IceDice was scheduled to go on sale next week...   What happened?

Short answer: The product has been stuck in Hong Kong having failed European safety testing. The testing agency at first said they passed, and then decided they failed, so they are paying to repackage all the product to remove the CE and UK Import markings that were printed on the packaging. We will be releasing IceDice and Looney Pyramids to our US market with a new street date of September 30th, 2011.  

The long answer:  Our Looney Pyramids Safety Testing Story

Once again, we are very sorry we missed the street date!

Tags: IceDice, Pyramids

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Wow.

 

I was thinking of posting this to a BGG forum, to broaden the call for advice, but I guess it would be better coming from you.

Will the upgrade kits still be shipping? You could sell the dice to Europe with a copy of a make your own pyramids set. paper pyramids would only squash if stood on, or thrown or behaved with irresponsibly, and shouldn't cause too much damage. I will probably be handing out make your own pyramid kits, and directing people to you for accessories, until this is fixed.

I have also written to my MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) asking them to look into the matter. 

do the same at :

www.writetothem.com

Response from my MEP is this:

Dear Ms Bracegirdle

 

Thank you for your email regarding the Looney Pyramid game made by Looney Labs.

 

As I am sure you aware Looney Labs agree that the product could be dangerous and they have now decided to only sell the game in the USA to over 14s and for the packaging to be labelled ‘this is not a toy for children’.

 

Under EU law toys are defined as: "products designed or intended, whether or not exclusively, for use in play by children under 14 years of age". Therefore products that are clearly not designed or intended for under 14s to play with will not be covered by the Toy Safety Directive and its underlying standards. However, as the product in question was originally sold to children and the fact that it could appear to be a toy that is likely to end up being played with by children, could lead it to be covered regardless of the labelling attached. This is an important point in the law, because previously many companies tried to sell dangerous products aimed at children, and circumvent the ban on such products by simply labelling them as for over 14 year olds.

 

You mention that you have played with children with the product, but as noted by the company the danger is not in them being played with as much as being left around by children and then someone falling on them. This standard ensures that nothing children can be left to play with could be an impaling hazard.

 

In light of the above the law is clearly designed to prevent a risk the company themselves acknowledge and therefore agree they should not be used as toys. If the company wishes to sell their product in Europe they would need to demonstrate that the product clearly would not be sold intended for children to play with.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Arlene McCarthy

Member of the European Parliament

 

"If the company wishes to sell their product in Europe they would need to demonstrate that the product clearly would not be sold intended for children to play with."

 

Well that is circular, because the product is specifically not for "children to play with."

 

What they seem to be using against LL is simply the fact that the age requirements used to be different.  Just because something may be age restricted differently, doesn't mean that the intended age was ever under fourteen. The majority of pyramid games, including the games created by Andy Looney, are not aimed at children, as far as I can see.

Finally a concise answer.
Dear Ms Bracegirdle,
  
thank you for your further email to Ms McCarthy. Due to the Parliamentary recess I am responding on her behalf, as her Parliamentary Assistant.
 
Regarding purchasing the game on line, the EU Toy Safety Law governs the placing of toys on the EU market. Therefore it does not restrict you purchasing goods from outside the EU, including from a non-EU website and having them shipped to you in the EU. Any relevant customs charges would be due on such non-EU purchases and the decision to ship to other countries and allow payment from other countries on their website is a matter for the company involved so will depend on the policies of the makers of the product.
 
Regarding their ability to sell the product in the EU, the Toy Safety legislation covers products "designed or intended" for children under 14. The company would need to undertake a dialogue with the competent authorities in the EU to establish if they could place their product on the market for those 14 and over. Adult games that can demonstrate they are not designed or intended for children under 14 are not covered by the Toy Safety Directive and can therefore be sold, even if they do not meet the standards, such as the impaling standard, set under that law.
 
This is impossible! I can't believe that even adult consumers can't buy IceDice in Europe.

This is just dumb - there's got to be a mistake somewhere, there are far more 'dangerous' products that small children can buy here in the UK. Hell, LEGO has smaller parts & some specialised pieces are pointier than the 'mids. That's *made* in Denmark.

I can't see how they failed safety testing, perhaps it's worth getting a second opinion?

There has been a precedent for children's board games with pointy pieces, in Britain released both as coppit(spears 1964) and headache(first published 1968 kohner brothers, currently produced by milton bradley), which both used conical stacking pieces. Both games were based on trap the cap(1927), which was released all over Europe as a game for children. I really don't see how the EU can have such a problem with pyramids, when the aforementioned games have been around for more than 40 years.
A picture of the caps for Coppit.
Laws change, and the long explanation linked above points out that new regulations are coming down the pike.  It does seem odd, though, that people couldn't sell things to adults even if they are possibly dangerous to children.  I hope they get timely, accurate and wise advice about all this.  (Any progress on that, Kristin?)

This is really annoying!!  I have updated all my articles that mention playing with pyramids with children (my son is 6 now and has been playing with them since he was 1!) with a link to the safety testing story and encouraging people to be cautious and supervise well.  I also updated references to what quantities of pyramids are available for purchase.  Please let me know if anything is failing to cover your legal needs.

http://articles.earthlingshandbook.org/2009/04/14/growing-a-gamer-g...

http://articles.earthlingshandbook.org/2009/04/09/when-kids-show-up...

http://articles.earthlingshandbook.org/2010/06/30/my-kid-can-play-i...

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