Loonacy 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.
At 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.