The Lab at Big Experiment #7

Our main space at Origins is the big room where we run our tournaments, which we call The Lab. (Other spaces we were using were our Booth in the Exhibit Hall, the Hallways in between, and in the Trees all around.)

Here's a typical view, with folks playing Volcano in the foreground. (We ran the Volcano competition as a Floating Tournament this year, and it seems to have been a good choice for that format. People were often seen playing Volcano...)



During the course of 4 days of competitions, we gave out 45 prize medallions. Here they all are at the beginning of the weekend:

Notice the cool display rack the medallions are hanging on... this was one of the new lab fixtures which the Myers clan supplied for this year's Big Experiment. Using PVC tubing, the Myers also built free-standing screen-holders for the Zendo banners created by Zarf a few years ago, plus a rack for hanging and organizing the lab coats! (The Myers family even stores all this bulky stuff (and a bunch of other equipment we use only each year at the Big Experiment) for us all year. Thanks so much, Myers! You-all rock!)

Tournament Scorecard

Here's the list of who won all these events:


  • Fluxx World Champion: Kenneth Esbin
  • Fluxx Finalists: Johnpaul Adams, Shannon Seaman, and <Who got the Love medallion?>
  • Family Fluxx Winner: Jared Newbold
  • EcoFluxx Winner: Kyle Hunkar
  • Stoner Fluxx Winner: Trent True


  • UberChrononauts Winner: James Durfor
  • Chrononauts Finalists: Jeff Drum and Dani Rotach
  • EAC Finalists: Kat Robertson, Shannon Seaman, and Stacy Wendt


  • Aquarius Tourney Winner: Chris Ballowe
  • Hairdown Longest Hair Award: Meg Gandy
  • Hairdown Runner-up Emily Frawley


  • Nano Winner: Andy Lavery
  • Nano Finalists: Joyce Murton and Shane Tilton

17th International Icehouse Tournament:

  • Icehouse Winner: Julian Lighton
  • Icehouse Finalists: Liam Bryan, Joshua Kronengold, and Elliott Evans
  • Cooler than Ice: Josh Drobina

Other Icehouse Games:

  • Martian Chess: Craig Forbes
  • IceTowers: Joshua Kronengold
  • Volcano: Amy LoCurto
  • Zendo: Meg Gandy
  • Zarcana: Joshua Kronengold
  • Gnostica: Jesse Welton
  • Pikemen: Chris Ballowe
  • RAMbots: Nathan Lazotti
  • CrackeD Ice: Ryan McGuire
  • Martian Hold'em: Chris Stadther
  • Binay Homeworlds: Andy Looney
  • Treehouse: Kenneth Esbin

Other Looney Games:

  • Just Desserts: <Who won this?>
  • Cosmic Coasters: Elliott Evans
  • Proton: Melissa DePlanche & Joshua Kronengold
  • Alpha Werewolf: David Meredith
  • Best Werewolf Hunter: Peter Charney

Joshua Kronengold got the most medallions this year: Here he is receiving one of them from the lovely 'Becca Stallings. (Josh Drobina posted lots more photos of winners receiving their medallions in his album.)

17th International Icehouse Tournament

Here we see the finalists in this year's Icehouse Tournament. Congrats to the winner, Julian Lighton! (He's the tall red-haired guy.) Julian learned the game from Eeyore some 10 years ago and has been a dedicated competitor in our official tourneys for the past 5 years. This year he won not only his first Icehouse medallion, but also took the Scepter from 3-time previous winner Eeyore, who came in 2nd. (As Eeyore observed, the student has become the master!)

Meanwhile, the coveted Cooler Than Ice award went to our Rabbit Coordinator, Josh Drobina! Josh took photos of the finished state of all of the tournament games... check out his online album for these photos. Also, don't miss Eeyore's detailed report, which includes the complete scoreboard. (Thanks again for running this Eeyore, and Craig, Zarf, and Eric!)

Nanofictionary Tournament #5

Andy Lavery, who won the first ever Nanofictionary Tournament in 2002 and has won at least one in between, became the Returning Champion once more. Here's a picture of him from 2003, when he got Alison to make a very cool special card for him with a NanoBlank:

Eeyore videotaped the finalist's stories and is posting them on YouTube. Currently available:

Martian Chess Tournament #7

Ryan has posted a report on this year's Martian Chess tournament. Congrats to Craig! (It sounds like the issue of stalemates has become a problem we're going to need to make some sort of ruling for... read Ryan's report and join the discussions on the Icehouse list if you have any input. Thanks!)

The Aquarius Hairdown

Here we see this year's official contestants in our annual hair-length challenge:

Once again, repeat champ Meg Gandy took top honors, with Emily Frawley (who has often come in third place with her gorgeous hair) finally winning a medallion as the Hairdown Runner-up. (As you can see, this made her very happy!) Note that we had a 50/50 mix of men and women in this year's competition, with Marc Hartstein being the longest haired male competitor. (Someday, perhaps a man will win this sport...) I myself competed for the first time, since Robin was onhand to take photos in my place. (And I didn't come in last!)

Other Random Tournament Notes

There were of course many events and competitions I didn't see or compete in, so this report is by no means complete. But here are some other memories and moments I recall:

  • I did well enough in the RAMbots tournament to get to the finals, but because of timing issues, I had to play out that final match as one of the games I was playing during Andy vs. Everybody. (I didn't win...)
  • This year we did the Martian Hold'em tourney as a regular scheduled event (instead of floating-style) and we got 15 players. (I got to 6th place.)
  • After Trent won the Stoner Fluxx tournament, I got his expert opinion of the changes we're planning for Stoner Fluxx 2.0. Though initially alarmed by our plan, he became quite pleased with it after he studied out the cards, particularly after I said I really liked the name he suggested for a new Goal that uses Peace and Freedom: Utopia.
  • The Binary Homeworlds Tournament found last year's finalists battling it out again on Sunday. Halfway through the 3 hour match, both players felt sure Jesse would win... but then the tables turned and I retained my title.
  • Although I didn't actually see it, I thought it was hilarious that Ryan won the CrackeD ICE Tourney by quietly saying the word "Achoo" at an opportune time.
  • Another thing I missed but though was funny was the scene on Friday when a huge group of "bigwigs in suits" came through the lab for a tour while the Masters running the Zendo tournament were all dressed up in their finest Japanese garb.
  • Russell and Jesse surprised everyone with one more event: An Ice-Haggle game! Haggle is Sid Sackson classic (including in his landmark work, a Gamut of Games) which requires a fair amount of custom preparations and which I've never had a chance to try until now. Russell & Jesse worked up an Icehouse-based version of the game they called Ice-Haggle, and since it's a game you are meant to play casually over the course of an evening along with other activities, our lab was the perfect place to try it out. (I wish I'd gotten to spend more time on it!)

Rabbit Crafts

Tournaments weren't the only cool things going on in the Lab. Again this year, Carol arranged for a bunch of rabbity craft activities too. In keeping with the theme of "Trees," they did crafts using actual leaves!

Here you see a typical craft session in progress... that's Carol in the back there, and she has this to say: "Thank you to all who brought leaves! I was amazed that leaves picked on Monday or Tuesday were still good on Friday when we used them (putting them in ziplocs w/ wet paper towels in coolers works!). Thank you especially to Emily Frawley (she not only assisted, she brought some of the supplies!), Melissa DePlanche and Di Sudduth and everyone who came to play at Rabbit Crafts!"

The Rabbit Craft area produced much that was cool and beautiful, but everyone's favorite creation was this peace-sign T-shirt design by Alison, using the system she came up with for making paint-patterns with leaves:


This report wouldn't be complete without mentioning Potato. While the joke got carried a little too far, this potato escaped from the potato printing department of Rabbit Crafts and somehow got entered into the Volcano floating tournament. When challenged on Potato's right to compete, he somehow produced a badge with his name on it! (Potato didn't win, but he didn't come in last, either.)

The Jim Steiner Martian Chessboard

In my report on last year's Experiment, I mentioned meeting a fan who'd read my novel 6 times. His name is Jim Steiner, and he's read The Empty City a couple of extra times now, and this year he presented me with this awesome handmade one-of-a-kind Martian Chessboard he created. Many of those rocks and boulders are rearrangable, making for a modular element that could inspire any number of new game ideas. Thanks Jim! This is way cool!

The Wedding

As you will recall if you read my Weekly articles, the Lab also hosted a Wedding this year! Congrats again to Steve and Amy!

[ Back to Andy's Origins 2006 Report ]

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