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Thursday, March 1st, 2007

more katy! & is there anybody out there?

Haiku Reviews

The Number 23 :)

Eerily follows
the director's obsession
with a blue filter.

March of the Emperor

Tirade's Choice


"I showed several new people how to play Treehouse, who liked the game, but not enough to purchase it until I showed them Martian Coasters. They took to Martian Coasters like a five-year-old to candy. The parents were impressed by the simplicity of the game, and surprised by the challenge." -- Jim Dunaway's event report for a demo at Alterniverse

Creating a Sample Game for Fluxx

We've published a bunch of games that people really enjoy, but our biggest seller, by a huge margin, is Fluxx. Just how big is that margin? Get this: According to some numbers Robin recently ran, sales of just the original version of Fluxx account for 52% of our overall income, meaning it brings in more money than the sum of everything else we make -- including all of our special editions of Fluxx!

Anyway, even though Fluxx is solid gold, it can still be tricky for people to learn, particularly when they are trying to learn it cold from the rules sheet. Therefore, in order to really make Fluxx a household name, we need to be taking every step we can to make sure that once people find out about it and decide to try it, that they then have a positive experience with the game. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a few games for someone to really understand Fluxx, and sometimes people get frustrated by it and give up before they really grok what was going on.

So, to help make sure everybody "gets it," we've repeatedly revised and re-written our instruction sheet. We didn't make a big deal about it at the time, but last fall, when we most recently ran out of Fluxx decks and needed to print more, we made a little change. We replaced the instruction sheet we've been using for a few years with a newly redesigned version. (A PDF version of these latest rules is available here.) Nothing else inside the box changed, but technically this means Fluxx is now up to version 3.1a. (You can tell them apart by looking at the box: 3.1a has a starburst on the bottom, reading "Over 300,000 copies sold!" while a regular 3.1 deck has a black circle in that space that says "$12." Also, 3.1 has a square Looney Labs logo on the underside, while 3.1a has the doorway logo.)

But even though we've barely had a chance to see how this new version of the rulesheet does for us, we're contemplating upgrading it yet again. It won't be long before we need to reprint again, and when we do, we're thinking to make it version 3.1b, and just like 3.1a, nothing much will change but the rules sheet.

So what will make this yet-again new rulesheet better than ever? For one thing, it will be bigger; imagine the current rulesheet unfolding one more time, and you'll see that this will double the amount of space we have for explaining how you play Fluxx.

And how will we make use of all this extra space? With a detailed sample game! There were a lot of discussions about this idea on the Fluxx mailing list (thanks to all who contributed to those conversations!) and we're ready to move forward with the idea by finding someone who's good at comic-book style artwork and hiring them to turn a sample game script into something we can use on our instruction sheet.

So, are you interested? Or do you know someone who would be perfect for the task? If you answered yes, there's a page at filled with details.

Just Desserts Update: Since this new call for artists will undoubtedly make people ask questions about the Just Desserts project, here's a small update on that. Basically, the project is totally stalled... lately we've been needing to focus all our energies on selling what we've got rather than creating new things. But the design has finally matured into something I'm really eager to publish, so its day will come. As for the question of which artist(s) we will choose, I think we'll end up deciding to ask our top 10 favorites to each do another 5 pieces, but nothing has been decided for sure yet.

AndyAnyway, that's the latest news on all of that. Thanks for playing our games!

PS: Have you gotten a Computer yet?

Thought Residue
While working on our upcoming Fluxx Survey, I found myself challenged by one of the questions we came up with: Hobbies. How am I supposed to narrow down all my manifold interests to just 3 short answers? After much pondering, I came up with this: 1) Games, 2) Gadgets, and 3) Hedonism. (I was also very amused by Robin's answers, which were Email, IM, and Meetings.)

I broke my new watch! I accidentally dropped it onto hard pavement and now the analog portion doesn't tick. But the digital element is still functioning, so I guess I'll put up with it for awhile... and next time I'll know to look for one that claims to be shock-resistant.
"Both 'wars' fail because they target an enemy that isn't there. Terror is a tactic, not a nation or ideology that can be warred against. In modern terms, terrorism is rooted in disaffected, oppressed people. It won't go away until conditions or perceptions change. The drug war is even worse -- it targets our own people as the enemy. About 1.7 million people are arrested annually for narcotics, 43 percent of them for marijuana, a drug far more benevolent than legal alcohol. In America's booming prison industry, 25 percent of the 2 million-plus inmates are there for drugs, and most of their crimes are nonviolent. In federal lockups, 60 percent of the prisoners are drug offenders." -- John F. Sugg, "Kathryn Johnston's Real Killer"

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