Looney Pyramids CAN NOT be sold in stores in Europe
Our new pyramid products (IceDice and Looney Pyramids) failed toy safety testing in Europe. In the future, we hope to show that our marketing is all geared towards adult gamers, and will request permission to sell them in Europe with an age grading of 14+, but for now they failed the EU Toy Safety Testing for 8+ and we need to keep them off store shelves in Europe. Although the new products passed all safety testing for 8+ in the USA and Canada (and the pyramids previously passed safety testing even in Europe at 6+) the games have always been played primarily by Adult gamers and we will be focusing our marketing for ages 14+ everywhere. Please provide adult supervision if you ever play pyramid games with children under the age of 14.
Distributors: This is important - please don't sell any of our pyramids games to any European stores. It is illegal for them to sell them, and everyone in the supply chain could get in trouble if they decide to sell them anyway. Tell them we are sorry, but they can't buy/sell these products.
European Stores: If you have stock on any of our pyramid products, please contact us for a return. If you got them from one of our distributors since 2011, please let us know who sold them to you so we can make sure they don't sell them to anyone else. We will let you know if/when we get permission to sell our pyramid products in Europe at the age grading of 14+.
Online Stores: If your store is NOT in Europe, it is ok for you to sell/ship our pyramid games to individual customers who reside in Europe. The EU Toy Safety Law governs what the EU market can sell, not what European residents can buy online from outside of Europe.
European Fans: You can still play with our pyramids, and as a member of our Demo Team you can still promote them to other adult gamers in Europe - just let new fans know they will need to buy them online from outside Europe. If you ever find any of our pyramid games for sale in a store in Europe, PLEASE don't buy them. Politely explain to the store that it is illegal for them to sell them, and that you can contact Looney Labs and help arrange a return/refund for them on the product... just get a name and email address for someone in charge at the store and introduce us via email.
All Pyramid Fans: Please DO NOT promote our pyramid games to children. We need to keep all of our marketing efforts aimed at 14+ in order to eventually gain permission to sell these products in Europe. Parents everywhere should provide adult supervision if they are ever playing pyramid games with children under the age of 14.
Thanks for helping us remain respectful of the EU Safety Testing laws!
more details... if you want to hear the whole story...
Our Looney Pyramids Safety Testing Story
by Kristin Looney, updated August 11th 2011
We have been making games with these little pyramids for 20+ years, the most recent version being a new game called IceDice which will come in a little zippered pouch, along with Looney Pyramids expansion colors that come in boxes sized just like our card games. You also might find any of these Out Of Print Pyramid Games on ebay or hiding on a retail store shelf someplace, but we no longer sell the pyramids in these formats. (Note to Retailers: we offer full returnability on all our games old and new. Please contact us if you have old product on your shelves!)
Previous to IceDice, all our injection molded pyramids came from a little family mold we made back in 1999 in Baltimore MD. Ten years later, after repackaging our card games into beautiful new packaging, it was finally time to focus on the pyramids again. So in the fall of 2010, we started making plans for a new pyramid mold and designing new packaging for the pyramids - and we started this process with safety testing.
We have always put warning labels on our pyramid games, but we always struggled with the age grading on these products, since children enjoy playing with them yet they inherently seem dangerous. Here is the warning on one of our earliest products, where we say ages 12+. With all the new toy safety testing laws that started coming out in 2008, our first step in the relaunch was to test the pyramids and see what the official authorities think and see if we needed to round the tip a bit when we made a new mold and began larger production.
We tested the pyramids for ages 6+ for all the safety requirements in the USA, Canada, and Europe. And we got a passing grade on everything for ages 6+. Here are the test results. With this information in hand, we decided not to change the shape of the pyramids and to put an age grading of 8+ on our new product, IceDice. Our retailers can sell a lot more product at 8+ than at 12+ and we had test results saying the pyramids were safe.
It turns out, that for Europe, those test results we got back in Nov 2010 were wrong. When the new games were finished, and put through the required safety testing, the Protruding Parts test in EN71-1:2005+A9 Mechanical and Physical Properties failed. Everything passed for USA and Canada again at 8+, but this one test in the EU testing standard failed, where it had passed when the same test was run back in November.
So we had 10,000 copies of IceDice stuck in Hong Kong that couldn't ship until we resolved this. One bit of good news was that we used the same testing company both times, and they were very professional and paid to fix the problem. We had the US office and the HK office of the same company disagreeing with each other, and when they sent samples to their UK office, the UK Lab sided with the HK Lab. It is a subjective test, not a mechanical one, section 4.9 applies to dangerous protruding parts like you might find on a bicycle or an umbrella, toys you have the risk of hurting yourself on if you fall and hit for example the tip of a bicycle handlebar. The first time they tested they decided this 4.9 section did not apply, but then later they decided it did apply. Anyway, the final answer from this testing company is that the pyramids failed this European safety standard for ages 8+. Again, they pass everything for US and Canada, but they failed for the EU.
Although Europe is a significant market for us, the majority of our games are sold in the USA. So as painful as this whole thing was, at least we were able to fix the packaging and get the product and start selling it to our local market. Because all the original packaging has CE and UK Importer information printed on it, all the labeling had to be changed. We printed new boxes for Looney Pyramids and new product tags for IceDice, and they were swapped out in the warehouse in Hong Kong where the product was being held. They couldn't ship the product back into China to be reworked, because of various import laws, and labor is scarce and much more expensive in Hong Kong. Sigh. It's was a crazy few months sorting this all out. But this repackaging happened, and we will receive finished product in hand in time to get it out into stores for a Sept 30th 2011 street date. Thank you everyone for your patience.
Since we had to reprint all the packaging, we decided to change the age grading to 14+ instead of the 8+ we have previously been advertising for these products. All future Looney Pyramids products will have an age grading of 14+, and we are including an extra warning that reads: "WARNING: This is NOT a toy for children. These pieces are pointy and must be used responsibly. Provide Adult Supervision." Yes, the pyramids currently pass all safety laws in the USA for 8+, and yes, some of the games you can play with the pyramids are easy enough for kids to play, but fundamentally the Looney Pyramids game system is NOT a toy for children. It is important that the pieces get put away and not left strewn around on the floor as children are known to do. Looney Pyramids is a game system for responsible gamers, and although some might play them with their kids, more often they play pyramid games with other responsible adult gamers. So we are changing the packaging to reflect this age and supervision recommendation.
Here is what the new packaging looks like:
Thanks for reading about our crazy safety testing woes! (continue the conversation in our Looney Pyramid forums)
P.S. As big of a mess as this whole thing has been, both GPI (our printer) and STR (the testing lab) have been great to work with. I do recommend both companies. The quality of a vendor relationship is often determined by how they deal with problems when they happen...