Jeff Myers —  April 16, 2014 — Leave a comment

Loonacy.flatfront-SLoonacy is the latest game from the good folks at Looney Labs. I think Looney is such an awesome name. Even the playtesters have great names, like the Wunderland Toast Society. How cool is that? I hope they all have badges and lanyards with pictures of toast.

Loonacy is a simultaneous play speed matching game for 2 – 5 players, designed by Andrew Looney. At first, I thought it was going to be too much like Spot It!, which is a favorite of mine; however, after just a few plays, it was obvious that Loonacy was a different animal. They are still in the same species. Well, maybe the same genus.

Loonacy comes with a set of 100 cards, and each card features two images. You might have a picture of a moon and a chocolate bar, for example. Each player starts with a hand of seven cards and the goal is to get rid of your cards before everyone else. You can play a card on top of another if one of the pictures match. Simple, right? The problem is that the cards don’t always match.

Loonacy.contents-SAt first I thought this lack of matching plays was a design flaw, but as we played, I realized that it was just the opposite. When none of the players has a playable match, or maybe they have a match but don’t want to play it, then all players draw another card and simultaneously add it to their hands. This creates a change in tempo that is lacking in similar matching games, and I think it’s my favorite part of the game. You get this frantic stream of card play that slows and then comes to a stop. Then everyone draws a card, and you look at each other and think, “Joe, you bastard, don’t even think of playing on that terrier or I will punch you in the neck.” Okay, maybe you don’t think that.

These breaks in tempo create opportunities for sudden cascades of card play. I’m not sure how, but it brought something new and wonderful to what I thought had been perfected by Spot It! The game plays more like a roller coaster than a race. I love roller coasters, especially wooden ones because they make me feel like I could be thrown into space at any moment. Weird.

Loonacy has now been added to my stack of games that can be taken on trips or played in restaurants. In fact, my son and I played Loonacy, Blink, and Family Fluxx last night while we were waiting for our pizza. Good game. Go buy it at your FLGS.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this game from the publisher.
Ha! I kill big skull dude with my giant sword!

Ha! I kill big skull dude with my giant sword!

The Ascension deckbuilding game was first released back in 2010. I played it a few times and enjoyed it, but never enough to cough up the dough to buy the game or keep up with the expansions. Don’t get me wrong. Out of all of the deckbuilding games that came out after Dominion, I enjoyed Ascension the most, better than Thunderstone, Nightfall, and well everything else, including Dominion.

Why didn’t I buy it?

They released an iOS app for a reasonable price and I played Ascension on my phone. I loved it. I played it all the time. My buddy Joe and I must have had a game going every day for a couple of years.

So what happened?

I switched to an Android phone. It’s an HTC One, if you’re interested. I like it a lot. The only bad thing about it is that there’s no Ascension app. I got a little sad. I missed playing Ascension more than I thought I would. I cried a single tear while standing at the river’s edge, and not just because I hate litter and have a clogged tear duct.

Have you noticed that this is the third question I’ve set aside in its own paragraph?

Thank goodness that my friend Isaac and I were looking for a good two player game one evening at my FLGS. Isaac says, “You should buy the Apprentice Edition of Ascension and we’ll play that. It’s like all the good stuff in Ascension boiled down into a deck big enough for just two players.” I bought it. We played it. He was correct. He also kicked my ass with this crazy construct combo that just happened to come together at the end. Thanks Hedron Cannon!

The folks at Stone Blade Entertainment took everything I enjoyed about Ascension and smooshed it all into a little box with a $9.99 price point. You get 110 cards, some very serviceable cardboard honor tokens, and a paper playing mat that also serves as the rules. All of the art has either been updated and improved or completely redesigned. There is so much to like about this edition!
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