TAC-TICKLE: A Challenging Game of Pure Strategy

This set of eight games was developed by Professor Harry D. Ruderman of Hunter College High School in New York City to teach children the ideas of strategy in an entertaining setting. The basic game and its variations are explained on a single sheet of paper divided into two parts, both written by Ruderman. The first part, TAC-TICKLE: A Challenging Game of Pure Strategy, was written in 1965 and the second, Additional Variations of Tac-Tickle, was written in 1967. A trademark for TAC-TICKLE was registered in February 1968 but was later canceled.
The kit includes eight wooden cubes, four red and four blue, with some faces containing letters and some faces blank. All the cubes are stored in a foam mat with twenty holes. The kit also includes a cardboard mat with fourteen white circles and eight circles containing the “Games for Thinkers” logo. All the variations in the first set of instructions aim to get three cubes of the same color in a line and ignore the letters, while those in the second set of instructions require that one cube of each color has a letter on the top face, and describe alternate, more complicated, ways that the cubes with letters are allowed to move.
The game and the sheet of instructions were accompanied by a sheet listing “GAMES For THINKERS” that were available from WFF ‘N PROOF Publishers and a postcard offering a free one-year subscription to the WFF ‘N PROOF Newsletter.
WFF ‘N PROOF Publishers and Newsletter were outgrowths of the ALL (Accelerated Learning of Logic) Project that developed mathematical games under a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The director of ALL was Layman E. Allen of Yale University Law School. In 1968 Allen moved from Yale to the University of Michigan with a joint appointment in the Law School and the Mental Health Research Institute, where he continued his work on instructional games. Over the years the name and location of the distributor of the TAC-TICKLE changed, although the phrase “Games For Thinkers” has been associated with it from before Allen’s move to Ann Arbor. Price lists in the WFF ‘N PROOF Newsletters (part of the documentation in accession 317891) indicate that at first the game was distributed by WFF ‘N PROOF in New Haven, Connecticut, and sold for $1.00. In 1971 the game was distributed by WFF ‘N PROOF through Maple Packers in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania. A firm called Learning Games Associates of Ann Arbor later took over distribution of the game and donated this example to the Smithsonian in 1975. The Accelerated Learning Foundation of Fairfield, Iowa, then became the distributor.
Games For Thinkers Website.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1967
Ruderman, Harry D.
Learning Games Associates
place made
United States: Michigan, Ann Arbor
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
wood (overall material)
paper (overall material)
overall: 1.5 cm x 11.5 cm x 11 cm; 19/32 in x 4 17/32 in x 4 11/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Learning Games Associates
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Mathematical Recreations
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


Add a comment about this object