Remembering Robert Abbott

It is with great sadness that G4G notes the death of longtime G4G community member Robert Abbott (Mar 2, 1933 – Feb 20, 2018) from the USA.

As G4G friend Wei-Hwa Huang recalls:

I first met Robert Abbott at G4G.  Already at that time his fame had preceded him; as a devout devourer of Martin Gardner’s Scientific American collection books, I knew him as the inventor of Eleusis (probably the most scientific card game ever) and the writer of the book “Mad Mazes”.  What I didn’t know at the time was that he was also a very kind and enthusiastic gentleman who could get very excited when I talked about using his inventions in other venues. Robert had invented a state maze he called the Bureaucratic Maze, where a solver had to go to different desks to get a paper signed.  My insane idea was to actually use the Maze on an unsuspecting audience who didn’t realize that they were actually in a maze and not actual registration.

I actually did this twice for two separate puzzle events — the 7th Bay Area Night Game in 2005, and the other the Doctor When puzzle hunt in 2012. Bob was absolutely tickled pink when he learned that I had done so. Among those years, I also became more active in the board gaming community, when I learned that many of Bob’s games had become collector’s items due to their rarity — Code 777 and Confusion, both of which demanded high prices among collectors.  (My two copies of High Hand, however, never appreciated much.) Of course, a high collectors value gives very little except name recognition to the original designer, so I am sure Bob was quite happy when both of those games were finally reprinted in the last decade and can now reach a new generation of players. A recent analysis on Board Game Geek placed Bob as the 5th most sought-after abstract game designer in the world.  Bob was a master at finding ways to make deductive logic fun, both in his mazes and in his games. I’ll miss him.

Wei-Hwa Huang,

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