- [Guide] [Games] [E-Books]
(flan'-el-mouthd) adj. 1: speaking indistinctly.
2: speaking in a tricky or ingratiating way.
Winged Migration :|
Take one narrator
with nothing to say, fifteen
filming crews, add birds...
Secret Fun Spot
"I had a fantastic demo today at school. The high school
I work at has a self-contained BD (Behavior Disorder) classroom.
They have time for games each Friday, so I took Fluxx in. It
was a HIT! Most of these kids have a major problem following
rules in the real world (which is why they're in the BD room
to begin with), especially when they perceive that the rules
change all the time. Having a game where (a) the kids controlled
which rules were there and (b) controlled when the rules changed
and (c) was FUN was the best thing for them today. They
had to spend time reading the cards, and interpreting how the
rules were to be followed... and all sorts of discussion and
debate went on. They talked about how sometimes you're playing
around and you don't have a goal in life... but when you have
a goal, you get really focused on what you're doing. And how
its OK to have the goal change in real life, even though its
really frustrating sometimes ("I was gonna win, but you
changed the goal, man!!"). These guys were touching on some
very important topics for their lives through this game." -- Carol
Townsend, from a message to the Fluxx mailing list
||Essen, Amsterdam, the Atomium,
and European Recycling
I'm back from a week in Europe and it was a fabulous trip!
I'm gonna start by describing the Essen
game fair, which was my official reason for the trip; scroll
down if you want to get right to my observations about Amsterdam,
the Atomium, or Recycling Bins in Europe.
Essen was awesome. Although I studied German
for 3 years in high school, this was my first trip to Deutschland,
and that alone was a major rush. It was very exciting to finally
visit this place where they actually speak this language I was
once learning how to speak. And while I've forgotten quite a
bit of what Frau Bensen was trying to teach me 25 years ago,
I still remembered enough to communicate surprisingly well in
the native tongue. (I knew I was off to a good start when I successfully
made small-talk with the cabbie who took us to our hotel from
the train station...)
But the real fun came at the Essen Spiel, the German game
convention which is like a cross between Toy
Fair and Origins
and is the biggest (at least in terms of attendance numbers)
game-related trade show in the world. I was there to help promote
the new German
edition of Fluxx, which has been published by the German
game company that sounds like a Spanish game company, Amigo.
Here you see me at one of the special Fluxx tables they had
in their gigantic booth, playing German Fluxx with actual Germans.
It was incredibly cool being able to sit in on game after game
of Fluxx, watching people who'd never seen it before react to
it, and being able to mostly (OK, partly) understand what they
were saying about it. I remember one player excitedly reporting
on the game to another person, who'd walked up and asked if it
was fun. "Ja!" he exclaimed. He went on at length and
I didn't grasp a lot of it, but I remember distinctly the way
he said "Es ist zehr lustig und chaotisch!" (It is
very funny and chaotic!)
At first, it was all I could do to play with the Germans and
try to follow along as they talked. I'd let an official Demo
Crew person explain the rules, then I'd get in on the game. I
liked trying to be incognito, speaking rarely and trying to act
like my vaguely-confused expression had to do with trying to
figure out the game, rather than not understanding what everyone
was saying. But the Demo Crew guys kept telling the people that
I was the game designer, and then they gave me a badge with my
name and the word "autor" so I had to start introducing
myself, saying "Ich bin der Amerikanischer inventor von
dieser Spiel, und mein Deutsch is nicht so gut, aber ich verstehe
dieser Spiel sehr gut." (I'm the American inventor of this
game, and my German is not very good, but I understand this game
very well.) And of course, I do... even in German, I can play
Fluxx without hardly thinking about it.
was still reluctant to actually try teaching people to play the
game, and I passed that buck whenever I could... but by the end
of my time there, I was even explaining how to get started to
Germans, auf Deutsch (my own version of it anyway) without any
help from anyone. For me, the greatest moment of the trip was
the time when I was actually playing Fluxx with 2 different groups
of Germans at the same time, hopping back and forth between my
chairs at two side-by-side tables, having taught both groups
of Germans to play, in German, on my own. Frau Bensen would have
been so proud of me!
And as if all that weren't cool enough, check out the tables
I was playing this on! Amigo makes custom tables to promote their
new products every year, and they had 6 of these really cool
Fluxx tables among the furniture at their booth. [Another great
language moment came when I was successfully able to get laughs
from Germans by joking about wanting to take home one of these
cool Fluxx tables, but realizing there's no way I could fit it
into my suitcase. I'm sure Frau Bensen would have winced at my
grammer and incomplete vocabulary, but since I knew the right
word for luggage (mein Gepäck) I could tell they got the
My traveling companion throughout this trip
was this guy shown here, named Russell.
Because of all the other events we're doing, we decided Looney
Labs could only afford to send me on this particular trip; but
Kory and Russell
decided they wanted to come along on their own dime, so I was
nonetheless in the company of friends. Kory was joined by another
friend of his, named Jeff, and they spent extra time before and
after Essen visiting other parts of Germany; but Russell and
I chose to visit other countries during the beginning and ending
phases of our Essen trip, visiting Amsterdam beforehand, and
going to see the Atomium in Brussels afterwards.
Needless to say, visiting
Amsterdam again was a very cool experience. This was also
Russell's second visit to Holland, and we both really enjoyed
getting to smoke marijuana again in their wonderful public coffeeshops.
We had an absolutely grand time going from one coffeeshop to
another, sampling their wares, enjoying their ambiance, and playing
a game or two, then moving on to the next groovy hangout for
more of the same. In our short stay there, we managed to visit
19 of Amsterdam's
finest coffeeshops, and we left with the feeling of having
just gotten started.
To a marijuana legalization advocate,
there is no experience more invigorating than a visit to the
Coffeeshops of Amsterdam. It's truly an amazing place to be.
It's like a trip to the Future: to a time when America wakes
up (again) from the nightmare of prohibition, and allows free
enterprise to do its thing. I believe that if mainstream America
could really see and understand how well the coffeeshop system
is working in Amsterdam, the
drug peace movement would be making much faster progress.
If you've never been there, I encourage you to go see if for
For some people, the ideal vacation is a week at the beach.
For others, it might be the mountains, or maybe at one of those
big resorts in Florida. Perhaps it's Vegas. For me, nothing beats
a few days in Amsterdam, playing as many games as possible in
as many coffeeshops as possible. Also, many folks build a tradition
around vacationing in the same place every year. I've never been
able to relate to that -- until now. But I can't wait to go back...
I'd like to make this an annual tradition.
of my favorite things about World's
Fairs is the fabulous futuristic buildings they sometimes
leave behind. Seattle's Space Needle, New York's Unisphere, the
Sunsphere in Knoxville, even the Eiffel Tower in Paris... these
structures are all relics from World's Fairs past. Another is
this one, known as the Atomium, built for the 1958 Expo in Brussels.
I've always wanted to see it, so after leaving Essen, Russell
and I took the train over to Belgium to check it out. And it's
really cool! You can still take the elevator to the top for spectacular
views, and there are new exhibits and displays to see in the
various nodes, which you travel between via stairways and escalators.
Our visit was so perfect that the generally cloudy weather cleared
off for a little while, allowing me to take this gorgeous photo.
a few words about trash cans in Europe. They're way ahead of
us over there, not just in terms of drug laws, but also in providing
well integrated recycling options. I was amazed when I bought
a plastic bottle of cola in Germany and was informed I'd get
a refund if I brought back the empty!
Moreover, I was delighted to see that the convention center
in Essen featured these wonderful compartmentalized trash &
recycling bins, giving me hope for the idea that someday, the
convention centers here will become similarly responsible, thus
eliminating the need for Becca's
And it's not just at the convention center, either... check
out these other compartmentalized waste bins I saw, in the train
station at Essen (on the right), and at the airport in Belgium
(on the left). What must we do to get services like these here
Don't Forget to Play!