A life lived well: Alan Calhamer and the story behind Diplomacy


Alan Calhamer (pictured above, in younger days), once was a genius graduate of Harvard University, attended law school (dropping out), thought he might end up teaching history, ended up retiring from being a letter carrier for 25 years in La Grande Park, California. Along the way, he had one great achievement. He designed the game Diplomacy. A recent article in Chicago Magazine, “All in the Game” by Edward Mclleland, tells us the rest of the Alan Calhamer’s life story. I found the article very poignant, and it concludes with the question: Is a life worth one great achievement? I’m sure Alan thinks so, somehow.

His childhood friend, Gordon Leavitt, sums it up nicely: “If somebody had written a book that’s still in print 50 years later, that’d be quite an accomplishment. That’s what Allan did. He invented something that’s still being used 50 years later.”

If you like boardgames, especially Diplomacy, read this article. It’s a very human story.

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