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Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Archives Games

summer's cold

Haiku Reviews

Who Killed the Electric Car? :)

A multiple choice
question. The answer is G:
"all of the above."

The Last Knit

Tirade's Choice

Gadl's Wee Planets

"Last night I went to a free concert. The man performing was Jerry Leggett. He is touring the US, in a tiny vintage tear-drop RV trailer, spreading an Idea of peace. After the concert I was lucky enough to meet with him. My wife and I took him to dinner. We had a wonderful conversation. My 4 year old was with us, and was getting a little bored with all the adult stuff going on. She asked me if we could play Treehouse. (I always carry her set with me whenever we go out, it's better then crayons!) When I gave her the set she began playing with the pieces. I told her to set up the game and I would play. Not only did she set it up, (no surprise there) but she set up a tree for all the adults. She then turned to Mr. Leggett and politely said 'Excuse me, but you have to play Treehouse.' She then showed him the pieces and began explaining the game. He rolled the die and came up with TIP, and my daughter explained that he had to tip his tree over..." -- email from a rabbit named Bob

Gastro, and more class photos

  • Sorry, no video (I only took still photos on this trip)

Marcon, Martinsburg, and Zombies

We're back from MarCon 42, a sci-fi/gaming convention held each year in Columbus Ohio. Kristin, Alison, and I had the honor of being their official Gaming Guests of Honor this year, and we had a great time! (Afterwards we want to Martinsburg, and at the con I was trampled by Zombies!)

Here are some photos from the gaming room we set up and ran all weekend. As usual, we created a groovy gaming area and invited everyone in to try out one or more of our games. We did the Little Experiment sticker thing, awarding a Happy Flower to anyone who earned 5 different game stickers, and we gave out 62 of these prizes during the course of the weekend.

The games we were playing included the usual favorites of course, but we were also trying out several of my latest creations. These included my new game for the Stonehenge system, the new game I created for 3HOUSE (still officially known only as Secret Project 3H-1), and of course, my new Zombie-infested version of Fluxx. All 3 are testing really well, but Zombie Fluxx is the one people are the most excited about. One (if not both) of my prototype decks were being used for playtest games almost constantly all weekend.

As always, I'd like to send a big Thank You out to all the local area Rabbits who helped us with this event... it makes such a difference having fans on hand to help with stuff like teaching the rules to new players. Thanks again to Rebiccola and the Meyers Clan and Colleen and the Tacketts and the Hunkars but in particular, I'd like to thank Jeff Wolfe, seen here with a cool wizard's hat accompanying his lab coat. This was Jeff's first event as an official demo-person, and he did a great job, spending most of his weekend in our space, teaching people to play various Looney Labs games. But don't take my word for it, go read the page he posted at (featured as this week's LLabs in the News item) in which Jeff describes all the games he played over the weekend, only one of which wasn't ours.

Another particularly memorable new friend was this 13-year-old kid named Marcus. He (and his brother Mario) also spent quite a bit of time gaming with us in our Lab, and I had them test out the material in my nearly-final 3HOUSE prototype. I was happy enough with their ability to learn and play Secret Project 3H-1, but I was especially thrilled by the reaction Marcus had to Homeworlds. He LOVED it! It fills me with the hope that 3HOUSE will succeed at presenting this awesome-but-complicated game in a way that will draw in lots of new players, and it also gave me a regular Homeworlds opponent for the rest of the weekend!

My favorite moment was when Mario came in to tell him that a spot was available at one of the computer gaming stations in the next room, and Marcus declined to abandon his game with me for it, saying "I'd rather play this, it's better than Starcraft." Right now I've been referring to him as the Littlest Starship Captain, but someday I'll probably end up losing a Binary Homeworlds tournament to him. (I'm still the reigning World Champion, but I may lose that title soon so I need to keep enjoying it while I can...)

Incidentally, speaking of Starship Captains and Secret Projects, Jesse Welton dropped in for awhile and even though I lost the game, I really enjoyed playing Homeworlds with him again. (In last year's tourney I just barely beat him, and I fear I'll be losing the medal to him next month.) Jesse had his own Secret Project-in-progress to show off, and I gotta say, I was totally blown away by it. I can't wait for him to finish and unveil the amazing creation he's working on!

But oddly enough, one of the most memorable events of the weekend (for me at least) was something I just happened to stumble upon, which wasn't even a real convention event: a Zombie March.

Although I spent most of my time in our game room, I did wander around the rest of the convention a couple of times, and late on Saturday afternoon I just happened to go upstairs at the right moment to find myself surrounded by HUNDREDS OF ZOMBIES! There they were, just shambling through the main convention space and on outside, forming a grisly parade of the undead which moved off down the street in the direction of North Market. Fortunately, I even had a camera with me, so I snapped some photos!

The Zombie March is an instantly-popular flash-mob sort of thing, in which crowds of people dress up as zombies and shamble through downtown areas. Apparently, this undead invasion of Columbus was just one of five that happened in cities all over the country this weekend, and judging by how successful this one obviously was, I think we can expect to see this sort of thing happening more and more as time goes on.

I've actually never been much of a fan of Zombies, but now that I'm working on Zombie Fluxx, it seems like Zombies are everywhere. I'm surrounded by them! I mean, what are the odds? Even though I've been immersing myself in zombie lore these last few months, I had yet to hear anything about this big event in the world of Zombie News. (This is something I find surprising in and of itself.) Given this, the way I just happened to find myself literally being trampled by an unexpected mob of zombies was really pretty astonishing. (It's not like they were part of the convention... the Zombie Marchers simply chose to direct their "parade" through the lobby of the convention hotel because they knew we'd get a kick out of it.)

On the way back from MarCon, we decided to relax a bit, and we took our time getting home. On our way out of Ohio, we met up with Josh for dinner in his home town of Athens, then we visited several cities in West Virginia which we've been considering as places to eventually move to. Of particular note, we made our first visit to Martinsburg.

We really liked Martinsburg. As I noted in a Thought Residue last week, it's got a lot going for it, as far as size, region, proximity to DC (and other points of interest), cost of living, availability of mass transit options, etc. So we were hoping to like it, but worried that the town itself wouldn't appeal to us. But it's great! We were delighted to discover that this historic little city is chock-full of beautiful old Victorian houses of exactly the sort we're interested in, and many of them are for sale! We got so excited we met with a Realtor who showed us the house shown here, which is in great shape and surprisingly affordable. And there are literally one after another of these places in Martinsburg!

Martinsburg has moved to the top of my list of candidate cities, and I have a hunch it's gonna turn out to be the place we actually do finally end up moving to.

AndyThanks for reading, and have a great week!

Thought Residue
Since my earliest days of designing Fluxx decks, I've considered the Hand and Keeper Limits to be part of the core set of standard New Rules you always had to include. But although I still consider Hand Limits mandatory (without them it becomes too easy to run the deck completely out of cards) I now think of Keeper Limits as optional. (They just make it harder to win, which may or may not be desirable depending on how difficult the Goals are to accomplish.)

Andy vs. Everybody stats from Marcon: I played 21 games (of 10 unique types) in the session, and was the winner 8 times. That means I had a 38% Victory Rate!
"Quibblers claim that a demonstration offshore, or even above Tokyo harbor, might have induced the Japanese to surrender with less loss of life -- and that if not, another bomb was ready. But the intent was to terrorize a nation to the maximum extent, and there is nothing like nuking civilians to achieve that effect." -- William Langewiesche, from the book "The Atomic Bazaar" (seen quoted in The Week magazine's June 1, 2007 issue, page 40)

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