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Topic Review
wizard

posted on 28/3/2005 at 05:09 PM

Stuart Kaplan
* Stuart Kaplan is the founder of "U.S. Games Systems". The following is taken from an interview he gave in the Fall 2004 issue of "Games Quarterly" magazine.
Would you tell us how you became a publisher of games?
My career as a games publisher began in earnest in 1968. While working on Wall St., on a whim, I visited the "Nuremberg Toy Fair" in Germany and found a tarot deck with artwork that intrigued me and I brought back a sample. Henry Levy, a buyer at "Brentanos" in New York, placed a small order for the deck and I started printing and importing them from Switzerland. Because a booklet of instructions was required, I researched tarot, which led to my writing the first of my 5 books on tarot cards, including the 3 volume "Encyclopedia of Tarot" that describes and illustrates more than 1,000 different tarot decks from the 15th century to the present. These 5 books to date have sold over one million copies. When I realized the potential for tarot, I decided to leave Wall St. and start the business full time under the name "U.S. Games System".
What drives you?
There is a sign in the offices of U.S. Games Systems that reads, We don't look for people who never fail. We look for people who never give up. I like the employees of U.S. Games Systems to try new things without the fear of failing. No one bats 1000, even Babe Ruth's career average was .342.
Tell us about your vast collection of playing cards.
The collection includes over 60 Napoleonic P.O.W. bone boxes containing dominoes and playing cards. They made these boxes from cow bones from their meals. In 1997 Art and Antiques Magazine chose the collection as one of the 100 treasures in America. The collection also contains hundreds of early card games both British and American and many rare tarot decks.
What do you like to do when you're not working?
Tennis and antiquing. Last month I spent 10 days in Argentina and Uruguay where I was able to purchase 55 tarot books in Spanish which I never knew existed. Someone else asked me what I like to collect and my answer was, What I don't have. Hopefully, at least within the confines of my specialty. One game I love playing as much as possible is the Wizard Card Game, which we publish and was created by Ken Fisher, a talented Canadian game inventor. To date, over one million Wizard Card Games have been sold. The annual International Wizard Tournament took place last July in Toronto and the 2005 tournament will take place in Stamford, CT.
How has the game industry changed in the past several years?
Quite a bit. Important customers have gone out of business. Additionally, we sell in many traditional game and toy stores and a good share of our market in the past has been bookstores who are being swallowed up by the chains. One marketing program we are pushing is game tournaments in stores. We are also offering attractive displays for some of our products. Shelf space in stores is at a premium and it is important to offer high quality products at reasonable prices. We are also branding with important names such as the History Channel
Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?
I've been asked what I'd like to see happen to my collection. When I have traveled to various museums to visit their collections, it is always difficult from a time and accessibility standpoint to have access to many of the items in the collection. For that reason, I have decided that my collection will not be donated to a museum and I would rather see that eventually it would be acquired piecemeal by many people who have an interest in particular items. In this way I know that other people will have many years of enjoyment with the rare items I have been fortunate to own.

Ken Fisher
Ken Fisher was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario on November 5, 1936 the youngest of three sons. The family moved to Toronto in 1939 when Ted the young father enlisted and headed off to Europe at the beginning of World War II.. Betty and the 3 young children Ron, John and Ken struggled to get by, living first in an attic, then a 2 room flat on Jones Avenue in Toronto's east end. In 1945 with the war over Ted returned from overseas and shortly thereafter a daughter, Lynda was born to complete the family. In 1952 the family moved once more, this time to the upscale community of Leaside where the Fisher family rented a basement apartment. Ken recalls, My brother Ron and I slept in the fruit cellar and when my classmates at Leaside High School asked me what kind of car my father drove I said a Lincoln because that was the name emblazoned across the furnace which dominated our kitchen. After 2 years in Leaside the family finally managed to purchase its first house, a semi-detached residence in Don Mills. Ron went on to become a civil engineer, John an architect, Lynda a financial adviser, while Ken became a teacher. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and has taught all grades from 4 to 13 plus adult education. It was likely the educational environment which sparked Ken's interest in information. He often used short quizzes in class to motivate and challenge his students. His use of quizzes even extended to his social life. At functions hosted by Ken and his wife Joan quizzes were popular with prizes going to the winners. Ken began to save the quizzes and eventually submitted them for publication to numerous Canadian Publishers. The consistent reply was that the quizzes should be targeted to a specific audience, i.e. sports, films, geography, etc. Ken however disagreed as he wanted quizzes that everyone could enjoy. He saw his market as the same people who eagerly purchased the popular Book of Lists and Guinness Book of World Records, books which covered a broad range of interests and categories. Turning to the United States he eventually found a publisher in New York, Dembner Books who agreed to publish the quizzes but in order to increase sales Red Dembner felt he needed an established name on the cover. Prolific author Isaac Asimov was sent the manuscript and agreed to lend his name to the book and write the forward. So it was that Ken's first published book, Isaac Asimov presents Super Quiz by Ken Fisher was published in 1982. The book proved to be so popular that it went to an additional six printings and was followed up by Volumes II, III and IV plus two volumes of The Best of Super Quiz and a Super Quiz Canada version. During this same period Ken produced a board game version of Super Quiz which also continued on to a second and third version. Concurrently to these events Ken began writing his daily Super Quiz column for the North American Syndicate which continues to be published daily in over 30 newspapers across Canada and the United States.
Ken has kept busy since his retirement from teaching in 1995, constantly adding to the incredible number of questions and answers that he has published. In addition to providing thousands of new questions for a variety of online sites he generates 65 new questions every week for his syndicated column To supplement his many books and board games he has produced a CD disk titled On This Day which contains 3,650 questions related to daily events worldwide. His CD titled Brainstorm which was released in 2002 contains over 6,000 questions at 3 levels of difficulty in six categories. He was one of a team of writers who developed the questions for CTVs Who Wants to be a Millionaire. There is little doubt that Ken Fisher has asked and answered more questions than anyone, ever.
The story of how Ken created the popular card game Wizard is described in detail in the History of the Game section of the Wizard Guidebook so it shall not be repeated here.

What does Ken Fisher do when he's not writing questions or creating games? Yes, Ken does have a life beyond questions and games. He is a devoted family man and spends most of his spare time with his wife Joan and son Scott. At least once a month Ken and his wife Joan drive from their Toronto home to Niagara Falls to visit their daughter Gaye and son-in-law John. Ken enjoys chess, bridge, and of course Wizard. Surfing the web both for information and for pleasure usually takes up 2-3 hours of most days. Music also is an important element in Ken's life. His taste is eclectic running from Western to Opera. Puccini, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Romberg and Ivor Novello are some of his favorites. Ken reports that he has slowed down physically and rarely participates in athletics nowadays other than swimming. Maintaining the massive cedar hedges around our property is enough physical exercise for me, he says. Other pleasures include enjoying a well-prepared meal complemented by a fine glass of Merlot wine, accompanied by a couple of close friends. I spent 35 years in the teaching profession and I don't regret retiring when I did. It was time to move on.. I feel that a bad day in retirement is better than a good day at work.

Elessar Tetramariner
I played (and won) my first game of Wizard, on the last Thursday of May, 1993 at Mike Glicksohn's house in Toronto. I had taken the train from Ann Arbor, Michigan to attend his annual weekend birthday party, which was in its 17th year.

I loved Wizard from the get-go. It almost cured me from money-betting games like poker, and, 12 years later, I only play poker under sufferance. The challenge is to read the probabilities without anyone coming to pulling out their guns.

After several years of introducing my friends in Ann Arbor, and in Science Fiction fandom all over eastern Ontario, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, I got in touch with U.S. Games (address on the back of the pack in those days) & tracked down Janet Bennett, who was in charge of promotion then. I told her I was a major fan & wanted to get some rules for official tournaments in place, and volunteered to host the first one. She shared my enthusiasm, and passed me to Ken Fisher, whereupon we started codifying the original Official Wizard Tournament Rules. We finally decided what they would be, I put out the call, and had about 40 people from Michigan, Ontario and Ohio show up for the first Official tourney in Ann Arbor. Ken & Joan & members of their family came, and Janet flew out from Connecticut with card decks & promotional materials on behalf of Stuart Kaplan & U.S. Games. I did it again the following year (1997 I think) in Ann Arbor, and again Ken Fisher graciously provided pins & certificates.

Part of my newly-created website in 1997 was devoted to Wizard rules, official ranking points earned, and so on. I kept getting questions, which I gladly answered when I could. (The site is not currently active.) All along, I kept thinking, “We need to get this online, like all those lesser card games. We could convert a large portion of the trick-based card game-playing world in on this & be massive!

I asked many young software developers & code-writers in Ann Arbor to get enthusiastic enough to work at it, and none of them would take the bait. Ken, Stuart, myself and a few others saw the potential. And now Ken, Victor, and the BratClan have made online Wizard a reality! I am so pleased for us all.

After 71/2 years with my partner Shelley (who was instrumental in organizing the first 2 tourneys, and welcoming all-comers at those events and all the time), we parted ways in autumn 2001. I have an abiding interest in many facets, forms & practitioners of Music (my database of recordings currently tells me I have 46,782 songs), and through doing research into the whereabouts of the members of rock/folk/music hall band Stackridge (formed in Bristol, England, 1969) on the internet, I became frien
ds with many old fans on the East Side of the Big Pond in the mid 1990s. I assisted, by spreading the word & linking people up across the planet, to cause the band to reform and tour (albeit not as they once were!). In the spring of 1999, I made my first trip to England in over 24 years to meet the touring band and see them at 6 shows, and putting voices, faces & souls to the names-in-print. When I begged, Send me your obscure, under-produced, never issued recordings and I will make cds of them for us all the response was gleeful and unfiltered. I issued a fans-only, no-profit series of cds. Net profits were sent to the individual band members as royalties long overdue. He made a few friends that way!

Jennie Evans (wife of violinist Mike) asked for my assistance in late 98 to help her put together an Official Stackridge site, including a chatroom/message-exchange site (I helped her find the fans while she was learning the software).

Lesley Shipgood was a 15 year old fan in Wiltshire, of Stackridge beginning in 1971. She helped form the Guildford Mob, who went around to the shows and showed their support in numerous banner-waving, cheerleading & other ways of gleeful, harmless fun. The band adopted her and others, while they played up 300 shows a year up & down the British Isles, as a back-home correspondent/news-sharer. They often looked to her for support when the tours seemed never ending.

When the band fell to pieces in 1976, she thought they’d never be seen again, and moved onwards to become a University graduate in Speech & Language Therapy. Her focus then (as now) was assisting deaf children, who have had surgically inserted Cochlear devices communicate with the Hearing World.

In May 2000, she learned that they had reformed! She wrote a message to the Stackridge website. I responded when she asked, How do I do this? I answered her problem for her and we became internet pals. In the wake of 9/11/2001, Lesley and I began talking as friends by trans-Atlantic telephone. I flew to meet her, see other Stackridge fans and more of England on Nov. 15th. We met at Heathrow Airport for the first time, and soon decided being together was much better than being apart. British Immigration took a lot of convincing, but we won in the end and were married on Feb. 20, 2003. Thus, I have moved my Wizard interests (and everything else!) to Ely, Cambridgeshire, England.

My 4 other not-afore-mentioned interests are vegetarian cooking (I have been veg. since 1972, and have worked as a chef in Chicago and Michigan professionally), etymology (the study of languages), photography (principally of the human form and its interaction with nature), and sampling the fine beers and spirits now available to me here: 4255 miles from Home.

My favourite Latin phrases are Amor Vincit Omnia and Illegitimi Non Carborundum., id est: Love Conquers All and Don't Let The Bastards Wear You Down.

Vic Lawson Sr. (BiggerBrat) and Victor Lawson Jr. (victor1)

To start with, I am not at all sure how our (RoamerZone-AdventurousNetwork) involvement with Wizard would have played out had I not met my wife Deb (SweetBrat) while on a trip to Canada about eight years ago (since more people play the game there and the inventor of Wizard, Ken Fisher, is Canadian). Whenever we would visit Deb's parents in Canada, we would invariably end up playing some kind of card game. About five years ago Deb's parents introduced us to Wizard. I wasn't that keen on the game at first and actually declined to play, preferring to watch. Eventually they talked me into playing and I quickly caught on to how easy it was to mess up the plans of everyone else in the game. After that, we brought a deck back to the states with us where we introduced the game to other friends.

It wasn't long before we had worn out that first deck and were purchasing more decks at Toys R U for friends and ourselves when we went back to Canada. Eventually
Toys R Us ran out of decks and we couldn’t find the decks anywhere. After a prolonged search on the internet, I was able to track down U.S. Games and purchase more decks. At that point I realized there was very little exposure for Wizard, U.S. Games, or an easy method of purchasing Wizard online. After numerous phone calls to U.S Games from us, and numerous phone calls from U.S. Games to Ken Fisher, we were finally able to meet and talk to Ken about creating an online version (web site and game) of Wizard.

RoamerZone-AdventurousNetwork was started approximately eight years ago. We design, create and host web sites on the internet, and create a multitude of business and game software programs. As avid Wizard players, our interest in Wizard goes beyond being the creators of the game and web site. Wizard is the ultimate trump game (to coin a phrase) and we are proud to be part of the Wizard team.

George Wellsbury (Merlin)


Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1954. Growing up as the middle child of 5 children was an interesting experience. You know what they say about the middle child always trying to find his place in the family. I was always one who was looked at as being a little different. I had a tendancy to live in my own little world, amusing myself by reading non conventional books mostly about psychic phenomena and later on became very interested in following my spiritual path (non religious).

In 1986 I moved to Pickering Ontario and was married in 1985 to Judy Stewart and had three children, Jessica (Happy Angel), Brittany (beachbeetle) and Lance (Dumpledore). Most of my early employment was in the food industry, Loblaws, Miracle Food Mart and then IGA. In the early 1990's I chose to change my career path and went back to college to pursue certification in electronics/Computers. After getting out of school I started a small computer home business. I found it frustrating because I could fix the computer but not a small computer network. I then went back to Business College and got my certification in Computer Network Engineering (A+, CNA, CNE). I spent about 12 years as a computer network consultant for many companies such as WSIB (government of Ontario), Sears Canada, Honda Canada. Currently I own a small business called "Small Biz Home Biz United" where I support small businesses and also run a free business networking group. I am currently a Reiki Practitioner, Reiki Hands On Healing". Lesley and I also have a gift basket business called Mom And Kid Stuff.

During the early 90's I was introduced to Wizard by my ex wife's step father, now living in Guelph Ont. Every time we got together we would play Wizard for hours and hours. I bought a few packs of wizard cards and introduced the game to a few of my close friends. In November 2003 I was on the internet and stumbled across the wizard site. I was so excited!! I registered immediately and have been a wizard fan ever since. When I first joined the wizard site I thought by playing with my family and friends that I was not a bad player. But then I started playing online wizard and got my butt kicked continuously! So I thought, Okay...better change my strategies. So I studied the game by watching all the online players at that time and coupled that experience with my own to come up with my own style of play.

I now live in Pickering with my wonderful partner Lesley Roper (karmakarma) and I together we support the game of Wizard by running the Toronto East Wizard Club in Scarborough. We also enjoy attending the Toronto West Wizard Club games in Milton and have made many wonderful friends that we often play with online. Once a year we kick off the season by hosting a Wizard Tournament (Pickto) at our home in Pickering, Ontario. Currently I am an administrator on the Wizard Cards site and host the monthly Top 10 and Mixed Bid online tournaments.

Profile of George (merlin) written by Ken Fisher (wizard) in 2006.
George Wellsbury

I will begin by apologizing for any errors that appear in this description of George Wellsbury as at age 70 my brain, and a lot of other things, dont work as well as they once did. As a caveat I must add that although I know a little something about Georges occupation and family I will restrict this entry solely to matters related to him and to Wizard.
George is better known to most Wizard enthusiasts as merlin because thats his username on the internet. To those of us who are members of the Toronto East and Toronto West Wizard Clubs and anyone else who has attended the annual Wizard tournaments he is known by both appellations.
I am not sure exactly when our paths first crossed but I do know that he has been and still is the most ardent and loyal supporter of the game of Wizard. My apologies to all of the other ardent supporters but George really does rank as the numero uno. He attended the first official annual tournament in Toronto and has attended the last two tournaments which were held in Stamford, CT which is a long way from Georges home base of Pickering, Ontario.
His chauvinism (in a good sense) goes well beyond the norm. When Mr. Wizard who lives in Brockton, Massachusetts hosted a private tournament George did not hesitate to make the long drive from his home to attend. Not only did he attend but he won the tournament as well.
When the two Toronto Wizard Clubs were established George (merlin) readily accepted the onerous task of acting as President for the East club. In addition to his participation and leadership of the Toronto East Club he finds time to attend many of the meetings of the Toronto West Club in Milton. Again this is a 90 minute drive each way on a week-night and takes a special kind of guy to provide such devotion to Wizard.
Earlier this month George, with a lot of family support, was generous enough to host a Wizard tournament at his residence in Pickering. Those who attended are aware of the time and effort that was required to provide such a great time for all.
There is no need to go into detail about Georges contributions to internet play as his achievements are liberally sprinkled throughout the site and are there for all to see. He currently is 3rd in the Worldwide Wizard Rankings, and will soon become the third person ever to attain the prestigious rank of Air Wizard.
The above briefly outlines Georges enthusiasm for, and contributions to the game of Wizard. However George is much more than a player and a booster of Wizard. When a person is as keen and as competitive as George is, it often follows that the competition aspect overrides the social niceties. Not so with George. I have never known him to complain or backbite and he is always sociable and affable whether online or in person. His card play can often be aggressive but he is never bitter about whatever transpires during a game. He frequently has suggestions but they are always constructive and couched in terms that are not critical. A large part of the Wizard experience is the friendly interaction between the players whether online or in person. Georges personality and helpful manner is much appreciated by all.
I have attempted to be as brief as possible but George has contributed so much to the advancement of Wizard that it is difficult to do so. I will however take this opportunity to personally thank him for his friendship and support.

Joan Fisher

As wife of the wizard Joan holds a special place in the annuls of Wizard. She has been there from the start and has made major contributions during the trials and tribulations that marked Wizards pathway through the whacky world of games. But this brief summary is meant to provide a snapshot of Joans world away from Wizard.
Joan was born in Toronto, the third daughter of her parents Horace and Elsie Worley. Her twins sisters, Joyce and Norma had preceded her by 6 years. The Worley family spent many of their years together in a house on Galt Avenue in Torontos east end. The twin sisters were gifted singers and in many respects Joan lived in their shadow for many years. Joan and Ken first met when they were both employed at B/A Oil in Toronto. After their marriage Ken began his teaching career while Joan worked at Imperial Oil. The couple lived in a series of apartments and rented homes before purchasing their first house on Perivale Crescent where they reside to this day. (2009) During the apartment phase Joan gave up her position with Imperial Oil and after a brief respite as a housewife and mother to Scott and Gaye she opened a modeling agency exclusively for children. Her son Scott had done a lot of modeling and television work and Joan saw a need for an agency that would focus just on kids. The agency, known as New Faces quickly gained acceptance and eventually became the largest and most successful of its kind in Canada. After several years the strain of 12 hour days and 6-day weeks prompted Joan to sell the agency and return to the life of a mother and wife.
So what is Joan up to now? Nowadays Joan enjoys playing bingo and the slots whenever possible. Reading and television are also part of her routine. In between she provides glorious culinary dishes for her family and frets and worries over her 8 cats. Two are indoor cats while the other 5 are adopted cats from the valley behind the house. And, oh yes, she continues to play Wizard with her husband Ken (wizard) and a few friends. I could tell you so much more about this wonderful woman but I think this will suffice for nowwizard (Joans husband)

Doug Johnson
(DougJ)

I was born in Wolfeville Nova Scotia, 19 June 1946, however spent most of my 'at-home' years in Yarmouth, N.S. During my high school years, I was actively involved in Air Cadets, Army Cadets, Militia and civilian instructor for the Air Cadets, so I guess no one was suprised when I joined the Canadian Forces in 1968. I initially joined as a truck driver, one of the few trades open at the time, and was initially posted to CFB Gagetown, NB with 3 Svc Batallion; a couple of years later I 're-mustered' to Communicator Research as a signals analyst and was stationed at CFS Masset, BC, CFS Gander, NL where I met my lovely wife Margaret - we then were posted to CFS Bermuda for two years (no children - what a honeymoon!), then back to CFS Masset for 3 years; CFB Kingston for 5 years at the Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics as instructor/supervisor for an advanced signals analysis course, then on to CFS Leitrim, ON as the communication satellite analyst supervisor. I retired from the CF in 1991 and 'moved over' to another DND entity, the Communications Security Establishment, Canada, where I have continued to be involved in satellite communications work.

I was introduced to Wizard by my wife's family in Newfoundland in the early nineties - it was a dog-eat-dog experience - I didn't know her mother knew such words, much less use them! Over the years we have played with family and friends at every opportunity. I first stumbled across the Wizard web site in 2005, but after many hours of 'waiting', never could get into a game. Then in March 2006, I 'rediscovered' the site, got in my first on-line game and have been playing fifty or so games each month.
I feel a special affinity to the group of players that was active in 2006, most of whom still form the core of what is Wizard on-line today. To me, they epitomize the true spirit of Wizard - win when you can, but most of all enjoy the game and the camaraderie that goes with it.

Keith Gill (Mr. Wizard)

Born and raised in Brockton, Massachusetts, just south of Boston, I am proud to be one of the few Americans to be inducted into the Wizard Hall of Fame. I am the older brother of Dr. Wizard, winner of the first Stamford Tournament, and the nephew of Ms. Wizard, winner of the second Stamford Tournament.

I was first introduced to the game by Ms. Wizard in 2002. She picked up a few card games at a small store in Massachusetts in search of a new, exciting challenge that would allow us to harmlessly attack one another. Wizard was that game. The early games were ruthless as we werent quite sure what we were doing and we hadnt yet been introduced to the wonders of quick 3 and 4 player games. Thankfully, the game was just the right fit for us and we were poppin aces and dumping wizards in no time.

In 2003, Ms. Wizard came across the website in its early years. At the time, there were VERY few online players, so when she sent me the link, it was easy to guess which of the usernames was hers - we figured it would be fun to have complementary usernames. We grew close with the small group of players and were shocked that we were actually playing with the creator of the game.

When Ken hosted the first of the yearly live tournaments in 2004, we jumped at the opportunity to play with our online friends in a competitive environment. At that tourney, we introduced Ken Fisher and other players to bidding coins. Ever since Ms. Wizard taught us the game, we have always used coins to denote our bids so that we wouldnt have to pass the scorecard around throughout the hand. Ken liked the idea and decided to have official Wizard coins produced although we failed at getting him to put Team USA on the backs of them. :D To date, some form of Team USA, which consists of Ms. Wizard, whiza, Dr. Wizard, Wiz-Pop, and myself, has attended each and every annual tourney.

Outside of Wizard, my success lies on the track. For the past 5 years, I have been on the cross country and track teams of Stonehill College, a small, private Division 2 college in Easton, Massachusetts. I am the schools first 3-season All-American and indoor New England Champion. In 2008, I was named National Track Athlete of the Year and was highlighted in Sports Illustrateds Faces in the Crowd. My personal best in the mile is 4:03.43. My goal has always been to break 4 minutes for the mile, but I have been unable to heal an Achilles injury that has been bothering me for the past two years and I am unsure if Ill ever be able to run again.

In 2009, I will be graduating from Stonehill with a degree in Accounting. However, I dont want to be an accountant, so maybe I could become a professional Wizard player instead? :P


Ken McCoy

Ken McCoy was deservedly inaugurated into the Wizard Book of Fame in 2007. The book was established to honor those who have been responsible for the success of the game and/or have achieved extraordinary success in playing the game. Although some members qualify only in one of the required areas Ken qualifies in both. He has not only made a major contribution to the success of the game by establishing and promoting the Cambridge Wizard Club and conducting online tournaments as a site administrator but has also attained the rank of Arch Wizard (600+ Master Points) and for a period of time was ranked #1 Worldwide. Ken also acted as co-director of the 2008 Wizard Tournament in Niagara Falls which is considered by most to be the biggest and the best Wizard Tournament to date. His enthusiasm and willingness to go the extra mile is greatly appreciated. After much persuasion Ken has agreed to provide us with some personal information about himself. The following is a slightly edited version of data provided by Ken in response to my questions:

What can you tell us about your family and background?

My Father was born in the village of Troy, Ontario in 1920.(died 1984). He would point out the house where he was born, "right on the kitchen table", every time we drove past. There were 7 kids in his family. My Mother was born in Barnsley, England in 1928 (Died 2002). She was 5 months old when her family immigrated to Canada. She had two sisters and one brother. From all those aunts and uncles I have approximately 1 Ton of cousins.

As for my family, my parents had a total of 10 kids of which I am the 2nd youngest. I was born on Oct 11/64 in Brantford Ontario. My oldest brother was 16 the day I was born. I was 7 when my first sister got married (Sharon, Nightrunner). I was an uncle by the age of 9 and the nieces and nephews just kept coming.

My eldest brother built a house next door to my parents; another brother lived across the road and my sister lived around the corner. Two houses over was my aunt. Around the other corner were my other aunt and uncle and 5 of my cousins. Of those cousins one was a year older than me and one was 7 months younger.. The 3 of us spent lots of time together growing up. I would estimate that 80-90% of all my relatives lived within 30 miles of me so I would say my family was quite close.

I met my wife, Trish (Tishy) in the 1980s and married very shortly afterwards. We have 2 kids, Laura (Pinky Baby) and Josh (Hazardous). I also have 1 Grandson that is the joy of my life, Brody (online name not yet determined).

What do you like to do when youre not working?

Surprisingly tough question to answer. Sleep I guess.

I work long days; usually 10 - 12 hours a day therefore do not do a lot when I finish work. I try to find time to play a few games of Wizard in the evening. I have my regular shows I watch on TV. Monday night I have to watch Corner Gas. Wednesday I watch the new episodes of Lost, Being Erica and Law & Order. Thursday of course is Survivor.

When I was a few years younger I was more active but back troubles made me relax. For several years I coached a Slo-Pitch team that my wife and I played on. The highlight of that was the year we won the Championship. I also was a Minor Hockey Referee for several years in Cambridge. Of all the things I used to do on a regular basis I miss that 2nd most of all

What would you like your life to be like 10 years from now?

I really hope I am still around in 10 years. Not meaning to get too philosophical however.

Life is what happens when your busy making other plans - John Lennon

I really do believe there is a lot of truth in that. Too many times people spend so much time planning their future and thinking about what ifs that they don't take the time to enjoy the fine moments in their lives that are happening in the now. I myself have been guilty of that at times in the past and just try to enjoy the good things I have. I do have lots of those. So with that said; Looking forward to having my mortgage paid off is all that comes to mind when I think about that.

How do you picture yourself in retirement?

White Cadillac and a Fedora

What got you started on Wizard and what kept you motivated to participate?

The first time I played Wizard was about 12 years ago at my mother's against my mother and a couple Aunts and Uncles. By hand 3 my Bid went as follows. I am going to bid 1 again because eventually I have to be right". I was wrong again and thought it was a stupid game. It was several years after that my neighbour got me playing and I got hooked on it. On Saturday Oct 18/03 I ran out of scoresheets. On Sunday Oct 19/03 I decided to go hunting on the internet for scoresheets when I stumbled across the Wizard Site. The rest after that is pretty much in the Record Books.

Why did you start the Cambridge Wizard Club and what are your thoughts on its future?

The Cambridge Wizard Club was originally started in Milton on Thursday September 22/05. The thought at the time was to have one in West Toronto and one in East Toronto. There were two of us present that were willing to take on the responsibilities of President, Linda (Spicy) and myself but neither of us was real eager. Ken Fisher had the solution: cut the cards and high card is President and low card is Vice President. I think I drew a King. We managed to stumble through that first year. Our biggest problem was sufficient numbers. I was very hesitant to start up again for year 2 wondering if it was worth the effort. After some prodding from a few people I decided I would give it a go. Year 2 was much better and our average attendance increased significantly and in year 3 our average number of players per month was around 20. For our 4th year I moved the Club to Cambridge since the majority of our players seemed to be from this area. I am hopeful that numbers will continue to increase.

Have you developed any special relationships due to your participation in Wizard?

Actually yes. One person that has earned a great deal of respect from me is Ken Fisher. In the past when I have had issues with the Wizard Club Id fire off an email to him. Almost always he was quick to respond with advice on what to do. Usually the advice ends with something like Whatever you decide is fine as you are the President From that point forward I knew that whatever I decided he would back me up. Both of my Grandfathers died before I was 3 years old and Ken Fisher is like that Grandfatherish gentleman that is always there with his wisdom, kindness and generosity.

There are many other very special people that I have met through "Wizard" but I will restrict my comments to just a few. George (Merlin) & Lesley (Karma) were quite helpful to me when our Wizard Club was in its infancy. It was with their help that I was able to build it up to what it is today. I have always found them to be genuinely sincere people. One of the great things about Wizardfest each year is getting to meet some of the people with whom you play online. In Niagara Falls in 2007 the highlight for me was meeting Wert and Magic Girl. I found them to be even nicer in person than they are online.


Marko Sapiano
Wizard is a great game. I am so glad that I was introduced to it originally by my mother-in-law and then encouraged to play it by my good friend who goes by the name of Sladist. I joined the website in 2006 and started playing whenever I could. I noticed that there was a club that you could join and attended. There I met Merlin and Wizard and a bunch of other players who showed me how fun playing in tournaments can be. The competition was high and I was out very early, but I learned some strategies and played more online and tried to get better at it. I joined the club and before long I was asked to help out. I became the Vice President of the club and my first order of business was to move it away from Scarborough and into Durham where I could get more of my family and friends involved. The club is growing due to KarmaKarma and Merlins dedication and determination to teach more people the game and get them to come out and play. The first time I attended Wizardfest in 2007, I landed myself at the final table and ended up in 5th place.
At the time of this profile I was fourth on the Wizard Status Board, as I like to call it. I was the fourth player to achieve Arch status and in the last 2 years or so I am second in achieving the most MP. To my surprise in 2008 I was inscribed into the Wizard Book of Fame. I owe a lot to my wife and kids who have allowed me to spend time away from them to play. They are the best! In the Fall of 2007 after Trapizoid won back to back Wizard Fest tournaments I got an idea to write an interview with him, without him. Macs Moments was created and as of today it is included in the monthly newsletter. I enjoy writing them, but I may have to come up with something new soon. After awhile it stops being funny and will jump the shark.
I have met some wonderful players, some I have gotten to know, some I look forward to meeting, but mostly I enjoy watching different players play in different ways. Growing up, I played sports, but I really like hockey and tennis. Accomplishing 2 proud moments: winning the Pickering Tennis club championship in tennis and leading my triple A hockey team in goals and points scored in a year. However lately I enjoy the mind games like chess and scrabble. Im a geek jock and proud of it!






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