New Games Timeline

John O'Connell and Bill Michaelis came up with this working draft of the history of New Games and the New Games Foundation. Please let me know if you have any information that would make it more complete and/or accurate.


Please use this e-mail address: new games at todd strong dot com (delete the spaces and the @ and . where needed)



New Games Timeline (draft)



Please consider this timeline as a work in progress. There are lots of omissions and possibly some inaccuracies, as well. Looking at items more closely, one can see that both Barbara Naiditch and Dale Le Fevre were hired in both 1975 and 1976. My hope is to make this as comlete and accurate as possible. It's also a working document and the items should not be taken as undisputed facts.


WWIII; “Trips Festival?” – Stewart Brand


  • First NG Tournament
  • Gerbode Preserve
  • Stewart Brand, Pat Farrington, Wavy Gravy, et al
  • PBS/TVTV Video of the First NG Tournamen
  • 1974

  • Second NG Tournament, Gerbode Preserve
  • Spring 1974 – Pat Farrington
  • John O’Connell gets involved acts as referee for 2nd Tournament
  • Burton Naiditch at arts area.
  • CBS Evening News w/Walter Cronkite coverage
  • ABC TV, film on NG, “If You Were a Foot?”
  • NGF Incorporated
  • Also working on promotion of small ‘Tournaments’ in local areas
  • Visitacion Valley Playground Project, San Francisco, -- local events.
  • 1975

  • Third NG Tournament, Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park = 10,000 estimated – Pat Farrington
  • Dale Le Fevre joins NG as an organizer. Burton joins; John takes hiatus
  • Burton Naiditch and Dale Le Fevre begin working in Foundation w/Pat
  • Andrew Fleugelman and John O’Connell (as NGF Editor) begin work on the New Games Book
  • Bill Michaelis submits a box of games materials, Bernie de Koven submits games, little girl submits “The Christmas Game.”
  • Burton and John take over NGF after Pat leaves to Australia to run program in Victoria.NGF left $70K in debt.
  • Set up office in “The Ecology Center,” Barbary Coast, SF
  • Barbara Naiditch and Trina Merriman hired.

  • John begins development of NG Training Program
  • Burton seeks grants.
  • The Whole Earthball published in newsprint tabloid format
  • Burton develops the very complex design of the silk screened Earthball w/continents
  • 1976

  • Dale Le Fevre hired as Associate Director
  • Barbara Naiditch joins staff
  • Fourth NG Tournament and Bicentennial Celebration, ‘Rifle Range,’ GGNRA, Marin.
  • The New Games Book is published, Headland Press/Doubleday-Dolphin; Andrew Fluegelman editor; first printing of 10,000, quickly followed by another 40k
  • NG Training Program begins w/4 programs, one at ‘Games Preserve’/Bernie; one at Cal Poly Pomona/Bill; one in Oakland/Marcelle Weed: one in New York/Long Island
  • NGF moves to store front in Glen Park, SF
  • Trina Merriman joins staff
  • Pam Cleland joins staff
  • 1977

  • Burton secures three year Mott Foundation Support Grant
  • NG Training Program blossoms into major Foundation activity
  • Todd Strong joins staff
  • Training Program Fine Tuned w/input from Bernie de Koven, Bill Michaelis, Marcelle Weed, Todd Strong and others.
  • Fall of 1977 the NGF offers thirty trainings in ten weeks. Three trainings given each weekend, one each in the East, the Midwest, and the West of the US.
  • ’Backward Boston’ Training, Chuck Conn, Steve Butler, et al
  • National Parks Service ‘Interpretation Service’ Training @ Unicoi State Park in Georgia; Burton, John, Bernie, Cyndy Yoshitomi
  • Bernie invited to become the 3rd Director after Games Preserve Program
  • Burton develops NG ‘Slide Show,’ which becomes element of the Training Program
  • Training Program begins recruiting player-teachers from around the country as members of the NG Trainers Cadre
  • 1978

  • NGF moves to house on Arguello St., in Inner Sunset, SF, ‘Big Time’ office
  • Barbara Naiditch develops New Games News Letter
  • Burton starts NG ‘Sales Program,’ books, t-shirts, games equipment.  Foundation holds the trademark to the “Earthball.”
  • Spring of 1978 training program extended to sixteen weeks. Again, three trainings per weekend.
  • NGF buys a Toyota Corona station wagon as a staff vehicle. Todd absconds with vehicle (with blessings of all involved) to make a 20k mile road trip in four months.
  • August 1978 - Trainers' Conference, Headlands GGNRA, Marin County
  • The Well-Played Game by Bernie De Koven
  • NG Newsprint Tabloids, Ron Jones
  • International spread

  • Deutsche-Sportbund Representatives visit US; John & Bill lead training with them, adding to international extension
  • Dale LeFevre takes NG to UK (and ultimately to 33 other countries as a NG Field Rep
  • 1979

  • NG Trainings and Festivals held in Europe, Canada and Australia, as well as US
  • NG Field Representative Program inaugurated
  • FONG/Friends of developed
  • August 1979 - Trainers' Conference, Estes Park, Colorado
  • Friends of New Games (FONG) membership program inaugurated
  • Burton develops New Games Catalog
  • Deutsche-Sportbund Program at ‘Der Grugepark’ in Essen, Germany (John leads training and festival with several thousand people.)
  • First New Games ‘Camp’ – aka advanced training, at Fellowship Farm in PA.
  • Contract/Group and ‘Open Trainings continue to grow – around 50 per year.
  • 1980

  • Pam Cleland takes over as NGF Director, Burton leaves NGF and John shifts to become head trainer.
  • The Earthball Lawsuit’ begins, (Denison University, Ohio)
  • More New Games published, First printing 65,000 copies
  • The New Games Book goes into its 7th printing (750,000 copies, (second only to ‘Foxfire Book 1’;) combined book sales eventually exceed 1,000,000 copies.
  • Pam Cleland, Bill Michaelis & Ray Murray – become Editorial Board with Andrew Fleugelman, Editor.
  • Hundreds of New Games Festivals conducted around the US.
  • The New Games Book and More New Games! are translated into German by Ahorn Verlag and published in Germany
  • Nancy Kretz takes over as Director.
  • Lawsuit (Denison University, Ohio) is settled through NGF insurance coverage.
  • 1983

  • Helen Meier hired as Director
  • Nancy briefly resumes role as part time Director as the Board of Directors begins the process to dissolve NGF.
  • Final training programs conducted.
  • Todd and John put in proposals to reinvent the foundation, but Board decides to shut it down.
  • 1985

  • NGF officially dissolved by Board of Directors [Ray Murray, Chair; Andy Grimstad, Jim Dutcher, Marcia Taylor,].
  • Assets, -- NG books supplies, mailing list, library, -- turned over to National YMCA.


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    Date Website Was Last Updated: July 2, 2019