Having introduced, in our first dozen years, many products from very small to very large, easy to very difficult, this was our year to engage and marry our design sense with ideas from eminent outside contributors, friends and kindred spirits. Here are their start-ups:
A transplanted Englishman, Christopher Clark, having read about our work and philosophy, contacted us to offer us his clean and clever boardgame for two players with a flavor of backgammon. Kate styled it in acrylic with a bright, contemporary look, with a field of round cutouts for spaces, a brass plaque, and neat little pawns. Four other games were added, plus a series of solitaire puzzles, and we launched the ensemble in a tailored felt slipcase with carry handle and ring to attach the bag of pawns, a handsome package. We haven't changed a thing about it in 25 years. Getting it right the first time is our thing.
A few years later Chris took up woodworking and with his usual perfectionism turned out magnificent wood boards and obtained wooden horses (they look like chess knights) to go with them. In 2002 this deluxe version of Gallop earned a place on Games Magazine's "Games 100" list, but that's a story for another year.
We became entwined with this beautiful set originally in 1985, simply reselling it through our printed catalog (pre-WorldWideWeb days) and buying sets from our friends, Charles and Terry Titus and their son, Steve, at Future Classics, who were making them in-house at the time. In 1991, having run out of their current production inventory and finding no takers among the big game companies to take over the license, they assigned to Kadon the exclusive rights to produce the future generations of Kaliko.
By then we were using lasers, a faster and cleaner method than the ingenious 14 banks of sawblades Future Classics had used, and Kaliko became a cherished member of the Kadon family. For ten years we reproduced faithfully the red-white-blue paths on clear acrylic to match the classic design. In 2001, having run out of the acrylic sets, we switched to wood to eliminate the frequent confusion of which side of a tile should be up. But that's a future story...
Lewis Carroll's Chess WordgameTM
When Kate had occasion to visit Martin Gardner in his home in Hendersonville, NC, in the late 1980s, Martin showed her his idea for a game suggested by some notes in Lewis Carroll's diary that Martin had been studying. Letters would move around on a chessboard like queens to form words. Martin suggested a set of rules, and Kate designed the game equipment to fit the theme. The story has it that Lewis Carroll is taking his young friend Alice on a picnic, and the tablecloth would form the gameboard. We added some other original games and a couple of solitaires to make a versatile entertainment package. Our first idea was to supply the cloth and letters in a Chinese food container, like a picnic basket. Soon we decided that was not good enough and switched to a handsome leather-like box that could serve as the "table" for the cloth. Twenty-five years later we still use the same happy design. It has stood the test of time. Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) and Martin Gardner (1914-2010) are timeless.
When this young Dutch maze designer, Oskar Van Deventer, showed us his ingenious interlinking disks design, we were smitten. Having gotten the hang of laser-cutting, we made the first sets in crystal-clear acrylic that looked absolutely dazzling. After two years we switched to wood, a story for another year. We're proud to have been Oskar's first publisher, and 25 years later still have his elegant puzzle in print. In the interim, Oskar has created dozens of other puzzles and mazes, published by others, and has attained world fame among collectors. We're happy to see him at the International Puzzle Party, in whatever country is hosting it that year.
Throw a FitTM
We met Jeff Dender, a very young man, at EveCon 1990, a science fiction and gaming convention held over New Year's Eve in Virginia. He showed us his game idea of using 10 dice with all combinations of 3 colors. It was the neatest thing, and Kate took it on immediately, creating its name, working out the logical positions of the colors, and developing some cool puzzles to go with it. The original version was made with smallish white blank cubes to which we attached die-cut vinyl color squares. We made a few on large wood cubes for a more rustic look, but they didn't roll very well. Later we switched to jumbo white plastic cubes for the best of both rolling and stacking. It was the second of our growing collection of puzzles supplied in little pouches. We were deeply saddened to learn that Jeff passed away of cancer in 2014. He is survived by a son, David. Postscript: We were deeply touched when David wrote us and turned over to Kadon all rights to Jeff's idea. We will keep it alive as a memorial to a creative and benevolent spirit who left this world much too soon.
In the year 1991 we opened our doors to inventors whose ideas fit well with our own and who were agreeable to let us develop and embody their inventions in designs wedded to our own artistic vision. The happy fusion of others' functions with our forms became our tenth pillar.
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
1987-2012: Growing three ways
1988-2013: Compounding complexity
1989-2014: Grand visions
1990-2015: Herculean heights
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1991-2016: Happy marriages
1992-2017: Diamonds forever