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On the Front Burner -- In the Oven -- Still in the Cookbook

A Planning Report from the Chief Designer
March 2003

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...

On the Front Burner

NanoBlanks: Nearest to going to the printer are these little booster packets of semi-blank cards for Nanofictionary. We've known for a long time exactly what the product will consist of (4 blank Characters, 2 Problems, 2 Settings, 2 Resolutions, a Jury award card, a Wild Idea Action, an Aquarius promo card, and a cover/ad card) but haven't had the free time necessary to finish it all nor (more importantly) the loose cash to fund the task. But the time for NanoBlanks is very nearly at hand... in fact, we've already gone and listed it in our beautiful new 2003 catalog. Hopefully we'll actually have them in April or May.

Zendo: The complete-in-one-box edition of one of the most popular Icehouse games is similarly close to arrival. Again, we know exactly what the product will contain and feel it is close enough to complete to feature in our new catalog, but with Zendo we also still have some important production work to do (like formatting the rule book and designing the bottom of the box). But the box top art is done and it looks really cool... surf back to the WWN for 9/26/2 to check it out.

In the Oven

2003 Promo Cards: Our trick of making special new cards in limited quantities to give away as promotion for our games has become a tradition we now feel compelled to continue with (particularly as we've found this form of advertising to be quite effective for us). Moreover, as we develop ways of getting these promo cards made, we also find ourselves locked-in to this program, since in some cases (like the 4 extra cards at the end of the Chrononauts card sheet) spaces need to be filled with something whenever the time for a new print run rolls around. So we're settling into a pattern of making new cards to hand out at the major conventions we attend each year, and our design department has a whole bunch of cool ideas for new promo cards in the works. (A webpage that describes all the promo cards we've made thus far is another item on our list of things to do.)

Hypothermia #16: Speaking of cool stuff we make each year to give away free at conventions as marketing materials, it's time for us to be considering the contents of the next issue of the Journal of Icehouse Gaming. Last year's issue (which, as is also the new tradition, we debuted at Origins) contained seven easy new games for the pyramids... how many will this year's issue contain, and what will they be? And will there be any articles or essays in issue #16? These and other questions will be discussed in the coming months on the Icehouse mailing list... sign up if you want to get in on the conversations.

SuperFRED Upgrades and Website Overhauls: The custom-built omni-purpose webserver software we call SuperFRED is up and running at last, but there's still a lot of work to be done before he can completely run our business for us. Fortunately, our new employee Marlene knows a lot about building good web interfaces, and since she'll also be using SuperFRED to run our sales department, she'll be very motivated to get the SuperFRED upgrades finished as well. We also have a huge list of other website improvements for her to work on while she's wearing her webmaster hat.

Dangling Carrot Goodies: Now that SuperFRED is finally operational, our Mad Lab Rabbits can earn points to spend on special neat stuff in the Dangling Carrot. There's already a bunch of stuff available, but in order to keep our rabbits happy and productive we will need to add more Neat Stuff on a regular basis. Fortunately, we have lots of ideas. A few of the things we have coming up are a line of new T-shirts, a really cool deluxe version of Are You a Werewolf?, chess piece buttons (for use with the bandana) sold by the stash (so that you can mix and match as you wish, for a regular chess set or a monochrome one) and sets of Good/Evil alignment cards for Homeworlds.

Fluxx auf Deutsch: We haven't actually signed the contract yet, so I won't get too specific yet, but we're in negotiations with a major German card game company for the release of the first German edition of our #1 card game Fluxx. (Hopefully, once we get the contract signed, there won't be anything more for us to do on this project other than approve their work and cash the royalty checks...)

Adult-themed Fluxx: Speaking of special editions of Fluxx, we have for a long time now been contemplating a couple of new products, featuring adults-only material, based on Fluxx game system. Both of these new games have been under development in secret by friends of ours, and have already been fully prototyped and thoroughly playtested. The product names have evolved; at this point, they are being called Sexxxy Fluxx and Stoner Fluxx. Of course, the problem is how best to capitalize on the obvious demand for these products while not allowing them to taint our otherwise respectable "family games" image. The idea would be to release them together, in a special display box with a plain brown wrapper motif, and to offer them primarily to purveyors of similar types of subject matter, and to be sold from behind the counter in gamestores, but not featured in our catalog.

Still in the Cookbook

Petralison's Tarot: Looking back at the previous edition of this page, you will see half a dozen varyingly complete samples of art for a Gnostica card deck featuring designs by Alison and Petra. More recently, Andy has decided he still prefers Zarcana and would rather the tarot card game we release be dedicated to that game rather than Gnostica. Petra meanwhile has been campaigning to release their artwork in its pure form, i.e. simply as a tarot deck. Of course, at the rate the two of them are getting the artwork finished, it will still be several years before we're ready to print any sort of tarot deck, but when we do, we're already planning to release it in both plain and game-flavored formats. In the meantime, here's another half-dozen varyingly complete samples for you to look at.

More Games for Pyramids: Although sales of Playing with Pyramids have been disappointing thus far, we are still planning to eventually publish a second volume of new games for Icehouse pieces. Already there are many good candidates for inclusion, such as the 7 games featured in Hypothermia #15; however, it will undoubtedly take several more years for us to collect enough material for another whole book. (We're also going to need another Martian landscape painting...)

Chrono19th: Fans are always asking when we're going to release another Chrononauts expansion. Well, it's still going to take a long time, but I'm in the process now of collecting ideas for it. The main concept is to create a new section of the TimeLine that predates and connects to the existing one, spanning the first half of America's history, ranging from 1775 or so until about 1910. This timeframe will allow me to address 2 major topics: Preventing the American Revolution, and Helping the South Win the Civil War. Since this expansion is intended to be playable both standalone and in conjunction with the original, Chrono19th (working title) will also feature a display case filled with cool new artifacts from the past and future. All of these plans are still just ideas in Andy's notebooks at this point, but at least he's working on it. (Of course, there are other card game ideas he's tinkering with, too, plus other projects (like a couple of books he wants to write) so who knows when this project will really move forward...)

Of course, these are just some of the ideas we are currently contemplating... some projects are still secret, and others are just so far back-burnered as to not be worth mentioning at this time. However, if you're really interested, be sure to skim through the back issues linked to at the top of this page, as they contain all manner of ideas we may decide to use someday.

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