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recondite (ree'-kon-dite, ri-kon'-dite) adj. 1: not easily understood, incomprehensible to one of ordinary understanding or knowledge; abstruse. 2: concerned with or treating something abstruse or obscure. 3: concealed; hidden. [from Latin reconditus, past participle of recondere "to put away," from re + condere "to put together, preserve."]
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"My favorite Looney Labs game is Nanofictionary which when I first heard of it, I thought it was going to suck. However upon playing it, it is one of the craziest games I've ever played. I can't wait for Looney Labs to come out with their next game. However until then, I'll keep waiting and playing their current ones." -- Tyler Rueth's Rabbit Bio

Thursday, December 16th, 2004
by the Writer's Guild of Wunderland

What's New?

If you want something from our online store before Christmas, we need your order no later than THIS MONDAY, December 20th!

What's Going On? The Ultimate Icehouse Pyramids

Wow, I can't believe I've never written anything about the amazingly cool stone pyramids made by Crystal Caste until now! Well, I'll atone for this glaring oversight by making this the main subject of this week's article. (I don't have much else to talk about anyway, since all we've been doing is shipping out lots of games and otherwise preparing for the holidays... thanks for giving our games as gifts!)

The dream of stone Icehouse pieces has been around, quite literally, from the very beginning. In The Five Paragraphs That Changed My Life, in which I first described a then-imaginary game, I talked of luxury models featuring stone pyramids. But except for the novelty of finding the occasional malachite pyramid of the correct aspect ratio in a New Age crystal boutique, the dream was just that until the folks at Crystal Caste got involved.

It really started happening last year at Origins, when Eeyore went over to the Crystal Caste booth to ask them if they could make stone pyramids. (In case you've never heard of them, Crystal Caste's original claim to fame is in the creation of really cool gemstone dice.) He brought Michael back to our booth to talk to Kristin about it, and was instantly intrigued by the challenge.

Shown above are the Rose Quartz pyramids which were among the first stone sets ever made. Eeyore has this stash now (we gave him first pick of the first few stashes we got, by way of thanking him for making it happen). I myself have a solid obsidian set, which I carry in the really cool wooden stash case Number 12 built for me back in the earliest of days. It reminds me of the black onyx set I described Dr Cool as carrying around, in a similar box, in Chapter 58 of The Empty City.

These first couple of stone pyramid stashes are just what I always imagined: solid stone, with a heft that any crash-fearing fan of the original game would really appreciate. But as amazing as they are, the Crystal Caste team wasn't done being amazing. They also made HOLLOW stone pyramids! They are very similar in size to the plastic versions and stack and fully nest just as do their injection-molded counterparts, but of course, they're made from little triangles of slices of stone, magically bonded together somehow into pyramids. They truly are remarkable.

These beautiful deluxe Icehouse pyramids are officially authorized by Looney Labs, having been crafted to our exact specifications, and Crystal Caste pays us a royalty on every pyramid they sell, so please, surf on over to their website and check 'em out for yourself!

Of course, they are very expensive. That's to be expected when discussing luxury gaming equipment. Fortunately, Crystal Caste sells them both by the stash and by the individual piece, so if you can't afford to buy that Icehouse fan in your life a whole set of 15, you could just get them one to get started! Or even better, start off with a set of 3, one of each size. That way, you'd have the perfect gift all figured out for the following four years!

Anyway, that's the story on the ultimate Icehouse set. Thank you Michael and everyone else at Crystal Caste for making these beautiful stone pyramids! (And please accept our deepest apologies for taking so ridiculously long before promoting them on our webzine!)


Have a Great Week! And Don't Forget to Shop!

Thought Residue
"When producing electricity, for example, it is often possible to switch from coal to natural gas and back again. But most of our petroleum supplies are used in transportation -- mainly to power cars, trucks, buses, and planes -- and, for this purpose, oil has no readily available substitutes. Indeed, we have so organized our economy and society around the availability of cheap and abundant petroleum that we are severely ill-equipped to deal with the sort of shortages and supply disruptions that are likely to become the norm in the years ahead." -- Michael Klare, "No Escape from Dependency: Looming Energy Crisis Overshadows Bush's Second Term"

"A 2002 TIME/CNN poll found that 59 percent of Americans believe that the prophecies found in the book of Revelations are going to come true. Nearly one-quarter think the Bible predicted the 9/11 attacks. Drive across the country with your radio tuned to the more than 1,600 Christian radio stations or in the motel turn some of the 250 Christian TV stations and you can hear some of this end-time gospel. And you will come to understand why people under the spell of such potent prophecies cannot be expected, as Grist puts it, 'to worry about the environment. Why care about the earth when the droughts, floods, famine and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the apocalypse foretold in the Bible? Why care about global climate change when you and yours will be rescued in the rapture? And why care about converting from oil to solar when the same God who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up a few billion barrels of light crude with a word?'" -- Bill Moyers, "The Delusional Is No Longer Marginal"
"I wonder: Exactly how much evidence does it take for Americans to be convinced that a thing is true? And how much evidence to the contrary does it take for Americans to abandon an established belief? When I look at America's widely held beliefs on subjects like global warming, drug safety, or even evolution, the only answer I can come up with is, 'An arkload.'" -- Avery Walker, "Democrats: Get ready to offend the ignorant"



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