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Josh

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Just a heads-up for anyone who pre-ordered this through Miniature Market, and possibly other online outlets in the States: Looney Labs has cancelled all existing pre-orders without warning or reason. I see that Canada's Board Game Bliss still has a product page up, but I'm not sure how long that will be the case. If anyone has info on this matter, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Daniel Indru
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Looney Labs have this piece of information on their website: http://www.looneylabs.com/sites/default/files/PyramidArcade-...
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Nathan Morse
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Also this: In August 2016, Looney Labs announced that Pyramid Arcade … would be available for purchase online solely through its own website and Marbles: The Brain Store. Looney Labs explains the decision….
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Spencer C
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Looney Labs are free to do what they want with their product, but this just seems like a good way to kill what could finally be the breakout product for icehouse pieces. I check out B&M game stores whenever I get a chance, and so far my ratio of UNfriendly LGS to FLGS is something like 9:1. Brick and mortar game stores are 90% of the time odious (and odorous) establishments run by snobby old white men who weren't socially conditioned as children. As a white man myself, they're only mildly unpleasant -- but I've heard from many women that they feel extremely unwelcome or looked down upon in boardgame shops. Given the culture I've observed, I imagine it would be similarly unpleasant for people of color.

On the contrary, my interactions with OLGS has been nothing but superlative. Though I have not met them, the email exchanges with the proprietors have been without fault responsive, courteous, and customer-oriented. In other words, the polar opposite of brick-and-mortar stores.

Restricting the online sale to two, US-based stores just means disappointing a lot of people who want to play delightful games with pyramids and don't care about the Looneys ideals (whatever they might be*).

* I don't know what their angle is here -- neither the business incentive nor the ethical incentive holds up. If they're in support of small mom & pop physical stores, then why do they partner with a massive mall chain like Marbles?
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David E
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UanarchyK wrote:
Looney Labs are free to do what they want with their product, but this just seems like a good way to kill what could finally be the breakout product for icehouse pieces. I check out B&M game stores whenever I get a chance, and so far my ratio of UNfriendly LGS to FLGS is something like 9:1. Brick and mortar game stores are 90% of the time odious (and odorous) establishments run by snobby old white men who weren't socially conditioned as children. As a white man myself, they're only mildly unpleasant -- but I've heard from many women that they feel extremely unwelcome or looked down upon in boardgame shops. Given the culture I've observed, I imagine it would be similarly unpleasant for people of color.


Huh. That does not describe any of my FLGSs.
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Chad Smith
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How is this even legal?

If I buy something - it's mine. I have the right to sell it to whomever I want - however I want.

Unless this just means that if a store violates this Looney won't sell directly to them anymore (or no longer offer them a retailer discount), I don't see how this can possibly be enforceable.

Honestly, this is garbage, and I hope they change their minds because it's anti-consumer and just an idiotic business move.
 
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Jeff Wolfe
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chad78 wrote:
How is this even legal?

If I buy something - it's mine. I have the right to sell it to whomever I want - however I want.

Asked and answered. Looney Labs has a right to sell their product to whomever they want. They sell to a distributor who agrees to only resell to approved outlets.
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Chad Smith
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Yes, but to those shops - like Miniature Market - who backed the Kickstarter at the Retailer levels - (Which mentioned nothing about not being able to sell these online - just that they couldn't sell the Green Kickstarter Only 'mids online) - this is unfair, and probably some sort of breach of contract, false advertising, or something. (I am not a lawyer, which is probably obvious.) I would be ticked off if I was a retailer and I ordered a bunch of copies to sell and they pulled this crap.

Here's the copy from the Kickstarter

with emphasis added wrote:
RETAILERS - Two copies of Pyramid Arcade (to sell) + one demo copy of Pyramid Arcade (to promote the game in your store). Three sets of Kickstarter Green pyramids will be included for free. You also gain access to purchasing additional Kickstarter Green pyramids for resale, and a special listing in our store locator. You must be a brick & mortar retail store for this pledge, and you must sign an agreement that you will never sell these exclusive green pyramids online.

Only one RETAILER option per store (you can restock through normal distribution channels).
 
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Jeff Wolfe
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chad78 wrote:
Yes, but to those shops - like Miniature Market - who backed the Kickstarter at the Retailer levels - (Which mentioned nothing about not being able to sell these online - just that they couldn't sell the Green Kickstarter Only 'mids online) - this is unfair, and probably some sort of breach of contract, false advertising, or something. (I am not a lawyer, which is probably obvious.) I would be ticked off if I was a retailer and I ordered a bunch of copies to sell and they pulled this crap.

Here's the copy from the Kickstarter

with emphasis added wrote:
RETAILERS - Two copies of Pyramid Arcade (to sell) + one demo copy of Pyramid Arcade (to promote the game in your store). Three sets of Kickstarter Green pyramids will be included for free. You also gain access to purchasing additional Kickstarter Green pyramids for resale, and a special listing in our store locator. You must be a brick & mortar retail store for this pledge, and you must sign an agreement that you will never sell these exclusive green pyramids online.

Only one RETAILER option per store (you can restock through normal distribution channels).

The text above specifies, "You must be a brick & mortar retail store for this pledge". I don't know the situation for brick & mortar stores that also sell online.

 
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Chad Smith
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In my experience, most brick and mortar shops do sell things online. And nothing in the above text says they can't sell the game online, only the Green Pyramids.

And I've physically been to Miniature Market - they did have a "Brick and Mortar" shop (literally because this is Saint Louis and everything is made out of bricks here). But most of their business is online. It's more like a warehouse with a gift shop than a local store with some online sales. So if they ordered hundreds of dollars worth of games (which it sounds like they did) under the impression that they would be able to sell them online - just like literally anything else they *BUY* to resell - then I can easily see them being upset about this move.
 
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Bwian, just
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And they can sell their hundreds of dollars worth of games through their brick & mortar location.

GW pioneered this ages ago; I'm sure Miniature Market dealt with that one way or the other.
 
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Chad Smith
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I'm sure they can, but everyone seems to be missing the point where these were sold without restrictions, and then - after the money was collected - Looney unilaterally decides to limit what someone can do with what they bought and paid for.

That's not just unfair - that's illegal. It's called bait and switch.

Looney does have the right to make this the case for any item they sell moving forward - but only if the buyer is aware of the restriction before they pay for it.

Imagine buying and paying for a TV on Amazon, and while it is in shipment (meaning they already took your money) they send you an email saying you can only use your TV to watch sports - nothing else. And if you do watch something else, Amazon will never sell you anything again. Oh, and because it's Kickstarter - there are no refunds.

If you want to make me jump through hoops to buy your product - you have that right - it's stupid and will limit your own bottom line, but that's on you. What you don't have the right to do is to make up stupid rules AFTER I've already given you my non-refundable money.
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Bwian, just
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chad78 wrote:
What you don't have the right to do is to make up stupid rules AFTER I've already given you my non-refundable money.

Fortunately, the money is refundable: I've gotten refunds from Kickstarter projects in the past, and Looney Labs is a fairly established company that can probably afford to refund unsatisfied backers. Or, MM can sell Pyramid Arcade online, get put on the list of people who can't get more product, and not care because they weren't planning to restock anyway.
 
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Mike Fogus
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chad78 wrote:
I'm sure they can, but everyone seems to be missing the point where these were sold without restrictions, and then - after the money was collected - Looney unilaterally decides to limit what someone can do with what they bought and paid for.


Are you a store or online retailer? The way it reads to me seems to limit online selling (AMZ 3rd party included) to retailers, not individuals.

Further, even if you were a store they have outlined the consequences for not adhering to their policy all of which amounts to not being able to buy their stuff through them or their distributors for some amount of time. You can either live with that penalty or just adhere to their policy.
 
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Jeff Wolfe
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chad78 wrote:
I'm sure they can, but everyone seems to be missing the point where these were sold without restrictions, and then - after the money was collected - Looney unilaterally decides to limit what someone can do with what they bought and paid for.

That's not just unfair - that's illegal. It's called bait and switch.

Looney does have the right to make this the case for any item they sell moving forward - but only if the buyer is aware of the restriction before they pay for it.

Imagine buying and paying for a TV on Amazon, and while it is in shipment (meaning they already took your money) they send you an email saying you can only use your TV to watch sports - nothing else. And if you do watch something else, Amazon will never sell you anything again. Oh, and because it's Kickstarter - there are no refunds.

If you want to make me jump through hoops to buy your product - you have that right - it's stupid and will limit your own bottom line, but that's on you. What you don't have the right to do is to make up stupid rules AFTER I've already given you my non-refundable money.

I'm not a lawyer, and I suspect you aren't either. I've already spent way too much time on this so this is probably the last I'll have to say on the matter.

It's clear to me in context (including the main text and not just the pledge blurb) that this was always intended for Brick & Mortar stores only. If there was any question, caveat emptor, they should have asked.

The only pledge levels for retailers were the Retailer Green level, which we all agree was not to be sold online, and the Retailer level, which included two copies to sell and one demo copy for $77. So the most they would have been stuck is $77.

The Kickstarter closed in May, the policy was announced in August, and the product is only now (in October) available for shipping. They had time to become aware of the policy and adjust their orders from distributors appropriately. I have no idea if any hybrid retailers asked for their $77 back or what might have come of that. I won't speculate.

I don't know enough about the Looney's business model to be able to characterize this policy as "stupid" or otherwise. I know they're not the first publisher to adopt a policy like this. I can kind of see the reasoning (brick and mortar stores are more likely to grow the business than online deep discounters), but I don't know if that will work out in practice. No doubt such policies will be modified if they prove to be ineffective.
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David E
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chad78 wrote:
I'm sure they can, but everyone seems to be missing the point where these were sold without restrictions, and then - after the money was collected - Looney unilaterally decides to limit what someone can do with what they bought and paid for.

That's not just unfair - that's illegal. It's called bait and switch.


Pretty sure it isn't, legally.

Looney Labs sells you a game. You believe you will be able to resell the game online at a profit. Then Looney Labs says "By the way, if you resell this online, we will not sell you any more games."

You can disagree with their policy, you can think it's stupid and even immoral, but it is not illegal. They have a right to refuse to do business with someone, even for dubious reasons.

Now I suppose a legal case could be made out of it, since an online retailer could make an argument that they bought something with the expectation that they could resell it, and by threatening future action Looney Labs has diminished the expected value of the purchase. But (a) there is no way someone is going to sue over, what, a dozen copies of a boardgame? (b) IANAL but I doubt the case would actually go far. (c) It's still not "bait and switch" (which is a different thing and very clearly fraud - that's when you advertise one thing but try to sell something else).
 
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Travis Morton
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This is somewhat related to the move by many game producers to promote B&M stores. See AEG''s delayed online sales for Mystic Vale for almost a month (imo a terrible move, but I do not hold away or financial involvement). As mentioned above, but I actually did the online buy & wait for Vale. And then canceled it because I had enough time to feel I noonger wanted it.

I agree this may have been the "turning point" for Icehouse. But, Looney Labs has always had an outsider approach, but they also outlived many startup companies too.

Off putting to many, even myself. But... Their call.

As long as money is refunded, no real harm done. Only PR Damage.
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Todd Jones
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Someone asked about this in the kickstarter comments section and they replied this to them:

Quote:
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Miniature Market was one of the retailers we had to make sure didn't sell online to protect Pyramid Arcade's brand equity. Kristin had a nice and friendly talk with them and found out they had 5 backorders they'd have to cancel. I'm not sure why they didn't remember this discussion (perhaps, the person who emailed you wasn't the same person Kristin talked to), but hopefully they will remember the deal we made. As a thank you for restricting their sales, we were going to send them a full set of all Kickstarter extras to send out to each of their customers who had a backorder canceled - including you. So, unfortunately, you'll need to find Pyramid Arcade from another store (or from Looney Labs online store), but you will still get the extras (you may just need to remind Miniature Market of their deal).
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Travis Morton
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......wow.... I truly do not know how I would feel about being told "we told you already, we were not selling to you... Remember?".

Kinda feels like a break up I once had where I was wrong in thinking we were still going out together versus their version.
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Chad Smith
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knuckles29 wrote:
......wow.... I truly do not know how I would feel about being told "we told you already, we were not selling to you... Remember?".

Kinda feels like a break up I once had where I was wrong in thinking we were still going out together versus their version.

Related
 
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Travis Morton
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Thank you for that.
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Chad Smith
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It really is an emotional song, even if it became a meme. The video is... Neat? But weird.

And, I've been there.
 
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Orochi_001 wrote:
If anyone has info on this matter, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


I have information on this! I would love to clear up some confusion regarding the canceled orders at Miniature Market. As was posted, I did meet with them at GenCon when we announced our new online sales policy for Pyramid Arcade. I confirmed with them that it was just this single game and not our whole line, that we appreciate them selling our games, and that the reason we were doing this was to give Pyramid Arcade a chance to thrive (more about that in a minute). The guy I talked to was really nice. He looked it up on the spot, and found that they only had 5 pre-orders. He said they understood and would follow the policy. He took the game down from their site while we talked. I confirmed that they were welcome and encouraged to sell Pyramid Arcade in their brick and mortar store, and to the best of my knowledge they will be doing that. When we spoke at GenCon, I also offered to help make things right with the customers who had pre-ordered the game with them by sending them five sets of all of the goodies those customers would have received if they had backed the Kickstarter. We literally hugged it out and there were no hard feelings. But this was in the midst of a heavy sales time on the exhibit hall floor at GenCon, and it’s totally understandable that the details of the sending the extra goodies part of things was forgotten later when they actually canceled the orders. When I got home from GenCon, I put a sales order for the five sets of goodies in our system, but I realize now it never got emailed to Miniature Market letting them know that the product would be arriving once it got here from the factory. That was my bad… poor communication on my part, and I’m very sorry. I have talked to Miniature Market and apologized directly, and am writing here in part to let you know what happened and that all is well between Looney Labs and Miniature Market.

So, if you pre-ordered Pyramid Arcade from Miniature Market, although you will have to find a store to buy the game, you will also be receiving all the Kickstarter goodies in a good-faith effort on both Looney Labs’ and Miniature Market’s parts to take care of their customers and give you what you missed out on by not backing the Kickstarter. The product will be on its way to our warehouse in the next day or two, and when it gets there we will ship it to Miniature Market for distribution to those five customers.

Regarding our online sales policy for Pyramid Arcade, let me try to explain. I am not trying to make it difficult for you to get the game. You are welcome to buy it online through our web store if it is difficult for you to find locally or if you just want it delivered to your door. We are even in the final stages of setting up an international store that sells only this single game and ships from the UK, in order to make sure that international fans have a way to get Pyramid Arcade without a $45 shipping charge. And, of course, it will be available at hundreds of FLGSs.

So why are we doing this? Because Pyramid Arcade is our baby. It’s the culmination of nearly 30 years of game design and it’s Andy’s pride and joy. It’s the biggest and best product we’ve ever made and it deserves a chance to shine. At $77 for 22 awesome games—four pounds and 118 pieces worth of top-notch components—it’s a great value. But yes, $77 is a higher than average price for a board game. What’s more, it’s a game that is difficult to fathom from just a photograph or brief description. This is a game that needs to be demonstrated… that needs its beauty to be displayed and its versatility experienced first-hand. That requires a brick and mortar presence. This is what we meant when we stated we were restricting online sales “to protect brand equity and help build consumer demand for Pyramid Arcade.”

With so many new games coming out every week, it is more difficult than ever to get a place at a store's demo table. Restricting online sales, in support of physical retail locations, gives our stores a reason to promote the game. Yes, we will sell less copies initially without those online sales, but it is more important to us that Pyramid Arcade has the time to become an established evergreen product in our line. We want to give it time to thrive, with our retail partners promoting the game in their stores.
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Well put. I have a differing opinions, but that is due to all but hating my 2 local LGSs. They fit all the generalities of what is wrong B&M's.

It is a fine product. And hope it leads to more success as a solid entry point to a game system.
 
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So I just saw PA on the shelf at Mini Market for 40%-off; less than my cancelled preorder cost. The solution given me by Looney is for me to drive back down there, buy a second copy of the game, and then ship that back to Looney for a refund. Not only would that be a financial wash, but the waste of fuel, resources, and my time to complete such a transaction is ludicrous.
If you truly care about brand equity, punish your garbage distributor instead of the honest customer. I paid my money in good faith to secure a preorder that was clearly okayed by your distributor, so deal with them accordingly. Thanks.
 
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