“Diplomacy” board game creator Allan Calhamer has died, his family has confirmed. The Harvard University graduate was 81. Calhamer reportedly passed away in a hospital in a Chicago suburb on Feb. 25.
“He was brilliant and iconoclastic and designed this game that’s played around the world, and he’s adored by nerds throughout the world,” his daughter, Selenne Calhamer-Boling, tells the Associated Press. “But at the end of the day he was a great dad. He was at all the T-ball games and all the screechy, horrible orchestra concerts and all the klutzy ballet recitals. I guess that’s how I’ll remember him.”
Calhamer was best known for inventing “Diplomacy” while studying at Harvard in the 1950s. The game is similar to “Risk” except it doesn’t have dice and relies largely on negotiating. Famous fans of “Diplomacy” include Henry Kissinger, Walter Cronkite and President John F. Kennedy, AP reports.
“I always think of it as such an intellectual game because it’s so strategic,” Calhamer-Boling says. “But what I’m seeing over and over again in these emails [sent in following Calhamer’s death] is that the recurring theme is: ‘I was a really really nerdy awkward kid who had trouble relating to people, but because ‘Diplomacy’ required interpersonal skills and required you to get people to do what you wanted them to do that’s how I built my social skills.'”
Calhamer is survived by his wife and their two daughters.