- [Guide] [Games] [E-Books]
National Treasure :)
Forget the treasure--
How do those old torches work?
There's a mystery.
Cats in Sinks
"To The Fluxx Crew: Wow! What a great Game. First I'd
like to thank you all for your efforts in making a wonderful
game. I purchased a pack of 3.0 Fluxx last night and have played
at least 20 games. My wife and I were up all night laughing at
the insanity of it all. When I woke up this morning I could only
think of one thing... I've got to get more! I just knew the pack
of cards I had couldn't be it. I quickly found your website and
browsed the many wonderful card ideas..."
-- message with a SASE request from Travis H.
||Giant Cardboard Pieces Are
About To Sell Out
as the standard Icehouse set has gone through various format
changes during its evolution
(from solid plastic to wood to paper to hollow plastic), so too
has the room-sized version of the system gone through various
In the beginning, there were pillows. Shown here is the earliest
photo I could find of people playing with giant-sized pyramids.
This was taken in 1991, at the 3rd International Icehouse
Tournament. (You can tell it was a long time ago... that's
me showing off the hairy top of my now-bald head!) The other
player is #12's
sister, Cora Dickson (who recently helped us verify the translations
of the forthcoming Japanese
Fluxx of Fluxx -- Thanks Cora!) and the game we're playing
is an Icehouse variant called Mercenary
Icehouse, designed to improve the 2 player game by starting
each player off with a trio of neutral prisoners. (That's why
there are some blue and white pieces mixed in with the red and
These "Jumbo" Icehouse pieces were made for Keith Baker
by his mom, back in the days when the only way to get any kind
of Icehouse set was to make one yourself. We thought it was so
cool we begged Keith to get his mom to make us a set, and amazingly
enough, she did! Thanks again for all that work, Keith's Mom!
Our set of giant stuffed pyramids debuted at Balticon in 1991
and featured blue, green, purple, and white pyramids (a color
selection chosen to play nicely with Keith's set, for those times
when our pyramids rendezvoused with his). For several years in
the early 90s, we carried these sets around with us (in a pair
of giant cloth bags I made) to various conventions, promoting
Icehouse in hotel hallways even when we had no booth or products
to sell. (We even made sets of T-shirts, in colors matching our
4 stashes, for 2-player teams to don as they played Giant Icehouse,
one for the actual player (labeled "PLAYER" ) and the
other for that player's "THROWER", this being someone
who served as a sort of Icehouse caddie, sitting with the Player's
stash of unplayed pieces and throwing to the player whatever
piece he or she called for next.)
But truth be told, the "Jumbo" class Icehouse pieces
were flawed. The
original Icehouse game -- the only one we had back then --
is all about precision placement, and the puffy, flexible nature
of pyramid pillows make abuse far too easy. ("What do you
mean I can't fit my piece in there? Here, I'll just squish it
a bit...") Obviously, the pieces were very bulky (since
they can't nest for storage like modern stacking pieces) and
while it was fun to have them scattered around the house as throw
pillows, they were also magnets for cat-hair and we were always
worried about a spill or something staining them. So they went
into storage when we dissolved Icehouse
Games, Inc, and they haven't been touched during the entire
Looney Labs era. Maybe
I should sell them off on eBay?
the Jumbo pyramids inspired many things. While a complete Jumbo
set proved to be more trouble to drag around that it was really
worth, the smalls were so much fun just to toss around and play
with (they had bean-bags in their bases) that we ended up creating
more of those (with little faces yet) to sell just as plushies...
and these proved very popular. (Hopefully we'll manage to start
making those again someday.) The small plush pyramids in turn
inspired other adventures; they led to my bizarre online cartoon,
Iceland, and also played
a small but endearing role in the courtship of Keith Baker and
his lovely wife Ellen.
as some people now see IceTowers
being played with giant cardboard pyramids and assume it's the
basic and original game, some people who saw Jumbo Icehouse being
played undoubtedly assumed that the pillow fights it sometimes
devolved into were all it was really about. This is the explanation
for the cryptic phrase on the classic Bates Discordian's T-shirt:
"Icehouse: It's more than just a big pillow fight."
And as long as I'm describing the complete history of the
giant Icehouse pyramid, I have to also mention Steve Strassmann.
He made the first pillow-shaped pyramid, a huge furry black bean-bag
chair sort of a thing. It was a wedding gift to me and Kristin,
and it's still in use as an object to lounge upon in the
Looney Labs office (as Luisa
is demonstrating here). It was this first giant plush Icehouse
piece that inspired Keith to get a complete functional set created.
2nd type of really-big
Icehouse that appeared on the scene was the Gargantuan foam
Sugarbaker showed up with at the very
first Big Experiment, at Origins
2000. Somehow Mike got a place to carve perfectly-shaped pyramids
out of dense, industrial-strength foam, in 4 colors. With their
perfect, smooth sides and sharp, clean edges, these foam pyramids
were a joy to play giant Icehouse with... but I think they cost
Mike a small fortune. Plus of course, by this time, table-top
gone stackable, and it was immediately obvious that the game
people really wanted to play with over-sized pieces was IceTowers.
But the Gargantuan set inspired Kristin
to begin figuring out how to get stackable Giant pyramids made,
which led to the availability of the Giant Cardboard Pyramids.
Sold by the stash for $22, this edition was also pretty expensive
to invest in, particularly since they all start out as plain
white pyramids and must be painted by the end user. But this
is an advantage too, since these pyramid-shaped white canvases
have lead to the creation of some really beautiful custom-decorated
Giant IceTowers is now a standard part of the show we put
on at the conventions and gaming events we attend now. They'll
be attracting the attention of passers-by and pulling in gamers
this weekend at Dragon*Con as usual.
Cardboard era of the over-sized Icehouse set is also about
to come to a close. We have just 13 stashes left (as of this
writing) and when they're gone, that's all we'll be making, so
if you've been putting off joining the
Giant Pyramid Club, now's the time to place your order.
What's the next step in the evolution of the giant Icehouse
set? Corrugated plastic. They'll be just like the current version
except made from sheets of colorful corrugated plastic instead
of plain white corrugated cardboard. They'll also come assembled,
with some sort of plastic riveting system bonding them into shape,
with rivet marks that also mirror the pips that appear on the
table-top pieces. You won't need to do any painting, and if you're
playing with them out in a field and it starts to rain, they
won't get ruined! Cool, huh? Kristin's already working on how
to get these made, but it's hard to say when we'll actually make
them, so in the meantime, enjoy those cardboard pyramids!
for playing our games and reading our webzine, and have a great
PS: Our hearts go out to all the victims of
||"My eating habits are terrible. I don't like fruits
and vegetables. I kind of like meat. I like doughy things, fried
things, and sugar things. That's what I like. And dips. I like
things with dipping sauces. And glazed. Things that are glazed.
Or have frosting, in some way, or are some sort of a layered,
something layered with other things inside that are sugary. Also,
I like butter. I like things that rise. Cakey, cupcakey, doughnutty...
I like breaded stuff is good. I like breaded bread." -- Kathy Griffin, "My Life on the D-List"
||"The foundation of the manfood pyramid is, needless
to say, meat. A typical manfood meal has a meat course followed
by another meat course. The 'mixed grill' is a shining example
of manfood... and 'yes' is the invariant answer to the question
of whether you want cheese on that. (Nachos drenched in cheese
is a kind of transitional layer between the chip and cheese layers
of the manfood pyramid -- or is that getting too technical?)"
-- Joel Achenbach, "Kale? Not for This Male,"
The Washington Post Magazine, August 28, 2005, page 11
||Start with Kathy Griffin's eating habits, replace the part
about "kind of" liking meat with Joel Achenbach's theory
of Manfood (minus the beans and beer), pour on some chocolate
sauce, and you've got the perfect recipe for what Andy
Looney likes to eat.