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Thursday, February 15th, 2007

the art of drinking & starbucks mystery solved!

Haiku Reviews

Idiocracy :)

Idiots can make
a time machine, monster trucks,
and electrolytes!

Evolution of Dance

Tirade's Choice

Time Travel Reviews

"I've lost track of how many Aquarius decks we've worn out over the years; I've also lost track of how many we've given away! We've needed a new Aquarius deck for a while, and our Fluxx deck is showing signs of wear. The Family Fluxx is a gift for a friend: she has a little boy who's two and a pair of 7 month old twins. I know she won't be using it soon, but she's making plans for weekly family games nights when they get a little older." -- Barbara D of Chicago, IL


There's a cool new game system coming out soon, called Stonehenge. The basic system will include 5 games by some of the industry's biggest names, like Richard Garfield, Bruno Faidutti, Richard Borg, and my arch-rival James Ernest. Last summer, Mike Selinker invited me to design a game for the expansion set, which will be released a few months after the core set and which will include several more games for the system, and parts to make the set work with 6 players.

Well, after months of doing nothing on the project (other than moving the word Stonehenge from one to-do list to the next), I got a last chance reminder from Mike, and I decided to see if I could crank something out. And I did! On Saturday morning I tackled the job, and by twilight I had ideas for a set of rules that I'm really excited about! And I did it all with nothing but a description of the parts that would be in the box (and, for inspiration, a little model of Stonehenge I got when Kristin & I visited in 1993). It's kind of like when I designed IceTowers in one night, but couldn't playtest it, because there were no such things as stackable Icehouse pieces, even though we were just 3 months away from The Day of First Pieces. Mike promised to send me a prototype of the board and parts, and I can't wait for them to arrive.

It's amazing how fast things can happen sometimes, because even though I invented this game just a few days ago, and this is my first chance to announce it here, I've already been scooped by the internet. You see, as soon as I decided I had a ruleset I felt could be made to work, I emailed Mike and told him I was onboard, and to yes please send me those game pieces so I could try out my ideas. Within hours of that, the folks in the Titanic Games booth at Toy Fair were telling people that I was designing a game for the expansion, and the next thing you know, one of our own full-time people is asking about the project, after having heard about it for the first time through a fan posting resulting from a web report on the first day of Toy Fair posted at!

(The photo shown here was pulled from the BoardGameNews pages, since as I said I don't have my own copy of the hardware yet. Also, why weren't WE at Toy Fair this week? Well, we decided to skip it this year... we're economizing by taking a break from several of the expensive trade shows this season, including GTS and the new GamesExpo in Las Vegas. But don't worry, we'll be there in full-form at Origins and GenCon!)

As for the theme of the game, I haven't told anyone (except a few of my closest insiders) what that actually is yet, but I'm really excited about that, too.

If you think of game design as being like computer programming (a comparison I often make) I just did the equivalent of writing a huge piece of software for a computer I know only from the hardware specification manual, and I've promised a big software publisher that it will work, and without any debugging other than my own thought experiments, it's now being touted as software that will be available for the next system release. Plus, no one even knows what this software will do! I sure hope it doesn't turn out to be vaporware...

By the end of the week, I decided I couldn't wait anymore, and built my own prototype, using (of course) Icehouse pieces along with blank cards, Lego trilithons, and a hand-drawn board. And as is to be expected, I quickly started discovering little "bugs" in my "software"... but the concept seems solid and I'm confident a cool game will shake out of this!

Anyway, that's all I'm willing to say about the project right now... but for more details on the Stonehenge game system, go read Mike's design journal entries on the subject. His diary is fascinating!

AndyThanks for Tuning In, and have a Great Week!

Thought Residue
A major sea change has just occurred in congressional decision-making about our nation's Drug War. The new chair of the subcommittee which oversees the ONDCP is none other than Dennis Kucinich! Woo-hoo! For all these recent years, congressional control of the Drug Czar's office has been in the hands of the most aggressive drug warrior in all of congress, Mark Souder; but now, we have that body's most vocal critic of the Drug War at the helm! Yes! Talk about a pendulum swing! Finally we have someone in charge who will challenge the drug warriors instead of continually giving their lies a free ride! I can't wait for the start of the new hearings Kucinich is promising to call for. I think real discussions about the stupidity of drug war are finally about to begin!

I particularly enjoyed the puzzle on the cover of the April '07 issue of Games magazine, which challenges you to identify 20 popular candy bars by looking at photos of their cross-sections. (And since I'm a dedicated CandyFreak, I was easily able to ace this "bar exam"!)
"I'm attracted to awesomeness." -- Comment with an order from Rebecca M of Ypsilanti, MI, which has been floating around in my possible Testimonials file for months and which I decided to make a Thought Residue instead because it's starting to become a saying around here

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