Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

RE: [Icehouse] Re: Monochrome Stashes - LAST COMMENT!

  • FromDavid Artman <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateMon, 06 Aug 2007 09:14:17 -0700
Thank you, Andy, for posting the company's decision. I would like to
make a last-ditch stand on one or two issues, if I may:

> From: Andy Looney <andy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> That said, our decision stands: With the exception of gray, monochrome 
> Icehouse stashes are being permanently discontinued.

Wow. That "permanently" is quite chilling, if I may say so. It is a
shock wave through your current fan base. For instance, anyone who does
not now have a full 10 (11) stashes is out of luck: they will have to
buy TH sets to fill out their spectrum, and (I suppose) sell off/give
away the extras.

Take my buddy, for instance: I got him a Zendo set, but he and I are
(sort of) working on games that use the whole spectrum. For his Xeno
half of the spectrum, no big deal: he'll buy up 5 sets like anyone new
to the game and make 5 stashes out of them. But that Black stash... it's
gonna cost him ~$50. $10 if he can sell off the redundant stashes
(RYGB)--which is little better than a break-even, when you consider what
he earns versus the time it will take to manage 1-4 eBay auctions (the
Givins Principle would say he should--literally--give them away unless
he enjoys running eBay auctions).

Secondly, if I may ask, as far as possible without revealing
confidential information, could you explain what it would take to offer
Clear and White for piecenikkers? Tally up the numbers, add in a "pain
in the a**" percentage, add in "rarity" adjustments... give us a total.
Furthermore, considering the above, what would it take to offer Black
stashes to Zendo owners? (See also the post to the list advising an
IceTowers owner to buy Orange while he or she can--the boxed set owners
are all being set up to suffer for this decision).

> I support this decision for many reasons... I have a lot to say in response 
> to this thread, so much so that I've decided to turn what I'm writing into 
> my next article at Wunderland.com. So I thank you again for all your 

I, for one, eagerly await a full response. For now, though, I'm gonna be
the next Rabbit to stick his head into the path of the flamethrowers and
assert that this is at least as bad for brand identity as the initial
shift to Treehouse... and probably significantly worse.

When TH came out, it generated a nuisance factor: a burden was placed on
demoers and retailers to manage/explain the transition and help the
early adopters figure out how to "catch up" (see example above RE Black
for Zendo owners). But with that word "permanently" up there, you are
drawing a line in the sand; you are, effectively, saying "catch up now
or pay a premium in money and time later." And the very people hit with
that ultimatum are the one's closest to being on the fence: we fanatics
bought up the spectrum long ago; but these boxed set owners might be
holding off for any number of valid reasons and planning to continue to
fill out their spectrums at their next opportunity. When that
opportunity finally comes... and they discover that they have to buy 5
sets to make up the one stash they are missing from a half-spectrum...
well, I can speculate all day long, but how would that make YOU feel...
how willing to continue to buy would YOU be?

This is not just a "who moved my cheese" issue; this is a case of
limited communication to early adopters who, in turn, are going to
eventually discover that they were left out in the cold. Again, we
fanatics routinely visit Wunderland and routinely read this list and
what-not--we're all "warned" and could react in time. John Doe who
bought Zendo/IceTowers/etc a couple of years back and is now ready to go
all-in is only going to discover at the cash register that Looney Labs
left him behind. I suspect that he will have a very sour taste in his
mouth at that point, and it's a fact of business that dissatisfied
customers cost more sales BY FAR than satisfied customers help generate.

In the end, money talks and whiners walk. But I'd seriously encourage
you to look at the number of boxed sets you've sold and the
differentials amongst monochrome stash sales (i.e. how many potentially
incomplete half-spectrums are in the marketplace) and realize that the
total you get from that math equal the number of current customers and
potential future customers who, now, will be screwed. And then realize
that every one of those folks are early adopters: traditionally the LAST
people a company wants to ditch when business pressures force a change
of practice or policy (hence the entire concept of "grandfather

Sorry this is such a long post, but I am quite concerned about this
third (or is it fourth?) direction for the Icehouse brand. As a demoer,
I already struggle with clarifying the game system versus the component
sales. I do not want--nor will I ever agree--to try to console someone
with Zendo who discovers they can't get Black without significant
time/money investment. I will have no choice but to agree with said
victim that he or she was disregarded.