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Friday, April 16th, 2010

Archives Games

OK Go - This Too Shall Pass

Tirade's Choice

Ten Words You Need To Stop Misspelling

"I gotta tell you: Your new packaging works. I've been in the local gamestore dozens of times, seen your Fluxx game in its older packaging many times, and just never even picked it up. Last week, my two daughters were off school and I was wondering how to entertain them. We stroll into the gamestore, and here's the new, very-friendly looking box of 'Family Fluxx'. Very bright; very colorful; not too expensive...ok, let's try it. Andy, we are totally hooked. After a few games, I had to rush back and get the Zombie and (most especially!) the Monty Python versions and there was much rejoicing. I can't wait til this weekend to try Chrononauts as well. Great games; nice artwork; good gameplay: very nicely done. But quite honestly, I don't think I would have tried the game in its older, original packaging. We would have picked Uno or Skip-bo or some other game I know well. I thought you might want to know about this. I doff my horned helm to you!" -- A message written on my FaceBook wall by my friend Gary Peterson

Rash provides another batch of links and commentary on topics including: what happens when a sacred ginkgo tree falls in Japan; Four women in space at the same time; Space Shuttle Launch seen from DisneyWorld; Hollywood blockbuster-style NASA Mission Posters; Things that are almost impossible to do with your body; Scrabble Trickster; Asia's North Korean restaurant chain; Teal and Orange ("Stop the Madness"); Stunning photos of sleeping insects covered with early morning dew; Bulgarian postage & banknotes; a Disney video mashup demonstrates their recycling; Angel Food, Bacon and Chocolate On A Stick; Niagara Falls, illuminated; Shoes that make everyone the same height; Recollections of A Mushroom Cloud; a recent expedition out to the enormous rubbish-gyre in the Pacific Ocean; McDonalds Japan's Big America Burgers; "Do not allow anybody to steal your excitement about the future!"; Ten natural formations that might've been built by ancient aliens; and the amazingly thorough set of comic book scans at

GTS, Jessica, and [Still Classified]

Hello and Happy Springtime! A lot has happened lately. Right after posting the previous update, we left Robin and the temps behind to run the company without us while Kristin, Alison, Jessica, and I all flew to Las Vegas for the annual Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) Trade Show (GTS) and as usual, it was a great event. We took lots of orders, had a lot of really good meetings with important industry contacts, and generated a lot of interest in our products.

GTS is a prime time for companies like ours to make big announcements about upcoming releases, and since we're planning a big fall release, we naturally wanted to tell everyone about it at the show. And we did. But since, as I mentioned last time, we are keeping this product officially secret until we officially sign the official license agreement, we didn't say anything about it in our printed materials and we swore to secrecy everyone we showed my prototype to. But we showed it to everyone who wanted to see it, and I spent many hours playtesting it with game store owners, such as during the event shown here, the PSI Game Night. Everyone I played it with LOVED it. The store owners can't wait to start selling [Still Classified]!

We were so eager to get the buzz going about the new secret product that we even arranged to be one of a small group of manufacturers who got a few minutes each to give presentations on their upcoming releases to a captive audience of retailers attending a big free dinner. In fact, we were the first ones to talk, and Jessica did an awesome job of pitching not just our new secret product, but everything we sell.

And what is that secret new product? I still can't say, but I will say this: If you follow me on Twitter or FaceBook, you'll find out there just as soon as the news is official.

Speaking of Jessica, we are sorry to say that she's stepping down from her position as Sales & Marketing Director. Jessica has been a great asset to our team, and the work she's done this past year has been extremely helpful for our long-term growth. Unfortunately, she lives in Washington state and we live in the shadow of Washington DC. We know from some experiences (such as with our programmer dude Craig Forbes) that long-distance telecommuting can be very successful, and indeed, we've been able to accomplish a lot with Jessica despite the distance. That said, we've come to the painful conclusion that we really need for the person running our Sales Department to be local, as we need someone who can be on-site to manage people as well as programs.

Sadly, Jessica simply cannot relocate at this time. Her husband has a great job at Wizards of the Coast, which he understandably doesn't want to leave, and in a story all too familiar for everyone affected by the housing market crisis, it's just not possible for them to sell their house. So, we're starting the search for a new Sales Manager, and Jessica is looking for the start of her next adventure. She will still be around for a while as we sort through the transition.

Anyway, thanks again Jessica and good luck with whatever you do next!

AndyThanks for reading -- I have to get back to work on my secret new game now...

Thought Residue
One of the highlights of the GTS trip for me was some time I got to spend hanging out with fellow game designer James Ernest. We played poker and talked shop, which is very cool for us both since there really aren't that many other people we can do that with, given the uncommon nature of our careers. He told me about the webcomic he's been helping create, called Brian and John (here's my favorite installment) and I picked up a great expression from him, coined by Harvard professor Lant Pritchett, about how really revolutionary ideas are received over time: "It goes like this: Crazy. Crazy. Crazy. Obvious."

After pondering and debating the spoiler-ish question about Back to the Future Part 3 (which I posed here in early February), I think I've got it all figured out. Here's my version of the Untold Story of How Doc Brown Got Back to the Future from 1885, i.e. without Mr. Fusion or Plutonium. First, he would have needed to accumulate a small fortune -- an easy task for someone with his general knowledge of future events. Then he'd have been able to finance the construction of a circular section of railroad track on the top of a storm-prone mesa. After that, all he'd have to do was wait for a big thunderstorm to roll in, and then start driving his time engine around in circles, at 88 MPH, until the lightning rod finally attracted a strike. It's so simple!
I have bad news for phone book manufacturers: We no longer have any uses for your product. In our household, they've started going directly from receiving bin to recycling bin, like so much other junk mail. Could I maybe just get you to stop sending them to us?

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