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"Personally, I think Nanofictionary is going to be one of the biggest award-winning games that we have seen in quite some time. I shall be very surprised if it does not win an Origins award, a Games100 award, a Parents' Choice award, a MENSA Select Award, and a couple of dozen others. Go Andy." -- Evil Liam, on the Rabbits mailing list

Thursday, August 1, 2002
by the Writer's Guild of Wunderland

What's New?

What's Going On? SuperFRED, WTS, WWN, and the WGW

Nanofictionary is here! And it looks fabulous! We currently have only 2 copies in our possession, one of which Alison is gleefully showing off here; the bulk of the shipment was sent to our warehouse in Lorton, Virginia. But as soon as we get this website pushed, we'll be going down there to fetch a few cases, to pack in with the stuff we're taking to Gen-Con next week. Early next week, Dave at ACMS will ship copies out to our distributors, and from there to game stores everywhere. However, in order to promote store traffic, we won't be offering Nanofictionary for sale here on the web until sometime in September (hopefully in conjunction with the official launch of SuperFRED). So please start asking if your local game store has it on order!

Also shipping next week is our colorful new store display. The first batch has been assembled by our friends at ROI, and we'll be taking them to ACMS when we go to pick up Nanofictionary. They'll be filling them up with product and sending them off to stores along with this cool planogram I created this week, showing how the display is supposed to be used:

If you've been following this site for any length of time, you probably know that SuperFRED is a complex new web-robot we've been working on for a really, really long time. Like many software projects, this one has suffered from "mission creep" (expanding in functionality far beyond its original purpose), so much so that it's now almost a year behind schedule. But, as we keep telling ourselves, it's all going to be worth it, since SuperFRED will indeed have awesome powers.

As some of you aware, SuperFRED is partially operational, and he's starting to flex his muscles. Just after Origins, we started letting some of our most eager and enthusiastic Rabbits into the system, to begin setting up their accounts and testing things out. This "soft launch" has helped us greatly as we seek to polish up the system and hammer out the bugs. Unfortunately, it also leaves us wanting to further postpone the Official Launch, since as long as we keep finding stuff to fix, add to, or change, we'd prefer to keep the system restricted.

Another problem we've had is that Dale, our primary programming dude, has been busy Getting a Life. Due to the limited nature of the SuperFRED project (and our funding) Dale had to track down a real job, and although he delayed starting it as long as he could, he wasn't able to finish our programming task before starting on his next one. To top it off, he's been seen spending a lot of time lately with a charming lady named Liz, which hasn't left him with much spare time in which to write code for SuperFRED.

Fortunately, we've already been training a replacement. Recent Icehouse "Triple Crown" winner Liam Bryan, who's just out of college and looking for a job, is picking up where Dale is having to leave off. We're hoping Liam can finish up the work on SuperFRED in the next couple of months, before he too goes out and gets a real job... but as of this week, he is officially our newest Intern. Welcome aboard, Liam! Oddly enough, Liam will be renting out a spare room in the basement of our other intern Lillian, since Liam is currently in the process of moving to the DC area from Asheville, North Carolina.

To sum up: SuperFRED is in beta-testing and all is going well, except that delays continue. The more we build, the more we find we have to build.

Another thing you may have noticed if you've been reading this site for awhile is that the WTS page hasn't been updated in almost 3 years. And it still hasn't been. But changes are coming, and an explanation of our new plans is therefore in order.

A lot has changed in the 5 years since we started building Back in '97, we didn't have much of a plan for what we were doing... we just began putting up neat stuff of whatever sort we fancied. Since we had a lot of friends who were also looking for some web-space to build in, we started a new website, named it after our house, and gave out accounts to anyone in our social group who wanted one. Soon, many of our friends were joining us in the fun of building our first websites!

To give this little cyber-community a sense of identity, we decided to expand the usage of a name that already united most of the members of the group, namely that of our regular weekly gaming group, the Wunderland Toast Society (WTS).

This, we have come to believe, was a mistake. As Andrew Plotkin said in a recent email, "If one name means two things at the same time, it leads to angst down the road." For the past few years, "WTS" has been the name of both our gaming group and of an arbitrary and incomplete list of our friends who build web-content at This confusing arrangement hasn't worked well, and indeed, just as Zarf predicted, there has been some angst. Many of our gaming friends have no interest in building webpages and don't enjoy feeling like they should be; and it just doesn't seem right to say that faraway friends who never attend are active members of our gaming group, no matter how much they may be contributing to our webzine.

Therefore, in order to clear things up and (hopefully) de-rail any future angst, we have decided to split the large, poorly-chartered organization into two more clearly-defined groups.

The first of these groups is our regular gaming group, which will retain the WTS moniker. This we feel is the group that most people think of as being the WTS, and they had the name first. There will always be a larger list of inactive "toasters", but on the new WTS membership roster (which will launch with SuperFRED) we'll only be listing the Active Members, these being those who attend at least 12 times a year.

The second group, which we are tentatively calling the Writer's Guild of Wunderland (WGW), will consist of the authors of this webzine. Whereas membership in the WTS will be dependent on attendance, members of the WGW can be anywhere as long as they provide us with regular updates via the web. Setting this group up with their own charter will allow us to add "foreign correspondents" without expecting them to also attend our gaming sessions.

But while determining the active membership of the WTS will be as simple as going over the attendance records for the past year, we don't know yet who will form the core membership of this new cyber-organization. Moreover, we also don't really know what the WGW's mission will be. This is something we'll be figuring out in the weeks and months to come.

To give us your input on all of this, we invite you to fill out the new survey we just created!

By the way, one of the many cool features SuperFRED will be providing is a roster not only of our gaming group, but of any and all other "warrens", this being our name for a gaming group that has a special fondness for our games, i.e. one that includes Mad Lab Rabbits. Individual rabbits will be able to put up a web page about themselves, complete with a photo of themself and links to whatever other websites they may call home. By linking together rosters of game players and gaming groups, we're hoping to help increase gaming overall. One of the comments we've heard consistently from our customers over the years is "I love the game(s) but I can't find people to play them with me!" We can't let everyone join our gaming group, but with SuperFRED we'll be able help gamers who love our games hook up with other gamers who feel the same.

AndyHave you played any games today?

the story so far

Thought Residue
During my entire career as a programmer, working both in government and the private sector, I always managed to weasel out of doing management work. But now, I have become the Project Manager of a huge software project which I'm not even doing any programming for. In fact, at this point, I haven't done any programming in years. I feel like Dilbert's bald pointy-haired boss.
They didn't cut up the Nanofictionary cards in the sequence I had been told to expect, so the award and bonus cards are mixed in with the rest of the deck instead of being sorted together at the top like I planned. But that's just whining really... otherwise, they're beautiful!
"What part of smoking marijuana is wrong? Is it using something from the earth? Certainly not. Nothing is wrong with using our natural resources in our everyday lives. Is it having a good time? That can't be it. There is nothing wrong with enjoying one's self. After all, our three most stressed rights are those of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Marijuana makes millions of people in the United States happy. Do you want to infringe on someone's right to happiness? Think about this next time you applaud drug arrest numbers in this country." -- Asa Cooney, "Marijuana Laws Steal Liberty"


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