After the large number of new products we had introduced in 1996, we released just five sets in 1997, going from huge to quite small, expanding on earlier themes. No longer did we shy away from offering major challenges to the world. The growing technological prowess of the information and computer culture was keeping pace. Beautiful complexity and playable art had become our motto, at any size.
This set is the granddaddy of the Roundominoes theme that was Kate's second puzzle design after Quintillions. Introduced in 1982, Roundominoes became our best-selling small puzzle for over 40 years. The next size up was Super Roundominoes, released in 1986 with some hesitation because it was too hard! It, too, became one of our bestsellers. Explorations with an even larger version continued, and we hesitated even more before releasing something so complicated and difficult. Still, enough customers were actually asking for something difficult, and so the Grand Roundominoes made their appearance. With so many pieces, and some small ones that roll easily, we decided to give the set a full lid to protect pieces from running off when the set sat as a work of art displayed on its easel. Also kept the cat from chasing pieces around the room and kept the dust out. Is there an even larger version to come?
In 1994, we had introduced Penrose tilings based on the golden ratio, phi, named for Roger Penrose's research that opened a whole new door on mathematical and geometric variations and non-periodic tilings. Tiling with them takes a great many pieceshundreds, in fact. See the 1994 historical notes. To make them accessible to kids and casual players, in 1996 Kate designed an attractive small set in a decagon tray that included 15 kites, 10 darts, and 10 each of the two "golden triangles" that are the building blocks of kites and darts. As isosceles triangles (having two equal sides), their equal angles are 36 and 72 degrees, respectively. Cut a kite in half and get two tall triangles; cut a dart in half and get two wide triangles. Interestingly, two wide and one tall triangle can also form a pentagon. Why "golden"? Because the two triangles have the unique property of building ever larger copies of themselves, to infinity, by joining one of each at ascending scales, and the proportion of their two side lengths is the golden ratio, an endless decimal that begins with 1.61803399... The little Kite Mosaik lets puzzlers explore all these esoteric concepts in playable and artistic form. After 25 years, they keep providing non-stop fun and discoveries. This year we offer them in silver-framed trays.
Nine Men's Morris
By 1997 Kadon had a popular pavilion at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, and it occurred to us to research some games of historical interest and longevity. The first game Kate ever learned as a child was "Nine Men's Morris", also called Mill, Muhle, Malom, Merelles, and many other variations in different countries, dating back to the Roman Empire and ancient Egypt. So we designed a beautiful wooden board, with a companion game, the medieval Fox & Geese on the back, and Celtic decorations by Chuck Coates to frame them. Fox & Geese includes two games and solitaires, too. It's a classic that captures the strategy of the ages for today's players.
The 66 "octiamonds" are all the distinct ways 8 equilateral triangles can be connected. Our original Iamond Ring (sizes 1 through 7 triangles) was published a decade earlier. We finally got the courage to release its ever so much more difficult next level, size-compatible with the Iamond Ring for mega-constructions. At first we gave it a clear center window, until someone pointed out that it could be filled with the 12 hexiamonds that also form our Iamond Hex set. An irresistible bonus for this center piece. Dedicated to the most profound pursuers of big challenges, teen to adult.
This newest little version of the Snowflake series, a 4x4 selection, came about by popular demand for a smaller, easier form of the beautiful 6x6 Snowflake Super Square introduced a few years earlier. Their whole background story is told there. They are a very happy family, with versions for every level of skill.
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
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
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1997-2022: Big and little
1998-2023: Boards and beauties