The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America
|Layman Allen||Calendar of Events||Outstanding Senior||Down Memory Lane||Past AGazines|
R.I.P. Layman Allen
It is with great sadness that we report the recent passing of Layman Allen, the Founder of Academic Games. He created WFF ‘N PROOF, EQUATIONS, and ON-SETS and started the Michigan League of Academic Games.
As a law professor at Yale in the early 1960s, Layman felt that the legal establishment was writing ambiguous laws – laws that were not clear or intended by the writer. So he invented WFF ‘N PROOF as a means of teaching law students to think logically.
Dr. Allen moved to Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan shortly after WFF ‘N PROOF was published. While teaching at the Law School, he was approached by others to expand his logic game to accommodate mathematical practices and skills normally taught in school curricula. With the help of Dr. Joan Ross, Layman created a Resource Allocation Game called EQUATIONS – The Game of Creative Mathematics and introduced it into the schools in Ann Arbor. Studies were done that showed that regular playing of EQUATIONS increased students’ math skills significantly.
In the meantime, Layman’s younger brother, Robert, started Academic Games leagues in their hometown of Pittsburgh and in Fort Lauderdale, FL. With his assistant, Larry Liss, Bob conducted the first Academic Games National Tournament in Fort Lauderdale in 1966 with WFF ‘N PROOF and EQUATIONS as the featured games. Layman introduced a second offshoot of WFF ‘N PROOF, ON-SETS, at the second nationals in 1967.
A few years later, he convinced the Mathematics Coordinator of the Detroit Public Schools to use EQUATIONS to teach math in all middle schools. With this impetus, the Michigan league quickly developed into the largest in the land, a distinction it still enjoys.
It is impossible to measure the debt that the Academic Games community owes to Mr. Layman Allen. While he will be sorely missed, his legacy lives on.
Calendar of Events
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Outstanding Senior: Trevor Wood
Congratulations to Trevor Wood of the Franklin Area School District in Pennsylvania. He finished an 11-year career in Academic Games by winning an Outstanding Senior Award at the 2018 Nationals in Knoxville. Here are excerpts from his nomination by his coach, Jim Ivell, attesting to his prowess as a player as well as his leadership qualities.
Trevor has been undefeated in Equations for ten straight years. He has also excelled in LinguiSHTIK, Propaganda, and On-Sets. He played Theme for the first time this year and won the Senior Division.
He has organized practices at his home for his own team and players from nearby districts. He has also mentored all the younger players at Franklin High since he was in the Elementary Division. He has instructed the games to all of my Junior and Senior Division players for the past five years. At a Nationals training day for players, he has been the instructor for On-Sets and Equations for players in the league for the past two years. His love of the games has been evident in his willingness to teach his competitors the strategies necessary to win. He exemplifies the qualities we hope to leave our students. His absence in my program will be felt by all the remaining players as he routinely spends his lunch sparring with the younger players.
Trevor has qualified [for nationals] for nine straight years. His caring attitude has encouraged younger players since he began the games. He speaks at (or above) the level of our coaches in the math games. He is a humble young man with every reason to be the opposite.
Down Memory Lane
In August 1968, the Academic Games Rules Committee held its first meeting in Turtle Creek, PA, at the home of Layman and Bob Allen’s parents. Present in addition to Layman and Bob were Larry Liss (FL), Jim Davis (PA), Gene Brown (PA), and Brother Neal Golden (LA). The outcome of the meeting was the first set of Tournament Rules for the games played at the national tournament: WFF ‘N PROOF, EQUATIONS, Propaganda, and On-Sets. The biggest change in any game resulting from the meeting was a richer set of EQUATIONS variations for each age division. Here are some of those variations. (Note what the divisions were in those days.)
ELEMENTARY (Grade 6-below)
JUNIOR (Grades 7-9)
SENIOR (Grades 10-12) – all the Junior variations plus the following.