Friday, June 22, 2012

S. Craig Taylor has died

Very sad news comes via Boardgamegeek that game designer S. Craig Taylor has passed away. While I never met Mr. Taylor, I was a big fan of his many fine games. For quite some time his Wooden Ships & Iron Men was a particular favorite of mine, but there were many others. He seemed to hit  a sweet spot between history and playabilty in his designs. Sad news indeed.


  1. I had the honor of working with Craig at Avalon Hill during the last years of the company, and the far greater honor of calling him a friend. My favorite memory of Craig is seeing him after I'd left Avalon Hill at an Historicon and learning to play his new "Sergeants!" game. Halfway through some hare-brained, off-the-wall tactic I was trying that was actually working, Craig cracked up laughing and said, "Man, I forgot how much I love playing games with you, Hawthorne!"
    Praise from Caesar.
    Craig encouraged me to keep writing, keep designing, and keep having fun.
    He adored my wife Maria and she was thoroughly charmed by him, and he spoiled my dogs rotten whenever he saw them; one of them took to sitting by his desk at lunch time on the rare days I took them to work with me.
    Craig had an awesome work ethic - everybody on the Hill did; Greenwood, McNamara, Martin, Kibler - and his designs were always literate, clear (to those who had the wit to read the rules as he wrote them and not try to "interpret" them) and more important, they were FUN.
    I kept trying to catch up with Craig at the last few conventions I attended, but I always seemed to just miss him. Rarely over the years, we'd grab a quick phone call or exchange e-mails.
    Craig was just a great person, and I was lucky to know him.
    Gaming has lost one of the best friends it ever had.
    And so have I.

    1. Don, I also was saddened by Craig passing away, let me share a couple of my Craig memories.
      First, as young man of 16 back in the winter of 1972, raised on Combat! and Airfix HO/OO figures, I read in the Sunday edition of the Atlanta newspaper of a group of guys who met Saturdays at a Decatur, GA hobby store. The next Satuday, in the cold rain, I walked 4 miles to Decatur, found the store, went in, was directed upstairs to the now unused observation room for the slot car tracks downstairs. Entering the upstairs room I found such guys as Phil Poulos, Jim Atwood, and others all seemingly being led by a Kool cigarette chain smoking, Coke swilling hurricane of activity........Craig Taylor. Without a doubt one of the best days of my life. As a result of that day, I was able to spend countless Saturdays over the next 7 to 8 years playing houserules for a Nap sailing wargame........became Wooden Ships and Iron Men, a Nap land wargame.......became Nap's Battles, a WW2 air game........became Dauntless, an Ancients game, an ACW game, a 7 Years War game, all using the fantastic houserules of Craigs, rules which always seemed to correctly mesh the balance between being historically correct and at the same time just plain fun to play!!!!!!!!!!!!! A harder fete to do than most people know. I still have every set of houserules we used in a folder somewhere.
      My second memory is a humorous tale of gaming. We were playing 25mm Naps, and there was a new guy to the club. Well, Craig and this new guy were kinda facing off on the tabletop, their troops happened to be opposite each other. Craig, blessed with superior troops should have been having an easy time with the new guy yet was just taking a beating, seemed to be rolling good, yet was taking as many if not more casualties. Finally Craig yells out loud, reaches over, picks up a 1" by 2" stand of the guys infantry and calls out the fact that the guy had 4 figures per stand instead of the allowed 3. Craig had spend several turns facing an opponent who was massing firepower against him that wasn't allowed, but Craig didn't discover the innocent error until it was way too late. Don, the look on Craig's face was priceless. just priceless. seldom had the king, the rules master, the lord of tactics been so massively routed.

      Again, as with you and anyone who was lucky enough to have gamed with this man, he will be missed if for no reason than his gaming.


  2. I just learned of his death this morning. Craig and I were roomates in college and later while living in Atlanta. He was as good a friend as anyone can be and I will miss him. If anyone knows about the funeral arrangements or how to contact his sister, it would mean a great deal to me!