Long Hair

About Us


Gift Shop

Thursday, July 9, 1998

First, the New Stuff:

Well, we're back from Origins and we're exhausted. It was a very intense weekend for us, and it was a heck of a lot of work... but it was also gangs of fun.

Here's a rather lengthy report.

Origins was the official product launch for our new game Aquarius, and we made it quite an event. We built a groovy gaming area in our booth, with a sofa and a coffee table forming a miniature living room under a tie-dyed canopy, and we ran demos in our living room all weekend. By the second day, we were starting to think of our booth as being like a home away from home, and each day more of our friends showed up to help us out in the booth. We gave away free postcards and stickers and little cards pointing out that the player with the longest hair goes first. And of course, we played lots and lots of games of Aquarius. We made many new friends (including a nice tall man who scared us senseless by revealing that he was actually Darth Vader in real life) and we all had a marvelous time.

Origins also served as a test market for our advertising efforts. We took out a full page ad on the back page of the program book, with a great picture of Gina and Lori holding Aquarius cards, and with the caption "Come play Aquarius with us, we're in booth 202." We also gave out free temporary tattoos and postcards of a picture of such a tattoo on Angie's tummy, all on the theory this would get the gamer's attention long enough to get them to try playing Aquarius. (Madison Avenue does this all the time.)

Well, after studying the various reactions to these ads in a microcosm of the gaming market, we have a few conclusions. First, the ads were very popular. We were repeatedly told that our back cover ad was incredible, that it was the best thing in the magazine and a marketing masterpiece. And there's no question that we attracted a lot of attention because of it. However, it doesn't appear to have been the right campaign for Aquarius. Since Aquarius is more of a mass market family game than most of the other games at Origins, the people who really liked the ad didn't always find the game appealing. To gamers who are attracted to women in chain mail bikinis wielding gigantic swords (a large portion of the adventure game industry seems to cater to this market) the game itself doesn't deliver what the ads seemed to promise. In other cases, people who were very clearly in our target market were sometimes turned off by our ads. (Madison Avenue isn't always right.) So, our ads were well received, but they didn't really sell the product.

But that's OK, that's what we do here at Looney Labs: we test out ideas. Some work and some don't. And although our marketing scheme wasn't as successful as we'd hoped, the game itself was very well received. We got hordes of people to try it out and everyone seemed to like it, often playing several times in a row and coming back later to play more, and we sold lots of decks.

Another thing we did that was fun was that we put a random Aquarius card into each of the bags of goodies that players got when they signed up for the con. Most probably thought they were ordinary promo/sample cards, but those who asked about them at our booth learned about the Promo Card Recycling Program, under which you could collect up 60 of those promo cards, bring them back to us, and exchange them for a sealed Aquarius deck. Two little girls liked this so much they managed to cash in cards for a deck on 3 separate occasions.

Anyway, it was a great weekend and I'd like to thank everyone on Team Aquarius (Kristin, Lori, Gina, Jake, Renee, Mar, Butch, and John) for making the debut of Aquarius a big success. You guys are great!

Origins also marked the rebirth of the annual Icehouse tournament (after a two year hiatus), under new management (Mr. Richard Braxton). Since we were no longer responsible for running the tournament, John and I decided to compete, and we had a great time not worrying about how the tournament was being run, and just sat back and played.

As it turned out, I did rather well... I placed second, without winning a single game! This wouldn't have happened the way we ran tournaments in the old days, but Richard wanted to do things differently and John and I were all for that, even though several veterans of the International tournaments were disapproving of the changes. Perhaps by next year the Icehouse community will form some sort of consensus on how tourneys should be run.

The winner of the tournament was Elliott Evans, who also won the 7th tourney back in '95. Jake gave him a good run for his money, though, scoring a perfect 30 in one game without playing a single attack piece, and putting both himself and Eeyore in the Icehouse in the first game I've ever heard of in which all four players were placed in the Icehouse. And since he won the Monopoly tournament the next day, Jake couldn't complain too badly about passing along the scepter.

Fluxx was also nicely represented at Origins '98. ICE was running regular demos over at their booth, and they were giving our special fortune coookies whenever someone played Cookies. The fortunes were Fluxx Actions: Scramble Keepers, Draw 2 and Use 'Em, etc. and when you got one, you got to take the indicated action. ICE also had cool new Fluxx T-shirts available.

Kristin's birthday is tomorrow, so Happy Kristin's Birthday everyone!

Tirade's Past Picks

What was new on 7/2/98?

Dr Cool's Past Picks

Serve Different

News Search Gift Shop Games About Us | contact us