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"To The Entire Crew of Looney Labs: I just picked a pair of Treehouse packs (Xeno and Rainbow) and I wanted to thank you considerably for so significantly altering the way that you market your Icehouse games. I have been a fan of Looney Labs [for a long time but] I was never really able to 'get into' Icehouse as a game system because of, unsurprisingly, some of the issues that were pointed out in the webzine linked to the Treehouse web page ('Redesigning Icehouse'). Seeing the little tubes of pyramids (and the colors therein), however, piqued my interest enough to pick up the only two tubes the store had on hand... In picking up the sets of pyramids, I have regained my immense appreciation for games with simplicity and depth. Presently, I have plans to pick up four more tubes of each spectrum, PWP, 3HOUSE, the Volcano caps, and both Volcano boards.... There is something strangely hypnotic and serene about the pieces that I can't seem to put my finger on, but I know that I like it." -- email from Sean C. of Burbank, CA


Thursday, June 8th, 2006
Sponsored by Looney Labs

What's New?

Calling All Artists!

Do you know an artist, or are you one yourself? If so, are you interested in doing art for the next Looney Labs card game? How well can you illustrate mouth-watering desserts?

Last year at this time, we released the Beta edition of a new card game I created, called Just Desserts. It featured prototype artwork, simple B&W line drawings (mere sketches really in some cases).

Of course, the reason we published a Beta edition was to collect extensive play-testing data, and based on all that feedback, I totally changed the way the game is played. At this point, I'm feeling really good about the rules of the game. Although a few Beta decks are still available, and gameplay feedback is still welcome, I feel that the design is now solid. But we can't even begin to think about publishing the real game without real artwork.

Being a very small company with several artists on the team, we normally do all our artwork in house. Specifically, we've been planning to have Alison colorize my line drawings, a system that worked really well for the Artifact artwork for both versions of Chrononauts.

But as I mentioned last week, we've been keeping Alison so busy with sales-type work that she just isn't finding much time to do art. She's still finishing up the art for Fluxx Espanol, and the workload for Just Desserts is 5 or 6 times bigger, since we need 59 individual dessert illustrations, plus 2 dozen pictures of people. If we put all this work on Alison's plate, it will be a REALLY long time before we can release the finished version of Just Desserts.

So, we are looking into contracting this job out. But how? And to whom? There are so many artists out there who might be interested... right? And having never outsourced a large art job like this, we are not even sure how best to go about this. We could give the whole job to one artist and put their name on the box and even pay them a royalty, but how do we pick that artist? We obviously need a sample, to be sure we like the way they would illustrate yummy-looking desserts but if we are going to be getting sample art of desserts from a bunch of different artists, maybe we could do this Magic style ­ and have each illustration done by a different artist, or pick several artists to each do several drawings, rather than having one artist do them all.

So how do we choose? That will depend on who answers this call, to any and all artists, to help us illustrate Just Desserts.

If you're interested, what we'd like for you to do is to pick a dessert from the game and create your own illustration for that dessert, just as you would if it were going to be included in the game. (Because, after all, it might!) The artwork must be full-color, square, and delicious-looking! Remember also that we're looking for illustrations here, not photographs. (This was once a topic of much debate, but the matter has long been settled; even though mock-up cards with photos appear in an old planning document, most people greatly preferred the illustrated look.)

What remains to be decided is the exact scenario under which we'll be making use of outside artwork submissions. There are 3 ways it could go:

1.) We might choose one artist from all those who apply and give them the whole job. This artist would then do all the artwork, and we would prominently feature their name on the box as the artist for the game. In this scenario we will negotiate payment, potentially including a royalty for each copy sold.

2.) We choose many artists, with the desserts being done in a variety of artistic styles (like M:tG and other CCGs). Maybe we'll get 30 great submissions and we can just ask everyone to do one more. Or maybe we'll find that we have so many artistic Rabbits as to be able to feature a different artist on each dessert! Under this scenario, the artists will likely only receive a few complimentary copies of the game, plus of course their names in the credits (and all the glory which that implies).

3.) The 3rd scenario is kind of a mix of the other two. Perhaps we'll want to ask several people to do 10 or 20 illustrations each, in which case we might divide up the art royalty or come to some other compensation agreement.

What we actually do will depend entirely on what kind of reactions we get to this announcement. (It's an experiment!)

To apply, please look at this List of Desserts and choose the one you plan to illustrate. You must first send us email (with the subject "JD Art RSVP") with the following information:

  • Your name:
  • Dessert you plan to illustrate:
  • Second choice:
  • Rabbit page (if you have one):
  • URL of website featuring examples of your art work (if you have one):
  • Are you interested in doing the entire job? (Yes/No)

I'll be updating the dessert list as these emails are received, so if there's a particular dessert you're interested in being the one to do, then hurry and send in your RSVP before someone else grabs it!

Obviously, there's no guarantee that we will use your artwork. If you are a professional artist, applying with the hope of getting the entire job, please be sure to include details (with your submission, not necessarily with your reservation email) on how long you would need to do the rest of the illustrations (if we pick you as the artist) and tell us how much you would charge for another 58 pieces of art like the one you are submitting.

By submitting a test illustration, you are granting us permission to use that illustration in the game, if we wish to, for no additional compensation other than your name in the credits and a few free copies of the game. If we decide to request more artwork from you, we will also sign a contract together, detailing our additional payment agreements.

Deadline? We plan to talk up this deal at Origins and GenCon, since we are often approached at these big conventions by artists seeking work, and after GenCon, we will hopefully have enough feedback on this experiment to make a decision between the three scenarios listed above. So if you are only interested in spending the time doing an illustration if you know we are going with the lots-of-artists scenario, you may want to hold off actually doing your illustration until the end of the summer.

AndyHave a great week, and hopefully we'll see you at Origins!

Thought Residue
My sample copy of the encrypted version of Icebreaker 2 has finally arrived! And it's works! They did it! They successfully encrypted my final work-in-progress test disc, and now it can be played on any standard 3DO instead of the extremely rare developer's testing stations. I actually own 2 of these, but I'd become reluctant about using them very much, since I've always figured they'd be the only way for me to ever be able to play this extended version of my only videogame, and therefore haven't wanted to risk wearing them out. But soon, OlderGames will publish it and anyone with a 3DO will be able to play it! And it's great! Now that we can finally play Icebreaker 2 in our primary videogaming lounge, we've been getting addicted to it all over again. And the new features are SO cool! And while the level grid is incomplete and uneven, there are some excellent levels in there. Now I need to write some liner notes and such so that the OlderGames guys can move forward on publishing it...

"The issue of what happened in 2004 is not an academic one. For the second election in a row, the president of the United States was selected not by the uncontested will of the people but under a cloud of dirty tricks. Given the scope of the GOP machinations, we simply cannot be certain that the right man now occupies the Oval Office -- which means, in effect, that we have been deprived of our faith in democracy itself. American history is littered with vote fraud -- but rather than learning from our shameful past and cleaning up the system, we have allowed the problem to grow even worse. If the last two elections have taught us anything, it is this: The single greatest threat to our democracy is the insecurity of our voting system. If people lose faith that their votes are accurately and faithfully recorded, they will abandon the ballot box. Nothing less is at stake here than the entire idea of a government by the people." -- Robert F. Kennedy Jr., "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?"
"Please, try to understand the way we work at Neen: we consider all visual/audio material as everybody's property. It's more cool like that." -- amazing view of intellectual property law found quoted on Eric.Stamen.com

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Upcoming Looney Labs and Mad Lab Rabbit Events:

Looney shows Date Location
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GenCon August 10 - 13 Indianapolis, IN
ACD Games Day September 7 - 8 Madison, WI
TGIFCon September 7 - 9 Orlando, FL
Alliance East Open House September 11 - 12 Baltimore, MD
Alliance Midwest Open House October 14 - 15 Fort Wayne, IN
ChiTAG November 17 - 19 Chicago, IL
---------------------------------- ---------------------- ----------------------
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Dragon*Con September 1 - 4 Atlanta, GA

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