Watch PAX West Insider now!

See the best of the show floor, with Outside Xbox

Watch on YouTube
If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Richard Tait, Cranium co-creator, has passed away

Following complications with COVID-19.

Richard Tait stands in front of a variation of party game Cranium at a convention in the early 2000s.
Image credit: Image: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Richard Tait, the co-creator of Cranium and former CEO of the company behind it, has passed away. The 58-year-old once known as the Grand Poobah died of complications from COVID-19 at the age of 58.

His family announced his passing in a short update to his LinkedIn page on July 28th thanking former coworkers, friends, peers and those he inspired for sharing their condolences and support.

“It is with great sadness that we have to inform you of the death of our father, partner, and your friend, Richard Tait. Richard passed away on the morning of Monday, July 25th in his home from continued pulmonary complications due to COVID-19. Richard was an incredible person and a bright light for so many. This is a devastating loss for all of us and he will be greatly missed,” his family wrote.

While Cranium didn't make our list of the best party games, we still think its well worth a gander for your next gathering of friends.

Tait is best known in the tabletop space for co-creating the original Cranium family/party game alongside Whit Alexander. The pair were both executives at Microsoft and left together in 1998 to create the board game that would soon become a massive hit and spawn its own company.

According to The Seattle Times, Tait introduced the first version of Cranium to Microsoft coworkers as a shoebox full of components. The eventual retail product tasked players with carrying out a variety of tasks that ostensibly relied on a broad variety of intellectual strengths - some would require factual logic or knowing triva while others asked for a performance or sculpting with the included tub of clay. The game’s lasting popularity as an approachable party game would spawn dozens of expansions and variations.

Hasbro purchased Cranium, brand, company and employees, for $77.5 million in 2008. Tait continued as an entrepreneur, launching startup incubator BoomBoom Brands. He also worked with Starbucks and most recently was a partner at Seattle-based venture capital fund Valor Siren Ventures.

An obituary posted online by the family hosts a tribute wall and directs well wishers to plant a tree in Tait’s memory.

Topics in this article

Follow topics and we'll email you when we publish something new about them.  Manage your notification settings.

About the Author
Chase Carter avatar

Chase Carter


Chase is a freelance journalist and media critic. He enjoys the company of his two cats and always wants to hear more about that thing you love. Follow him on Twitter for photos of said cats and retweeted opinions from smarter folks.