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WHAT'S ON THE STOVE?
People always like to know what new things we're working on, and we enjoy being open with our plans. This document is an overview of the many new products and projects we're currently working on here at Looney Labs. This list ranges from games we're almost ready to print, to others that are very much still on the drawing board. Many of these projects will require extensive development time, not to mention investment capital, and some may never emerge at all (as you can see by looking at older versions of this document). There is no guarantee we will actually follow through with anything on this page; this is just a list of things we're thinking about and planning for at this time. Everything here is subject to change.
Icehouse Pieces (by the stash): Even as I write this, KLON is manufacturing more Icehouse pieces for us. This time around, we're packaging them as individual stashes of 15 pieces in a clear plastic tube. The minimal packaging will direct the consumer to find rules for the games on the internet, or in the book Playing with Pyramids. Icehouse Pieces will be available in a full range of 9 colors, including for the first time purple, orange, and opaque white.
Playing with Pyramids: As explained below, we've decided to move away from the individual, small gamebooks we've been including in the current (soon to be sold out) edition of Icehouse. As a replacement, we're in the midst now of publishing an actual book, containing a dozen of our favorite Icehouse games: IceTowers, Thin Ice, Zendo, Martian Chess, RAMbots, Pikemen, Zagami, Volcano, Martian Backgammon, Icehouse, IceTraders, and Gnostica. It will be released this winter. Sometime next year, we will package this book with sixty pieces and release it as Icehouse: Fifth Edition, but it will also be sold separately.
Gameboard Bandanas: The chessboard bandanna we created to include in Black Ice is being turned into a product of its own. (Like the current edition of Icehouse, the Black Ice expansion will be discontinued when the current supplies run out.) The standalone version of Alison's Chessboard Bandana will be available sometime this fall; we're also thinking about making a hex-board bandana and a go-board bandana to go with it.
The Wunderlist (aka the new e-store): We're still going through the process of outsourcing our fulfillment work, and while the warehousing and shipping has been passed off and is running smoothly, we're still doing a massive re-construction of our online shopping center, along with just about everything it's connected to. This big new software entity has been dubbed the Wunderlist. The task of building it has been taking up quite a bit of our time, but it's going to be an indispensible tool for us.
The Dangling Carrot: We're building a special section of our online gift shop that we'll be calling the Dangling Carrot, where we'll be making various special items available only to those who earn Mad Lab Rabbit points by putting on demos, running tournaments, and otherwise helping us promote our games. Items in the Dangling Carrot will include Lab Coats, T-shirts and short run items like the hemp Black Ice drawstring bag (which we just can't get produced cheaply enough to wholesale). One of the first things we plan to create for the Dangling Carrot is a Mad Lab Rabbit T-shirt of some sort.
Still in the Oven:
Nanofictionary: The card game of telling tiny stories has been through Beta-testing and is just about ready for publication. However, time and budget constraints forced us to put off the release of this game until early next year. It will be debuted at Toy Fair in New York this February. Nanofictionary got great reactions during playtesting and we're really looking forward to getting it out there.
Icehouse: Fifth Edition: Although the clear plastic box of Icehouse pieces was a dream come true to create, the format has proved itself sub-optimal. The boxes are expensive and easily broken, and making books to fit the box has also been costly, due to the necessarily non-standard size. So when the current edition sells out (very soon now), it will be discontinued. The new version will be packaged in a regular cardboard gamebox, just a tad larger than a standard trade paperback book and tall enough to receive said book and sixty Icehouse pyramids. We also plan to include an inexpensive drawstring bag. Fifth Edition will be released sometime next year, after we get Playing with Pyramids into print.
The Empty City: Once we start publishing actual paperback books, we plan to release others, starting with a new edition of the original novel, with an introduction by Alison and perhaps some author's notes or something. "The Martian Archaeological Society" will be included as a epilogue to the original story, along with the nanofic "It Happened When He Played the Tower." (The other nanofics from the Martian Chess Set edition of the rules will find their way into Playing With Pyramids.)
Fluxx for Christians: Fluxx fans are always asking for expansion cards, but rather than just making more of the same for those who already love the game, we're contemplating a series of specially-themed promo packs that will help attract new players to the game. Shown here is a set of 5 cards designed to make Fluxx more fun for Christians. (A sixth card in the pack will explain a little more about the game, the other two types of cards it includes, and information on where to find it.) Our idea is to buy a mailing list of Youth Ministers and send them each a free pack of these cards, suggesting that they plan a youth group activity around a game of Christian Fluxx. If it does well, there's an almost endless list of special interest groups for whom we could create promo card packets of this sort. But to launch this campaign, we need to raise some advertising dollars. If any Christian Rabbits (with, say, $8K available to invest) are reading this and thinking they might be interested in funding this project, please let us know.
The Black Ice/Volcano Book: The product currently known as Black Ice includes a little card declaring itself to be a Beta release and promising to someday be worth a copy of a yet-to-be-released book. At the time, we were selling Icehouse in the Martian Chess Set edition and were planning to create more small books in the style of the three included with that product. Although we've decided to move away from the small book format, we're still planning to create one more such book, to make good on those little square coupons. Our selection criteria for games to include will be narrowed to focus only on games that make use of a 5x5 grid; this way, this little book will also have another use. Someday, we're going to make little plastic "Volcano" gameboards available for sale, and when we do, we'll include a copy of this book with the board. Right now, the games we're thinking to include are all by Kristin: Volcano, Martian Backgammon, and Blockade. We're also thinking about Dale's game, Solace. But we're still not at all sure of when it will be published.
On the Back Burner:
The Gnostica Tarot Deck: For awhile now, Alison and Petra have been working on creating an all-new tarot deck which we will publish with icons on the border, thus also making it a perfect Gnostica deck. But they've only completely finished one card so far, and with 77 to go, it will be a long time before this project is complete. But hey, they're working on it... isn't their three of swords lovely?
More Books: As soon as we publish the first real book of Icehouse games, we will no doubt immediately invent and/or learn other games we'd like to include. In fact, there are already dozens of new games out there that we've barely even looked at. So, Playing with Pyramids will be just the first volume in a series of books about Icehouse Games. (We're also thinking about a new, expanded edition of My Secret World.)
Chrononauts: The Next Section of the TimeLine: While Lost Ids adds new spice to Chrononauts, many players are already hankering for a new set of Timeline cards that extends or precedes the history of the original game. However, while I've had some ideas for this and I've heard a lot of others, I'm not working on it with any seriousness at this time. It took a lot of time and research to create the first Timeline and I used up most of my good ideas on that one. However, some enthusiastic Chrononauts fans have talked about creating their own timelines. In fact, Zarf has already been playtesting a game called "The Emperor's Star" which uses expanded rules and a set of three Timelines. So, if you're thinking of researching and creating your own Timeline, feel free. We might even offer to publish it someday. (But don't plan on publishing it yourself or selling it to another game company, since I've applied for a patent on the game mechanic embodied by the Timeline.)
Fluxx++, the Icebreaker Re-release, Eeyore's 3-way Chesspanels, etc: These are just some of the things we'd like to publish someday, but which no one is really working on at all right now. Nothing much has changed since the stale thoughts about these and other projects, which you can still read in older versions of What's on the Stove?