Mad Libs: The Game from Looney Labs

It’s Mad Libs crossed with Apples to Apples. What’s not to like?

Easy to learn, quick to play, and fun even if you’re losing.

Three things I learned about game design:

  • Pulling mechanics from two successful games and combining them is a perfectly viable way to generate a new game.
  • You don’t need anonymity for voting mechanics to feel fair. In fact, letting the players present their choices can be very entertaining.
  • Unplayed cards should present options to players; played cards should record choices they’ve made.

Loonacy, from Looney Labs

Awesome. Easy to learn, quick to play, and ye gods, addictive. Reminded me a lot of Egyptian Ratscrew, in all the best ways.

Three things I learned about game design:

  • A little chaos is ok, so long as it’s not borne out of confusion.
  • The simpler your rules are, the greater freedom you have to explore variety in the expression of those rules (e.g., the many, many different images you have to match against in Loonacy).
  • A strong theme is important. We found the Retro deck to be more enjoyable than the normal deck, simply because the theme was 1) cool, and 2) strongly expressed.

Lord of the Fries, from James Ernest

Fun game with a hilarious premise. Rules were a little hard to wrap our heads around — when to pass cards, and who to pass to — for the first game, but each turn went fairly quick even so.

Three things I learned about game design:

  • There’s room for all kinds of games, even ones about zombies running a fast food joint.
  • You can take a familiar game, like Go Fish, and —¬†with a few gentle twists — make it into something new.
  • Streamline your rules. Multiple paths to reach the goal make it harder for players to pick up and learn.