First, let me apologize. I never meant to insult you or imply anything about
you or your situation. When involved in discussions like these, I use "you"
to refer to "the reader" and thus I'm addressing the list as a whole. It
encourages the exchange of ideas, as if someone sees a flaw in my reasoning,
they're open to respond to it. If I used "I" and "me", then I would've been
talking to myself, shutting everyone else out of discussion. If I used
"he/she/they" I would be referring to a fictional person off list, who
wouldn't even have this issue, because they wouldn't be a Rabbit.
Second, I think understand what you see as a flaw. I just don't see it as
one, but as a benefit the Looneys put in to make things easier. But to take
the focus off of you (as Marc), I'll just explain why I see it as a benefit.
For what follows, "you" refers to the person setting up the reward system,
and "the person"/"they" refers to the person getting the reward from the
When you have a reward system, there's two ways you can go:
1) All rewards have the same value (quality/rarity is a constant). Either
you just send the person something for their effort, or you let them pick an
item from a list. If you bother with points, it just determines the number
of items a person gets for a task, with the remainder being banked towards
the next reward or discarded. (This is a non-budgeting system. The person
gets stuff as they earn it and that's it.)
2) All rewards do not have the same value (quality/rarity is not a
constant). You have to set up some kind of token economy for this, assigning
token values to each item. You can either assign a set amount of tokens for
the person making an effort of any kind, or you can set up a sliding scale
where you determine what the effort is worth (you can even have the person
state how many tokens they want for their effort, if you want). If they want
a higher quality/more rare item, they'll need to bank their tokens until
they have enough to get the item they want. Or they can forget the higher
cost items and spend their tokens on smaller items, getting quantity over
(Resume my original use of "you" here)
Looney Labs uses a derivative of the second system. Their tokens are called
Rabbit Points. They assign these points based on the size of the event or
project, based on a set of criteria outlined on the Rabbit Points page
(http://www.looneylabs.com/Rabbits/RabbitPoints.html). These Rabbit Points
can be spent on shipping costs, discounting the cost of non-main game line
items, or special Rabbit-exclusive items (each with their own cost in Rabbit
But Looney Labs has recognized that people don't always have the time to run
point-earning events or do point-earning projects. So they added in a bonus
feature on the Rabbit-exclusive items. Instead of having to bank Rabbit
Points until you have enough for the Rabbit-exclusive item, you only have to
spend 1 Rabbit point on it. Once you've spent that one Rabbit Point, you now
have the option of reducing the remaining Rabbit Point cost of the item by 1
for each dollar you spend on it.
Looney Labs has even gone step further, allowing for Advances and their IOU
program, but those only apply of you're going to be running an event and
need the points for promotional materials. As such, their effect on the
banking and budgeting of points is only felt as long as you are actively
running events. Though their effect is focused away from Rabbit-exclusive
items, they help make more points available for Rabbit-exclusive items by
reducing the cost (Point or money) of promotional materials that you're
going to be giving away anyways.
So now you have a greater opportunity to get Rabbit-exclusive items than
before. Yes, you still have to use budgeting skills if you want to ensure
that you have enough points for future purchases. But that's comes with
assigning different point values to items based on quality and/or rarity.
It's the necessary evil of variable cost systems. You just have more
flexibility in how you budget for future purchases under the Looney Labs
system, choosing how much to bank based on how much money you think you can
afford now and in the future.
I see that level of flexibility in a reward-based system as a benefit. It
maintains the concept of what a reward is (you have to earn it because
you're normally not entitled to it). You just have the option to do
something extra (spend money, the standard token in our global variable cost
token economy) to get the reward sooner. The Rabbit Points system still
maintains the need to do more "things" to earn more rewards (which I see as
vital to any reward system, variable cost or not ). No matter how much money
you have to spend, you still need to be running events or doing projects to
keep earning points for rewards over time.
I hope this explains my point of view.
aka GnTar, the evil teddy bear Rabbit
P.S. You (the reader) may have noticed that what was referred to as
"hoarding" I've labelled as "banking". It's just semantics. I've assigned a
positive connotation to concept by saying "banking" and I recognize it as
such. "Hoarding" has a negative connotation and would have made the above
jarring to read if I'd used it.
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