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"If you want to teach students to be flexible, adaptable, information literate people, I can think of few games more suited to that task than Fluxx. Why? Well, Fluxx is a pretty simple game. There is only one rule, you see, you draw one card and then you play one card. That's it. How do you win? I don't know...nobody has played a card that allows someone to win. We will have to wait and see what develops. Understanding and applying rules to master a situation, really the heart of gaming, also happens to be a critical skill in information literacy. What is Internet searching but trying multiple paths and working through ever-shifting information tracks? Game play for Fluxx varies greatly depending on the cards, but an average game length is probably about 15 minutes. There is also a new science based version of Eco-Fluxx." -- review of Fluxx at the official web log of the American Association of School Librarians


Wunderland.com

Thursday, September 28th, 2006
Sponsored by Looney Labs

What's New?


What's Going On? Cursed Trees & Night Forests

We've been calling this "The Summer of the Cursed Trees," but now that summer is officially over and nothing else can be part of that story, it seems like the time is right for me to talk about all the problems we had with the tree images on this year's promo cards. (Also, since we've sold 21 "Night" Forest cards this week -- at the premium price of $2 -- without ever explaining what they actually are, I need to tell that story, too.)

Prerequisite: To understand this article, you should first read the page about Trees from this year's Origins report.

The first sign of trouble came when we started making the Tree buttons. When we saved out the final PDF files to deliver to the button-makers for production, a bug cropped up which would take our black & white line tree drawings and invert the colors, turning them into white outlines on a black rectangle. We noticed the problem right away and after some frustration, we shifted gears and delivered the files in a different format. No flawed Tree buttons were actually manufactured, but it was the beginning of the curse.

Then, just as we were packing for Origins, the curse struck big time: the box of finished promo cards arrived from the printer, and 1 of the 4 cards had been printed with an inverted image. As shown above, the forest on the Forest goal was white on black instead of black on white.

Imagine our shock. Here it was, just a couple of days before the event at which we were planning to be giving out these cards, and we discovered that one of them was horribly flawed. The Trees were OK, but all of the Forests were wrong. It has slipped through because the image looks kind of cool (even though totally wrong) so the printing team never realized there was a mistake.

Because it looks like the forest at night, we nicknamed these flawed cards the "Night Forests."

Fortunately, there was just barely enough time for the printer to redo these cards and send a box of replacements to us directly at the convention center in Columbus. They arrived just as the show was beginning, so the day was saved!

At Origins we gave out vast numbers of Trees, and plenty of properly-printed Forests and all was well... but the "Night" Forests were just one of the mishaps in the Summer of the Cursed Trees. We still had Gen-Con to prepare for!

Here's the thing: even though the printers in New York had averted disaster, we weren't really very happy with their work. The entire thing was an experiment... for years we've been getting our promo cards made by a local printer called Murray & Heister, but this year, when we heard that Steve Hoffman had found a printer in Niagara Falls who could make our promos (that's who he had print his wedding promos) we decided to give them a try, too.

Although the Niagara printers did a great job of recovering from the Night Forest blunder, we had to face the reality that the cards they printed weren't really up to the quality we were looking for. They were often poorly centered, the ink seems less permanent, and the trimming of the corners were almost never a proper matched for the standard edges of a Fluxx card. So we made plans for a 2nd run of promo cards, for use at Gen-Con, and decided just to go back to Murray & Heister.

And then the Curse struck again!

Just as we were packing for Gen-Con, M&H delivered the finished promo cards, and they were ALL wrong! In a new and different way! The color stripes were backwards! The Tree Keepers had a pink stripe and the Forest Goal had a Green stripe:

Imagine our shock, again! Josh called from the office after opening the box, and I'm told that when I took the call, it looked to the people in the room as though I had just been informed of a death. Fortunately, again, there was just barely enough time for Murray & Heister to redo the job. (Thanks Tony!) Whew! Gen-Con was saved!

Collector's Note: the Tree & Forest promos that are now for sale at our webstore (and in the 2006 promo card pack) are all from this 2nd better quality printing.

Only a tiny handful of samples of these inverted color promos were saved. They're just too strange to be allowed to exist, and were mostly dumped into the recycling bin.

However, we decided that the Night Forests are actually kind of cool, and we're selling them now (while supplies last!) at our webstore.

Night Forest House Rule: Part of why we decided to sell them is because of this cool house rule: To win with the Night Forest, you need 2 or more Trees AND the Moon must be somewhere on the table.

The curse struck one final time, on the Lab Report we made for Gen-Con, which featured images promoting the new promos. Naturally, the inverted-image bug was an annoyance during the development of both of this summer's issues of the Lab Report, but just when we'd learned how to fix that (choose "Flatten Transparency" from the Object menu), something else happened: the Forest simply vanished! As you can see, the thumbnail image of the Forest Goal was there, but the forest artwork on the card had mysteriously disappeared. This time it was too late to reprint, so we handed them out that way. If you got a copy of Lab Report Issue #4 at Gen-Con, go look for the invisible forest!

Let's hope that's the last we've seen of this curse!

AndyThanks for reading, and have a great week!


Thought Residue
Sharon's Day Report: This year's day out was a bit more modest than our trips in recent years to 1536 and 1775. This year, at Sharon's request, we did a repeat of our 2002 miniature golfing trip, followed by a sumptuous feast of Chinese food. Along the way, we went to Target where Sharon chose for herself the gift she most wanted: a beginner's digital camera. (James also got a Sharon's Day gift of his choice: a bunch of Yu-gi-oh cards! That boy's gonna be a gamer...)

Wow! In the most recent anti-drug commercial from the ONDCP, "Pete's Couch," the government actually admits that marijuana use is remarkably non-toxic ("safest thing in the world," the ad says) and that the "gateway effect" is nonsense. The worst thing pot does, according to the Drug Czar's latest ad, is to make you sit too long on the couch. OK. So why is it illegal? Can we stop arresting people for it now? (BTW, I think it's pretty rude to say that stoners don't take risks in life. After all, they're brave enough to risk going to jail in order to pursue their passion for couch-sitting. Do you have that much dedication to your hobby?)
Speaking of ads, I can't believe the Vegas people are still running that commercial where the lawn-mower guy extorts a double-sized fee from a customer whom he saw cavorting in Vegas the weekend before. Is that really the message they want to be sending? Apparently, what happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas at all... instead, it will become blackmail material for your hired help to use against you.

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