Jeff WolfeUnited States
Pirate Fluxx hitting stores on Feb. 11, 2011, Looney Labs started to give people a look into the future by releasing information about its summer 2011 releases.
The Pyramids Are Back!
In November 2010, Looney Labs stopped selling Treehouse, its flagship pyramid product. On June 24, 2011, the company will release a new version of Treehouse with appropriately pyramidal packaging, as well as a new pyramid product called IceDice.
Treehouse - As with the previous version of this game, the new Treehouse includes 15 pyramids in five colors, rules, and a special Treehouse die. It also includes a regular die and rules to a second game called Pharaoh. Pharaoh had been previously released as a free rules download during the 2010 holiday season as the company's holiday gift to fans. Instead of the familiar plastic tube, the new version of Treehouse comes in a pyramid-shaped cloth bag with a zipper on the side and will retail for $14.
IceDice - The IceDice product includes 30 pyramids in five colors and a pair of special dice, also called IceDice. It also includes rules for two brand new games: IceDice and Launchpad 23. IceDice will come in a cloth bag similar to, but larger than, the Treehouse bag and will retail for $20.
Along with the new packaging comes a new brand name. The pyramid products are now being marketed under the name "Looney Pyramids". Previously, they were called Icehouse Pyramids, after the first game that was invented for the pyramids.
New-ish card game: Seven Dragons
Also on June 24, 2011, the company plans to release a card game called Seven Dragons, which is based on Aquarius, with dragon artwork by fantasy artist Larry Elmore. The game will retail for $12. There is no indication that the company plans to stop selling Aquarius, which has been rethemed once previously with a Mormon theme by Covenant Communications under the name Search, Ponder, & Play. (That version is still sold under license.)
Looney Labs Fan Club web site
In December (post-BoardgameNews.com and pre-BoardGameGeek News), Looney Labs unveiled a new web site for fans, The Looney Labs Fan Club. At least as far back as 1999, the company has reached out to fans, instituting its Mad Lab Rabbits program in November of that year. The program encouraged fans to spread the word of Looney Labs games to friends, in game stores, and at conventions. Until June 2007, the program included incentives for demoing games and directing new customers to the company's web site. Up to now, these activities had been coordinated through a series of email lists maintained by the company.
The new site has a public forum for general discussion of the company's various product lines, and a series of private forums dedicated to individual interest areas. Among the featured private groups are one for fans of the pyramid games (now dubbed Starship Captains), one to coordinate demo activities, and one for volunteers at the company's annual "Big Experiment" activites at the Origins Game Fair. The company says that it will offer "discounts and special deals" to fans who sign up for the web site, but there is no formal program as there was before.
With the new web site, the Mad Labs Rabbits program has been discontinued. The company had been gradually downplaying the rabbit theme over the last year, and actively looking for a new name since May 2010. In an open letter to fans on the new web site, company President Kristin Looney asked fans to stop calling themselves "rabbits", citing confusion the term has caused in the general public about the company and its games.
Fluxx: BoardGameGeek Expansion
In February 2011, Chad Krizan posted a message here on BoardGameGeek that a BoardGameGeek expansion to Fluxx is coming soon. The expansion will consist of eight cards: three Goals (including the BoardGameGeek.com Goal), three Keepers, an Action, and a New Rule, and should be available by mid-February 2011 in the BoardGameGeek store.