Looney Pyramids FAQ

For games not included in Pyramid Arcade, or other Looney Labs publication, please check the fan-run pyramid wiki icehousegames.org for more info, and/or contact the designer of that game. For additional answers please email us at: FAQ@looneylabs.com

Zendo (new, stand-alone box set)
Martian Chess
Looney Ludo / Martian Coasters
Lunar Invaders
Other Looney Pyramid Games:
Hijinks (Pink or not)
Launchpad 23
Petal Battle
Zark City
Closest Ghost
Aquarius Rising

Questions about the pyramids in general:

Q: Will Looney Labs be offering the gray pyramids (found in Jinxx) as a stand-alone color?

A: No. Sorry, Looney Labs will not be making the new grey pyramids available for sale outside of the Jinxx boxed set. We love our OG pyramid fans, and did talk about trying to make this happen for the handful of fans who are still collecting full 15 pyramid stashes in every possible color, but it just isn’t logistically practical for us to make/sell monochrome sets.

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Q: In addition to Pyramid Arcade, what do I need to get to play All The Pyramid Games?

A: Which of the “All” pyramid games do you want to play? Since we encourage fans to design their own games with the pyramids, there are hundreds listed on the fan-run wiki (we cannot guarantee all are fully playable). Do you want to play every game that Andy Looney has ever designed? Every game Looney Labs has ever published?

Perhaps a good “All” to use is what’s on the Rules section of the Looney Pyramids pages at our site

Of course, if you’re starting with Pyramid Arcade (PA) then you have everything needed to play those first 22 games listed, but let’s go through the rest of the games and see what else is needed…

First of all, you’re going to want to get two Nomids sets, to bring your pyramid collection up to full 5-trio “stashes” of each of the ten main colors. That right there is going to enable you to play a ton of extra games since so many were designed during the “monochrome stash” era.

So for the rest of the games on this page, you’ll need the following (note if it’s only for one game listed):

• a (full sized) Chessboard (PA has a half-chessboard in it). Any will do, but we sell one on a bandana
• a 3×4 grid, which you can draw or make, or use ELBS to block off part of the 5×5 board in PA, or get one in Homeworlds (cardboard) or a fancy one from us
• a 4×4 grid, which you can draw or make, or use ELBS to block off part of the 5×5 board in PA
• a 5×6 grid, which you can draw or make, or use ELBS to block off part of the 6×6 board
• a Tarot deck of your choice (for Gnostica, but also for its precursor Zarcana)
• 4 smallish player screens, easy to make yourself out of, for example, cardstock
• a Piecepack set (Alien City), which we don’t sell, but others do
• a 15 minute timer (Apophis)
• a 1 minute timer (Pyramid Ball)
• possibly a straightedge, string or laser-straightedge (Torpedo)
Pyramid Zendo card deck
• at least 20 tokens in black, white, and some other color, for example, those glass blobs they sell in craft stores
• Builders of R’lyeh needs some boards you can download from the fan-wiki and make yourself
• an Aquarius deck (Aquarius Rising)
• a Sandships board or you can download and print one yourself
• IceToids tiles print your own or buy at GameCrafter
• Candy if you want to play Closest Ghost with candy. But you could use small tokens instead.

You can play some pyramid games online at:
https://play.abstractplay.com/games (site is still in beta, so it could change a bit)
https://en.boardgamearena.com/gamelist (they currently only have Homeworlds, but Martian Chess might be in the works)

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Q: I found reference to a deck of beginner Zendo rules sold separately, but the link to your store seems to be dead. Are those still available?

A: Those were probably the cards which were included in the original stand-alone box set. We used to sell those separately for folks who wanted them, particularly after the original stand-alone set was no longer available. Recently we published a new stand-alone version with different shapes, and a vastly improved rule-generation system in a card deck.

The old set of cards was just a handful of cards for beginners, with one rule per card. With the new set now available, we stopped selling the vastly inferior old cards intended for use with pyramids only. The new deck has several variables per card, meaning each card can generate more than one rule. Also, the old set had only beginner rules, while the new set has a range of difficulties (easy, medium, hard).

If you don’t have pyramids, and are looking to try Zendo, we encourage you to buy the new stand-alone version with the improved rule-generation deck.

If, on the other hand, you already have pyramids (at least five trios each in four colors, preferably red, yellow, green, blue), and want to try playing Zendo with pyramids… you’re in luck! For the Pyramid Quartet Kickstarter, we created a rule-generation deck in the new style, but for use with pyramids instead of the new shapes.

See also If I get the Pyramid Zendo cards, will I be able to play Zendo with my Pyramid Arcade set?

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Q: Is there any time-limit for how long someone can take on their turn?

A: There’s no time-limit on how long someone may take for their turn, but annoying the other players by taking forever to make decisions may make them decide they don’t want to play with you very often. In other words, the only time limit is the tolerance of your fellow gamers.

We’d suppose this applies to… almost any game, though what is considered a reasonable amount of time for a turn probably varies from game to game. As long as you are within what is considered average for that game, you’re probably fine.

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Q: Some of my pyramids, particularly a couple of mediums and smalls, stick inside the larger pyramids. What can I do about that?

A: This is a problem we’ve struggled with over the years, and have worked hard with our manufacturing partners to minimize it. Sometimes there seems to be almost a sort of static-cling effect that holds one piece inside the other, particularly when the pieces are totally new. We do find that this effect diminishes with time, so we’d suggest just continuing to play with the pieces you have. We can’t really guarantee that any replacements we sent wouldn’t occasionally do this too…

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Q: How durable is the silver coating on the silver pyramids?

A: Please be aware that the silver coating on these pieces is imperfect. Our original vision for them was a chrome coating that turned out not to be feasible. We ended up deciding to go ahead and make this set with the best options we could provide for the silver coating.

As noted in this Kickstarter update, our factory did everything they could to ensure the durability of the silver coating on the pyramids, but even so, they can get scratched and may wear off if given enough use, so please treat these more gently than regular pyramids. With a little extra care, your silver pieces should stay shiny and pristine for years to come.

Note that, as of that update, we had still been planning to make the version in distribution gray, but we ended up making them red (as mentioned in THIS update).

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Q: What’s with this sticky residue on the bottoms of the Silver ‘Mids?

A: This is an odd issue we’ve discovered with the silver pyramids: they arrive with sticky feet. Apparently, something about the process they used to apply that silver coating resulted in there being a bit of residue on the undersides of each piece. Fortunately, the gunk rubs off easily enough. We recommend giving the base of each piece a slight buffing against a piece of cloth (the sleeve of a T-shirt works great) then simply using your finger to ball up and remove the lingering bits of residue. Unfortunately, yes, this is a little annoying, and for that we apologize. (See this backer update, Beware the Sticky Residue, for more about that story.)

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Q: If I get the Pyramid Zendo cards, will I be able to play Zendo with my Pyramid Arcade set?

A: Well, sort of. The trick is piece supply. The reason we didn’t feature Zendo in PA is that the piece mix is optimized for games that need a lot of colors, but only a few trios of each, whereas for Zendo you need lots of the same pieces in just a few colors, hence the standalone version’s inclusion of just 3 colors.

The new cards are designed to be as flexible as possible with regards to color, since we can’t know what particular colors you might have in your collection of pyramids, but it still considers just red, yellow, and blue, and plenty of them, to be the best set of equipment. That said, many rules don’t use color at all, and these cards certainly work with the PA set.

If you pick up a Homeworlds set to add to you your Pyramid Arcade set, you will have 6 trees each of red, yellow, and blue which is a great set of pyramids for playing Zendo.

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Q: What are the differences between the pyramids from different generations, like early ones vs. the later Pyramid Arcade ones?

A: Just before Pyramid Arcade came out Pyramid fans were curious about that newest generation of Looney Pyramids, which would have slightly rounder tips than the two previous manufacturing runs (which were themselves ever so slightly different from each other). Our goal, of course, is for all pyramids to be interchangeable and as otherwise identical to the other versions as possible, but concerns were expressed about stacking new ones onto old ones and having them look funny or something.

So, Andy put together a test set consisting of four trios from each of the three production runs, with freshly opened pieces of each type, and he carried this set around in one of those awesome round tins he’s so fond of.

These were his primary play-testing pyramids for a while, and he spent a lot of time stacking, nesting, and playing actual games using this set, to make sure the three types would all interact smoothly. He was happy to report that they’re great!

He also took a series of photos, which do reveal some slight differences:

For the purposes of this report:
G1 are the first type, made in the USA
G2 are the first set of Chinese-made pyramids, matching the first as closely as possible
G3 are from the newest Pyramid Arcade style, which are more rounded, to comply with EU safety regulations
(You may notice some odd colors in the photos: since he had some, he used G1 pieces with slightly non-standard colors (electric yellows and pinkish reds) to make them more easily distinguishable visually.)

These first three photos show that G1 pyramids do stack taller than the others, but he didn’t find that it mattered — or was even noticeable — in actual play.

The next four photos show the pyramids in mixed trios and stacks. Note that for the stacks of nests shown in the lower right photo, each nest has a mixture of all three generations of pyramids. Again, there are some very slight differences in how they stack, but it’s not something you’d notice, let alone feel is a problem, in actual use.

This last photo just shows G3 pyramids being stacked up in weird ways that, as you can see, are all still possible.

In closing Andy would like to say that, while he used to worry that rounder-tipped pyramids would feel inferior, once he actually had them in hand, he felt that, not only were they perfectly acceptable, he had to admit they were actually pretty nice. Maybe even better.

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Q: What are the dimensions of Looney Pyramids?

A: Here’s an old page for the original specifications from the first time we had them commercially injection-molded. Note that the height is somewhat less for the more recent Pyramid Arcade pieces, since the tips are slightly more rounded. Given that the height is different now, what’s more important to us is probably the angles being correct.

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Q: Can I buy your pyramids in custom quantities?

A: No, we don’t sell custom sets of pyramids. The only extra pyramids we have come from product opened due to damage and we use these loose pyramids and other parts exclusively to replace damaged, missing, or lost pyramids to make customers sets whole again.

We do have smaller expansion sets for Pyramid Arcade (Nomids, Ice Duo, Martian Chess, and Homeworlds) for those who want to expand their pyramid collection incrementally, but it’s still the case that we’re not going to want to open those up and mix and match them for people.

If you’re looking to use our pyramids in a game you’re developing, the answer is also NO, see this FAQ for more info:
Can I use your pyramids in my game?

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Q: Can I use your pyramids in my game?

A: If you have an existing game from another company, and you wish to use our pyramids as interesting add-ons, substitutes, or accessories, that’s totally fine. We hear about this all the time: people using them as props or puzzle components in RPGs, for example, or subbing them in as counters or game tokens for other games.

If, on the other hand, you’re developing your own game for publication, and you’d like to use our pyramids as part of the game you intend to sell, that’s a hard NO. Our pyramids are custom manufactured for our games. They are Looney Labs items, and we would not want them included in any other product which is not made by, or officially associated with our company, and certainly not in any other product sold by someone else.

Please look into using some other-shaped piece for your games. There are a vast number of companies which produce pawns in all sorts of shapes and sizes. If you need them to stack, that quality is undoubtedly available as well.

You can absolutely use them for prototyping and playtesting game design concepts, but please make sure that the pieces in your eventual actual game are not copies of our pieces. Penguin Soccer is a great example of what you can do. It was designed with pyramids, and even shared with the pyramid community online, and later developed for publication using completely non-pyramidal pieces.

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Q: How many games in Pyramid Arcade are good for two players?

A: Almost every single game in Pyramid Arcade can be played with 2 players. Only a couple are probably still better with more (or less!), and many are 2-player only.

1-2 or more:
Color Wheel is perhaps best viewed as a solitaire game, but it’s fun to play cooperatively with two, or you can play it competitively by seeing who can solve it in the fewest moves.

2 player only:
Black Ice
Lunar Invaders
Martian Chess
Petal Battle

2 or more, absolutely fine with 2
Launchpad 23
Petri Dish
Twin Win
Volcano (actually better w/ 2 than more)
Zark City

2 or more, but better with more
Give or Take
Looney Ludo
World War 5

more than 2
Pyramid-sham-bo (listed in the book as ok for 2, but that’s a typo. Actually really the more the merrier.)

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Q: Are Xeno stashes coming back? When will I be able to get those colors again?

A: Those colors of pyramids (cyan, orange, purple, clear, white) are available again, but not in that particular set.

When we produced Pyramid Arcade, we switched the primary way we sell pyramids (again!) Since Pyramid Arcade comes with 3 stashes of 10 colors, when we created expansion sets for Pyramid Arcade, one of these (Nomids) was designed to increase the quantity of all ten colors, instead of separate packages of five Rainbow or five Xeno.

Also, we changed the design of the pyramids themselves, ever so slightly, so that the tips are a little bit rounder. This was so that we could pass safety testing for EU markets.

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Q: What size are the decks of cards in Pyramid Arcade? Where can I get sleeves for them?

A: There are three different decks in Pyramid Arcade, each a very different size.

The Zark City deck is like a regular deck of playing cards, except that it has five suits and the cards are square. Measurement (roughly, using a ruler) is: 2 & 5/8″ (7 cm) on a side.

The Pyramid Arcade deck, which has a card for each game in the set, has more familiar dimensions. I believe they would be called “poker sized” (wider than “bridge sized”). These are 3 & 7/16″ (8.75 cm) tall by 2 & 15/32″ (6.3 cm) wide.

The Twin Win deck has miniature-sized playing cards which measure 2 & 11/32” (6 cm) tall by 1 & 9/16 (3.95 cm) wide.

BoardGameGeek has an exhaustive listing of card sleeves for a dizzying number of games. Here is the listing for cardsleeve sizes and sources for Pyramid Arcade.

See also: What size are Fluxx cards (or any of your other games?)

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Q: Hey, do you still have any more of those tubes that pyramids used to be sold in?

A: We regret to tell you we are long since out of the tubes. We had some left over for quite a while after we switched, and kept them up for sale for folks who liked them, even though we found that they were actually kind of sub-optimal (or years in storage had made them so). They were quite tight in the corners, and the pyramids would stick. Even with all that, and how slowly they sold, we’re completely out of them.

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Q: We think we broke the game. Are we doing it wrong?

See this answer in a video!
Little Answers

A: A good rule of thumb for any game is that if you find that you have several possible interpretations of a rule, the one that breaks the game is probably NOT the correct way to play.

Note that if you only see ONE way to play a card, and it seems broken, please do search our FAQ for known errata or clarifications*, or contact us. It could be a typo, or a new interaction that we have not considered.

*The fastest way is to search on the name of the card you’re having a problem with.

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