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Thursday, May 1st, 2008

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comedy is not pretty | poker justice and gathering pots | there is no justice

Cool Words

lacuna (lah-kyoon'-uh) n. 1: a blank space or a missing part; gap. 2: a small cavity, pit, or discontinuity in an anatomical structure. [From Latin lacuna "pool, pit, gap."]

Haiku Reviews

Forgetting Sarah Marshall :)

A silly romp through
that wonderful time in life
when your spouse dumps you.

also: The Frighteners

Philosophers' World Cup

Tirade's Choice

Refacing Government Tender

"We have a game of the original Fluxx (second edition I believe) and we love it. We own probably a hundred games (we are game freaks!) and we play Fluxx every day at least a few times a day." -- Christine P, comments with order #89159

Trip Prep, the New Nomadism, and a pair of quarters

Monty Python and the Pink Treehouse

For awhile now, we've been making new versions of Fluxx that focus on a particular theme: there's the new hit Zombie Fluxx, the temporarily-sold-out EcoFluxx, and the upcoming alien-invasion-themed Martian Fluxx.

Meanwhile, one of our corporate peers in the adventure game industry, a company called Toy Vault, has been making toys and games featuring a licensed property near and dear to many in our market segment: Monty Python! The guys at Toy Vault have been bugging us for a while now about the idea of making a Monty Python version of Fluxx, and during the past few weeks we've hammered out both a contract to work together on the project and a preliminary prototype of the game, so we're feeling like the project is solid enough to start announcing.

So announcing it we are. Last week (while I was still being a Nifty Guest at PenguiCon 6), Kristin & Alison & Erika were at the GAMA Trade Show in Las Vegas, telling everyone in the game industry that Monty Python Fluxx will be available this fall! (Unfortunately for fans eager to get Martian Fluxx, we've decided that Monty Python Fluxx should move to the front of the line, which means we're pushing the planned release date for Martian Fluxx out to Spring 2009.)

And what will the deck include? Well, obviously that's a tough question, since the universe of Monty Python is vast and random and a Fluxx deck only has so many cards. But after a lot of pondering I've settled on a mix that focuses heavily on Holy Grail but pulls in as many other bits and references as I can squeeze in. While some fans will lament the omission of favorites like Bicycle Repairman, Mr. Neutron, and the Fatally Hilarious Joke, such fans will also have to admit that these references are pretty obscure and that the focus should be on gags which most players will be familiar with.

In the end, the audience I sought to design for was someone who'd seen Holy Grail, perhaps a couple of times, along with a few random episodes of the series. This person knows the Dead Parrot sketch not from having actually seen it, but from having heard it quoted so many times. He might have seen Life of Brian or the Meaning of Life, but if so he remembers little more from either of those films than one or two of their songs. By targeting a player with this level of knowledge, the game will be plenty appealing to Python fans while not alienating those who don't get every little reference.

And from what I've been seeing, this seems to be a pretty good balance. After testing with my local game group, we ran numerous playtest sessions with my prototypes at PenguiCon and the GAMA Trade Show, and the reactions we've been getting have been REALLY fabulous.

Monty Python Fluxx will be our first foray into the world of publishing games with licensed-property theming, and we shall see if the added costs in royalty payments are exceeded by the added interest the Monty Python name will draw in. But it seems like a match made in comedy heaven -- the random and chaotic nature of the Fluxx engine makes it a perfect vehicle for the crazy world of Monty Python!

For those who'll be participating in our Big Experiment at Origins in June, this is one of the games I'll be letting people playtest in my "What's Next From Andy Looney?" events!

A final note on this topic: the actual Monty Python guys have to give their personal thumbs ups before we can go to the printers, but we think that's cool and hopefully it won't add too many delays.

Also being announced in our booth at GTS was Pink Treehouse! Yes, at long last we are finally adding one more shade to the Icehouse pyramid spectrum, namely magenta (which we're calling pink).

For years we've talking about introducing another color, or even several other colors, but it's never seemed quite like the right time for it until now. After the Treehouse Revolution we thought about creating a complete new third color scheme, but we couldn't agree on what all the new colors within it should be. Several new shades were deemed desirable, but there's really only one color that stood out from the others as being needed: Pink.

Moreover, pink stuff is all the rage right now, since pink ribbons and other pink things have become symbolic of the fight against breast cancer. Given all this, and the fact that Treehouse can actually be played just fine with a monochrome stash, we've decided to create a new pink edition of Treehouse and to donate a portion of the proceeds the fight against breast cancer.

We don't have a release date for Pink Treehouse yet... for one thing, we're still debating the options for how to package the set. But this is definitely happening: KLON has already started making pyramids in the new color, and they look great!

A final note on this topic: Pink Treehouse will also feature a new shade in Treehouse dice colors: purple (with white letters).

AndyThanks for reading, and have a great fortnight!

Thought Residue
I was very pleased by the news that Zombie Fluxx had been nominated for an Origins Award for Best Card Game of 2007. It's also nice to see that Hobby Games: The 100 Best (of which I wrote 1%) got a nomination too. However, I was also shocked and disappointed to note that Stonehenge was passed over for such honors in the Board Game category. Oh well, perhaps it will get that special Vanguard award...

For two years now I've been sending out a congratulatory letter to new Eagle Scouts whenever requested. This week, this little service has gone co-ed! Congrats to Christa Rose Kelly, the first Girl Scout Gold Award recipient to get a letter from me congratulating someone for that accomplishment!
At PenguiCon 6 I was amazed to encounter a group playing my game Chrononauts with the Timeline arranged vertically rather than horizontally. Instead of taking up a space on the table of about 15" tall x 20" wide, their Timeline had a 29" tall x 10" wide footprint. It looked really strange to me, but they seemed to prefer it that way. Well, like I always say -- House Rules rule!

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