moon | the circle of death & rocky
drinky | still the same
scion (sigh'-on) n. 1:
a detached living portion of a plant joined to a stock in grafting,
usually supplying solely aerial parts to a graft. 2: descendant;
child. [from Middle English, in turn from Middle
French cion, of Germanic origin, akin go Old High German
chinan "to sprout, split open" from Old English
cinan "to gape."]
Rat Race :)
Then the contestants
were all incarcerated
for multiple crimes.
A Single Sheet of
Paper, by Peter Callesen
"I've played Fluxx (use this game with students in Reading
classes that I teach), Zombie Fluxx (LOVE THIS GAME!!!!), Treehouse,
Martian Coasters, Aquarius (LOVE THIS GAME!!!!), and Chrononauts
(use this game with students in Reading classes that I teach)for
the past five years. I saw Fluxx at a local game store (Tabletop
in Overland Park, KS) about five years ago. I started playing
Fluxx with my middle school Reading students. They LOVED Fluxx.
I now use it as a reward for completing lessons. Every year I
introduce new students to the game. I get the same reaction year
after year: 'Where can I get this game?!?!?' My students beg
me to play Fluxx AT LEAST once a week after I introduce it to
them. I like to teach and play the game with them because it
requires them to READ what is printed on the cards (BRILLIANT
IDEA!!!). They are reading while they think they are getting
out of reading(pretty sneaky, huh?). I also give away copies
of Fluxx to students who have top scores on their end-of-year
Scholastic Reading Inventory tests. I have introduced all of
these games to many, many people over the past four years. Everyone
is blown away by these games... Thanks for providing all of us
with hours and hours of great fun with the games Looney Labs
has produced!!" -- Lyle W, comments with
A Chinese Orchestra
||Welcome to Zark City!
my last update, I mentioned that
I invented six new games last year. That comes out to an average
of one every two months, and amazingly enough, the roll I've
been on is continuing. Since it's been another two months, I've
invented another new game!
Welcome to Zark
City, a new game that uses a 3HOUSE
set and a deck of playing cards. (It also works great with the
deck from the game Lost
Cities, if you happen to own that. (And you should, Lost
Cities is an excellent game.))
I hammered out this new game over the weekend, but it came
together so easily because it's also the culmination of a dozen
years of pondering and playtesting. How so? Because Zark City
is inspired by the fading classic Zarcana, and features a bunch
of the fundamental concepts which made that game so great.
Much like Zarcana,
Zark City is played on an ever-changing gameboard made of cards.
(However, the cards used are good old standard playing cards
instead Tarot cards which are harder to get and off-putting to
some.) Like Zarcana, you place pyramids onto the cards forming
the gameboard, starting with just one but growing and expanding
into a little army, and you struggle with other players for control
of specific cards. (But unlike Zarcana, you win as soon as you
gain total control of a "Power Block," i.e. a specific
trio of cards on the board, rather than ending with a bunch of
math and score comparisons.) Most importantly, Zark City is quick
and easy to learn and play, with a very lightweight combat system
(unlike Zarcana which features long games and a steep learning
Of course, this is not the first time Zarcana has been redesigned.
Although Zarcana was one of the most popular games for Icehouse
pieces in the late nineties, and was featured as one of the 4
games included with the
first release of real Icehouse pieces in 1999, the game has
gradually fallen from favor over the years, as myself and other
designers began creating lots of new games for the pyramids.
Zarcana was dealt a major blow in 2002 after John, Jake, Kory,
and The Other Kristin spent a year playtesting variations upon
variations and released a new game called Gnostica
based loosely on Zarcana. We featured Gnostica instead of Zarcana
with Pyramids, but over time I came to realize I
preferred the original, flawed though it was. Anyway, with
Zark City I've created my own take on the original classic, and
I'm thrilled with how it delivers a Zarcana-like feeling while
being much more of "an
Andy Looney game."
Obviously then, Zark City was inspired by Zarcana. But this
was just one of several factors that led to this newest game
idea. The second was the aforementioned games Lost Cities. This
Reiner Knizia classic uses beautifully colorful oversized cards,
much like Tarot cards in visual appearance, but with numbers
and suits much more like regular cards than a Tarot deck. Anyway,
we've gotten into playing Lost Cities again recently, and last
week it occurred to me that an Icehouse game played Zarcana style
with a Lost Cities deck would provide the same cool look that
helped make Zarcana so fun but without involving a Tarot deck.
A few days later it occurred to me that a game designed for a
Lost Cities deck would also work with a regular deck of cards,
and at that point I couldn't think about anything else until
I'd hammered out the basic design for Zark City. It just took
one really good playtest session with Kristin
to hammer out most of the bugs, with John, Jake, Dave, and TV
Tom quickly finding the remaining glitches a few days later.
(We shall see if any more rule tweaks become necessary, but I
think it's ready to release online.)
Yet one more factor caused this new idea
to come together so quickly. Soon we will be announcing a new
product: the 3HOUSE Bundle, this being a trio of Rainbow Treehouse
sets shrink-wrapped together with a copy of 3HOUSE. We've been
planning to make this Bundle package available for a long while
-- it was with this idea in mind that we chose the size and shape
of the 3HOUSE booklet -- but even though it's very simple to
create, it had slipped through the cracks until now.
The new part we still needed to create was the product info
card we're going to put at the back of the stack of tubes + booklet,
thus making a little sandwich that can be shrink-wrapped together.
This product info card will sport the Bundle product's bar code
and product info etc, along with marketing material about the
pyramids and the games like you'd find on the bottom of a traditionally
boxed board game set. So, as you envision this product info card
(invisibly placed at the back of the product in this photo of
our prototype) consider this next question: What do we put on
the back of that card?
The sudden realization that there was unused space available
led almost immediately to the idea of featuring another 3HOUSE
game in that space, ideally something totally new, easy &
fun, and designed specifically for a 3HOUSE set. All we needed
was a new game!
"Well, isn't that your job?" Alison
asked, somewhat in jest, and somewhat as a challenge. This comment
was the final catalyst, and Zark City the result. And reactions
to it have been so overwhelmingly positive that we're already
planning to include it as a fifth game in the 3HOUSE Bundle,
on the back of that product info card (which has since evolved
into a tri-fold piece of paper).
In closing, I'd like to toss out a random extra Thank You
Cooper, my lifelong friend and fellow game inventor, who
taught me how to design Icehouse games by creating a real one
based on my fictional descriptions, who designed my personal
favorite of all Icehouse games (Homeworlds),
and whose creative genius has been an inspiration to me many
times over. Thanks for everything John, including of course Zarcana.
I hope you like how I've run with your ideas this time!
Thanks for reading, and have a great fortnight!
||We've decided not to attend GenCon this year. As
I mentioned last month, we're on our own again as far as
running a sales booth at the big summer game trade shows, and
we're choosing to run such a booth ourselves at Origins
but to skip GenCon
entirely this time around. Hopefully we'll be back in 2009!
||Speaking of GenCon, we were shocked to hear the news this
week that GenCon has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection,
apparently as a result of a lawsuit from Lucasfilm over unpaid
bills. Hopefully GenCon will get their house in order and recover
from these problems, but I'm suddenly worried it won't be there
anymore by the time we're ready to attend again...
||"These two horrific scenarios are a result of the way
the War on Drugs has morphed from a well-intentioned campaign
to discourage drug use into a war against American citizens,
a war in which we are not even awarded the noncombatant rights
our soldiers give to foreign civilians. The use of SWAT
teams, police paramilitary units, has become commonplace in raids
against non-violent, suspected drug users and dealers. The United
States used to be a place where its citizens didn't have to fear
the government, proudly standing in contrast to the USSR and
its terrifying secret police. We can't honestly say that
today." -- Ryan Langril, "War
On Drugs Must End"