff.

Cards from Bowling Solitaire laid out on the table.

Bowling Solitaire was described in Sackson’s 1969 classic A Gamut of Games, and Eagle-Gryphon first published it back in 2015. I had little in the way of hope for Bowling Solitaire, but I kinda loved it? Like Scope, it’s clever. You set up ten cards in bowling pin formation, then attempt to knock them down. You reveal the top card of the deck, and remove pin cards by adding up their values so that the total ends with the same digit that’s on the revealed card. It’s silly and simple but it’s satisfying, and if you ever managed to get a perfect game, you’d feel like the king of the world.


The Sackson Legacy Collection is a beautifully packaged release, with games that will interest people who are into the history of modern board gaming. These games don’t show their age, even if most of them aren’t exemplary. The team at Eagle-Gryphon has done a wonderful job developing all of these, and I’ve enjoyed getting to look behind the curtain a bit.

This is the board game equivalent of a Criterion Collection release, you know? If you’re interested, you’ll enjoy them. Your motivation may be academic, or maybe you grew up playing Sackson’s games and you want to try a few with your family. There aren’t any games here that will change anyone’s life, but they show a master designer exploring different spaces. If Banana Blitz, Dig Site, and Bowling Solitaire were all in one box, I’d give that box the warmest 3.5-star review of my life. As it is, these are exceptionally-produced curios that will appeal to the people who are inclined to seek them out. I own around 100 Criterion releases. So.

The fronts of both boxes.

  • Good - Enjoy playing.

The Sackson Legacy Collection: Blue details

About the author

Andrew Lynch

Andrew Lynch was a very poor loser as a child. He’s working on it.

1 Comment

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  • Sid was a genius. He was well ahead of his time. Had he been born a few years later, I can only imagine what he and Knizia would have collaborated on. Wonderful review! Thanks for sharing.

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