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Thursday, August 25th, 2011

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Mellow Brick Road

Tirade's Choice

Leisure Dive

"Great Game!! Awesome artwork, which also makes the game colorful and beautiful, rather than distracting. Different ways to play (besides the standard), which can cater to much much younger players. Still challenging for veteran gamers. Games can be very quick. Part mindless game, part "stay on your toes"-be flexible-bluff-scheme game. I thick-sleeved this game right away because I knew that it'd be a hit in our household, that good shuffling is necessary, and that little ones would also play throughout the years to come. I bought this on a super-strong hunch after viewing a live demo; love at first sight. My first Looney Labs game." -- Peter Elsenheimer, comments on Seven Dragons at

Pending Releases / Game Changers / Oz vs Cthulhu

We've been really busy since my last update! There's so much going on that this article has 3 main sections: a) Star Fluxx & Looney Pyramids; b) Game Changers & Round Logos; and c) The Wizard of Oz vs Cthulhu.

Star Fluxx & Looney Pyramids

We are now in the final countdown to the dual launches of two major new releases: Star Fluxx and IceDice. Actually, it's more like 3 (or even 4) major launches, since the release of IceDice includes the expansion products called Looney Pyramids, which themselves come in two flavors, Rainbow and Xeno. Our demo team is gearing up to help us launch these great new items and we've got two cool new promo card postcards to help them promote it: A new Keeper for Star Fluxx called the Android Doctor, and a new Fluxx Action called Press Your Luck that promotes IceDice, which is a press-your-luck style game. All of these things go on sale September 30th!

To promote Star Fluxx, our friend Alex Bradley has made another intro video, featuring a few of our friends plus an animated version of me, and it's super-awesome. Like Star Fluxx itself, it's the best one yet. Go check it out!

To promote Looney Pyramids, we are FINALLY developing a standardized format for pyramid game rulesheets, and I've started the process of reworking the library of pyramid game rules in this new format. If you want to check those out before we officially release them (and you are a Starship Captain), check out the discussion in the Starship Captain's private forum at the Fan Club site.

Also, Kristin posted an update on the problems we've been having with product testing in Europe. The bottom line is that the restrictions only apply to wholesale vending, not individual consumers. In other words, as free individuals, Europeans are allowed to buy whatever they want from anywhere in the world, even items that stores in Europe are not currently permitted to sell. Therefore, European pyramid fans will still be able to get pyramids, they'll just have to buy them online. Obviously this is annoying, but the regulations don't give us any other options at this time. Again, please read Kristin's update for more details on this issue.

Game Changers & Round Logos

For a long time now we've been trying to find the perfect names for our demo team and other sub-groups within our fanbase. Last fall I suggested we call big fans of the pyramids Starship Captains, and that idea really took off. The need to make a list of your ten favorite pyramid games got everyone talking about their rankings and comparing their lists and as soon as I made a cool looking logo, fans starting using it to make their own badges and t-shirts and such.

But this kinda left our card game fans out in the cold (and we have a lot more of them than Starship Captains). Don't they get a cool name too? So, after much brainstorming and debate, we finally have an answer: Game Changers.

Much like the Starship Captains, the Game Changers will be asked to make a list of their favorite Looney Labs card games. However, to make things a little different you'll only have to list your top 7 card games.

Once we had a name, I quickly made a logo for the Game Changers, in the same style as the Starship Captain design. Immediately after that, I realized we needed a general Looney Labs Game Technician logo in the same style. You can see that image already in use on the new fan site.

Of course, these patch-style logos just beg to be made into actual patches for folks to sew onto their lab coats and such. So we're working on that. In the meantime, I gave the old Time Repair Agency logo a makeover in the new style, since time-travel minded Game Changers will obviously be wanting TRA patches, too.

The Wizard of Oz vs Cthulhu

Since Star Fluxx is practically here, we've been talking a lot about what the next Fluxx should be. Of course, we've gotten many suggestions from fans over the years, but usually these ideas are for licensed themes, and even though we have gone that route a couple of times, we're a lot more interested in royalty-free public domain material.

Those who attended my playtest workshops at Origins got to try their choice of five prototype Fluxxes I had in my bag: Star Fluxx (which went to the printer right after the con), Drinking Fluxx (which isn't being considered for publication but is in my bag of prototypes anyway), Fluxx Reduxx (which is a greatest hits remix sort of version), Gambling Fluxx (which I've been tinkering with for years), and Wonderland Fluxx (which I'd finished prototyping just before the convention). Then, during the drive home from Origins, I had a long discussion with Robin about doing a Wizard of Oz Fluxx, and I ended up hammering out a prototype of that shortly thereafter.

Oz and Wonderland have a lot in common: both are public domain classics about little girls having surreal adventures in bizarre other worlds, and as such, both are great settings for the topsy-turvy fun of a Fluxx game. I've very pleased with both designs, and curious as to which would be more popular.

But Oz has quickly outshone Wonderland as the choice for a 2012 release, for one simple reason: marketplace timing. Turns out this is an excellent time to be contemplating an Oz-themed product, because an amazing number of new Oz movies are currently in the works. These range from straight-up remakes (and the not-so-straight-up) to prequels (how did that balloonist from Omaha become the Wizard, anyway?) to the big-screen adaptation of Broadway's Wicked. This makes next year the perfect time to be launching our own take on L. Frank's masterwork, and I'm pretty excited about it.

The inkjet ink had barely dried on my Oz Fluxx prototype cards when Kristin returned from GenCon with a scheme to finally get me behind the idea of making Cthulhu Fluxx. And her scheme worked!

I'm sure some of my readers will see that and say "What's Cthulhu?" while others will say "Yay! It's about time!" Those who know me well will be saying "OMG, I thought he was dead-set against doing that!"

Yes, for years people have been asking me to make a Cthulhu deck and I've always resisted because, well, I'm just not much of a Cthulhu fan. I never really got into Lovecraft's work. But hey, I never liked Zombie movies either, but when everyone was asking for Zombie Fluxx, I finally watched a few Zombie movies and got my brain around the concepts enough to create a Zombie version of Fluxx. So, it's been on my list to study up on Cthulhu for this purpose, but my heart just hasn't been in it.

But now, all that has changed. Now I have someone helping out, or should I say, doing all the hard work for me. Fellow game designer, noted Lovecraft expert, and close personal friend Keith Baker has worked out a design for me, and I've just finished building a complete prototype. (Two actually -- one for him and one for me.) Beyond the general Lovecraftian flavor, it brings in some of the key elements of the Cthulhu Mythos; heroic investigators struggle to hold ancient, malefic forces at bay and if they fail we're all doomed!

So, we're curious: which version are YOU more excited about: Wizard of Oz Fluxx or Cthulhu Fluxx? For that matter, which little girl's fantasy story do you like better, Alice's or Dorothy's? Just for fun, Kristin set up a survey asking these important questions. Please go take it so we can find out what you think!

AndyThanks for reading, and have a great Whenever!

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