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Cool Words

anomie (also: anomy)
(an'-uh-mee) n. 1: social instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values. 2: a feeling of personal unrest stemming from a lack of standards, values, purpose, or ideals. adj. form: anomic (an-nom'-ick) [from Greek, a- "lack of" + nomos "law."]

Haiku Reviews

The Life and Death of Peter Sellers :)

You'll laugh -- you might cry --
you'll call Sellers a bastard
and kiss him goodbye.

Tirade's Choice
Famous Unsolved Codes

Thursday, June 16th, 2005
by the Writer's Guild of Wunderland

What's New?

What's Going On? Origins Preparations / Boulder Bridge

This week finds us even more frantically busy than usual. Origins is now just 2 weeks away, and there's still a frighteningly long list of things we are working on getting ready for it. Here's a list:

  • Medallions: It gets more complex each year, making prize medallions for the tournaments at Origins, since there are always new events that require new medallions. Also, while most medallions feature recycled artwork from previous years' tournaments, we often try to "freshen up" a few of them, hence this new design for this year's newly re-organized Homeworlds tournament.
  • Hypothermia #16: With the last of this year's Ice Game Design Contests now complete (thanks again for running those, Zarf!), we've now got Marlene focused on the task of formatting the rules for the winning entries into a new issue of Hypothermia (the first in 3 years). Now we just need to get Dr Cool to write a meltdown...
  • Just Desserts: The Beta edition has shipped! I drove the first 400 copies down to our fulfillment center on Tuesday, so if you pre-ordered a copy you should be getting it soon! (I hope you enjoy it!) We're also making sure that the 5 booths which will be selling Looney Labs games at Origins will have plenty of product on hand -- including of course, Just Desserts.
  • Outfitting the Five Vendors: As noted, we won't be running our own sales booth this year; instead, Kristin has arranged for 5 other companies to sell our games for us in the Exhibit Hall. These 5 companies (Crazy Egor's, Source Comics, Titan Games, Troll & Toad, and Wizard's Wagon) are all independent vendors who sell a variety of different companies' games at conventions like Origins, and this year, they'll be featuring Looney Labs games, too. This not only means coordinating with them to make sure they stock enough of our stuff, but also making sure our featured vendors will have nice big signs promoting the fact that they will be selling our games. We're also looking for other ways to promote our new way of selling at Origins, including listing the 5 booths in our ads and schedules, plus we're creating...
  • The Looney Labs Promo Card Scavenger Hunt: Every year we make a few new promo cards of some sort, and this year, we've really outdone ourselves. We've made so many new promo cards that we're turning the task of collecting them all into a little scavenger hunt. Each of our 5 vendors will be supplied with a stack of 1 of our new promo cards. A sixth promo card will be given out in the lab, but only to those who go down to the Exhibit Hall, visit all 5 of our booths, and return with a full set of the other 5 cards. And what will all these new cards be? For that, you'll have to wait and see, but I will say that some are Fluxx cards while others are info/reference cards like those in the ICE-7 pack.
  • Tournament Readiness: Russell has been maintaining the schedule of which Rabbits will be officiating at which tournaments, but there are still gaps in the timetable which are causing him worry. Fortunately, since we won't be needing to work a full-time job behind a cash register during the whole convention this year (an amazing prospect!) we'll be able to help pick up the slack wherever needed. Also, I'm hoping we'll have a good notebook of procedures for how we'll be running all these tourneys, but instead of working on that I keep coming up with new events I want to add in at the last minute, like my floating Martian Hold'em tourney...
  • Logistics: Transporting us and all our stuff isn't as simple as it used to be for us. Last fall we totaled our van, and we have yet to replace it, so we're going to need to travel as light as we can and cram as much stuff as possible into Alison's Prius. Fortunately, we have a heck of a lot less stuff to bring than we're accustomed to, since, as noted, we won't be running our own booth. Even so, we still have a lot of stuff to bring, and I'm not sure yet how we're going to get it all there. Anyone driving to Origins with extra space in your vehicle?
  • Accommodations: We've got a room reserved in one of the hotels but we wish we had one of those suite-sized rooms over in the Hampton. Now is the time when repeated calls to the hotel might result in catching a chance at a reservation someone else just canceled, so we might luck into something, but if you know of anyone getting ready to cancel a reservation for a suite they're deciding now they don't actually need, please let us know!
  • Eco-Fluxx: We've put Eco-Fluxx on the fast track to publication, which means Alison has been working overtime on doing art for the 21 new Keepers featured in the game. As of this writing, she has finished inking all but 3. Our goal is to have several final art prototypes for open playtesting on hand at Origins, with the further goal of sending the art to the printer right after we return.
  • The 3/3.1 Memo: Very soon we will be running out of both Fluxx and Chrononauts and will need to reprint both. As usual with reprints, we have some corrections and other tweaks we plan to make, and this memo is going to be a precise list of changes planned for Fluxx 3.1 and the 3rd printing of Chrononauts. I'm hoping to have a polished version of this list on hand at Origins, to consult whenever questions come up in the many rounds of both of these games that will be played at the con. (What's going to change? Not much really in Fluxx 3.1, nor really with Chrono either, except for the little rulebook, which we're going to rework as a big sheet like the one in EAC, a non-trivial task to be sure.)
  • Signage & Handouts & Such: As always, there are flyers to make, signs to create, score-sheets to print, instructions to write, and packets of materials to assemble. We'll be working on this stuff right up until the last minute....

On top of all that, there's the general overload of running our business, Alison is going to summer camp orientation for a week, and I have at least 9 more loads of laundry to do. Plus, we're trying to find time to work on packing so we can move to Canada...

And yet, with all that going on, we're still making time to stop and smell the wildflowers. This weekend the 3 of us went out for another instructional hike set up by the Audubon Naturalist Society, in this case focusing on the geology of Rock Creek Park.

It's funny how you can live right next to something for your whole life and yet never really see it until one day when you finally make of point of checking it out, at which time you say "How could I have not known about this?" Of course, I've been through Rock Creek Park many times before... usually in a car. But on Sunday we went for a 5 mile hike through the inner reaches of the park, and I was impressed at how much parkland there really is back there, and how remote some of it can actually feel when you get far enough back into the woods. It was strange at times to realize that we were still inside the city of Washington DC!

I also for the first time really appreciated the beautiful structure shown here, known as the Boulder Bridge. As we learned from our excellent instructor, Joe Marx (who reminds Kristin of noted game industry dude Mark Simmons), this bridge owes its unique appearance to a mistake. The specification called for using "man-sized rocks" in the construction, so the builders painstakingly created this wonderful bridge using enormous, man-sized boulders. Only later did they learn that "man-sized" was a technical term used to refer to rocks a typical man could carry, not rocks as big as a typical man! Reportedly, there was some talk of tearing it down and rebuilding it to the intended spec, but obviously they thought better of that. Now this bridge is featured on the National Park Service brochures...

AndyWell, that's all for now. Have a Great Week, and Thanks for Playing our Games!

Thought Residue
"The report estimates that legalizing marijuana would save $7.7 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition. $5.3 billion of this savings would accrue to state and local governments, while $2.4 billion would accrue to the federal government. The report also estimates that marijuana legalization would yield tax revenue of $2.4 billion annually if marijuana were taxed like all other goods and $6.2 billion annually if marijuana were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco." -- Executive Summary of "Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States," a report signed by over 500 noted economists, including Milton Friedman

"Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. ... It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force." -- Minutes of the Prime Minister's Meeting on Iraq, 23 July 2002 (aka the so-called "Downing Street Memo") as originally reported in the Times of London, May 1, 2005
Last week's Fluxx 2.1 deck sold on eBay for a record $32.99! (Luckily, that wasn't my last one...)

"The Annual Fluxx Tourney was a huge success. To win, you had to be the first person to accumulate three wins in the finals on Sunday afternoon. It was hilarious to see the winner open Flowers and Fluxx, toss the deck to another player (the winner already had a deck), pass out the flowers to others around him, then with a huge smile remove and add to his own deck the Flower Keeper. He just wanted the card!" -- Amy's report on Sci Fi Summer 2005

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Dates (2005) Event Location
June 30-July 3 Origins Columbus, OH
July 15-18 ManorCon Burmingham, UK
July 22 - 24 MichiCon  Warren, MI
July 28-31 Excaliber Devon, UK
August 12-14 Consternation Cambridge, UK
August 18-21 GenCon Indy Indianapolis, IN
September 2-4 Chitag Chicago, IL
September 2-5 DragonCon Atlanta, GA
November 3-6 GenCon UK Bognor Regis, UK
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