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sylva (also: silva) (sill'-vuh) n. 1a: a title for a treatise on trees, or a descriptive list or catalog of trees. b: the trees of a particular region or period, collectively. (compare with flora). 2: a title for a collection of pieces, especially of poems; also, a thesaurus of words or phrases [from Latin, silva "forest." second definition after the title (Silvae) of Statius's collection of occasional poems. ]

Haiku Reviews

McCabe & Mrs. Miller :)

Men and prostitutes
build a mining town from scratch
-- to film a shootout.

Tirade's Choice
Watch the Dots

"I run the Original Game Shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and am a avid Fluxx player. It (Fluxx) is the only game in my store on which I offer a moneyback guarentee. If you don't like it, bring it back! I've done this since First edition, almost ten years, and have never had to give money back. I love the game, and demo it all de time. Long live the Emperor Looney!" -- Ben Hopkin's Rabbit Bio

Thursday, September 8th 2005
by the Writer's Guild of Wunderland

What's New?

Oct 10, 2005

What's Going On? Dragon*Con, Double-Sticky Tape, and Sinister Homeworlds

Again this week, I stayed home to focus on the job of packing while others from Looney Labs went to a big summer convention without me. This time, it was Dragon*Con I was skipping, and it sounds like I missed a really great time. Once again, Russell (our Rabbit Coordinator) did an awesome job of wrangling a team of Mad Lab Rabbits as they put on a wonderful buffet of Looney Gaming events. Once again, Giant Circular Fluxx was tested! And once again, there were vendors selling our games for us on site, so we didn't get a booth of our own and were able to focus everyone's efforts just on demo gaming. Kristin got to spend a lot of time just playing games! Marlene meanwhile headed off to Burning Man, so it was up to me and Alison (who also stayed home) to finalize and send to the printer the Family Fluxx artwork we've all been working so hard on lately. Yay!

There's a lot more I could say here about Dragon*Con, based on what I heard about it (for example, Russell is developing an Icehouse game that uses a set of dominos, which sounds really cool) but since I wasn't there I'm just going to end this section by sending out one more big "Thanks!" to all the Rabbits who worked so hard to make Dragon*Con a success, specifically Josh, Ralph, Marci, Amy, Roy, Jen, Joelle, Marc, Anna, Brian, Phillip, Robert, David, Sharon, Molly, Dave, William, Maria, Jamie, and of course, Russell. Thanks y-all!

Ever since I was a little kid, I've been cutting pictures out of magazines and sticking them up on my walls. Pictures in frames are nice of course, and we do that, too, but sometimes I like to cover a whole wall with a collage of tightly placed images.

In the old days, I used thumbtacks, but 15 years ago when we moved into the house we're in now, I switched to double-sticky tape. (The walls of this 1937 house are solid plaster, and thumbtacks just don't work here they way they do on modern wallboard.)

Double-sided tape has its pros and cons. It has the advantage of not damaging the corners with poke-holes, but it has the disadvantage of being a lot more trouble to move. With thumbtacks (or magnets, if you're working on a metal surface), you can easily take things down, pile them up, and arrange them again later on another vertical surface. But once you go down the double-sticky path, there's no turning back; occasionally the tape will stay on the wall when you try to move it, but usually only by keeping with it a layer of the paperstock it was attached to. Most of the time, the stickiness is forever after a feature of the back of that picture. This means when you take down a collage of this sort, you need to immediately be sticking the images in their new homes, or somehow sealing the stickiness up (like with a layer of single-sided tape).

OK, those of you still reading at this point probably also know that we are preparing to move but that won't be arriving at our new home any time soon. So how then do I solve the problem of needing to take down all the stuff I've stuck to the walls here in the last decade and a half, without having new walls ready to receive them? The answer is, I'm putting it all into a scrapbook. And that's what I've been doing this week.

Kristin got me a big empty scrapbook (and when I say big, I mean enormous; the pages measure 18" x 24") and I've been spending many hours painstakingly taking images off the walls and reassembling them on the huge pages of my new scrapbook. So far, I've finished 12 pages, and there are now many shockingly plain walls in our house. (And yet, as with most of my packing tasks, there's still so much left to do...)

This brings me to the photo shown here. Having removed it from a wall (or more accurately, a filing cabinet), I decided to scan it before pasting it into the scrapbook.

I believe this to be the first photo ever taken of an Icehouse game. I took this picture at the Renn Fair in September 1988, just days or weeks after John first showed me the game he'd come up with based on my original 5 paragraph description. We had agreed to meet up at the Fair and I'd brought my first set (hand-made by Chort) in case we had a chance to try the game.

I was using the blue pieces, and I stepped back from the table to take this photo with my then-very-new Pentax K-1000. That's John on the right, but I have no idea who the third player (or the spectator) was. As far as I recall he was just some other guy at the fair we talked into joining us.

A few years later when we were marketing the Xyloid Icehouse set, and we needed marketing imagery for our all-purpose ad-flyer, I created the drawing below by basically tracing this photo. Later, Dawn drew a better picture of 2 people playing Icehouse, which now appears on page 91 of Playing with Pyramids, which was inspired by the drawing based on the photo.

Finally, in Homeworlds news, there's finally a way to play it online! I haven't tried it myself yet, but I'm certainly excited about it!

But I'm even more excited to say that I think I've finally figured out how to play a satisfying game with more than 2 players that doesn't involve using the Werewolf-style Good & Evil rules. It's so simple I can't believe it took us this long to come up with it!

Here's the rule: You win if you eliminate the player on your left. (If some other player causes their elimination, the game continues without that player and y our goal changes to the new person on your left.)

That's it! That's all it takes! It's basically a standard Attack-Left Defend-Right structure, used in Grand Melee Magic (which inspired Giant Circular Fluxx, the pondering of which got me to this new idea.) We used this same idea long ago when expanding Cosmic Coasters to work with more than 2, so again, I can't believe it took me this long to think of doing this with Homeworlds. But I'm just happy to have figured it out at last.

By way of differentiating it from Classic Homeworlds, I'm calling this Sinister Homeworlds, since Sinister means both Evil and Left.

This new Homeworlds discovery leaves me wanting more than ever to find other people interested in playing Homeworlds with me. Would any of my DC-area readers be interested in meeting up with me for a couple of games this weekend at the College Perk Coffee House?

AndyThanks for playing our games and reading our webzine, and have a great week!

PS: Happy Anniversary To Us! Kristin and I got married 15 years ago today! Yay! I Love You Kristin!

Thought Residue
"Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States. When did this calamity happen? It hasn't-yet. But the doomsday scenario is not far-fetched. The Federal Emergency Management Agency lists a hurricane strike on New Orleans as one of the most dire threats to the nation, up there with a large earthquake in California or a terrorist attack on New York City." -- Joel K. Bourne, Jr. "Louisiana's Wetlands," National Geographic magazine, October 2004

"According to Drudge, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has recently enjoyed a little Broadway entertainment. And Page Six reports that she's also working on her backhand with Monica Seles. So the Gulf Coast has gone all Mad Max, women are being raped in the Superdome, and Rice is enjoying a brief vacation in New York. We wish we were surprised. What does surprise us: Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we've confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo's Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice's timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, 'How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!' Never one to have her fashion choices questioned, Rice had security PHYSICALLY REMOVE the woman. Angry Lady, whoever you are, we love you. You are a true American, and we'll go shoe shopping with you anytime." -- Gawker.com, "Condi Rice Spends Salary on Shoes"
"There's nothing wrong with mountain biking, but when you are president of the United States and you are engaged in a war where people are dying every day because of your decisions, mountain biking is not where your energies should go. Now is simply not a good time for the commander-in-chief to take a month-long vacation, bouncing from his bucolic Texas ranch to the forest trails of Idaho.  The president is evidently more concerned with recreation than reconciliation for the costly blunders of his administration. Bush seems to be heavily narcotized given his lackadaisical role in this volatile, often tragic, world.  His recent speech about the devastation of Katrina was almost glib, and there's got to be a chemical rationale for the 'What, me worry?' Alfred E.  Newman caricature presiding in the Oval Office." -- Paul Andersen, "Time For Your Pee Test, George"

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