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The Bridge to Nowhere

"We have been demoing Treehouse in our store. It's great because it only takes about five minutes to demo and sales off of that five minute demo are quite good. The biggest problem is that our distributors are running out of Treehouse and the Playing with Pyramids book." -- Diana Outwater, The Game Habitat


Thursday, October 19th, 2006
Sponsored by Looney Labs

What's New?

What's Going On? Treehouse 2nd Edition

Here you see the 3 of us at the Renn Fair, which we attended this past weekend along with a random assortment of friends. The expedition started when Ralph and Mary said they were going this weekend, and we decided to tag along. Various other friends of theirs met them at the fair, too, and they grabbed a table in the White Hart Tavern and made it a base of operations for their circle of friends all day, and it was cool to be in on that. (By the way, it was Mary who took this photo -- click on it to go to their FLICKR site for more pictures.) While at the Festival we also met up with various other friends of ours, including Luisa, Lori, and Izolda (but missed finding others whom we'd heard were there but couldn't find).

It was a lovely day for a trip into the past, and we had a most excellent time. As always, my favorite thing is the assortment of yummy "authentic" medieval foods, and as usual, I gorged myself. Alison's favorite things are the shows, and we saw some great ones, the best of which was Hilby, the skinny German juggle boy, who was both impressive and hilarious. But the thing Kristin was doing was actually the most useful and important for us... she was getting strangers to test out the new rules insert for Treehouse!

As you may know, Treehouse is a relatively new Icehouse game which revolutionized the way we sell Icehouse pieces. This past spring we relaunched the Icehouse system with Treehouse as the base unit, with the new version of the Icehouse tube now consisting of a complete game, with the rules for the game printed onto a pair of stickers added to the outside of the tube.

During the Summer of the Cursed Trees, we taught a lot of people how to play Treehouse, and two things became very clear:

1) Treehouse is even better than we thought it was when we first decided it was good enough to relaunch the system around. People LOVE this game. Treehouse is making people buy Icehouse pyramids like they never have before. It really is the killer ap for the Icehouse system which we've been searching for all these years. Treehouse is Fluxx for the pyramids.

2.) The minimal rules on the sides of the tube just aren't enough. They make a fine reference if you already know how to play, and any Gamers worth their salt (i.e. 4th Level or higher) can figure it out just from what's on the tube; however, while the gameplay of Treehouse is perfect for mainstream game-players, the rules on the First Edition just aren't adequate for mainstream buyers to learn from.

With these observations in mind, we've been preparing for the 2nd Edition of Treehouse, which we'll be transitioning to over the course of the next few weeks. Kristin figured out to get a fairly big piece of paper (3.5" x 7.5") produced by a company who makes little paper inserts like those folded-up sheets of fine print you find inside pharmaceutical products). The new rules will be small enough to actually be tucked up inside the Treehouse tube, alongside the custom die. It was this new rulesheet that Kristin was testing at the Renn Fair, showing it to strangers in the White Hart Tavern. And reactions have been excellent!

For those with First Edition Treehouse (or other types of Icehouse sets) who'd like to get a copy of this great new version of the rules, we'll be making them available a la carte at our website as soon as we get them in. Until then, you can print your own copy by downloading the file you'll find on the Treehouse Rules page.

In other news, the leaves are changing colors which means the holidays are getting uncomfortably close, and that means we're on the final push to get our games picked up by as many new stores as we can before the holiday shopping season gets underway. To this end, we're getting ready to launch a new Tell-A-Store program, under which we'll give you Rabbit Points for printing out a flyer about one of our current specials, showing it to someone important at a store you think should be selling our stuff, and providing us with contact info for that store (along with that VIP's name). Please check back here for details, which will be available very soon, and thanks in advance for any help you can provide us with!

AndyThanks for reading, and have a great week!

Thought Residue
I've been getting into a couple of new prime-time hour-long game shows, both from the same production team: Deal or No Deal and 1 vs. 100. I admire the design of both games, which are what I call Push-Your-Luck style games. The first is all about luck, whereas the second includes trivia, so if I could, I'd choose for Kristin to be a contestant on Deal or No Deal, while I'd like to be on 1 vs. 100. Why? Well, Kristin hates trivia, and she's both lucky and good at push-your-luck games (our inspiration, Cosmic Wimpout, being a classic example), so I think she could do really well on DoND. As for me, I'm good at trivia plus I really like the 1 vs. 100 concept. I'd even be happy just with a chance to be one of the 100, aka "the Mob." (Either way of course, it'd be great to win some big bucks, since Looney Labs needs investment money yet again...)

I've also been getting into this new show "Heroes," but the more I watch it the more I want it to be just about the one hero with the power I'd want myself: the Japanese office worker, named Hiro, who can bend the time-space continuum with his brain. In fact, what I think would be perfect would be a movie, rather than a weekly show, made up of just the scenes featuring him. It would be called "Hiro."

"What our deliberate, pluralistic democracy demands is that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals must be subject to argument and amenable to reason. If I am opposed to abortion for religious reasons and seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or invoke God's will and expect that argument to carry the day. If I want others to listen to me, then I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to peoples of all faiths, including those with no faith at all. For those who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do, such rules of engagement may seem just one more example of the tyranny of the secular and material worlds over the sacred and eternal. But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice." -- Senator Barack Obama, seen quoted on page 60 of the October 23rd 2006 issue of Time Magazine (with him on the cover)

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