Guide to Wunderland
- News Archives
Playing Gnostica. It's Kristin's turn. Jake says,
"Uh, John has six, you have five."
orotund (or'-uh-tund) adj.
1: marked by fullness, strength and clarity or sound; sonorous
2: pompous; bombastic
- Erin Brockovich :)
- Julia Roberts
IS Erin Brockovich IN
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.
Base Are Belong To Us
- "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
||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?
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
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.
I said last week, we've got a
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
OtherGames@LooneyLabs.com? What about GameDesign@LooneyLabs.com?
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 MadLabRabbits.com. The
new site also featured the beginnings of a Rabbit membership
roster, with forms allowing new Rabbits to register for accounts
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 MadLabRabbits.com 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
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 Wunderland.com footer now also tells you
when that page was last modified. Cool, eh? Thanks Dale!
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!