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"I just wanted to take some time to thank you for developing some of the most entertaining, well thought out, and different games out there. I purchased (and played) my first Looney Labs games at DragonCon 2003 and Fluxx, Aquarius, Are You A Werewolf, and Cosmic Coasters have since turned many a gathering into some of the best parties ever. I've been able to get people who used to leave as soon as any game was mentioned to stay and actually request that we play your games at group gatherings. Thanks for all of your hard work developing and producing the best games around." -- email from Donan of Starkville, Mississippi

Thursday, April 8th, 2004
by the Writer's Guild of Wunderland

What's New?

What's Going On? UBCON was Cool! (and Cold!)

So we just got back from Buffalo, where we were Guests of Honor at UBCON, a gaming convention held on the campus of the University at Buffalo in upstate New York. It was a small convention, but sales were good and our expenses were paid and everybody loved us there... so it was definitely a trip worth taking!

On the downside though, it was a long drive and even though it was spring when we left home, it was still winter up there: in fact, on Sunday a snowstorm blew into town, and it was so bad that Russell was stranded at a hotel near the airport, waiting for his flight home to be rescheduled! And I just about froze on the drive home, since I hadn't really brought enough warm clothing and our van's heat doesn't really work.

But enough whining. At UBCON we ran our first Little Experiment, this being something we've had in the works for a long time. Having established the Big Experiment at Origins as our annual festival of official tournaments, we've long been needing a way of running something similar, yet smaller, at other conventions we go to. And thus was born the Little Experiment.

Here's how it works: When you join the Little Experiment, you get a special badge, with spaces to put lots of little round (and star-shaped) stickers. My own badge from this weekend is shown here. As you can see, there were 9 games to be played in this particular Little Experiment, and I played all but one of them. (I also won twice!)

For everyone who successfully completed the challenge of playing all 9 games, there was a special reward: a new Fluxx promo card, called The Star! This new promo card will ONLY be available to those who complete the required set of challenges in an official Looney Labs-endorsed Experiment. That means you'll be able to get The Star at the Big Experiment at Origins, or at the Little Experiments we'll be running at Gen-Con and Dragon*Con... but after that, who knows? We have ideas for letting Demo Rabbits host Little Experiments of their own at conventions we can't get to or even at their Friendly Local Game Store; more on that project as it develops.

The design and production of all this cool Little Experiment stuff was done by Kristin and Marlene and Alison with almost no involvement from me... of course I was always "in the loop" as they say, but the only actual work I did on this was drawing a Star for the Star promo. Great work, ladies!

Here are some more photos from UBCON... as I mentioned, Russell flew in from Florida to join Kristin and Alison and me, plus we got help from the local warren including of course Steve Hoffman (who was the driving force behind our GoH invitation) and Liana and Liam who are part of our local crowd but came up for UBCON because Liana's a UB graduate who once helped run UBCON.

Plus we made new friends like Beth (in the amazing Bird Maiden costume), Patrick and Julia (who read last week's article and drove in from Canada or somewhere just to see us) and Dave and that guy with a little cat on his shoulder and others too whom I should be mentioning here I'm sure but can't recall just now. Thanks everyone! We all had fun because you all had fun! Thanks for inviting us!

For more info on this event, don't miss Russell's UBCON Report!

Meanwhile, back at work, EAC is nearing completion. We met several big milestones this week: I gave my playtesters Beta version 2.0, which is virtually complete (the only gap I still have unfilled is the month and day in 1916 of the Executive Order which first declared that the Star Spangled Banner was our National Anthem... I find page after page with historical factoids that say it was "in 1916" but never get more specific...)

Also, the Origins on-site program book ad deadline is on Saturday, and we've almost got that ready (the pre-reg books have been arriving this week and although we haven't personally received our copies, we've heard that our ads look good), and with the design itself completed but my deadline also ticking away, I've started turning my attention to the instructions and packaging. Yesterday I built the cover flowchart:

AndyAnyway, See You at Origins!

the story so far

Thought Residue
"He needed a diversion, something to direct people away from the corporate cronyism being exposed in his own government, questions of his possibly illegitimate rise to power, and the oft-voiced concerns of civil libertarians about the people being held in detention without due process or access to attorneys or family. With his number two man - a master at manipulating the media - he began a campaign to convince the people of the nation that a small, limited war was necessary. Another nation was harboring many of the suspicious Middle Eastern people, and even though its connection with the terrorist who had set afire the nation's most important building was tenuous at best, it held resources their nation badly needed if they were to have room to live and maintain their prosperity. He called a press conference and publicly delivered an ultimatum to the leader of the other nation, provoking an international uproar. He claimed the right to strike preemptively in self-defense, and nations across Europe - at first - denounced him for it, pointing out that it was a doctrine only claimed in the past by nations seeking worldwide empire, like Caesar's Rome or Alexander's Greece. It took a few months, and intense international debate and lobbying with European nations, but, after he personally met with the leader of the United Kingdom, finally a deal was struck. After the military action began, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain told the nervous British people that giving in to this leader's new first-strike doctrine would bring 'peace for our time.' Thus Hitler annexed Austria in a lightning move, riding a wave of popular support as leaders so often do in times of war." -- Thom Hartmann, "When Democracy Failed: The Warnings of History"

"Any praise for the metric system hits a raw nerve with me. The metric system is a symbol to me of the division of the ruling class and the people doing all the work. The ruling class (no pun intended) makes all these rules that are completely impractical, and everyone else has to sort of make do, find their way around it. The metric system also symbolizes to me this blind faith we have in science, that science is some kind of ultimate truth, instead of a tool we use to make life easier for ourselves. And because of this blind faith we have, 'science' ends up making life harder, less practical for ourselves." -- Joan Pontius, "METRIC LAND (or What I Think of the Metric System)"
After living without it for almost a year, while saving up money for repairs, I'm finally driving my purple car again! It may be old and clunky but it's still a joy to drive...and it has a crystal gear shift knob!


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