Game Cupcakes Game
"Just had a customer drive sixty miles
in the rain on Christmas Eve to buy a copy of Looney Lab's Fluxx.
Now that's the mark of a good game." -- Tweet
by Scott Thorne of Castle Perilous games
Rash provides another
batch of links and commentary on topics including: the Time Camera,
cutbacks at NASA, the 57 Varieties, Unhappy Hipsters, Rare Photos
of Famous People, subway-riding Russian dogs, Five Little-Known
Websites That Will Save You Time and Money When Booking Airfare
Online, How to Replace Your Lost Cellphone Charger for Free,
The Skeptic's Dictionary, the Five Creepiest Unexplained Broadcasts,
the Top Ten Places You Can't Go, the Top Ten Clever Kitchen Repurposing
Tricks, the Best Free White Noise Generator on the Internet,
the New York Bedbug Registry, 4 intriguing new books, "Harry
Truman, Leader of the Freeway," Christmas Tree Rocketry,
Roger Ebert, Shun Yen, unsold goods being deliberately destroyed,
Paris circa 1962, his students, his tooth troubles, and the new
drinking-straw star he made for us on Christmas Eve
||The New Fluxxes Are Almost
Here / Action Castle
Well, 2010 is off to a typically
busy start for us. There's so much going on, it's hard to find
the time to stop and update this website! Among other things,
we're getting ready to release the new EcoFluxx
and the repackaged Family
Fluxx, at the same time, and we're getting ready for the
first big trade show of the season: Toy Fair, in New York City.
We're making all-new literature, and new booth backdrops, and
we're working with some new Sales Reps, so this year's Toy Fair
preparations are more intense than ever. And in Other News, I've
discovered a new game system called Parsely
which has impressed me so much that I've started designing my
own games for the system.
described back in November, we're getting ready to re-release
EcoFluxx in an updated edition, now in full color, with more
cards, and of course, in the new standard-sized box. We're now
nearing the end of that process: the actual games are currently
being printed, at the factory in Michigan that Kristin
took a tour of last year. Shipments are expected in time
for both the official February 26th release date, and for our
sales team to be giving preview copies away to retailers who
visit our booth at Toy Fair in mid-February.
At the same time, we're also switching Family Fluxx over to
the new style of packaging. We're not making a big deal about
this transition because there's not much to it -- the cards themselves
aren't changing at all, although we are updating the rulesheet
as well as the box. Family Fluxx was the first version we did
using color, so we didn't need to change the art, and despite
suggestions like Homework and Chores, we're resisting the urge
to add Creepers to this version of Fluxx (as we've done with
so many others).
Here's what the new boxes will look like. They sure look real
don't they? Well, they're not -- these photo-real box images
were created by a graphic designer we've just started working
with, named Bo Geddes. He's
located in Seattle. The new box designs were created for us by
a local design company, Larry
Paine & Associates. Thanks you guys for the beautiful
Anyway, the new editions of both of EcoFluxx and Family Fluxx
go on sale at the end of the month. We encourage you to buy your
copies at your favorite local game store, but if you're planning
to get them online, we're starting to take pre-orders now at
To promote the new Fluxxes, we're making new Posters
Card Postards for each. The posters are available now, and
the promo card postards (featuring a new type of promo card postard
technology!) can be pre-ordered along with the games. Here's
what they will look like:
the holidays I had my first experience with Action Castle --
and more importantly, its underlying game system, called Parsely.
I'm incredibly excited about this. Very rarely do new game concepts
come along which impress me, but this one stands out as being
something truly revolutionary. And yet, like many of the most
brilliant ideas, it's so fiendishly simply that you say "why
hasn't anybody thought of this before?"
Action Castle was published last year by Memento
Mori Theatricks in the modest form of an oversized, folded,
laminated card. I first discovered it by reading the OgreCave.com
Stocking Stuffer idea list last December. I was so intrigued
that I put it on my Xmas list, and was delighted to receive it.
(Thanks Jean!) Alison ran us through the Action Castle module
the following Thursday, and it was such a hoot that several of
us left the session intending to create our own scenarios for
The Parsely engine, created by Jared A. Sorensen, is really
quite simple: it's a way of playing an 80's style text adventure
game without a computer, or rather, with a human pretending to
be a computer. Instead of typing "GO NORTH" or whatever,
you simply speak your commands, and the "computer"
tells you what happens. A Parsely session is a lot like every
other RPG (Role Playing Game) system except that the Dungeon
Master is an android who only understands a limited number of
commands and instructions.
Parsely is a cross between two great game systems that work
together, like hot fudge sauce and vanilla ice cream, to create
something that's even better than either component alone. (Most
writers probably would have gone with the peanut butter &
chocolate analogy, but that one seems overused to me.)
Parsely games are better than old-school text adventures in
lots of ways. Firstly, it changes a solitary activity into a
group event, transforming something that isolates people into
something that brings them together. Secondly, it's just a lot
more fun telling your commands to a friend rather than typing
them into a computer. (Yes, even when that friend is deliberately
slowing you down with "syntax errors.") Thirdly, human-ware
is more sensitive to the player's needs than hardware, and thus
can react to player frustration with hints. Lastly, and perhaps
most significantly, it's vastly easier to create a Parsely scenario
than to program a full-scale text adventure game.
Parsely games are also more appealing, at least to me, than
any other RPG system I've tried. In the first place, text adventures
are all about puzzle-solving, whereas games like D&D often
devolve into elaborate battles with imaginary monsters (which
I find terribly dull). It's vastly easier to run a Parsely game
than to become the Gamemaster in any other RPG, since a well-debugged
Parsely "program" will have everything you need all
figured out in advance. A standard RPG Gamemaster has to be able
to handle it when the players say "Let's do this totally
different thing" and go running off in a direction you hadn't
planned for (and are possibly unable to cope with). In a Parsely
game, the computer can easily shut down any "fast ones"
the player is trying to pull by saying "You can't do that,"
or "There's nothing special about that," or "I
don't understand that, try again."
All of these factors combine to make Parsely a Role Playing
System I finally want to create modules for. In fact, I've already
done so. I dusted off the ideas from some of my earliest game design creations,
i.e. a couple of text adventure games I created when I was in
High School, and I've blended them into a really fun Parsely
game I call Muffins. I've run increasingly complete versions
of Muffins several times now for different groups of my friends,
and I'm simply delighted with the fun it delivers.
For the time being of course, Muffins is a game design you
can only experience if you know me personally. But Action Castle
is available from the Memento
Mori online store -- Check it out!
|Thanks for reading, and have a great Whenever!
||Here's something that's been bugging me recently about Back
to the Future part III. [Warning, spoilers ahead!] What power
source could Doc Brown possibly have used in 1885 to power the
time circuits on that fancy time-machine-train engine he returns
with at the end? It's well established that you need a much more
powerful energy source for the time circuits than for whatever
you are using to bring your vehicle up to the required 88 mph,
so even assuming he could build a time locomotive that could
handle such speeds, it doesn't explain how he could have sent
that train forward in time, since neither Mr. Fusion, pellets
of plutonium, nor a predictable bolt of lightening were available
to him in 1885. So, what gives? The otherwise-amazingly complete
of events at the BTTF wiki has little to say about this...
||As a life-long fan of disaster movies, I hate it when the
premise of the movie makes no sense, as in 2012 and The Day After
Tomorrow. So here's a suggestion for Hollywood, about a disaster
scenario I actively worry about. Actually, it's two: the eruption
of the Yellowstone SuperVolcano, and the Mega-Tsunami that will
result from the collapse of part of the island of La Palma, which
could occur the next time the Cumbre Vieja volcano erupts. And
if you still need to "go Hollywood" with the idea,
to make it over-the-top enough, you could make both of these
things happen to the same group of characters.
||Here's a product I'd like to see: Hazelnut M&Ms. I think
they'd be very delicious and I'm frankly surprised they haven't
already been created -- particularly when I hear about the opinions
within top management at Mars about the superiority of the hazelnut
over the peanut.