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Sketchbook HarvestNanofiction

Waiting To Become My Future Self

I met myself once... a familiar stranger appeared at my home, looking around nostalgically. "Invest in Microsoft," he advised. Then he explained that we'd meet a time traveler someday, right here in this diner. So now I'm rich... but I can't ever leave this restaurant! What if my ride shows up, and I'm not here?

#12's Nanofics

New this week:
The Game Of Love


I'm lying in bed, more or less awake. I can hear Gina and the upstairs neighbor Atticus outside having a conversation. Sounds like Atticus is saying, "Oh yeah, they'll give you anything you want!" Then he laughs.

Cool Words

lucubrate (loo'-kyuh-brate) v. to stay up late to study (from L. lucubrare to work at night by lamplight)

Haiku Reviews

X-Men :)
True to the comic's
morality, theme, and hairstyles --
this film didn't suck!

Daddy-O's Reviews


I have to confess, I've never read any of the X-Men comics and didn't really know who any of these characters even were, other than Wolverine, who I recognized but had never understood. But even without having seen the originals, this seemed like an excellent adaptation to me.

Tirade's Choice

Shadow Conventions
Fruits of Chaos
#12's Webcomic picks

Monday, July 31, 2000
by the Wunderland Toast Society

What's New?

What's Going On? Patent Submitted / Chrononauts Beta 1.1

Golly, there's so much to say!

For starters, let me apologize for being so late this week! And that's not even the worst of it; since it's now Monday and I'd have to start right away on the next update in order to get that one done on time, we've decided to just go ahead and cancel the next one right now, and just try to be on time for a change when the August 10th issue rolls around. Sorry!

As I said in the "Update Delayed" note that I added last week, I had to put everything on hold for a few days while I brushed up on my patent law and wrote out an application for a method patent on the game I invented last summer, IceTowers. And I'm *very* happy to say that I got it done on time! (I had to file within a year.) I think I have a pretty decent chance of getting it, too. (Unless of course some other real-time stacking game exists that I don't know about...) Last time I patented a game (ten years ago!) it only took a few months for the patent office to respond with an assessment (which isn't bad compared to the delays required in some fields), so hopefully we'll find out how this story will end in a similar timeframe!

If I'm awarded this patent, it'll be titled "Method of Conducting Simultaneous Gameplay Using Stackable Game Pieces," and the drawing you see here (the primary patent drawing) will be used on the front page to illustrate the invention. Alison created this for me (thanks Alison!) along with a couple of the other, much simpler drawings (10 total) that I needed for the application. It went out on Friday afternoon, a day before the deadline. Yay!

The other big thing that's been dominating my thoughts lately is the Chrononauts playtest, which is going extremely well! We've gotten tons of great feedback, lots of off-the-wall ideas, and an absolutely delightful number of compliments. People are digging this game! Sure, there've been a few concerns and complaints raised, and I'm doing my best to address them (see the complete report for the details). But the overwhelming message we've been getting is that we have something really cool in the works here. Chrononauts is gonna be a hit!

And while the game is testing about as well as I could ever really wish for, the playtest itself is also totally proving its worth. Doing a short run first, to really shake out the product before printing up 10,000 copies, is allowing us to do a much broader playtest than we've ever been able to conduct before, and the end result is great: the flood of reactions has been almost overwhelming. I've been sifting through the piles of comments and suggestions just as fast as I can, and I've been doing a lot of thinking, rapid-prototyping, and even some limited playtesting in between everything else. And having made a few modifications to my deck that I'm really quite happy with, I'm ready to let you guys begin testing out the first official upgrade. It's a set of new cards that rewrite or replace 11 from the deck, and it's available for download as a PDF file, which you can print onto sticker paper for an upgrade just like the one we're using here in the Lab.

Here's the summary of changes I'm called Beta 1.1: Sell an Artifact has been hamstrung; Fast Forward has been accelerated; Hold an Auction has been withdrawn; 3 all-new cards have been created, namely an Inverter called Restore History and 2 Actions, Quick Trip into the Future and Perform a "Miracle"; and since the 135 card total is set in stone (we got a plain white prototype of the tuckbox, rules, and display from Carta Mundi just today in fact), 5 common cards have been dropped to make room for them (3 Reverse Fates, 1 Rewind, and 1 Get There First). In addition, I'm adding an Identity Mulligan rule, the Universe Destruction Point has been changed again (to 13), and I really like the rule someone suggested for that annoying "Can't Play-Therefore-Must Discard" situation. But other than that, and of course the color upgrade, we're not changing the game very much. Despite some people's concerns about controversial cards, we're not planning to change anything on the TimeLine.

The changes we have decided to make are all typical post-playtest tweaks; we're also not making any of the radical changes that were tossed around on the mailing list, interesting though some of those ideas were. But the new cards do seek to address and incorporate many of the suggestions, concerns, and comments we've been hearing, and I think they're gonna do a great job of tightening things up. Give it a try and let us know!

Another thing that's already proving its worth is the new site, which toK did a great job of building (Thanks toK!) and which Erskin is now helping us refine (Thanks Erskin!) We have yet to receive a single playtest form on the actual paper we included with the game sets... everyone is using the online system! (Well, there was one fax.) And with over a hundred games now in the database, we're starting to see statistics on what really wins more often, and what less. And yes, some Characters and Missions are easier than others, but I'm pleased with the overall breakdown. In the first 100 games, character went home in about half of all games, mission wins occurred about a third of the time, and card wins took the final 20%. All in all, that's just about right. (But it looks like we need to tweak Günther and Renée...)

Be sure also to check out the Chrononauts Color Redesign page, featuring samples of what the real cards will be like. The cool new look, glimpsed here, was designed by Alison right after she finished up my patent drawings. Neat, huh? Feedback, as always, is welcomed.

Well, that ought to keep you-all busy for awhile. Remember, no update this Thursday, but as always we'll be watching our email (even though we can't always write back), so keep the feedback coming. And thanks again to all of our playtesters, for taking the time to provide us with their input!

AndyRemember Peter McWilliams!

New Iceland cartoonthe story so far

Thought Residue
The new Fluxx decks arrived! 18,100 of them! And they look beautiful, inside and out. Moreover, the timing worked out perfectly... we've just finished selling the last of the ICE edition decks! (We still had about a hundred left when they arrived, the last of which shipped out today!)
We've had to raise a couple of our prices, notably Fluxx, which is now $10. (But at least all our prices are nice round numbers now!)
Ontario's highest court has declared the law prohibiting the possession of marijuana unconstitutional!

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