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"Friend brought back Chrononauts from a Gencon. I refused to play. I hated card games (starts with 'm' and rhymes with -agic.) I was bullied into playing, and boy was I glad! Have been hooked for ~ 3 years and am seeking to hook my little brother. This is one of the best concepts ever. I look forward to the prequel (someday). Love the Origins booth and the Big Experiment." -- comments accompanying an order from Kristy of Cincinnati

Thursday, December 11th, 2003
by the Writer's Guild of Wunderland

What's New?

What's Going On? Into Phase 2 on 76-EAC / PBEM Homeworlds

As usual, there's a lot going on here at the Lab... the holidays are here, which makes us busier than ever, and little things like being interviewed on the radio about Stoner Fluxx have been causing a few distractions. We've also got some new products shipping out (including Cyan pyramids, now finally available in the Dangling Carrot), but the thing that's really been dominating my thoughts this week (aside from the Homeworlds game I started played by email with Russell) is something we've code-named Secret Project 76-EAC. If all goes well, 76-EAC will be announced this spring and released at Origins, but until I get a little further into the design, I don't want to say anything officially. But I'm starting to feel pretty confident that I can make it work, and if so, it's gonna be *really* cool. I'm now in what I call Phase 2 of the development process, which is the part where I'm doing the "heavy-lifting" work, hammering out the design, and obsessively thinking about it constantly as I do. (Phase 1 is the spin-up time, when you're trying to get going on the project, and the process ends with Phase 3, the testing and debug phase.)

In other news, I'm happy to say that I can finally send email to my brother Jeff again! Some months ago, I discovered why he hadn't been writing back to me. At first I thought he was just too busy (he's been under a lot of pressure to meet a publishing deadline) or that my messages were getting caught in spam filters or something... but it proved to be an even trickier firewall-type problem. Fortunately, our new SysAdmin got it straightened out. Yay! Thanks Fuzz!

I remember the first time I encountered the play-by-mail concept: it was in an episode of Family Affair which I saw as a kid. I don't remember the details now but the kids were rough-housing or playing ball in the house or something, and they knocked over Mr. French's in-progress chessboard. Mr. French got really upset but then decided it was OK since he could reconstruct the board by writing back to his opponent and asking for a description of the layout. Anyway, ever since then I've loved the idea of playing games by mail, and have done so myself many times. Currently, I'm playing a game of Homeworlds with Russell... He and I have played Homeworlds dozens of times now, all over Europe and even on the Grassy Knoll, and we're still really into it, so Russell worked out a play-by-email notation system. Then, as the game started developing, and our in-game chatter proved amusing, it seemed obvious I should turn the project into a series of webpages, so others could watch too. So, this week you'll find the first two reports on game #1 available for your enjoyment. (Unfortunately, he's got the upper hand... I'm worried I may lose this one!)

AndyThanks for reading!

the story so far

Thought Residue
"[John Lennon] was a counterrevolutionary and was very dangerous to the government. If he had said 'Bomb the White House tomorrow,' there would have been 10,000 people who would have done it. The pacifist revolutionaries are historically killed by the government, and anybody who thinks Mark Chapman was just some crazy guy who killed my dad for his own personal interest is insane or very naive. It was in the best interest of the United States to have my dad killed." -- John Lennon's son, Sean, quoted in Salvador Astucia's article, "Rethinking John Lennon's Assassination: The FBI's War on Rock Stars"

"Many of us remember spending the summer of 1973 glued to the television, watching Sam Erwin's Watergate hearings. They were public, unrehearsed and very effective. They spotlighted a conspiracy orchestrated by the Oval Office. They helped the public see what was going on in the shadows. Will we ever see such a robust, no-holds-barred inquiry into 9/11?" -- "Where's the Watchdog?" by Danny Schechter and Colleen Kelly
"Congress wants to run anti-marijuana ads with your tax money, while at the same time banning you from using your own money to run ads in support of marijuana law reform. They want to prohibit you from spending money on things you believe in, while taking money out of your paycheck to spend on things you don't believe in." -- email from the Drug Policy Alliance about an attempt by Congress to ban private marijuana reform advertising on public transportation


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