• Designer Bruno Faidutti has posted more details about The Dwarf King, a trick-taking card game based on Barbu that IELLO will release in May 2011. On his website, in addition to showing off lots of artwork from the game, Faidutti summarizes game play as follows:Quote:The Dwarf King takes the core scoring idea of Barbu, which is to have a different scoring system for every hand, many of them about not winning some tricks or cards. Since my game is Barbu on steroids, there are now forty different scoring contracts instead of just five. So, sometimes the goal of the game will be to take the King and Queen of Dwarves, sometimes not to take the elves, sometimes to win exactly three tricks, sometimes to have your right neighbor win tricks, and so on...• Rules for Stefan Feld's Die Burgen von Burgund are now available in German, English, French and Korean on the alea website.
• U.S. publisher Privateer Press is switching its Monsterpocalypse game to a non-collectible format. As noted on the Monsterpocalypse website in early February 2011:Quote:In light of the success of the Monsterpocalypse battle miniatures game two-player starter released last October, Privateer Press has decided to move Monsterpocalypse into a new non-collectible format. Privateer Press will be releasing the first follow-up, Monsterpocalypse: Dangerous Monster Zone, in summer 2011. The expansion will feature figures from classic Monsterpocalypse series for the factions introduced in the core game. The new non-random format allows collectors and players to fill out their favorite factions easily, as each box will be clearly marked with its specific faction set.• Spanish publisher nestorgames has announced that its next releases will be the Formula 1 racing game Top Speed from nestorgames' own Néstor Romeral Andrés and Javier Garcia's Mecca, previously released as a print-and-play game.
• U.S. publisher Fantasy Flight Games has released a long preview video for Mansions of Madness:
• FFG has also posted a new variant for Cadwallon: City of Thieves.
• Finally, on Feb. 11, 2011, FFG posted a news item announcing a new expansion for Battles of Westeros titled Tribes of the Vale – but then pulled the item from its website. Curious. Look for more info later...
• FRED Distribution has added listings on its game page for Mirror Mirror, Number Please and Defenders of the Realm: Hero Expansions #1-3. No details are available for the first two items, but Defenders designer Richard Launius has provided previews of the three Hero expansions here on BGG: Hero expansion #1, Hero expansion #2, and Hero expansion #3.
To submit news, a designer diary, outrageous rumors, or other material, contact us at email@example.com.
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FRED Distribution announced that it had acquired Face2Face Games from owner/president Larry Whalen. Now FRED has unveiled plans for how it will handle the biggest part of the Face2Face library: the works of famed game designer Sid Sackson.
In a press release today, FRED announced that "it has signed an agreement to publish over 30 games from Sid Sackson" in a multi-year project that will start in 2011. From the press release:Quote:In addition to re-releasing Can't Stop, BuyWord, and Sleuth, one of the multi-game projects in the planning stages is a Sid Sackson Legacy Series. This series will consist of several games presented in bookshelf format, an homage to the 3M Sackson releases of the 60's and 70's.As Keith Blume, FRED's Managing Director, notes in the press release, "During the acquisition process of Face2Face Games, Larry Whalen introduced us to his friends with the Sackson Estate, and events really took off from there. We are very excited to continue and expand the work that Larry started with several of Sid Sackson's games, and it is a real honor to have the opportunity to bring so many of his games back to print."
Some of the games included in this agreement are Bazaar, Metropolis, Domination/Focus, Monad, Venture, Executive Decision, Samarkand/Isfahan, New York, Einstein/Choice, DaCapo, Corner and Gold Connection.
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Jolly Roger Games has passed along an update of games in progress at JRG.
Artist Josh Cappel has been busy working on Pirates vs. Dinosaurs from designer Richard Launius (Arkham Horror, Defenders of the Realm), which Dietz first announced in June 2010. JRG is taking preorders for the game at $30, while the final price upon release will be in the range of $45-50. Here's a game description:Quote:Players control pirate captains and their cutthroat crews, and each player has partial knowledge of the whereabouts of buried treasure on a forgotten Pacific island.Dietz says that publication of Pirates vs. Dinosaurs will commence once 150-200 preorders have been placed, akin to the process he used for Founding Fathers.
The catch? They don't know the island is the final home of dinosaurs, survivors of millions of years, and they aren't happy to let outsiders explore their island. Of course, the pirates also don't know that the island is sinking or that other pirates are looking for the same treasure. Who will get away with the most loot and become the pirate remembered by history?
Before the game, players outfit themselves with a variety of crew, weapons, and gear before choosing the section of the island that they will explore, knowing that the jungle takes longer than the beach as they look for their parts of the map. The search can be interrupted as other players play dinosaur (and other) cards to cause mayhem and carnage. Once the treasure is located, players draw treasures from a bag, looking to avoid the pirate ghost and island sinking events to return safely to their ship. It's all a question of how far they'll go in pushing their luck...
The next game on the JRG list is Family Vacation from Philip duBarry (Revolution!), which is for 2-6 players, ages 7+, with a playing time for 30 minutes. Here's a game description from the designer:Quote:Your family wants to have the best vacation ever! Your goal is to visit various cities and famous attractions all over America to increase your family’s happiness and collect bonus points. The player with the highest score at the end wins."Once a space has been visited, it is no longer available to other players"?! My family vacations never involved wanton destruction of the site being visited, but perhaps things are different these days. Guess I'll have to train my son on bazooka management before we hit the road this August.
In Family Vacation players each have four family members and a car. A turn consists of moving your car one space. Each family member has two random interests (such as Golf, History or going to the Beach). When your family visits a space corresponding to an interest they have, your family gets happier. Every time you travel on the road, it's boring and your family loses happiness. While trying to make your family happy, you might also want to visit bonus attractions (such as the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge). Once a space has been visited, it is no longer available to other players.
Some spaces require the drawing of a card, which can be good or bad. Maybe your family will stop for a snack, or perhaps someone will have to visit the bathroom – right now!
In addition to your car, each family has one Plane Ticket which allows quick travel between any two airports. Just make sure you plan for the long drive home!
Once your family has had a good vacation and you are satisfied with their level of happiness, you can head home and lock in your score. You'll even earn a bonus for getting home first. Players may head home at any time. Once one player has gone home, a countdown begins; all other players have ten turns to make it home or trigger a penalty.
Says Dietz, "Family Vacation should see the light of the gaming table after PvD is complete – though possibly sooner. Details of production costs are being worked out currently."
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Sean D. MacDonald has released a few of his own game designs through NoMADS GAMES, most recently the tricky card game The Crow and the Pitcher in 2009, but this year MacDonald will see the first of his designs hit print from a larger publisher: the color-mixing, tile-laying game Pastiche from Gryphon Games.
At heart, Pastiche is a set-collection game in which players want to collect certain combinations of colors in order to complete commissions, whether public or private. These completed commissions net the artist points, and whoever has the most points at the end of the game – with bonus points coming from unused paint and artist specialization – wins.Commission cards and the paints needed to complete them
Broken down in this way, Pastiche brings to mind the Spiel des Jahres-nominated Fresco from 2010, which also has a "collect colors, mix them, score" nature. The games' differences are larger than their similarities, however, with Fresco having a worker placement mechanism, money handling, competition for paint at markets, and additional complications.
Pastiche, by contrast, is stripped down to the core of art creation: get colors, mix colors, paint. In this way, the game comes across as both highly abstract and deeply thematic. MacDonald says that the game's theme was in place from the start: "The inspiration for the design came from reading an article about people who collect 'Paint by Numbers'. For those not familiar with the term, 'Paint by Numbers' is a painting kit that contains a board with numbered outlined areas and paints. Each numbered outlined area is filled with the corresponding numbered paint."
Thus the working title for MacDonald's design was "By the Numbers", and the commission cards looked like a "Paint for Numbers" kit with outlined areas numbered 1-6, with the numbers matching particular colors. "But when I made the first prototpye, the numbered outlined areas distracted from the art," says MacDonald. "So I dropped the 'Paint by Numbers' idea and replaced the numbers with the three primary colors."
Dropping down to three primary colors from six was a good fit with MacDonald's inspiration for how players would acquire these paints. "I needed a mechanism that could create different combinations, but not too many," he said. "The hex suited my needs. When hexes are placed side by side, a two- or three-hex point combination is created. Also, the hexes add to the theme that players are mixing paints on a palette."Color hexes
"Instead of using six different numbers," says MacDonald, "the three primary colors simplified the appearance of the hexes and game play, while adding to the theme of the game: mixing paints. From this point, the game Pastiche was born."
Each player starts the game with two color hexes, and a three-hex triangular tile is placed in the center of the table. On a turn, a player adds one hex to the layout, then collects colors based on the combinations created: blue and yellow make green; red, red and blue make magenta; and so on. Says MacDonald, "The hexes with a primary color at each corner now created the basic color wheel: three primary colors, three secondary, and six tertiary. The only combination not represented by a color is blue + red + yellow, which became brown and is the fourth secondary color."Which colors make which
To get primary colors, you must forgo collecting other paints and take only the primary color that matches the center of the hex placed – unless you can get three dabs of the same primary color touching one another, in which you collect the primary color just as you do any other color.
Pastiche also includes the colors black, white, gray and bisque (originally called "pigment") and to get these colors, you need to trade with the "Palette Bank". (You can also trade for a primary color through the bank; trades with opponents are also allowed, which increases interaction among players and speeds play, says MacDonald.)
Players start the game with two commission cards in hand, and four commissions are laid out publicly. The game includes 34 commission cards, with two paintings from 17 different artists. On a turn, after collecting and trading for colors, a player can swap a commission in hand with one from the gallery, if desired, then complete any number of commissions, whether from hand or the open display. Why swap commissions if you can score them from anywhere? Because paint in hand at the end of the game is worth points only if you can apply it toward a commission in hand.
At the end of a turn, you can hold at most eight color cards in hand, so don't mix what you can't use. Once a player hits a certain point total – 35-45, depending on the number of players – the game ends and players tally their points, possibly scoring for colors in hand and earning a bonus of 3-6 points if they've completed two works by the same artist.
"For first time players, the number of color combinations can be a little ovewheming," says MacDonald. "But after a few plays, players become familiar with what's possible. So my advice to the first-time player is to have fun with the game and enjoy the beautiful art."
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Asmadi Games has announced that preorders are open for Carl Chudyk's Innovation: Echoes of the Past, an expansion for the 2010 card game Innovation that is scheduled to debut in print at Origins 2011.
As in the base game, Innovation: Echoes of the Past includes 110 cards, 105 cards that are divided into different decks (labeled age 1 to age 10) and five cards that show special achievements that can be claimed.
In loose terms, Innovation is a Civilization-style game in which players first have access to low-powered cards in age 1, then build up to more powerful cards in later ages, stacking new acquisitions on old to build the strength of their holdings. Player meld cards, score points and take special actions (called "dogma actions") unique to their cards in play in order to claim achievements. The first player to claim 4-6 achievements, depending on the number of players, wins the game.
Innovation: Echoes of the Past changes game play from the base game in a number of ways. First, the number of cards in each age deck is determined by the number of players, instead of being constant. Second, to create the age decks, players shuffle together the cards from the base game and expansion for each age, then deal out the proper number of cards. Third, the maximum player count is increased to five.
Fourth, and most interestingly, Innovation: Echoes of the Past introduces new game mechanisms. With foreshadow, revealed by Asmadi's Chris Cieslik in this Jan. 2011 BGG thread, a player can stash a card under his player board, then bring it into play (and use it) on a later turn when he melds a card that's from the same age or a higher one.
Echo is another new mechanism, with the icon on a card being replaced by a smaller block of text, as in this card shown below:
When you take the dogma action on this card – or on any card in the same stack as this card – all visible echoes are executed, starting with those on the bottom of the stack, then moving upward. "Echoes of the past", right? Says Cieslik, "So even after you've melded over a card, an echo of its abilities will be heard in the future."
In early 2010, Asmadi Games printed a run of 120 copies of Innovation with print-on-demand cards (with buyers receiving replacement cards later) in order to get publicity for the game and receive feedback from these players. For Innovation: Echoes of the Past, Cieslik has adopted a different approach, taking preorders at AsmadiGames.com for $30 from U.S. buyers ($35 from Canada, $40 from Europe/Asia) and promising to deliver a copy of the expansion in Q3 2011. "In the meantime," says Cieslik, "you'll have access to a PDF of all the cards that you can print and play to help us test the cards before the game goes to print." PDFs will become available to buyers during the week of February 14, 2011.
Note that all card graphics shown in this post are temporary and the card layouts are not final.
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11 Feb 2011
Uluru is another of those games that seemed to be born fully mature overnight and completed in a weekend or so. We hear that about a lot of games, but the reality most often is that such spontaneous creation would not have happened if the author had not spent the previous ten years obsessing about games and producing failed designs. At least that's true in my case, with Uluru.
I think the particular weekend in question came after a week in which all four kids had being really demanding about a certain situation ... We have only two children ourselves, but we share a house with a couple who also has two, and since we eat together most weekdays, we usually have eight around the table.
And the kids had in those days very strong opinions of where they wanted to sit ... and where they wanted each other to sit ... and where the parents should sit. It could get really hairy sometimes, not least because grownups also have opinions of where they want to sit, even if we don't burst out crying to be heard. If I have cooked, I like to sit close to the kitchen, another prefers the end of the table, and none of us likes the crammed inner seats on the bench.
Thus the game was a reality in our daily life long before it became a board game in my head. So no, it wasn't about placing dreambirds around Ayers Rock, but about making an unruly family sit down and shut up around a dinner table.Various tables that did not work
The first version I made attempted to use a regular table with 6/8/10 chairs and a card set of interrelationary demands (like "I want to sit next to red" and "I want to sit across from black"), but I needed more subdivisions of the seats and a varied spread of seats along the sides. And then I realized that the game was even more real than I had thought because an exact replica of the actual table that stands in our kitchen proved to work better than any I could draw.Our actual dinner table ... proved to be the best game table
The rest of the design went as they usually do – prototype, playtests, adjustments, new prototype, more playtests, and so on - until I had eight different cards and a scoring system in which you received clear glass tears for each pawn you did not seat right.This photo was sent along with the rules to Kosmos; I called the game "Seat 'em!"
For a long time I found the game way too simple and tried hard to make a more complex scoring system or expand the number of seats. But everybody who tested it voted unanimously for the basic version with no frills. I also remember thinking it was just a rip-off of Ricochet Robots – both games involving simultaneous problem solving with a sand timer – but if that's so, there probably aren't many truly original games out there.Some scoring cards I found in the files - I have no idea how I meant to use them!?!
Finding a Publisher
Two years earlier I had sent a prototype for another game to Hans im Glück. Only a few companies still accept "cold calls" from unpublished designers, and HiG was one of them. Unfortunately the publisher returned the design with no comments three months later. They just wrote something like, "We had to stop working on your game, thank you very much."
I mailed a nicely laid-out PDF of the rules to Kosmos and had it turned down again, but this time received a long, thorough explanation for why the design wasn't good enough.
I was quite impressed by the sincere treatment of an unknown wannabe like me, so of course Kosmos was the first company I contacted with my new game (again with photos of the prototype and a fully illustrated PDF of the rules). And this time they asked me for a prototype, which I sent along so fast it left skidmarks in the postal system.
By that time I had created two more demand cards, and when the contract was finally signed (about six months later - this business takes patience), I had created two more.
So now the game has 12 different demand cards that I designed and a flavor and layout that I had very little to do with. I have been assured that there are plenty of loud kids in Germany, but apparently they can't be expected to sell as well as certain Australian rocks :-)
And by coincidence, Uluru is probably the most amazing place I have ever been to. Sorry for the terrible scan of my old chemical photo.
At first I was really protective of my original flavor for the game, but Kosmos had artists make sample artwork for both my setting and their suggested Uluru flavor, and I had to admit the game became clearer and more attractive with the Aussie touch.
Last weekend I attended the toy fair in Nürnberg and saw the final game for the first time. I think it looks tremendous, so I was very happy!Image taken by Daniel Danzer, aka duchamp, at Nürnberg 2011
Lauge Luchau Rosendahl
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FRED Distribution, which releases games under the Eagle Games and Gryphon Games brands, has acquired U.S. publisher Face2Face Games from company president Larry Whalen.
Face2Face Games debuted in 2003 with a new version of Sid Sackson's I'm the Boss! – previously released only in German by Schmidt Spiele – then followed up with Sackson's Sleuth and a "new" Sackson design, the word game BuyWord that had never been published during his lifetime. At Spiel 2004, Face2Face released the original game Boomtown from Bruno Cathala and Bruno Faidutti to good reception.
Not all of the early releases from Face2Face were received warmly in the game community. Warriors, which originated as a Risk card game from designers Richard Borg and Alan R. Moon, and Joe Huber's Ice Cream both received so-so response.
This pattern of hit and miss continued over the next several years for Face2Face. More worrying for gamers were announcements of titles that never came to fruition, such as an expansion deck for Boomtown and an English-language edition of Das Amulett – called Wizard's Brew – from Alan R. Moon and Aaron Weissblum. For example, here's a note I wrote on the Geek in April 2006, roughly one year after the new edition was announced:Quote:As far as I know, the rules are not changing other than clarifications on when you can do what. Wizard's Brew will include an expanded number of spell cards, although I'm not sure exactly how many more. The artwork on the cards is superb, and I can't wait to see the finished product!(Disclosure: I shopped at Larry Whalen's retail store in the mid-2000s, and I edited rules for a number of Face2Face titles, including the spell cards and rules in the as-yet-unpublished Wizard's Brew.)
At Spiel 2007, Face2Face released Cheeky Monkey and Moai, the last two titles to appear from the company until a reprint of I'm the Boss! – which had been out of print for a couple of years – finally hit shelves in September 2010, with FRED Distribution handling the game's distribution.
Larry Whalen has this to say in the press release: "When we made the decision to sell Face2Face Games, the first company we approached was FRED Distribution. I have always enjoyed working with the team at FRED, and I think they are well positioned to grow the Face2Face product line. We are both very excited about several of the projects we have underway, so I think 2011 and 2012 will see a lot of exciting releases come from our collective efforts."
No word yet from FRED as to which games those "exciting releases" might be, but Blume did note that the following Face2Face titles are still available: I'm the Boss!, Warriors, Warriors: Dragon Hordes, Boomtown, Ice Cream, Genesis, Cheeky Monkey and Bucket Brigade. He added that Can't Stop and BuyWord will both return to print, in different formats from the Face2Face versions, before the end of 2011.
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• North Star Games is releasing a new version of Say Anything titled – wait for it – Say Anything Family. Unlike the Wits & Wagers to Wits & Wagers Family transition, in which the game play was simplified in a number of ways, Say Anything Family will feature the same game play as the first game. To summarize, one player asks a question, each other player writes an answer they think the asker will choose, the asker secretly chooses an answer, everyone else bets on which answer was chosen, then the asker reveals his choice and points are handed out.
Say Anything Family will include 360 questions on topics that kids can handle as easily as adults – perhaps questions that certain parties (i.e., my game group) can't twist into something inappropriate for young ears. We'll see. Say Anything Family includes components for six players, retails for $20 and should be out March 15, 2011. Oh, and it features a more modern SELECT-O-MATIC 6000, which clearly must be 1,000 times better than the SELECT-O-MATIC 5000 of Say Anything.
• North Star will also be showing Crappy Birthday, a party game in which you try to give people terrible gifts – and guess which gifts people will dub the most terrible – in order to score points and win.
• Reverse Charades will be released as an iOS and Android app on February 12, 2011, with more than one thousands words include from the base game and the "Awesome 80s" and "Sports Fans" themed editions of the game.
• The Pillow Pets line of stuffed animals that can be manhandled into pillows to comfort your bourgeois head is branching out to books, blankets, hats and board games, specifically the Pillow Pets Dreamland Matching Game (aka, memory) and the Pillow Pets Dreamland Adventure Board Game, the goal of which seems to be determining how many times you can use the phrase "Pillow Pets" in a game description:Quote:Set sail on an exciting journey through seven continents of the world to Pillow Pets Dreamland. Spin a colorful wheel to travel along a colorful pathway filled with exciting adventures, adorable pets and even some pitfalls. On every turn, players may be lucky enough to secure one of 28 adorable Pillow Pets Animal Cards. As players race to be the first to enter the Pillow Pets Dreamland, they must be careful to avoid landing on a Pillow Pet Cage or they may lose a Pillow Pet Animal Card. The first player to collect at least four Pillow Pets Animal Cards and to reach the enchanted Pillow Pets Dreamland WINS the game.Ghastly.
• The folks behind Bananagrams have a new "word game in a zip bag" called Zip-it. Each turn, the two players randomly take twelve letter cubes and race to form them into miniature crossword grids, keeping track of the score via colored zippers on the pouch.
• Racers Ready, a new release from FamilyTimeFun, challenges players as individuals or teams to compete in various challenges, many of which involve household objects like cotton balls, tongs or a deck of cards.
• Whirled Peas is a party game in which players compete in two teams in five types of interactive challenges, with the winner of each challenge earning a pea to fill its team pod. The first team to fill its pod wins. Nothing new in terms of game play for those who have played a party game or two, but the press release makes it seem like game play is only a peripheral selling point of the game:Quote:Whirled Peas has already created buzz in the toy and game industry and is owned by a number of celebrities including the Kardashian sisters when Whirled Peas was a part of the premier gift bag for Kourtney and Kim Take New York.Part of the premier gift bag?! Is this the price of our desire to have games more visible in the marketplace at large? Shameless media whoring and incidental celebrity name-dropping?
Well, consider such actions a success, I suppose, as I did write about the game.
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Ludoteca Ideale 2011, a project developed by Club TreEmme and La Tana dei Goblin that aims to celebrate the ten best games released during the year from Italian publishers in the Italian language. The nominating committee is comprised of ten members, nine of whom are Italian game experts, reviewers and journalists, with the tenth member being the sum of the votes of all members of Club TreEmme and La Tana dei Goblin.
These games are:
• Battles of Napoleon: The Eagle and The Lion (Giochi Uniti / NG International)
• Caos nel vecchio mondo (Giochi Uniti / Stratelibri)
• Dixit (Asterionpress)
• Finca [Giochi Uniti)
• Florenza (Placentia Games)
• Le Havre (Giochi Uniti / Stratelibri)
• Mondo senza fine (Giochi Uniti)
• Olympus (Giochi Uniti / Stratelibri)
• Pandemia (Giochi Uniti / Stratelibri)
• Small World (Giochi Uniti)
• Tinner's Trail (La Tana dei Goblin)
• Vinhos (Red Glove)
And yes, that list includes twelve titles, not ten; we had a three-way tie for tenth position. All of the games will have a special demo table reserved March 26-27, 2011 during PLAY: The Games Festival.
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09 Feb 2011
Pirate Fluxx hitting stores on Feb. 11, 2011, Looney Labs started to give people a look into the future by releasing information about its summer 2011 releases.
The Pyramids Are Back!
In November 2010, Looney Labs stopped selling Treehouse, its flagship pyramid product. On June 24, 2011, the company will release a new version of Treehouse with appropriately pyramidal packaging, as well as a new pyramid product called IceDice.
Treehouse - As with the previous version of this game, the new Treehouse includes 15 pyramids in five colors, rules, and a special Treehouse die. It also includes a regular die and rules to a second game called Pharaoh. Pharaoh had been previously released as a free rules download during the 2010 holiday season as the company's holiday gift to fans. Instead of the familiar plastic tube, the new version of Treehouse comes in a pyramid-shaped cloth bag with a zipper on the side and will retail for $14.
IceDice - The IceDice product includes 30 pyramids in five colors and a pair of special dice, also called IceDice. It also includes rules for two brand new games: IceDice and Launchpad 23. IceDice will come in a cloth bag similar to, but larger than, the Treehouse bag and will retail for $20.
Along with the new packaging comes a new brand name. The pyramid products are now being marketed under the name "Looney Pyramids". Previously, they were called Icehouse Pyramids, after the first game that was invented for the pyramids.
New-ish card game: Seven Dragons
Also on June 24, 2011, the company plans to release a card game called Seven Dragons, which is based on Aquarius, with dragon artwork by fantasy artist Larry Elmore. The game will retail for $12. There is no indication that the company plans to stop selling Aquarius, which has been rethemed once previously with a Mormon theme by Covenant Communications under the name Search, Ponder, & Play. (That version is still sold under license.)
Looney Labs Fan Club web site
In December (post-BoardgameNews.com and pre-BoardGameGeek News), Looney Labs unveiled a new web site for fans, The Looney Labs Fan Club. At least as far back as 1999, the company has reached out to fans, instituting its Mad Lab Rabbits program in November of that year. The program encouraged fans to spread the word of Looney Labs games to friends, in game stores, and at conventions. Until June 2007, the program included incentives for demoing games and directing new customers to the company's web site. Up to now, these activities had been coordinated through a series of email lists maintained by the company.
The new site has a public forum for general discussion of the company's various product lines, and a series of private forums dedicated to individual interest areas. Among the featured private groups are one for fans of the pyramid games (now dubbed Starship Captains), one to coordinate demo activities, and one for volunteers at the company's annual "Big Experiment" activites at the Origins Game Fair. The company says that it will offer "discounts and special deals" to fans who sign up for the web site, but there is no formal program as there was before.
With the new web site, the Mad Labs Rabbits program has been discontinued. The company had been gradually downplaying the rabbit theme over the last year, and actively looking for a new name since May 2010. In an open letter to fans on the new web site, company President Kristin Looney asked fans to stop calling themselves "rabbits", citing confusion the term has caused in the general public about the company and its games.
Fluxx: BoardGameGeek Expansion
In February 2011, Chad Krizan posted a message here on BoardGameGeek that a BoardGameGeek expansion to Fluxx is coming soon. The expansion will consist of eight cards: three Goals (including the BoardGameGeek.com Goal), three Keepers, an Action, and a New Rule, and should be available by mid-February 2011 in the BoardGameGeek store.
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