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The Empty City

New this week: Chapter 99, in which the Princess gives Dave a cardboard box containing some of his things


Love Potion #2

"The green potion makes her love you," said the inscrutable curio shop proprietor, "but only for ten years. The blue elixir lasts forever, but shortens your own life by twenty years." I grabbed the green bottle and instantly drank it down. "Wait," he said, looking up, "did I say the green one lasted forever, or...?"


"The Cheapass Starbase Jeff."
"Never played it."

- Zarf and me

Cool Words

kith (kith) n. friends and neighbors

Haiku Reviews

The Iron Giant :-)

Y'know, if Disney
made this, we'd have yet one more
stupid musical.
Daddy-O's Reviews

The Visitors

This French comedy tells the story of an 11th century knight (and his squire) who travel through time to the modern world (accomplished not through technology but with a wizard's magic potion). What makes it great is the fully-realized character of the knight... he confronts the distant future with logic and determination, and sets about developing a plan for getting home, just as any stranded time traveler worth his salt would do. There are many laughs along the way as the visitors misuse and misunderstand the details of 20th century life. [Warning: subtitled.]

Tirade's Choice
I Skip
Fruits of Chaos
Learn to...
August 5, 1999

New this week:

What's New? Shaking Out the Rules for IceTowers

Last week, I posted the initial set of rules for my newest game, IceTowers. Since then, we've done a lot more playtesting, and the design is shaking out pretty nicely. We've made several significant changes to the rules since last week's posting, and they've done a lot to tighten up the gameplay. Here's what's different in Version 1.1 (and why):

  • No Minebacks: When you mine out a piece, you must immediately use it to cap a different tower. If there are no legal plays available, you must set the piece down and use a different piece for your next action. (This largely solves the Infinite Loop problem, though "tower wars" (infinite loops involving 2 or more towers) are still possible. (I'm not 100% happy with this rule, since it introduces a memory element with abuse potential, but it does seem to work pretty well.))
  • No More Releasing: The releasing rule has been dropped. (I regret losing this, since we lose a whole set of fun maneuvers along with it, but Releasing just makes it too advantageous to have your piece on the bottom, which in turn rewards slow play and can therefore lead to stagnation in some cases (particularly involving Jake). The game is a little less frantic without this rule, but perhaps that's just as well.)
  • Splitting: Whenever two pieces of one player's color are next to each other in a tower, a different player may split the tower in two, by separating the pair of same-colored pyramids. You can't split your own pieces, nor is it required for another player to do so. (This replacement play option doesn't come up as often as Releasing did, but it can make a big difference when it does. Splitting helps inhibit Tower Wars, and adds a minor layer of diplomacy to the game.)

Regarding Tower Wars, I'm hoping that the Splitting rule will make them pretty uncommon, but as long as they are technically possible, we're going to need a rule to invoke when the situation does occur. We're still trying to decide what that rule should be; stay tuned, and if you've got an opinion or an idea, please let us know.

Although Tower Wars are still an issue, the rules on the whole are starting to feel pretty solid. Even so, we're still several weeks away from the printing deadline, so feedback is still very much desired and encouraged. If you've been playtesting IceTowers, please switch to the newest rules, and let us know what you think!

As for the pieces themselves, the mold design is almost done and we hope to sign off on it tomorrow. Then they'll start carving it into metal! Now all we have to do is get everything else we've planned printed and ready to go by the time the pieces arrive, sometime this fall. Hopefully by next week we'll have a better idea of when that will actually be.

AndySee you next Thursday...

New Iceland cartoonthe story so far

Thought Residue
Mark Fitzsimmons sent in the best new Fluxx card idea I've heard in a long time: it's a Goal, called Food Fight. You need War and one food item, plus some other player must have a food item on the table.
Remember Captain 20? When I was a kid, he was the host of Channel 20's line up of syndicated reruns. He wore a star trek jumpsuit and pointy ears, and gave the Spock salute whenever he recited his memorable catchphrase: "May you live long and win lots of prizes."
"These folks know the art of creating fun." - Kate Jones, from the description of us and our site that appears on her links page

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