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Friday, Feb 6th, 2009

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"I tried out a game of WW5, and I love it. It's kind of what I was going for when I designed Dog Eat Dog for last summer's IGDC, only with a board... and without the design flaws that I still need to iron out in my game. :) Keep the good games coming, Andy!" -- Jason Darrah, on the Icehouse discussion mailing list

Assorted links & comments on topics includng Squatters in Miami, Talking Too Much, Apostrophes, Lady Penelope, the Beatles, Atomic Bombs, and Abandoned Amusement Parks in Asia

Getting Ready for Toy Fair

It's a week until Toy Fair, our biggest industry-only trade show of the year, so preparations for this event are currently the dominant focus of attention here at Looney Labs.

We've come a long way since our last trip to Toy Fair... in particular, we now have a much better booth fixture than ever before, featuring a slatwall product display unit Alison designed and built last summer (and which I helped attach new lights to earlier this week).

Of course, we also have newly updated sales literature, which is also our best ever; we've recently started working with a company called Strategia Design, and they did a great job of spiffying up our handouts. PDFs are already available online for all the sell sheets will be using, so feel free to check them out!

One of the cool new things you'll find in our new literature is the recurring icon shown here, proudly proclaiming that we've been making games in the USA for 20 years. This is true even though Looney Labs is only 12 years old, since Kristin and I actually started business together in 1989 as Icehouse Games, Inc. (Join us this summer at Origins for the 20th International Icehouse Tournament!)

Another advantage to making our games in America is that it's much easier for us to meet the new safety regulations that are going into effect right now. We've started using the slogan "Certified for Safety, Certified for Fun" on our literature, and we'll even have the documentation on-hand to prove it, something which won't be so easy for our competitors whose products are made in China. (The many awards we've received, including six Origins awards for Best game in category, stand as our certifications of Fun.)

Other preparations include new outfits for the team -- we're all getting purple polo shirts with the Looney Labs logo embroidered in the usual spot on the upper left side.

But perhaps best of all, our product line has grown and now includes a super-hit, named Monty Python Fluxx. Building on the success of both Monty Python and Fluxx, we're expecting to attract a lot of new attention with our hottest new release.

To make sure everyone knows about it, we've got a new postcard mailing going out right now to retailers who'll be attending the show. And to make sure they can't resist, we've got a super hot show special - but that's only available to retailers who write an order with us at the show.

So we've got a lot going for us as we head into Toy Fair. Wish us luck!

AndyThanks for reading and have a great whenever!

Thought Residue
I have a new trick for collecting egg whites for use in making meringues and angel food cakes. You can buy 100% liquid egg whites now (causing me to wonder, what do the folks who make that product do with the egg yolks?) but while the carton may indeed contain nothing but real egg whites, they don't whip up like fresh ones. So here's the trick: substitute pasteurized egg whites with the whites from fresh eggs when making cookies, brownies, and popovers, and save the fresh whites for whipping! It works great!

Here's a random thing about myself that almost made it onto my list of 25 Things -- It's my favorite joke, which is this riddle:

Q: How many surrealists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Two -- one to paint the giraffe orange, and the other to fill the bathtub with brightly colored machine tools!
"Games should have their rough spots, their peaks and valleys in the mathematical sheet of balance. They should be crunchy, not smooth, filled with secret caves of hidden knowledge for players to discover, ponder, and exploit." -- Matt Forbeck, "Game Balance Is Overrated"

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