My business partner of 17 years, Satish Pillalamarri, recently lost a battle to cancer. His passing has left a big hole in the lives of everyone at North Star. Our team has shared many tears together. I can only imagine what his wife and family are going through. I've never met anyone who engenders more love from the people around him. Satish was kind, trusting, and generous with his time. He was also very creative, humorous, and had wonderful charisma.
Satish was looking forward to being a dad. The last text I received from Satish has pictures of his newborn. Unfortunately, Satish was in the ICU and was never able to meet his son. He would have been a wonderful dad.
This is a photo memorial to Satish and our time together. I'm also hoping to bring attention to a scholarship fund for his son. Several people from the North Star team (Scott Rencher, Luke Warren, Matt Mariani, and Steve Crook) helped get it off the ground. All of them touched by their time with Satish.
Satish joined me in a summer internship to get North Star Games off the ground. Cranium was big at the time. Satish planned to crush them.
We took time off school to go to Toy Fair in New York. We had no idea what we were doing, but we were full of hope, and had a great time doing it.
After graduation, I somehow convince Satish to join me as a co-president of North Star Games. Our first job was to collate 2,500 copies of Cluzzle in my apartment living room with the help of our generous MBA classmates.
MBA Sweat Shop
During this time, Satish would refer to my apartment as the MBA Sweat Shop. Luckily for us, the recession made it hard for our classmates to find a job. They were happy to gather for pizza, beer, and good company.
Satish and I were also testing North Star's next game, which would go on to sell nearly 2 million copies.
When Wits & Wagers went nationwide at Target, it forever transformed our little hobby company.
Satish with Scott Rencher at one of our house parties. Scott would join North Star in 2013 to start the digital division.
Shenanigans at my wedding. The woman in the middle is Catherine Hamilton, who would later paint all of the watercolor art for the Evolution series.
Satish and I had great fun co-designing Say Anything together. It is about to sell its millionth copy. I wish he was here to celebrate with me.
The last game Satish worked on was an after dark edition of Say Anything, originally planned to be released this year. With everything else going, I don't think it will get to see the light of day.
2010 - 2018
We move out of my basement in 2011. Satish finally got the corner office he had always dreamed about... in the form of an office prank. The corner room was created with of a bunch of Mardi Gras beads. The leopard skin Snuggie was a gag gift I gave Satish on this 30th birthday. The joke was on me; He wore it nearly every day for a decade.
In Memory of Satish Pillalamarri
Satish had a trusting demeanor that put people at ease. He had a genuine love for people.
He was perfectly comfortable helping others shine at social gatherings for hours on end, enjoying the company of others. He didn't need to be the center of attention, so he never tried to put himself there. But Satish was also in an improv group, so he was perfectly comfortable taking the spotlight and entertaining a crowd. His charisma was magnetic and his laugh was contagious. I saw him take down the house at many a party when others were least expecting it. It's rare for someone to be so comfortable in or out of the spotlight.
Satish was kind and extremely talented. It breaks my heart that his son will never get to spend time with him.
Please consider supporting the scholarship fund. Even a small amount is meaningful. Watching the community rally with support has helped ease my heartache. There are two ways to support Satish's wife and son.
You can donate directly to the GoFundMe scholarship fund.
Or you can purchase dude from our website. dude was the last released game that Satish worked on. Our company has donated the remaining 1,000 copies to the scholarship fund, with 100% of the proceeds going to this cause. We have also created a memorial sticker which can be placed on the cover of the game.
Purchase a copy of dude with the memorial sticker.
Steve Crook reached out to the improv comedian Colin Mochrie from Whose Line is it Anyway? and got him to make this personalized video for Satish. Unfortunately, I think Satish was too sick to watch it because he never responded to our email or my texts.
Satish is a dude that that has touched a lot of people. He will remain in our hearts.
Satish lived across the hall from me during our freshman year at Penn.
I was reminded of him today while describing his fulfilled desire to develop board games as a career. When I went to google him, this page came up.
Although I am heartbroken by his story, and I regret not seeing him for over 20 years, I truly appreciate you for putting this tribute out there for his friends to find. He was an incredible guy who was loved by all he encountered. I miss him.
Satish was the best. Thanks for sharing your memories of him. I wish I got to know him as well as you did, but I’m very glad I got know him as well as I did.
This is so sad to hear!! Prayers are going out for his family!! May his memory live on in the North Star games that we play day in and day out!!
Our family first played Trivia Casino at a game night at a public library in Wheaton or Silver Spring years ago, then Wits & Wagers at a game day at the University of Maryland union. It’s a great game, and we all love Evolution as well. Satish and Dominic were great partners and were always friendly to everyone who played. My sympathies to Satish’s family; this was very sad to hear.
Breathtaking… what a beautiful tribute to a lost friend… no, familymember.
I love the Evolution series and will always be grateful to you all for creating it.
I wish you strength as you find comfort in family and friends. Continue to fight for both your dreams and make him even prouder than he already was. Greetings, jonathan.
With a heavy heart,
The memorial you created is beautiful. What a wonderful way to express the life of someone so special to you. The story and pictures you shared brought many tears to my eyes. I am sorry for your loss. I will be purchasing Dude to help support Satish’s son and the beautiful life they would’ve shared together.
So sorry for your loss. It’s tragic that he left the world so young and didn’t get to see his baby. But the games he co-created will be providing players with happiness for many years to come.
Stay strong and keep him alive in your heart! Sending warm wishes.
Satish was a great guy and left a big mark in a short time. We will miss you.
Thank you so much for sharing this. I love to see this other side of things…some insight into Satish’s gaming work and friends, which I otherwise don’t have much access to. I will forever have your blog bookmarked :) Look forward to purchasing a copy of Dude…Thanks again!
Years ago I answered an ad on Craigslist for a person to write questions for a new game called Trivia Casino. I talked with Satish, who invited me to attend a game fair to learn more about the game. He was so kind and enthusiastic that I happily jumped into the task. I am so sorry that your friend and associate has passed. Please know that his family and friends are in thoughts.