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Thursday, April 12th, 2007

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satanic easter yoga & strike while the irony is hot

Haiku Reviews

An American Werewolf in London %}

The alpha wolf of
tragicomedy horrors.
Amazing dream scenes!

Re: Your Brains

Tirade's Choice


"Thank you for all of your wonderful games - and for being a company whose ethics I can recommend to my students. We have played games with teachers and students from all over the country at these events, and they have been very popular with all audiences. We played a set of games (Fluxx, Are You A Werewolf, Uber-Chrononauts, Volcano, and a couple of others) last summer on the campus of Indiana University, with players from Virginia, California, Massachusetts, Texas, and Oklahoma, attracting interest in gamers aged 11 to over 80. It was fantastic, and an experience I hope to continue." -- Teacher Rabbit Irina Greenman

Crowns of dentists, a baby picture, and some YouTube linkage

Eureka! Zombies!

Here's some exciting news: I've got an awesome new version of Fluxx in the works, having had a major design breakthrough on Friday night, and it's so cool I think we might be fast-tracking this one into production ahead of various unfinished projects like 3HOUSE and Just Desserts. (Oh, and by the way, the dead are returning to life. So you might want to find something you can use as a weapon...)

In a related story, over the weekend I did something I long ago swore I would never, ever do: I watched a Zombie movie.

I remember being relentlessly mocked by my college girlfriend Amy (along with her little brother and, now that I think about it, many other people over the years), for being unwilling to see Dawn of the Dead or similar such movies, due to my extreme distaste for realistic footage of humans bodies being hacked to pieces.

However, some years ago, Kristin decided that the Zombies would be the perfect subject matter for a new version of Fluxx, since Gamers seem to have a thing about Zombies. (And I couldn't deny that... my own views aside, Gamers definitely love Zombies.)

My initial reaction to her request for Zombie Fluxx was that I didn't know enough about Zombies to accomplish it. After all, I'd been keeping myself deliberately ignorant on this subject of Zombies for my whole life. How could I design a game about Zombies?

Undaunted, Kristin found a couple of Zombie Experts (here's a shout-out to Russell & Bob!) and they did a great job of telling me everything I needed to know about Zombies. Even so, I couldn't come up with anything. I tried... I actually created some early prototype Zombie Keeper cards, and thought a bunch about how I might make them work, but even though the most recent (yet embarrassingly out-dated) version of What's On The Stove? mentions Zombie Fluxx as a possible future project, I'd pretty much decided that it couldn't be done and forgotten all about it.

Flash forward to last week, when we got email from Michael Higgins, suggesting that we make unsigned Andy Looney Keepers available for sale (he made the case so well we decided to go ahead and do it) and also asking what was up with Zombie Fluxx.

Now, to give you an idea of how long dead this undead project had been, Robin has been full-time in charge of operations at Looney Labs for almost a year now, and this was the first she'd heard of it. And of course, she loved the idea, which Kristin immediately seized upon again, talking about how great it would be if I could come up with a Zombie Fluxx game... anyway, when two beautiful women (who just happen to be your wife and your boss) are smiling sweetly at you and saying how happy it would make them if you did a certain thing, well, if you're anything like me, you at least have to say you'll try -- even if that thing they want involves Zombies. So I said I would try. And I thought about it for 2 days..

And then, all of a sudden, I had a major breakthrough! A new idea! A bold new concept which was so crazy, it just might work! Eureka! Woo-hoo! I did it!

I devoted the whole weekend to the project (like I said, I even watched a Zombie movie as research) and by Monday morning I had a fully-operational alpha prototype Zombie Fluxx deck, ready for playtesting. And it works!!! We tried it out over and over again that day, and many times since then, and it works amazingly well!

It's really very exciting. It's still Fluxx, but it's got this new thang going on which will grab Fluxx fans and knock their brains right out of their skulls (and into the hands of the mob of hungry Zombies).

Now, I'm sure you're all looking forward to trying it out, but unfortunately, most of you will probably have to wait.

  • To those in the College Park area, just ask and I'll let you playtest it with me. I can often be found at the College Perk Coffeehouse. (If you want to know a specific time when I'll be there, send me email.)
  • To those in the game biz who'll be attending the GAMA Trade Show next week: Kristin will be at GTS with my alpha prototype in hand, and she's eager to playtest it with everyone. However, since there won't be a Looney Labs booth this year, you'll have to play a game of Find-the-Kristin in order to playtest Zombie Fluxx. But it should be pretty easy... just look for the lady in the tie-dyed bandana!
  • To everyone else: I'm sorry but I must ask that you be patient. Soon enough you shall be surrounded by Zombies!

That's all I'm going to officially reveal at this time. (But watch out for Zombies! Remember, they shamble silently and have been known to sneak up on people.)

AndyThanks for reading, and have a great week!

Thought Residue
The Zombie movie I watched while designing Zombie Fluxx was Night of the Living Dead, the original low-budget George Romero film to which Dawn of the Dead was a sequel. Since NotLD is the canonical work that spawned the genre, I decided I really needed to see this one at least, and since it was made in 1968 and was filmed in black & white, I figured the gore factor would be tame enough by modern standards that I could handle it (and indeed, it wasn't as bad as I feared).

I enjoyed NotLD a lot more than I expected to... it's quite riveting, actually. However, it sure didn't make sense to me... why would there have been so many unburied, recently-deceased people in the vicinity of the isolated farmhouse where all the action takes place? Increasing numbers of zombies, up to a massive horde, appear out of thin air in the middle of nowhere. (Somehow this bothers me more than the whole question of how these corpses could be coming back to life as zombies in the first place...)
Having watched the first one, I now find myself inevitably curious about some of the others, in particular the original Dawn of the Dead. I wish I could get a copy of the film with all the gory bits hacked out, blurred, or otherwise made less horrible. The story is fascinating, like an extended Twilight Zone episode... I just don't feel the need to actually see all those decapitations. (One way to accomplish this is to get a friend who's seen the movie before to watch it with you, fast-forwarding and summarizing the nasty parts as needed. Alison calls this "Robocopping," after memorably "watching" Robocop this way with her mother.)

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