Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

[Icehouse] My Thoughts on Treehouse vs. Monochrome Stash

  • FromJeff Zeitlin <icehouse@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateThu, 02 Aug 2007 12:07:03 -0400
I was introduced to Icehouse before the Treehouse concept became public.
I built an Icebox, and stocked it fully - I have a stash of every color
except grey, and I'll have a grey stash shortly.

When the change from Icehouse to Treehouse was announced, I was against
it; I felt it represented an abandonment of the existing userbase, in
that those games that required less than five full stashes could no
longer be 'pushed' as a way to get into Icehouse - under the Treehouse
paradigm, it would be more expensive to build a game-set for
low-stash-count games than it would under the traditional monochrome
stash paradigm.

I still feel that a major portion of the Icehouse wiki is less
accessible to the userbase because of the restricted - and now
eliminated - availability of monochrome stashes.  However, money - in
this case, sales - talks, and if Looney Labs is moving more pyramids by
selling Treehouse sets than by selling monochrome stashes, well,
creating and selling Treehouse sets is a better use of limited resources
than monochrome stashes would be.  And the people who invent games for
Icehouse pieces are now inventing games that use small numbers of
Treehouse sets, too.

Ideally, I'd like to see the continued availability of monochrome
stashes.  Icehouse has traditionally been more about inventing your own
games, not playing a fixed game, and Treehouse de-emphasizes that.
BUT... the vast majority of people aren't really "into" making up games;
they want something that's ready to play out of the package.  Treehouse
answers that market demand; the demand for monochrome stashes is at best
secondary and supplemental - so does it really pay to maintain a stock
to meet it?

So, what's the right answer?  I don't think there IS a right answer; no
matter what answer is given, SOMEONE is going to be dissatisfied.  If we
want monochrome stashes to return, we have to show that they'll sell as
well as the Treehouse sets, or we have to find a way to increase the
sale of all pyramids so that holding a stock of slow-selling monochrome
stashes won't represent an economic problem for Looney Labs.

What would I do? Probably the same thing that the Looneys are doing.
It's all going to come down to return on investment, after all.

What would I LIKE them to do?  At the very least, keep the white and
clear monochrome stashes, because they can be used as starting points
for "Easynikking", with (e.g.) permanent magic markers or dyes, and put
out something alongside the Treehouse sets, 3House, PWP, and a
hypothetical "OneHouse" to push the concept of "do it yourself"
pyramids, either to create your own monochrome stashes or to create
personalized Treehouse sets.

It's easy to complain about change. I don't believe that the Looneys
really want to abandon sales of monochrome stashes; I believe that they
have to make a business decision, and they made the rational decision
based on the information they had.  If we want them to make a different
decision, we need to come up with IDEAS for them, ideas which will
generate sales that will allow them to make that possible.