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Memorial for Game Reviewer and Historian Herb Levy

by W. Eric Martin

Herb Levy, who reviewed games for decades in Gamers Alliance Report and who was a long-time member of the International Gamers Award jury, passed away in mid-March 2023.

Herb was a regular at U.S. conventions, and I saw him at every NY Toy Fair that I attended starting in 2009 when I was running I was only a couple of years into my game-writing career at that point, and it was nice to get advice from someone who knew the ropes.

His son Daniel wrote the following obituary, with editing from Steve Kurzban and approval from Levy’s widow, Lynn “Lamb” Levy:

It is with deep regret that we inform all of Herb Levy’s passing in the early hours of March 11, 2023 at age 73. Herb left us after spending an enjoyable evening playing board games with good friends and wife, Lynn, and passed peacefully in the night.

Herb created Gamers Alliance in 1986 and published quarterly game reviews until his passing. Gamers Alliance Reports (GAR) was the longest continuously published English-language game review newsletter. Herb was a legend in the board game community, writing up reports on game conventions. He was a fixture at the annual International Toy Fair in NYC and the American Game and Puzzle Collectors, winning their 2011 Bradley-Parker Man of the Year award.

Herb had one of the largest collections of board games in North America, rivaling that of his good friend and game author, Sid Sackson. The Levy family is looking for a boardgame website to house the GAR game review archives, as well as the eventual disposition of his massive collection — both for museum donation and sale.

Herb was a master teacher for over 35 years in one of the worst Brooklyn NYC neighborhoods. In retirement, he transferred those superior teaching skills to the game table, leading thousands of games for weekly Friday evening Long Island Gamenites since 1992 and still going strong today, but sorely missing his presence. Herb would patiently teach complicated rules to less-experienced game players. His own winning at the game table always took a back seat to making sure everyone enjoyed themselves. In later years his wife, Lynn, served as a sounding board for teaching games, and she joined in the organized gaming as well.

Herb was also a community leader as he brought people together his entire life, from game nights to family events. He was a great man in every respect. A supportive friend and brother, an excellent father and husband to his beloved Lynn, who spent 51 loving years together as an inseparable team.

After his passing, stories of good deeds and positive memories were shared by friends and relatives — evidence of a life well spent and with a positive purpose.

Though we all will mourn his passing, the legacy Herb leaves behind is unmatched. We will forever feel his presence with every roll of the die, every card drawn, and every game conquered. As Herb would say, “Game on”.


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