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Thursday, February 7th, 2008

Archives Games

more to come | when in rome

Cool Words

opprobrium (op-probe'-ree-um) n. 1: disgrace rising from shameful conduct; infamy. 2: scorn; contempt. 3: the cause of such a disgrace.

Haiku Reviews

Superbad :|

It's not that Super,
but it's not so Bad either.
Maybe Kindabad.

Time Freezes in Grand Central

Tirade's Choice

Top 8 Most Amazing Tree Houses

"I love Fluxx. It's most certainly untrue that there is no strategy to the game--sound strategy will increase your chances of winning significantly--but it is true that there is a lot of randomness to the game. That makes it a game that's wonderfully suited to people who revel in the unexpected and completely ill-suited to people obsessed with winning every game they play." -- Jordan, comment #47 added to the artcile about Fluxx on BoingBoing

Snow Girl!

Nocturne Has Arrived!

2007 was a very good year for me in my career as a Game Designer. My previous works continued to gain both commercial and critical success, with Fluxx selling its 400,000th copy, Treehouse receiving the Origins Award for Best Board Game of the Year, and Icebreaker 2 finally getting published for the 3DO. More importantly, over the course of the year I designed six more games:

It's interesting to see how long some games take to finish -- and how others can get done incredibly quickly. Black ICE took just a few weeks to go from idea to printed rulebook, and I posted the complete rules for Twin Win just 15 days after inventing it. Other games, like Just Desserts, have been in the works literally for years and yet are still not close to becoming a finished product. (Then there are games like Nanofictionary, which we published over 5 years ago but which I'm now in the process of redesigning. But that's another story.)

Anyway, it was almost exactly a year ago that I first started tinkering up ideas for a game using the new Stonehenge game system, and as always it's really cool to finally have a copy of finished game in my hand. But it's a little different this time, since Looney Labs isn't the publisher of this game.

The Stonehenge "Anthology Board Game" is a system much like my own Icehouse game system: a collection of attractive game components you can play a bunch of totally different abstract board games with. Unlike Icehouse, the system includes both a board and a much more concrete theme, but the components are similarly flexible and inspirational.

The basic set includes parts for 5 players and rules for 5 games designed by 5 "World-Class" Game Designers. The expansion set, called Nocturne, includes parts for 2 more players along with rules for another 4 games. Obviously, it was quite an honor to have been commissioned to design something for this new system, and I'm very pleased with the game I was able to create for it.

The perfect theme for my game became obvious as soon as I started studying the history of Stonehenge for this purpose. With 5000+ years of historical events to draw from, the setting provides plenty of options even without invoking alien spacecraft, time travel, or an army of ghosts. Richard Garfield did a game about the original construction of Stonehenge, Bruno Faidutti wrote one about politics and elections between tribes of ancient druids, and James Ernest used the setting of the Dark Ages for a game in which blocks from Stonehenge are being auctioned off and removed for use as building materials.

Anyway, my game is one of the most historically accurate, since it was inspired by a series of events we know really happened at the ancient monument: the Free Festivals of the 1970s! Since everyone knows I'm an unabashed hippie, I couldn't resist making my game just a big counterculture party. And it's fun, too! It's vaguely like Chrononauts in that there's a lot going on, your goals can change, and there are three different ways to win. (I'm also pretty sure I'll be able to play it during Andy vs. Everybody, but I haven't actually tried that yet.)

Nocturne includes three other games by yet more big-name designers: Sun & Moon, by Klaus-Jürgen Wrede, The Stargate, by Serge Laget & Bruno Cathala, and Battle of the Beanfield, by Mike Selinker. The last of these is a solitaire game that was an unexpected addition to the set. Mike was inspired to create it after reading in the introduction to my game about the massacre that brought the Free Festivals to an end, and it proved to be so much fun they decided to include it as a bonus game.

Like most of the products listed on the new Who Else Has Gone Looney? page, the Nocturne expansion (and Stonehenge itself, since it's required for Nocturne) is for sale at our webstore. Even though we aren't the publishers, we've arranged with these other companies to be able to sell these items too, so that can provide you with one-stop shopping for all your Looney needs.

Here's a better look at the boxtop; see also my new page about Stonehenge Hippie Festival for more info.

Thanks for reading, and have a great fortnight!Andy

Thought Residue
I've just discovered that (the company which published my long-awaited sequel to Icebreaker last summer) went out of business in December. The company that bought their assets has been using eBay to liquidate their unsold goods, but all their copies of Icebreaker 2 are already gone. Now I wish I'd gotten a few extra copies of it while I had the chance! Oh well, at least it finally got through the encryption process and is playable now in a few places other than just my house...
Last week I got a big kick out of seeing the characters in the webcomic Weregeek playing a card game which is clearly Fluxx. Apparently the action takes place in the future, since they're playing a Pirate-themed edition I haven't invented yet; either that, or they've loaded up their deck with a bunch of Fluxx Blanxx and their own wacky ideas...

I've been a fan of the music from Sweeny Todd ever since 1982, but I approached the Tim Burton movie with apprehension. I finally went with Renee (she's a huge fan - this was her 9th viewing) and I did find a lot to enjoy. The violence was way too over-the-top for my tastes, as I was expecting, but it was always well enough telegraphed for squeamish people like me to look away as needed, and most other elements were really quite good. So at first I liked it. However, I became increasingly disappointed later, when I listened again to the original album and realized how much of my favorite music was missing from the film. Not only are whole songs missing, but key verses are gone from many of the songs they did include. So if you see the movie and crave the music afterwards, get the original album (featuring Angela Lansbury) rather than the movie soundtrack.

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