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Sketchbook Harvest


Playing Gnostica. It's Kristin's turn. Jake says, "Uh, John has six, you have five."

Cool Words

orotund (or'-uh-tund) adj. 1: marked by fullness, strength and clarity or sound; sonorous 2: pompous; bombastic

Haiku Reviews

Erin Brockovich :)
Julia Roberts
IS Erin Brockovich IN
Erin Brockovich!

Daddy-O's Reviews

Repo Man

Another quotemaster's favorite, this bizarre film features one of the most intensely striking setup scenes I can think of: A cop pulls over a mysterious Chevy Malibu and is vaporized when he looks at the contents of the trunk. The film then follows the adventures of several competing auto repossession agents trying to grab the car. My favorite of the many vivid characters in this film is Miller, a philosophical sort who gave us the term "Plate of Shrimp" and who thinks the more you drive, the less intelligent you become.

Tirade's Choice

All Your Base Are Belong To Us

#12's Webcomic picks
Untitled Again

"Do you know what you people have done to my marriage? We've turned OFF the television after the kids go to bed and actually have conversations over hand after hand of Fluxx. Had we had Fluxx sooner, we could have saved hundreds of dollars on marriage counseling!" -- Barbara, via email

Friday, March 9, 2001
by the Wunderland Toast Society

What's New?

What's Going On? A Little Bit of Everything (including the Kitchen Sink)

Whew, another frantic week. Let's see, where to begin? On Saturday, we hosted another Pop-Tart Cafe (#4), this time at JohnCon, which as always was a great time for all; we've been re-designing the tuckbox for Aquarius, which is about to enter its second printing; we're finally adding some new products to Contagious Dreams (two this week, with several more planned for the next); Kristin's put up a bunch of new stuff for Mad Lab Rabbits, including a new 9-step program; also, we've given up on the rabbit point system and plan to just send uncut Chrononauts decks to all rabbits who helped promote the launch of Chrononauts (including the 68 "Lost Rabbits"); and finally, our kitchen sink backed up and it was really gross. Just a typical week in our lives... how was yours?

As I said, JohnCon was great fun. Because it's such a small and nearby convention, it's very easy for us to run an event there... unlike the bigger trade shows we do, little advance prep work is needed. We can just pack up the stuff we need the night before, and show up ready to play games and serve freshly-toasted pop-tarts, which is exactly what we did. And since the room they gave us was free (small conventions need content), the only real cost we had was the aforementioned tarts. And what a room! We went into it expecting a dusty classroom in the basement, like the events were held in last year; but JohnCon got better digs this year, over in the Student Union building, and consequently, we got a palatial room, for free, that was much nicer than anything we could have hoped to rent cheaply for a day of open gaming. So it didn't matter that sales were light (small crowds of college geeks don't have much money to spend)... in fact, this just made packing convenient, since we didn't need to bring too much product. (And our new "Game Store in-a-Box" worked out really well.) Most importantly, though, it gave us a chance to spend a day playing our games, with long-time friends and new fans alike, in a wonderfully, low-key setting, and we had a great time doing it. Thanks as always to everyone who showed up to either make it happen or simply be a part of it, in particular including: Kristin, Alison, Petra, Dale, toK, Kory, Jake, John, and Renee.

I have more photos than this one to put up, but this week's update is already late, so the rest of the photo album will just have to wait.

As I said last week, we've got a whole stoveful of new stuff in the works, but the most urgent thing on our plate right now isn't even on that list, and that's what we've been working on this week: The new tuckbox for Aquarius. We did the existing box in 1998, and we've learned a heck of a lot about how to design good packaging in the meantime, so we've been really looking forward to this opportunity to improve upon the earlier effort. The new box does a much better job of conveying what's on the inside that the original, rather cryptic box ever could. Plus, we think we've finally got a good catchphrase for this game (long-time rabbits can probably list several of the things we've tried these past three years): Aquarius - Can you bluff your way to the 7th connection?

The second printing of our second card game will also provide us with an opportunity to update the rules sheet, which definitely needs tweaking. One slightly radical thing we're planning is an actual change to the rules, specifically to the functionality of Zap a Card. In the current rules, a Zapped card is removed from the board and placed into the player's hand, which creates variation in handsize. This does have a positive aspect (Trade Hands is better if someone else's hand size is bigger) but it also causes confusion, so we're thinking to change it thusly: a Zapped card is simply returned to the draw pile, at the bottom. Thoughts? Questions? Here's one: where can we discuss this? We have mailing lists for many of our games (Fluxx, Chrononauts, Icehouse) but no good venue for discussion of others (Aquarius, Q-Turn, Cosmic Coasters). Should we consign discussion of such games to the Rabbit list, or should we create a new list, perhaps What about

The other big thing we're working on right now is the whole Mad Lab Rabbits program. Last fall, when we rolled out Chrononauts, we announced that we'd give an uncut Chrononauts deck to the Rabbits who did the most to help promote the game. Kristin even outlined a plan for calculating who had earned the most points. But we've been so busy just keeping up with the orders (not that we're complaining - that was the point of the program) that the point-system thing has totally fallen by the wayside. But the good news is, we've got enough uncut decks to send one to everyone who signed up to participate (even including the 68 Lost Rabbits) so we've decided to just declare everyone a winner and tell them to come request their prizes.

But who are these "Lost Rabbits" I keep referring to? Actually, it's kind of a long story. It all started last summer, when we launched the Chrononauts Beta Playtest. At that time, our friend toK built a great playtest results-tracking system for us, using some fancy database management software, and she got it running on an independent server, over at The new site also featured the beginnings of a Rabbit membership roster, with forms allowing new Rabbits to register for accounts and everything.

Unfortunately, Life intruded at this point, leaving toK unable to spend anymore time on the project, and while the new system was operational, it was far from complete. Even so, it worked great for providing us with a way of both collecting and studying the Chrononauts Beta Playtest data. After that, we just kind of forgot about this project for awhile. In doing so, we also lost track of 68 fan playtesters who signed up at the MadLabRabbits site, but never subscribed to any of our mailing lists, and hence never heard from us again.

A few months later Erksin, another volunteer geek rabbit, became involved with the project. Among other things, he got our online Roster of Stores operational, but then he too became absorbed by Life, and the site was once again pushed onto the back burner.

But now, thanks to our third volunteer geek rabbit, Dale, we've retrieved the lost data. Earlier this week, I got email from a fan saying they'd signed up to be a Rabbit long ago but somehow missed out on the Cosmic Coasters holiday mailing, and this made us realize that he, and potentially many others as well, had somehow fallen through the cracks. Dale extracted the missing data and compared it to our existing mailing list, and discovered 68 names! Soon we'll be sending out an email to these "Lost" Rabbits, inviting them to sign up for the real mailing list, and to request that copy of Cosmic Coasters they should have gotten last month but never did. Sorry to have lost track of you! Welcome back to the warren!

Dale has been taking over more and more of the behind-the-scenes work involved in maintaining this website (so much so that we now officially call him the webmaster) and he's been doing a great job. (So as long as he doesn't get a Life, we'll be fine.) In addition to the detective work I just described, he's also been fixing broken links and adding little features all over... be sure to check out the automated Rabbit Events calendar he got running, and notice that now each page with the standard footer now also tells you when that page was last modified. Cool, eh? Thanks Dale!

AndyTo sum up: The problem with volunteer help is that projects sometimes go into limbo. But it's all we can afford right now, and we deeply appreciate all our volunteers for whatever help they manage to provide us with. You guys rock!

the story so far

Thought Residue
There's a game of sorts I like to play when wandering around a convention: I get points whenever I discover a group of people playing a game I invented. I get bonus points if the people are strangers, if they're playing a game when they should be doing something else, etc. This weekend at JohnCon I scored big: I found the demo team in the Steve Jackson Games/Cheapass Games demo room playing Fluxx!

"Work fully in the open and I'll quit *saying* (no insinuations here) that you're a secretive clique. Display basic competence in performing your basic duties and I'll show some basic respect. Keep on prancing around in tuxedos and I'll keep laughing at you." -- Steve Jackson (yes, of SJ Games) during a minor flamewar that erupted this week on the Academy (of Game Design) mailing list, relating to a big scandal unfolding now in the adventure game industry, regarding recent changes to the Origins Awards procedures
According to recent tests conducted on pipes found at his home, William Shakespeare was a marijuana smoker! (It just goes to show you, those stoners never amount to anything...)

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