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Thursday, May 27, 1999

What's New?

New Iceland cartoonthe story so far

Around this time last week, we learned that Fluxx and Aquarius are up against each other for Best Traditional Card Game in this year's Origins Awards. Naturally this has gotten us very excited about attending Origins, but it's also served as a wake-up call, since Origins is now just 5 weeks away and we have a lot to do in order to get ready for it.

As we did last year, we'll be getting a double-sized booth at the show. But where last year's booth was focused on the launch of our new game Aquarius, this year we will be debuting We're planning a booth given over primarily to gaming space, with a couple of open tables and access to the library of games we sell through our new online store. Here we'll provide on-going demos of all the games we sell, hopefully with the help of other dreamers who may be attending the convention, since it's always fun to learn the game from the person who actually invented it. We'll be posting a demo schedule at the booth, once we work it all out.

But while the main focus of our booth will be Contagious Dreams, we also want to promote our own games at Origins, particularly given their new nominee status. And so, we got the idea of doing promo cards.

Back in the days of the First Edition of Fluxx, we did a couple of promo cards and they were a very popular, so the idea of doing a new round of promos seemed like a good one. We came up with a plan to make one new card for each game: a new goal for Fluxx called Caffeine (Coffee + Brain) and a totally new kind of card for Aquarius: a wild card.

It seems so obvious now: a panel that can be treated as any of the 5 elements, at any time. I don't know why I never thought of it, but as soon as Alison suggested it, Kristin made a prototype and we started playtesting. It plays great! By Monday I'd created the artwork and Kristin was on the horn to card printers.

Unfortunately, ideas sometimes come too late. There's not enough time between now and Origins to get onto Carta Mundi's schedule, and no one else we've talked to has been able to promise us promo cards in time, at least not at anything like a price we can currently afford. (The trick that made promo cards affordable in '97 was the fact that they were one-color printing onto existing blanks, by a local printer.) So it currently looks like the Aquarius promotional wild card idea will be stuck on the back burner for awhile, until our next big card printing project, when we can sneak the extra cards onto the sheet with something else. But in the meantime, I figured I might as well share the artwork with you, since it looks so cool.

As for promoting our games at Origins, we went back to the drawing board and formulated some new ideas, chiefly involving T-shirts... but I'll tell you about those some other time.

While I'm on the subject, Origins will also be home to the Tenth International Icehouse Tournament, organized this year by Jake. Potential competitors and Icehouse fans alike are invited to cast their vote in Dan's medallion design contest. The polls close on the first of June. Also, residents of the San Jose area are reminded that the BayCon Icehouse tourney is this Sunday.

Updating recent stories...

  • The Perl programming I've been doing has consumed most of my time this week, but it has also greatly improved our order fulfillment process.
  • The deck refit is almost complete; the trellises are installed and the cat-proofing seems solid. We spent much of Saturday enjoying the new space with Alison's friend Suzyn, who was in town from Boston.
  • The attic improvements are also coming along nicely... Alison rescued a bunch of carpet from her parent's soon-to-be-remodeled townhouse, and has been installing it over the new low-grade floor that Ed installed. (It's amazing how quickly a few boards and some carpet can make a horrible place like our attic habitable, even cozy.)
  • My roadrash is healing nicely but my wrist still hurts. I guess I must have sprained it; this week I've been keeping it wrapped in an ACE bandage.

AndyDon't forget to play!

Thought Residue
After many months of negotiations, a contract between ICE and a German game company has finally been signed. This means that the German language version of Fluxx should be on the market there this coming fall!
The cheapness of Cracker Jack prizes has sunk to a new low since my most recent Cracker Jack consuming experience, several years ago.
There are things, like highway wrecks and half-healed scrapes, that are so awful you feel compelled to take a good hard look at them. I feel this same urge whenever I see one of those ads for Old Navy brand clothing on TV. (On the other hand, I really dig the groovy new ads for toaster pastries that use the slogan "As you go through life, don't forget to stop and taste the Pop Tarts.")

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