Working With Looney Labs FAQ

If you don’t see your question answered among these, please email us at:

Q: Can I make an electronic version of one of your games?

A: Check out our Electronic Games policy (at the bottom of the page).

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Q: Would Andy be interested in talking to my class/club/troop of kids about how to be a game designer?

A: From Andy himself:

I am flattered and honored by your request, but unfortunately, I generally turn down requests like this. Partly this is for selfish reasons: I am very busy and guard my time carefully, and I know from the few times that I have agreed to such appearances that they will inevitably lead to being asked to repeat the performance the following year, indefinitely. Fairness also leads to the slippery slope of feeling the need to say yes to all the other teachers and school groups who make this request.

I’m also resistant to this type of request because, for legal reasons, I need to avoid being shown unpublished game ideas, even — perhaps especially — from children. Generally speaking, we refuse to look at outside game design submissions without a signed NDA that protects us from being sued if we publish something similar someday. This is standard procedure for publishers, for good reason. I’m sure we could work to limit how much I’m being shown, if anything, but I’d really rather just avoid being in a position where a young person wants to show me their work.

But my biggest reason for reluctance about this has to do with managing expectations. I tend to be very negative when kids ask me about becoming a game designer when they grow up. As someone who actually makes his full-time living designing games, I am keenly aware that I am the extremely rare exception, and that I’ve gotten where I have only because of a unique combination of perseverance, privilege, and repeated strokes of good luck. In other words, I won the lottery. So my message to budding game designers is always to think of that as hobby material only, and to focus their career planning on something actually attainable.

Anyway, that’s the honest (perhaps too honest) truth about the matter. Again, thanks for the opportunity, and I hope you can understand my reasoning.

— Your Friend, Andy Looney

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Q: Who has Looney Labs donated proceeds of Eco/Nature Fluxx sales to?

A: Looney Labs has donated a portion of the proceeds from EcoFluxx/Nature Fluxx to various environmental organizations since these titles were first published. Here they are, listed roughly in the order which we originally donated to them (oldest at the bottom so that the list is easier to keep up!) There are several we have donated to multiple times over the years, so the order is not exact.

Sloth Sanctuary
Living Lands and Waters
American Rivers
International Primate Protection League
National Audubon Society
Waterkeeper Alliance
Wildlife Conservation Network
National Wildlife Federation
Environmental Integrity Project
Center for Coastal Studies
EcoHealth Alliance
The Center for Ecoliteracy
Pollinator Partnership
The Nature Conservancy
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
The American Chestnut Foundation
Burgundy Center for Wildlife Studies
Bat Conservation International

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Q: Who has Looney Labs donated proceeds of Stoner Fluxx sales to?

A: Looney Labs has donated a portion of the proceeds from Stoner Fluxx to various drug policy organizations since this title was first published. Here they are, listed roughly in the order which we originally donated to them (from earliest to latest) We have donated to most of these multiple times over the years, so the order is not exact.

The MPP Foundation (Marijuana Policy Project)
Drug Policy Alliance
The NORML Foundation (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws)
The DrugSense Initiative
• Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (now renamed and refocused as the Law Enforcement Action Partnership)
The November Coalition
• DRCNet (Drug Reform Coordination Network) aka
Students for Sensible Drug Policy
• Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER)
CAN-DO (Clemency for All Non-violent Drug Offenders)

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Q: Can you send me high-resolution art for one of your games so I can make custom cards that look perfect, and have them printed at a printer?

A: Well, this gets a bit tricky. We don’t give out high-resolution art of our games, because we just can’t let those loose around the internet without our control. Also, this may be frustrating to all of you fans out there, but we don’t actually want people to be able to make cards that look so perfect that they look like we made them ourselves because, again, we would have no control over what’s out there which people might think has come from us.

While, on an individual basis, any specific person might assure us that they would never do anything irresponsible with the files, or create things which might make us look bad, it’s just not a chance we can take with our game assets. It’s literally our business to be the sole creators of these games.

For this reason, we also do not give permission for fans to go to an actual card-printer to have their custom cards made. If you went to a printing company, they would want to be assured that you have permission to print our assets, and the answer to that is No. Sorry. One home-made copy for you is okay, and that’s it. We don’t want people going and printing their own versions of our games.

Here’s the longer version of what we are and are not okay with in terms of people making their own custom decks: Can I make copies of my home-brewed Fluxx (or Chrono, or Nano, etc.) deck… (go down to the bullet points for the short version).

That said, lots of fans have come up with methods to optimize the appearance of their customized cards at home. Here is another FAQ that links to an old file with various methods people have used to print on blanks (they’re talking about Fluxx Blanxx in this case, but the methods would be the same for any of our card games.

See: How can I use my printer to make my Fluxx Blanxx come out really nice?

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Q: Can I join your demo team and help playtest new games?

A: We no longer have an organized demo program, but we do keep an internal database of fans/friends who are interested in hearing from us about any playtesting and/or demo opportunities that may become available when the Looneys are traveling nearby where they live. You can add yourself to this database by taking our Looney Labs Volunteer Survey.

Looney Labs Volunteer Survey

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Q: Do you have a Fan Club?

A: Sort of. Here’s the official page that talks about that:

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Q: I have designed a new game using the Looney Pyramids, can I produce it? How should I credit Looney Labs?

…Should I put your logo somewhere to give you advertising/visibility? Should I mention Looney Labs Pyramids in the rulebook?

A: In answer to your questions, the answer is slightly different depending on whether you plan to sell or mass produce your creation. Please read this related question about mentioning our games or using our logos.

If you’re just putting up rules for a game using our pieces, feel free to mention that this is a game designed for use with the Looney Labs® Pyramid Gaming system (if it’s only designed for use with our pieces, you’ll probably need to say that anyhow, so that potential players can make sure they have the things they need to play). If there are components of your own invention specific to your game, feel free to share those graphics (game boards, cards, etc.)

If you are basing your game directly on one of our games (please don’t just directly steal our or anyone else’s game design outright, of course!) that is to say, if it’s derivative of one of our games, then yes, please mention Looney Labs®, the Looney Pyramids™, and say that the game is a derivative of [ZYXgame], designed by Andrew Looney.

If you are hoping to publish your game independent of the Looney Pyramid system, but want to make your pieces look exactly like ours, or want to include our pyramids in your product, NO, we do not give you permission to do that, and you would need to be sure that your derivative game was sufficiently different from the original game that it would count as its own creation.

This does not mean it’s not possible to use Looney Pyramids to design your own game for publication! Some fans have created products that were originally fan-created pyramids games. Penguin Soccer by Avri Klemer is one example that comes to mind – but his final product did not include the Looney Pyramids or our branding in any way, other than to give credit in stating that the game was “originally designed in 2007 as a part of the Looney Pyramids Gaming System.”

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Q: I’d like to make something with a Looney Labs logo or one of your game logos. I’m a big fan, and I want to promote you all, but is that okay with you?

A: If you only plan to make a single copy, or a few to gift to friends, then you can legally use our images without breaking copyright law. Those images are freely available on our website. We can’t officially sanction such a thing or send you the direct link to the images for silly legal reasons regarding protecting our copyrights, but we love to see what our fans produce, so please post finished pictures to the FaceBook fan pages!

If you plan to make large quantities of this item and/or sell it, we officially do not give permission for you to do that. Sorry. It’s a matter of protecting our brand and intellectual property. If we allowed all our fans to make and sell products with our logos and such on them, it would be very difficult to control the quality of the products, and people would not be able to tell what was actually a Looney Labs product vs. what was not. Also, we don’t make any of that profit for our twenty years of developing our brands.

So, we cannot give permission for any Looney Labs images to be added to any items for sale/mass produced product, nor can we give permission to mention Looney Labs or our products in any way that makes it sound like we were involved or condone such a product.

I hope this makes sense. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us. And again, please do post pictures to the fan club if you end up making a personal-use version of something!

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Q: I’m an illustrator. How do I submit my work for your consideration?

A: Well, we don’t really have a good way for you to do that. Keep in mind that we only put out maybe 3-4 games per year, and we already have a handful of illustrators and designers that we know we like to work with (freelancers, primarily, though we have an in-house graphics person to help put things together), so we’re not really looking for new artists. That said, we get lots of people who just send us a form email to, usually with a link to their portfolio online so we can get some sense of what their work looks like. A link to your work is very important!

Unfortunately, what happens to all of those emails is that they get dumped in a box where most never get looked at. We save them anyway, on the off-chance that we might be looking for a slightly different look one of these days, and then maybe we’ll glance through them… a surprising number have a style that is simply not compatible with the Looney Labs “feel,” but then again, most of these are clearly form-letters, and people just send them out in vast quantities without doing a lot of research on who they’re sending to. Probably as close as most came to vetting recipients was “This is a game company. I make illustrations that are good for, or have even been used in games before.”

Ways we find artists, from most common method, to least:
people we already work with
people we know
people directly recommended to us
people we’ve met
searches on the internet for images that we can connect to the artist
lastly, illustration sample books and the emails we get

For example, for Get the MacGuffin, we used the work of Alex Bradley, who is a long-time friend who is an artist, though previously he had only done video work for us. We found a new artist for the Star Trek series by looking at various fan art and comics, and finding someone whose style we liked. For another upcoming game, we have Derek Ring doing the art and design, who we’ve been working with for years and years. For Anatomy Fluxx we actually looked online for clip-art that fit the style we wanted, and then managed to contact the specific artist… who’s in eastern Europe, of all places. That’s very unusual.

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Q: Can I make copies of my home-brewed Fluxx (or Chrono, or Nano, etc.) deck to give free to my friends? Or to sell as a fundraiser for my excellent cause? Can I license the Fluxx engine from you to make a version for my special-interest community?

A: Short answer, NO.
(BUT, you can make a Custom Loonacy deck…)

Here at Looney Labs, we do always try to encourage creativity, and we love hearing stories about the fun our fans have had by putting their own twists on our games. Fluxx in particular lends itself to customization, and we make blank Fluxx cards available for those who want to add their own cards into one of our games.

We’re all in favor of house rules and homemade cards, and we love it when people adapt our ever-changing game to suit their own tastes. And just as we’ve had fun creating entire Fluxx decks in many different flavors, so too have countless others, on every subject you can imagine.

However, it’s one thing to make your own Fluxx deck, for you to use and even play with your family and friends. We happily encourage that. But when you ask if you can start duplicating your deck and distributing copies — basically publishing it, even if the print run is very small — then we have a problem. This is not ok. Even if you are distributing it for free – this is not ok.

(If you represent a publisher seeking to license the rights to Fluxx, our answer will almost certainly be no, but feel free to ask. The only license grants we offer are for foreign-language translations of our own designs.)

Looney Labs is the exclusive publisher of games that use the Fluxx engine, for which privilege we pay royalties to designer Andrew Looney. Fluxx is our most important brand, and it is simply not in the best interests of Looney Labs to permit competing entities to distribute copies of a game based on Fluxx (no matter how small the production run nor how unique the theme) to others in the marketplace.

• It is ok to post/share a written card list and photos of a few sample cards
• It is NOT ok to post a PDF (or any digital file) of your card designs online
• It is NOT ok to send a friend your files, or to print an extra copy to give to them
• It is NOT ok to pay a printer to make you one nice copy for yourself
• It is NOT ok to send digital files to anyone – not a friend, not a print-on-demand printer

If you are a teacher, and want to design Fluxx games in your classroom, go for it. It is a wonderful creative exercise. But make sure your students understand these rules about not publishing the design online, and no, it is NOT ok to make a small print run so each student gets a copy.

Again, one-of-a-kind Fluxx decks are fine, we encourage anyone who feels creative to try their hand at making one. In legal terms, that’s “Fair Use.” You can make your own deck and play it with anyone you like. But you may not make copies. Sorry, we simply cannot condone that.

We realize this answer will be disappointing for would-be Fluxx designers, but unfortunately we’ve concluded that this is the best policy for us. We hope you can understand our reasoning. Thanks!

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Q: Does Looney Labs make custom Fluxx decks? Can I pay Looney Labs to make me a bunch of custom promo cards for my fabulous event (like my wedding)?

A: Unfortunately, producing custom one-off cards or decks is not a business we’d like to get into. That said, many people have used Fluxx (or one of our other games) to propose marriage, or enhance their wedding or other event. Most of these have simply been hand drawn or otherwise created by the involved parties themselves. We have done hand-drawn cards once for a wedding proposal (with Nanofictionary, in this case), but note that these were really not appreciably better than what you might create yourself or get a local friend to do: we simply used blanxx (or blanks) and drew on them with a fine-tip sharpie.

Sorry it’s simply not feasible for us to make custom promo cards or Fluxx decks a part of our business model!

BUT we DO offer Custom Loonacy decks, including one which is wedding themed! You could use that almost off the shelf, or customize the images to your heart’s content! If you are a business looking for larger quantities (as in: must be purchased in multiples of 1,008 decks), we have Short-Run Loonacy.

If you have not tried Loonacy yet, it’s a fun fast-paced matching game!

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Q: I’ve designed a great new version of Fluxx! Can I get Looney Labs to publish it?

A: If you think your deck idea is so good we might want to publish it ourselves, you are welcome to submit it to us. But please understand that we will need for you to grant Looney Labs permission to use your ideas for free before we can even look at them.

Andy already has more unpublished Fluxx decks designed than we have in print, and chances are very good that he’s already thought of whatever it is you’ve come up with. Given this, we can’t risk opening ourselves up to claims that we stole ideas from you if we subsequently publish something that seems similar to an idea you suggested.

You are always welcomed to make one copy for yourself. But just one:
See: Can I make copies of my home-brewed Fluxx deck…

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Q: Is Looney Labs hiring? Can I get an internship with you guys?

A: While you’ll see mention of interns in the distant past, Looney Labs no longer offers internships. Working with someone that untried and tested is more work than many people realize. It’s usually not in our budget to hire a new person, and when we do, we want someone who has a proven track record and evidence of what they can bring to the company.

If you’re wishing you could do an unpaid internship, please understand that there are rules around these things, to prevent companies from abusing free labor. They usually involve making sure the person working for free is getting some benefit, like defined skills or credit for school, and working that out is a giant hassle, so there’s still a significant cost for the “free” labor even though it’s not directly monetary.

Regarding hiring for existing positions, we are just not a very big company: fewer than ten people, and we don’t see a lot of turnover. As for hiring for new positions, we often have to figure out what the position is before we start looking, because we’re constantly making this all up, reinventing our employee structure as we go along. It’s a big effort… not to mention seeing whether we can afford to add a person to payroll.

When we do need to hire someone, we will mention it in all the regular places: social media, the top of our website, etc. Keep in mind, though, that we don’t take any applications ourselves. We always refer people to the hiring agency we use. Don’t be that person who can’t read directions, and sends us your resume directly!

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Q: I have an idea for a game, and I was wondering whether Looney Labs could make it for me.

A: No.

1) If you’re looking for someone to print your game so that you can sell it, then you are looking to self-publish, and the kind of company you need is a printer. Looney Labs is a publisher. If you’re looking for info on printers, check out:
How can I get my game printed? What printers does Looney Labs use?

2) If you have an idea for a game, and you’re looking for a publisher, understand that publishing is a lot of work, involving a lot more than just an idea and a printer: it takes immense amounts of coordination: design, testing, sourcing materials, sales, and of course marketing efforts to get consumers to want to buy your game, not to mention convincing stores to even make it available to the consumer. This is my favorite essay on that topic.

3) Looney Labs does not accept outside game submissions. We are formed primarily for the purpose of publishing the works of Andy Looney, our sole game designer.

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Q: If you don’t accept game submissions, why do you have a game submission form online? Do I have to fill this out just to suggest a Fluxx version?

The form you have seems completely unfair towards designers, as if you’re trying to discourage submissions at all.

A: Technically, we do not accept outside submissions, so we DO intend to discourage them. For whole games, that’s totally true. For just suggestions for some idea of a Fluxx version you’d like to see us make, frankly, we get people all the time that just write us a two-line email hoping we’ll make a Fluxx themed on something they’re into:

“Hey! OMG, you should make Princes Bride Fluxx!” or “My Little Pony Fluxx” or “Dumb and Dumber Fluxx” (yes, these are all suggestions we have gotten, in many cases more than once). We don’t make all of those people who send us a two line email go sign that form, especially after they’ve already sent their idea. The casual nature of the suggestion indicates they don’t expect it to be anything other than that: a suggestion or even a request.

But if someone says “Hey, I designed a full deck of Big Bang Theory Fluxx” and I want to show it to you… well, we really don’t want to see their ideas unless they are giving them to us with no expectations. Essentially, we aim to keep actual game design in-house, and having someone show us their idea taints that and opens up a can of worms. For example, we might have similar ideas ourselves already, and if we did end up making a deck with this theme, the submitter might feel we stole their ideas. Another issue is that, much as we might want to give credit where credit is due, it’s very hard to keep track of random suggestions: sometimes emails get lost, and we don’t want to make promises we might not be able to keep, or set unrealistic expectations.

So why do we have the form at all? It’s for fans who are just dying to show us their full version of something, out of sheer enthusiasm, not because they’re trying to make money by selling us their idea.

If you just want to say: hey, you should do “Blah Blah” Fluxx, then I wouldn’t worry about the legalese – but if you have a bunch of specific game dynamic suggestions, then we want you to understand that we don’t compensate you for those, and it’s not really practical for us to even guarantee credit.

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