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Friday, November 13th, 2009

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"The creative minds at Looney Labs have struck gold yet again with Martian Fluxx... I played this game with several folks all of whom had a great time pretending to Martian invaders. I must have played three dozen or so games in the first weekend after getting my copy. Some games were really short, others long. But each game was different and exciting and kept us all laughing as we tried to take over the Earth. " -- CPA Association Newsletter review of Martian Fluxx

Rash posts pictures from his whirlwind LA tour and provides links and commentary on topics including Theme Park Maps, Alex Andreev's Hermetic Art, Soviet Flying Fortresses, Code Three by Rick Raphael, the amazing new bridge they're building at Hoover Dam, How James Fallows Survived China, Timelapse travel from Denver to Singapore, three words that end -gry, the Cult of the Somewhat Delayed, the 'Tower of Babel' Decision that may prevent a Net Schism, and an example of why Halloween has become his least-favorite holiday.

Announcing EcoFluxx Version 2.0

The Holiday Season is about to begin, but we're already looking ahead to next February. The new products we're releasing for this year's holidays are all out there now, awaiting the shopping public. It takes months to release a new game, so we're currently in full production on the product we'll be debuting at Toy Fair next February. And that game is the new edition of EcoFluxx!

EcoFluxx was first published 4 years ago, and like the other games we've been re-issuing recently, it's now in need of an update. The changes we'll be making for the new version of EcoFluxx are similar to the upgrades we did for Version 4.0 of original Fluxx, namely it'll be in the new two-part box, the deck will include more cards (100 instead of 84), the cards being added include a couple of Creepers, and best of all, the artwork is being redone in full-color.

After a lot of debate over whether or not to add Creepers to EcoFluxx at all, and if so how far to go with the idea, we eventually settled on adding just 3 Creepers. The new version of EcoFluxx will include: Forest Fire, Drought, and Flood. And here's the extra twist: In EcoFluxx, the Creepers don't just prevent you from winning. They prevent EVERYONE from winning. They all say "Nobody can win while this card is on the table." After all, a disaster affects everyone, so no one can win if there's a Forest Fire raging. And while Creepers in other versions are usually bad but occasionally good, the Eco-Creepers are always bad. Fortunately, they're all designed to dispose of themselves quickly: Forest Fire burns itself out after destroying your other stuff (akin to Death in Fluxx 4.0), Flood is passed from player to player and goes away after it's been all the way around the table, and Drought is automatically discarded if Water or Flood are in play.

The new color artwork is being created by Derek Ring, the artist who did the art for Zombie Fluxx, and we're super-pleased to have him on the project. Derek has been starting with the really great B&W illustrations Alison did back in 2005 and using them as the starting point for his new color images. Therefore, the finished illustrations he's creating are simply gorgeous, and they "feel" right since they're based on Alison's originals.

Another great thing about the new art, if I may get a bit technical, is that Derek does all of his artwork in Adobe Illustrator. This means every little mark and line and splotch of color is an individual element in the computer file. This allows for much greater use and later adaptability of the artwork than more traditional "bit-mapped" scanned images.

Here's a side by side comparison of one of Alison's highly-detailed original line drawings with the new color version Derek did, based on her image:

The new EcoFluxx will also include 4 new Keepers, a bunch of new and revised Goals, a cool new Rule, and a new Action. It will go on sale on February 26th, 2010. (And for you collectors out there, the old version is going to sell out soon, so make sure you have a nice copy of the First Edition to set aside!)

AndyThanks for reading, and have a great Whenever!

Thought Residue
I feel the design of the hot water heater leaves much to be desired. Ours suffered a catastrophic failure last week -- the kind of breakdown that leaves your basement flooded. Long story short -- I've been very busy lately with Operation Move Absolutely Everything Out Of The Basement. (Fortunately, nothing much was ruined except for carpets.) My point is, it seems like we ought to be able to count on our appliances to never spew hot water all over the floor without warning at 4 o'clock in the morning. Now that this has happened to me, I hear people saying "Oh sure, you gotta replace those every 7-10 years, or that will happen to you," but if they were saying that before, I never heeded their advice. Now I realize that hot water heaters are blowing up and flooding people's basements every day, and that no one is doing anything about the problem! Grumble grumble grumble. And the whole idea of a hot water heater is pretty wasteful isn't it? "Here, I'll just constantly use energy keeping this giant thing of water piping hot, 24-7, just in case you want to get some hot water out of the tap." But hey, it's not like I have any better solutions to offer, so I shouldn't really complain. (I hear there are these things called Tankless Water Heaters, but I also hear they don't really work very well...)

I had a great time giving out treats on Halloween this year. Great turnout -- over 50 kids came knocking. I ran out of our usual handout (the standard full-size Hershey bar) and had to give the last few kids some random other candies from the regular candy bowl. My Trick or Treaters even included a cat! A neighbor's outdoor cat came boldly up onto our porch in between clusters of strangely-dressed children, and meowed at me. He hung around out there while I went inside to get a bowl with some dry cat food in it, and since he was still there when I went back out, I let him snack awhile. He ate a few bites of Halloween "candy" and then went on his way. People asked later what his costume was, and since his fur was white with black splotches, like a Holstein, I guess he was dressed as a cow.
Chrononauts fans: Check out these two very enjoyable webpages I read this week, with fascinating titles that deliver on the promise of their premise: "Scenes From An Alternate Universe Where The Beatles Accepted Lorne Michaels' Generous Offer" and "Alternate-Universe Sci-Fi Channel Show Asks What Would Happen If Germany Lost War". Great stuff!

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