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Sketchbook HarvestNanofiction

The Human ATM

After using his first two wishes to undo his baldness and permanently drop 30 pounds, Larry then asked the Genie for the power to magically pull a crisp $20 bill from his pocket, at will, repeatedly, and indefinitely. And suddenly, his life was perfect... until the Treasury Department announced their plans to redesign the currency.

#12's Nanofics

New this week:
The Perfect Match


"He had cream of mushroom noodle tomato soup."
- Meg Naab

Cool Words

duende (doo-en'-day) n. the power to attract through personal magnetism and charm (fr Sp dialect "charm", fr Sp. "ghost, goblin" fr "duen de casa")

Haiku Reviews

Lulu on the Bridge :-|

What a weird story.
They were just making it up
as they went along.
Daddy-O's Reviews

Emperor of Hemp

Several years ago, I read a book called The Emperor Wears No Clothes, which profoundly changed my viewpoints concerning cannabis and hemp. I recommend it to anyone with questions about marijuana prohibition. But if you'd rather just wait for the movie to come out, your wait is over: get yourself a copy of this video. It's a fascinating documentary about Jack Herer, founder of the hemp movement and author of that landmark book. It's guaranteed to make you question the wisdom of our nation's anti-marijuana crusade. Everyone in America should see this film - our elected leaders in particular.

Tirade's Choice

1000 blank white cards
Fruits of Chaos
Java Paint
#12's Webcomic picks
Penny Arcade

Thursday, January 27, 2000
by the Wunderland Toast Society

What's New?

What's Going On? Snow Pyramids / Reclaiming Fluxx
Last Thursday, it snowed. Being nocturnal, I was asleep when all the Day People began frolicking in the snow, building snowmen and having snowball fights and such, but when I awoke, I discovered that Alison had spent the afternoon doing something far more creative and wonderful with the snow: she made snow pyramids! Suddenly our front yard was filled with little white pyramids, like a monochromatic version of an Icebreaker level. It looked really cool. That night, by the light of the lunar eclipse, we used the hose to spray water onto the seven snowy pyramids, icing them over so that they'd remain on our lawn for weeks to come, long after the rest of the snowstorm had melted into the ground.

Of course, this was all before the really BIG snowstorm hit... on Tuesday, the pyramids were buried by another foot of snow. But they still look really cool, even when covered over by a blizzard. And I'm sure it'll be a long time before they all melt away, thus giving our neighbors one more reason to think we're all nuts.

Last September, when Iron Crown Enterprises filed for Chapter 11 protection, we were suddenly faced with a decision that we didn't expect to be making until late in the year 2002. By filing for bankruptcy, ICE had automatically voided our contract with them, thus giving us a choice: should we renew the license agreement, and allow them to keep publishing Fluxx, or should we take back the rights?

Our immediate decision was to let the whole thing coast for awhile. At the time, we were just way too busy with things like Icehouse, Q-Turn, and the whole Xmas season to be able to think much about Fluxx. So we told Pete (Fenlon that is - he's the head honcho at ICE) that we'd wait and see how the holiday shopping season went before making a decision, thus allowing ICE to continue publishing Fluxx in the meantime, as if the contract were still in force.

But now that the Future has begun, and we've had a chance to think it all over, we've come to a decision: we're not renewing the contract.

Many factors helped shaped this decision, but nothing provided more clarity of thought than the business plan we've been working on for the past month. Leslie, our friend from Texas, spent her winter break with us, drafting our business plan, and as she worked up break-even analyses and made 5 year projections of our future, it became very clear that, from a business standpoint, we needed to be making more from the sale of Fluxx than the royalties we were supposed to be getting from ICE.

It also must be said that ICE hasn't done as well with Fluxx as we'd hoped they would by now. Our main reason for partnering with a larger company was to take advantage of their superior distribution network, to rapidly get the game into stores nationwide. But while ICE has gotten their edition of the game into some stores, Fluxx has nevertheless developed a reputation as a cool game that's difficult to find. (Of course, we may not be able to do any better ourselves, at least in the short term, but we're ready to give it a try.)

But the biggest factor was quite simply our own ever-changing ambitions. Back in 1997, when we first signed the contract with ICE, we were in a very different position. Kristin was still deeply involved in the work of building TSI TelSys, providing only spare-time-as-available support for Looney Labs, and as an independent game inventor trying to make my mark on the world, I wanted only to design and produce games, not to run a business selling them. Like every amateur game inventor, I dreamed of selling my game to a big game company, and letting them do all the work while I enjoyed the royalties (and got started on the next game). So at the time, the ICE contract was everything I wanted.

But like many fantasies come true, this one had its downsides. While we liked many things about ICE's handling of Fluxx, there were of course certain times when decisions were made that we didn't entirely agree with. But such is the way of it when you're in the back seat... all you can do is enjoy the ride.

Looking back on it all now, the partnership with ICE was just another of our many grand experiments. There are only two ways to get a game you've invented onto store shelves and into game cabinets: either sell your design to someone who publishes games, or publish it yourself. Since our earliest experiences with Icehouse, we've been doing it ourselves... but we've always dreamed of licensing the rights to someone else and letting them do all the work. The contract with ICE gave us a chance to test drive that paradigm, and at that end of the day, we've come to the conclusion that the age-old adage is true: If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself. On the whole, ICE has done a great job with Fluxx, but after letting them drive for the past 2 years, we've come to realize that we'd rather be the ones behind the wheel, after all.

How will the transition be carried out? Well, that's still being determined. At first, we were contemplating a major revision, to include as many as 10 or 20 new cards (since there are so many great ideas for new cards floating around out there); but then we decided it would be better to minimize the changes, and hold the new card ideas for the first Fluxx supplement (codenamed Fluxx++), which we're just now starting to plan.

A few minor changes will nevertheless be made for the release of the new Looney Labs edition of Fluxx, which we're now calling Version 2.1. These changes will be almost entirely cosmetic, relating mostly to the packaging. The new box will be larger, with a more mass-marketable look, and more product information on the back. It will hold the deck in two side-by-side halves, and will feature a flap with a built-in hook, for use with pegged in-store displays. The rules sheet will also be updated, and minor changes will be made to the artwork on a couple of cards (notably the Pyramid and the back of the Basic Rules card). But otherwise it will be the exact same game.

When will Version 2.1 be released? Good question. As always, we're frightfully busy: this week alone, we've been finalizing the Business Plan (we gave the first copy to a banker-type last night); preparing for the release of Q-Turn (the revised rules are at the printers, so it should go on sale next week); designing our booth for Toy Fair (Yikes! It's soon!); and secretly working on the secret design document for Secret Project 39-C. But hopefully, the slightly revised version of Fluxx will seamlessly replace the ICE edition sometime during the next few months. Stay tuned for more details as they become available...

In conclusion, I'd like to extend my deepest thanks to Pete and everyone at ICE for everything they've done these past two years to help make Fluxx a success. It's a shame things didn't work out quite the way we'd planned, but we wish them all the best for the future and we look forward to simply being friends once again.

AndyLet freedom grow,

New Iceland cartoonthe story so far

Thought Residue
"I am going to live on and continue my lifes work in making yours miserable!!!!!!!!" - my sister, in an email to her four brothers, informing us that her tumor was benign
"If you are unsure about taking a gamble but can't chuck the idea [of getting your game published] altogether, my advice is to go to Las Vegas, plunk down your ten thousand dollars on the color red at the roulette table, and take your chances there. The end will come a lot quicker and be a lot less painful. However, if you answered YES to all the questions [in the Prospective Game Creator's No-Win Quiz, then] get ready for the wildest ride of your life. All forewarnings aside, it may just be the most rewarding adventure you'll ever have." - Stephen Peek, in the preface to Game Plan: The Game Inventor's Handbook, which may just be the most influential book I've ever read
It seems really weird to me that we should be in favor of throwing a perfectly good space station into the ocean, just to get cash-strapped Russia to focus more energy on the construction of a new one.

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