Sandy Petersen: Game Designer

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Sandy Petersen Game Designer

Carl Sanford “Sandy” Joslyn Petersen is an internationally known game designer and writer.

Petersen was born on September 16, 1955, in St. Louis, Missouri. He served as missionary to Los Angeles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He earned his bachelor’s degree in zoology from Brigham Young University. He also completed a couple of years of graduate studies. In 2009, he taught game design to graduate students at Southern Methodist University.

He became a fan of horror author H. P. Lovecraft when he found a World War II Armed Services edition of The Dunwich Horror and Other Weird Tales in his father’s library. In 1974, he became interested in role-playing games thanks to the popular Dungeons & Dragons. He jumped into the game industry in the early 1980s when he designed paper role-playing games, such as Runequest. His best known, Call of Cthulhu, published in 1981, has been translated into several languages and is still played worldwide. During that period of time, he also created many supplements and game aids. He also published the book Petersen’s Field Guide to Cthulhu Monsters.

In 1988, he entered the computer game world, working for Microprose, id Software, and Ensemble Studios. He contributed to award-winning games such as Civilization, Doom, Doom 2, Quake, Rise of Rome, Age of Kings, The Conquerors, Age of Empires 3, and The War Chiefs. He is also credited for work on Darklands, Hyperspeed, Lightspeed, Sid Meier’s Pirates!, Sword of the Samurai, and Halo Wars.

In 1990 he was inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame. He was a partner with a startup video game company called Barking Lizards as well as the game company Green Eye Games. He is the creator of the board game Cthulhu Wars, based on Lovecraft’s book he read as a young man, and Glorantha: The Gods War.

Petersen and his wife are the parents of five children. He and his four sons are all Eagle Scouts.