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"My most interesting discovery has been around forever, I've just always avoided it. Self-described hippie game company Looney Labs has produced a set of game pieces called Icehouse for 20 years. They're just little stackable plastic pyramids in different colors. I've seen them forever taking up little back-wall booths at conventions, inevitably staffed by freaky looking hippies in lab coats. I never once felt the urge to go talk to them. The games being played with these little pyramids always seemed so abstract and complex as to not be fun, and frankly, the whole thing reeked of 'hey I made this in my basement.' This year, however, they changed how they marketed the game. They boiled down the product into a single, 9 dollar stack of pyramids and one very simple game (Treehouse). It's extremely easy to teach and demos wonderfully. I actually stopped to play this year, and half an hour later, after a great series of demos and some intelligent conversation with Kristin Looney, I bought one of every single thing they had on offer. 6 tubes of different colored pyramids, some special dice, some cards, a 5x5 handmade plastic board, and a book of a dozen really, really good games you can play with it all. I encourage anyone with even a passing interest in games to at least spend 20 minutes on their website." -- Julian Murdoch, in his Gen Con Wrapup at GamersWithJobs.com


Thursday, August 24th, 2006
Sponsored by Looney Labs

What's New?

Hello, Shiro!

Well, we're back from GenCon, and we had a fabulous time. (See my report for assorted details.) After GenCon, we decided to take a little time off for ourselves, to catch up on life and stuff (hence no updates these last 2 weeks), and hey, guess what? We got a new cat!

We're really been needing a new cat... it's hard to believe, but it's been two years since we lost our beloved gray cat Aslan, which was also just a few months after losing our wonderful white cat Marley. So we've been surviving on nothing but the feline energy of the adorable little black cat we call LittleCat, which of course just isn't enough for 3 people who were used to having 3 cats around. But we decided to be patient... we figured someone new would drop into our lives sooner or later, and this weekend, she finally did!

This lovable little fur-ball is estimated to be about 5 months old, and was a stray in need of a home until she was picked up by a woman named Pat, who found this kitten in need of rescue and took her to the vet to be checked out. There, Robin's husband Mike saw her, and when Pat said she was looking to find a home for this wonderful little kitten, Mike knew exactly who to recommend.

So the next thing you know, we had another little cat in our house! Obviously this is awesome, but it's also kind of odd since the new cat looks almost exactly like LittleCat, except for being the totally opposite color. So now we've got these two matching black and white cats, and since they haven't learned to become friends yet, they usually try to kill each other at every opportunity, making the whole situation rather like an episode of Spy vs. Spy. Given this, we've been keeping the 2 spy-cats separated, each in an isolated section of the house, until they learn to get along. (So that neither can become too territorial, the spies are moved back and forth frequently.)

As for what to call her, we've been brainstorming, debating, and trying out different names all week. Finally last night we settled on calling her Shiro (pronounced sheero), which means white in Japanese. (Thanks for the suggestion, Rash!)

AndyThanks for reading, and have a great week!

Thought Residue
This week we finally finished up the revisions for Are You a Werewolf? 3rd Edition. The changes are mostly very minor and are driven by efficiency issues... instead of including a separate rules insert, the instructions will now appear on a series of 4 extra cards. The game itself is not changing, but the new edition will include some added recommendations, like playing only with odd numbers, limiting villages to 15 people, and using options like Timed-Days and No First-Night Kills. Also included is a section called Types of Hunters, describing the differences between Detectives and Avengers, to help players understand their preferred hunting-styles. AYAW? 3rd Edition should be available in a month or so, and the price will still be just $4.

I love how YouTube has become a venue for releasing and promoting short films that otherwise would have trouble finding an audience. For example, this week I got emails pointing me to a pair of excellent short films just released by a couple of the best Drug Peace organizations at work today, the Drug Policy Alliance and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Please go watch both of these films, then point them out to people you know! (On a lighter note, I also really enjoyed these two comedy bits by Patton Oswalt.)
I was fascinated by this article on How to Persuade Your Neighbors to Quiet their Barking Dogs. The author, Craig Mixon, has spent a lot of time dealing with this issue, and has concluded that over 45% of the people with noisy dogs are either malicious or recalcitrant and thus are just impossible to deal with: "When you encounter an intractably obstinate person keeping a chronically barking dog, you are dealing with a diagnosable personality disorder, (usually a Borderline, or a Narcissistic, or a Paranoid, or an anti-social Personality Disorder) who is incapable of participating in mutually respectful relationships."

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