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Back to the Future: The Card Game from Looney Labs

By Tim Kidwell
Published: October 1, 2010
Back to the Future: The Card Game
Back to the Future: The Card Game contents
Back to the Future: The Card Game Pizza Hydrator promo card
Product: Great Scott! It has been 25 years since the first Back to the Future movie hit theaters. To commemorate the silver anniversary, Looney Labs has released Back to the Future: The Card Game. Designed for two to six players, 11 years and older, the game comes with 100 cards and a full-color instruction sheet.

Gameplay: “Time circuits on. Flux Capacitor … fluxing. Engine running. All right!” In Back to the Future, players are thrust into the roles of descendants to the main characters of the Back to the Future movies. The premise is that other time travelers have been tinkering with the timeline and endangering the players’ existences. Now, they have to fix the timeline so it matches their ID card, and then destroy time travel once and for all.

Twenty-four TimeLine cards are arranged on the table to represent the four eras seen in the movies, from the Wild West to the future with flying cars. By using items, time machines, doubleback, action and power action cards, the players travel through time, changing linchpin moments that cause ripple effects throughout the timeline.

Once a player has changed time to fit his goals, then he has to prevent Doc Brown from inventing the Flux Capacitor. However, rather than just one such linchpin card, there are five shuffled together. Each time a player attempts to un-invent time travel, the top card is flipped. Only one of the five says that Emmett Brown successfully hangs a clock, ending the game. Flipping one of the other four means the game continues, probably with players changing the timeline. The player who successfully un-invents time and matches all of the goals on his ID card wins.

Marketing: Is Back to the Future: The Card Game easy to learn and fun to play? Yes! Andrew Looney has taken the Chrononauts time-travel mechanism and fit it seamlessly into a game that evokes all of the humor of the movies, while preserving the tension that comes with not knowing when or how the game is going to end.

The choice of Back to the Future as a licensed product is a good one. It appeals to an older crowd who remembers seeing the film in the theater, but also has great recognition among younger customers due to its regular appearance on syndicated cable television. And the release is timed to ride the coattails of the enhanced 25th anniversary Blu-Ray and DVD discs into the holidays.

For Back to the Future: The Card Game, Looney Labs has a promo card called the Pizza Hydrator, which is extremely powerful and adds a very cool element to the game. The card comes as part of a postcard on which you can attach your store’s information. One way to use these to promote the game is to insert them into bags after a purchase. However, they are intended as an easy add-on sale for the card game at $1 each.

Of course, the standard sales technique for a game is to demo it for your customers. The problem is that this usually means cannibalizing a game off of the shelf or ordering an extra at full wholesale. Understanding this dilemma, Looney Labs offers a demo program. Stores can pre-order a six-game display of a new release and receive a free demo copy with the order. Additionally, demo copies of all Looney Labs games are continually available to stores at 70% off MSRP. This should make demoing Back to the Future and other Looney games a bit easier to handle.

Finally, remember that Looney Labs has what it calls its “100% Success Guarantee.” What this means is that the company knows that some of its games might not sell as well as another might, simply due to your customer base. So, if a game is underperforming for a store, Looney Labs will exchange it for another one of its products. To them, a retailer’s success is their success.

Product: Back to the Future: The Card Game
Publisher: Looney Labs
Stock No.: LOO-044
MSRP: $20
Availability: For a list of distributors, call 301-441-1019, or visit  Looney Labs' website

Popular, well-known license
Evokes humor and fun of the movies
Affordable; great gift for kids and fans
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