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"As always, Fluxx is a great game to play with the nongamers in your life. I tested it on nongamers, and nearly everyone liked it after a couple of hands. They even played it without me, which, despite my mixed review, is probably the best testimonial a family game like this can get. " -- Jeff Quick, reviewing Fluxx 3.0 in Issue 5 of Undefeated Magazine

Thursday, March 25th, 2004
by the Writer's Guild of Wunderland

What's New?

What's Going On? GTS was Great, as Usual

Well, we're back from the GAMA Trade Show in Las Vegas, and as usual it was a smash. Here's a photo of our booth, but this time, it's kind of like a game of "Where's Waldo?" The exhibit hall this year was located on the covered-over floor of an ice hockey arena, which meant you could stroll around among the seats above to get groovy overhead views like this.

"Check it out! I can see our booth from here!"


The official team this time around consisted of myself, Kristin, Alison, and Russell, though we also got a lot of great help from a few of our rabbits who were there, Bob and Carol. Thanks y'all! (Thanks also to Marlene for staying behind to work in the office while we were gone... it was wonderful knowing, for a change, that work was continuing to get done back at home while we were away! It's still pretty amazing for us, this having employees thing...)

We gave out lots of catalogs, along with most of the free product we brought with us, and we taught lots of people to play more of our games. Of course, we were showing off my latest Early American Chrononauts prototype, and everyone's very excited about it.

We also got a lot of comments about & interest in our most recent release, Stoner Fluxx. We're very pleased to say that the overwhelming majority of reactions we got were very positive. Many stores have been selling it, and selling it well; some stores have been keeping it under the counter and still selling it well; some stores have decided not to carry it but still sell our other stuff and are still totally happy with us. One retailer I spoke with had gotten a couple of complaints but successfully used logic and printouts of essays from our website to change people's minds; and many retailers (and other manufacturers) came by to praise us for our bold and important stance. Woo-hoo! It's going well!

Our next release won't be until Origins, but friends of ours were at GTS to officially debut their new game. Our friend Jake and his wife Lisa have decided to jump into this crazy world of game publishing, and have formed a new company called Play Again Games. Their first release is Kory's excellent new party game, called "Why Did the Chicken...?" which arrived just in time for them to be giving away free copies to the retailers at GTS. Well done guys, and good luck!

"Why Did the Chicken...?" is available for sale right now, here in the Looney Labs Random Emporium!

As usual, I left the convention casino a number of times, to explore other parts of Vegas during our stay, and while I was out and about, I discovered a wonderful place none of the guidebooks I read ever mentioned: The Icehouse Lounge! Well, with a name like that, it had to be good, right? When I first saw it, I stopped just to take a picture of the sign... but a quick glance inside revealed that the Icehouse Lounge was just the sort of cool, relaxed hangout I'd expect it to be.

Among the many cool amenities the Icehouse Lounge offered was this excellent gaming table, covered with a wafer-thin sheet of polished marble and lit from underneath, effectively creating the perfect surface for Icehouse games: a light table.

Since Bob has joined me and Russell in our obsession with the 2-player version of Homeworlds (which we are now calling Binary Homeworlds, as a way to distinguish it from the regular version) we of course played many such games at this most excellent table. One of the high points of the trip for me occurred just after I took this photo: I had 2 games of Binary Homeworlds going at the same time, one with Russell on my left, and one with Bob on my right, and I won both games! (I played at least a dozen games of BHW with these guys in Vegas, and lost only twice, once to each of them.)

As usual, the appearance of an Icehouse game on a restaurant table always attracts attention, but you get a very different reaction from the waitress when you tell her that the name of the game is the same as the name of the lounge you're in. We wound up meeting the actual owners of the place, and I gave them a copy of The Empty City, after telling them their real-life establishment reminded me of the imaginary places I described in my book.

Anyway, I hereby pronounce the Icehouse Lounge to be the Coolest Spot in Las Vegas. Any rabbits visiting the area are encouraged to drop in for a round or two of your favorite Icehouse game. (And if you're a rabbit who actually lives in Vegas, you definitely need to check this place out!)

As usual, I didn't gamble away a single penny while in Vegas.... gambling just isn't my thing. But I did spend some time looking at slot machines. They come in every imaginable theme and flavor now, and being a big fan of the immortal classic, The Twilight Zone, I was naturally drawn to the model shown here. As I watched other people flush their money away using this machine, I was reminded of that excellent episode about a guy named Franklin who goes to Vegas and gets hooked on gambling, simply because of the way one particular slot machine starts talking to him, saying his name over and over again, in a voice that sounds like clinking coins: "Franklin, Franklin, Fraaaaaannkliiiinnnn!" I thought, "Wouldn't it be funny if they made some sort of reference to that creepy old slot machine on the modern Twilight Zone-themed equivalent?" (Frankly, I would have expected a Twilight Zone slot machine to look just like Franklin's slot machine.) But no such luck, this machine just featured icons like Talky Tina, the little robots from The Invaders, Alicia the android, and Rod Serling himself. I guess slot machine designers lack (or are forbidden to use) a sense of humor. (Or perhaps Franklin's machine shows up only on special occasions which I never witnessed, like pay-outs.)

AndyAnyway, have an excellent week!

the story so far

Thought Residue
"You really have to experience it to fully understand, but perhaps this helps: Fluxx is really a simulation of life. The goals change constantly and seemingly at random, but often under the control of other players, and sometimes under your control. The means to achieve those goals are distributed randomly and totally unfairly. The rules for achieving those goals change constantly and without any rationale. The pace goes from being impossibly slow to too fast to keep up. Sometimes, everybody just gives up. Mostly the game just ends suddenly with the last person you'd expect as the winner. And in the end, the best way to win is to set a goal that matches what you have, rather than the other way around." -- Roy Levien's review of Fluxx at FunAgain.com

"Assume for a moment that the statistics above are reasonably accurate and hold constant for a few years. Also assume the service on debt goes up a mere 14 of 1 percent per year. As the graph below shows, by the year 2011, 100% of the revenue the government receives will go straight from the taxpayer's pocketbook to the holders of US debt instruments. There will be no money for any governmental function in the United States of America whatsoever." -- Don Smith, "USA Out Of Business"
"#5: The Chocolate Love Robot (while very desirable, and highly sought after) is not a winning combo in Fluxx." -- one of the lessons learned about Fluxx, as reported in Part VI ("Fluxx and beyond...") of the UberCon III report posted at algernonsdilemma.com


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