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"I'm looking at this, and first of all I don't see any large grows or large babies," says Jake. "Maybe that's the difference."

Cool Words

dorp (dorp) n. a small village, a hamlet

Haiku Reviews

Saving Silverman :|

Silverman's friends can't
save him from the sequel to
American Pie.

Daddy-O's Reviews


This new Star Trek series, set 100 years before the adventures on Kirk's starship Enterprise, is actually looking pretty promising! In particular, I'm excited about the ongoing "temporal cold war" plotline they established in the two-hour first episode. With generations of well documented future history at their disposal, an on-going time travel adventure could turn this series into something truly great. We shall see.

Tirade's Choice

WTC Photo Hoax

"It probably was Looney Labs games that first encouraged me, after my Magic experiences, to take a kinder, friendlier approach to games." -- Mark Cipolone, on the Rabbits mailing list

Thursday, October 4, 2001
by the Wunderland Toast Society

What's New?

What's Going On? Jana and the Icehouse Summit

This is Jana Bradley, our latest extended house guest and invisible helper. Jana is intentionally--but only temporarily--displaced from her husband and two sons in the Seattle area, as they are in the midst of relocating from Washington state to Washington DC. Jana is here first, scouting for a new source of bread and hearth somewhere in this vicinity. She's been seeking refuge with friends during her quest to establish an enlightened life here in the East; after lodging for a while with Leah and Frank, she persuaded us to let her take shelter here at Wunderland.Earth as she waits for the rest of her family to arrive.

Meanwhile, speaking of people who are moving from one coast to the other without even having a job lined up first, Mar is getting ready to uproot and move west. We're gonna miss her so! If everything goes according to her plan, she'll be on her way in a matter of days. Look out San Francisco! Here comes Marlene!

We're now well into the final phase of production on our new book of Icehouse games, Playing with Pyramids, and it's going really well. We're trying to have a nearly-final draft ready to give to proof-readers by the end of the month, and there's still quite a lot to do before we can be ready. I'm working through a big art list, but we're also still making some final changes on the design of a couple of the games.

Over the weekend we held the Icehouse Summit, which is just a fancy way of saying we invited our game design team over to playtest and debate rules all weekend. We spent a lot of time trying out a bunch of variations of Zagami, seeking the ideal ruleset, and I think we just about nailed it (though as always, Kory has one more variation he still wants to try). We also played bunches of Martian Backgammon and Pikemen, but found nothing with either game we felt we needed to change. We did agree on making an addition to the rules of Martian Chess (we're adding an endgame option called Field Promotions) but when it came to the most well established of all Icehouse games, we ran into some controversy.

While John and I were immensely proud of it at the time, the original Icehouse game is for us now an early work, and having learned a lot about game design during the past decade, we've often talked about the changes we might make to Icehouse if we had a chance to redesign it. Since Playing with Pyramids is about to become the definitive book about Icehouse games, if ever there was a time to officially revise the game, it would be now.

In the end, we decided not to change anything. While John and I were tempted by the ideas of the Icehouse Revisionists (simplifying the meltdown rule was the most appealing proposal, but we also liked the idea of opening up attack piece placement to any position on the board), it's the voices of the Icehouse Fundamentalists that rang the loudest in our ears.

We also had extensive discussions about the book itself, the formatting and layout of which is being done for us by Lynne Powell. She's been doing a great job, and the book is already shaping up nicely. It's going to be arranged in six sections (not counting the introduction) and each section will begin with a title plate featuring a large illustration. Three of these drawings, which I created this week, are shown below. The other three will be recycled from the covers of the books in the current edition, which are nicely presented in a WWN back issue from two years ago, which provides a certain sense of deja vu at this time.

AndyHave a great October!
(It's gotta be better than September was, right?)

Thought Residue
Today, my sister-in-law Judy is undergoing surgery, to remove a brain tumor. Assuming the surgery goes well, everything should be fine, but they're saying it will be a slow recovery. This means the weeks ahead will be a tough time for their whole family (she and Jeff are raising a fine pair of twins) so I hope everyone will wish them well.
A new purple metro line, which would run along the beltway from Rockville to New Carrollton, is actually being seriously discussed! (The plan even has opponents!)
"What can we do but eat cookies at a time like this?" -- sentiment of an article in the LA Times, "Americans Fend Off Sorrow With Laden Fork and Spoon"


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