The year was 1962 and the place was Christchurch, New Zealand. Royal New Zealand Air Force pilot Robert (Bob) Moore was doing his training, flying over the city. Bob used the 206’ (63m) Christchurch Cathedral Spire as a landmark during his manoeuvres. He marvelled at the tiny toy-like buildings below. It fascinated him how the buildings interlocked so perfectly, like a jigsaw.
Photo of Bob Moore in Harvard plane that he viewed Christchurch from.
Years later, in 1979, his memories of that experience became an idea for a strategy game involving players trying to build interlocking buildings around a cathedral. Now players could experience how ancient cities defended themselves against outside invasions and what the inner competition for landowners was like when playing this multi award-winning 2-player strategy game.
Image of Inspiration for Cathedral as Bob saw the city buildings.
After placing the Cathedral piece on the board, the object for both players is to occupy as much space as possible within the bordering walls. Taking turns, three-dimensional wooden mediaeval buildings and tower pieces are placed within the city. The more space a player holds, the less chance your opponent has to win.
Bob at the Auckland Easter show 1981.
During a trip to New Zealand, American entertainer John Davidson was entranced by the wooden Cathedral game and brought it to the USA market until Family Games America Inc. took over world-wide distribution in ’88.
As the years have gone by, Cathedral has gone through many changes, from wood to plastic to stone and back to wood. Bob Moore is no longer with us, and the Christchurch cathedral spire was destroyed in 2010 during the earthquake. Yet Cathedral is marking the 40th Anniversary of its founding.
All goes to show that people with their head in the clouds can prove to be extremely grounded!
Get your copy of Cathedral here on Amazon.
Photo credits: Family Games America Inc./Family Bob Moore
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One response to “Inventor with his head in the clouds creates down-to-earth strategy game”
Cathedral. I love this game.