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"We've been playing your games for years. We've given away several Aquarius decks and have worn out a couple ourselves. (When you can tell which goal somebody has by how the back of the card looks, it's time for a new deck.!)" -- comments accompanying an order for two Aquarius decks from Barbara of Chicago, IL

Thursday, February 26th, 2004
by the Writer's Guild of Wunderland

What's New?

What's Going On? SSB & AtB in EAC

This week, our groups of EAC playtesters began receiving and trying out their Beta edition copies of the game. That means, of course, that we've already come up with a couple of rather major changes, which make all those beta editions slightly obsolete. But hey, that's the way the process works...

If you're lucky enough to be one of our EAC playtesters, this article will update you on some of the changes I've already decided to make to the game. On the other hand, if you've seen nothing of the game so far, here's your first glimpse at a couple of the cards!

The great news is that I finally figured out the answer to a time-travel riddle I've been puzzling over for weeks. Here's the question: How would American history be different if the British had been prevented from setting fire to Washington DC during the War of 1812? The connection was hard to see at first, but once realized, it's totally logical and perfectly suited for the game: there would be no Star-Spangled Banner!

Here's why: After burning DC, the British moved north, towards Baltimore. There they attacked Fort McHenry, where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the Star-Spangled Banner because our flag was still there after a full night of "the rocket's red glare". However, if the British had been stopped before reaching Washington, at the disastrous (and rarely talked about) Battle of Bladensburg, then they'd never even have gotten to Baltimore, and that song simply wouldn't exist!

It seems so obvious now, but I didn't connect the dots until a conversation I had last week with Meg Naab, our wonderful money manager. She was telling me about a discussion she'd been having with some of her Cooper-brothers, about other major security failures of our nation's history, concluding that one of the worst was that time in 1814 when we let enemy troops march into our capitol city and burn everything down. Then I realized: if that hadn't happened, there'd be no SSB!

So, what should be our National Anthem instead? It turns out that Meg was the perfect person to have this conversation with, since she's thought about this very question quite a bit over the years. The answer she instantly came up with was "America the Beautiful," and I couldn't agree more. So now, thanks to the miracle of time travel, this dreamed-of alternate reality is now (slightly) real!

Of course, while this new idea is Really Cool and fits perfectly onto my TimeLine, it also causes a lot of little problems. First, something else on the TimeLine had to be removed in order to make room for it (I'm getting rid of 1777'... known only as "The War Starts Some Other Way," it's the one card I really didn't have working yet) and since the card being dropped is at the other end of the TimeLine, almost all the Time Index numbers are now wrong! I've got lots of other little changes, too... even without all the corrections re-Time-Indexing will require, I've already filled up 3 pages with revised and corrected card images for the playtesters to incorporate into their decks. (Betatesters: very soon I'll be putting those files up for download... if you haven't acquired any of that full-sheet sticker paper I mentioned, this weekend would be a good time to...)

In other news, Alison is quitting her day job at the Flower Shop to work full-time at Looney Labs (whoo-hoo!), Kristin's been researching online banking (yes, we're still trying to choose a new bank), and over the weekend we were visited by Russell (he and I each won 2 of the 4 games of Homeworlds we managed to squeeze in while he was here).

AndyHave an excellent week!

the story so far

Thought Residue

Needless to say, I'm massively opposed to the idea of writing anti-gay prejudices into our sacred Constitution. However, as long as we're talking about amendments, I have 3 questions which I consider of more importance than stopping gay weddings:

  1. What happens if the Capitol building is bombed and we need an all-new Congress in a hurry?
  2. Why do we still have the Electoral College?
  3. Where in the Constitution is the Drug War justified?

"I read a book called, Tough Questions Jews Ask, by Rabbi Edward Feinstein, which had several tough questions. Basically, there is a class that asks the rabbi, who is the teacher, questions. One of these questions questioned the existence of God, because this person couldn't believe in such a thing. He couldn't believe in an 'invisible spirit who lives in heaven and rewards good people and punishes bad people.' The problem was that this person had the wrong definition of God. The rabbi's view was quite different. He said that it is important that our ideas of God change over time, otherwise they don't fit us 'any more than the clothes and shoes we wore as little kids.'" -- Dustan Levenstein's Bar Mitzvah Speech, Jan. 17 2004
"In 2001, the famous Hempcar traveled 13,000 miles across Canada and the US on a tour of 50 cities in a 92-day marathon. The vehicle burned hemp fuel exclusively, achieving 21.5 miles per gallon, setting one record after another! Hemp fuel is produced by pyrolysis; high heat is applied to the dry biomass in the absence of air to produce gas, pyrolytic oil, or methanol, which burns with 95.55 efficiency. Unlike fossil fuels, no polluting ash or sulfur derivatives result. All of America's fuel could be produced domestically if 7% of the continental United States were turned over to hemp biomass production." -- Jorge Cervantes, page 70, High Times magazine March/April 2004


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