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Subject: New BGG Page for Second Edition rss

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Justin
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I'm sure there are many instances of very similar games. One that comes to mind is Cards Against Humanity and Apples to Apples.

I respect the opinions of users that respectfully think the games are too similar though I have no respect for Christian T. Petersen's position here of "defending a friend" and "respecting designers" while publicly calling someone out like this. Its not like Sirlin was trying to sneak an obvious infringing clone of another game past everyone.

I would agree that Knizia should still be listed as the inspiration for this game as was done for the previous edition.
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Steve Rogers
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kevinpdx wrote:

I could keep going on, but I think you get the point. Everything else is the exact same, right down to the special victory conditions when the draw deck is depleted.


By way of analogy, let me show you some music. This is a song I really love; "Happy Up Here" by Royksopp (the first 20 seconds should give you the idea):



"Happy Up Here" contains a sample from "Do That Stuff" by Parliament. Here's that song for comparison (again, 20 seconds should do it):



Now, that Parliament sample is ENTIRELY recreated in Happy Up Here. It is exactly reproduced; and then other pieces of music are layered on top of it to make a new creation.

Now I don't think anyone could reasonably argue that "Happy Up Here" is the same song as "Do That Stuff". Certainly the former couldn't exist without the latter, and certainly something is "owed" to the person who created the hook, (whether that be a verbal thank-you, public acknowledgement, money, or something else is a different discussion). But to me, it's crazy to try to claim that the two pieces of music are 'the same'. One incorporates the other and then builds on it.

Boardgaming is going to have to deal with this 'sampling' issue sooner or later. I think there's just a large segment of people who find the idea of FFG's CEO throwing the first stone to be... I don't know. Ironic?
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Derry Salewski
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Didn't bowie or queen or whoever did 'under pressure' go to court against Vanilla Ice?
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Steve Rogers
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Nope, they never filed a lawsuit. The rumor is that he agreed to pay them a settlement because it's weird that they wouldn't try to collect on that.

My favorite plagiarism suit was always Huey Lewis suing over the Ghostbusters song. :/
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Kevin Tierney
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It seems I am the minority voice here, and I appreciate that most of the posts have been civil and present great points. After reviewing all of them, I'd like to offer a few final counter-arguments and one more observation.

The song sample argument was interesting, although the Vanilla Ice reference brought back some memories I have done my best to forget.

The "Happy Up Here" song definitely has the identical hook from the "Do That Stuff" song, but it is only a hook. I claim no knowledge about the legality of sampling in the music industry, but in my mind this is more akin to reusing a mechanic from another game. The entire Parliament song (or at least 99% of it) is not used in "Happy Up Here", as is my assertion about these two games.

My counter-comparison for you would be DNA's remix of "Tom's Diner" by Suzanne Vega. The remix incorporates the majority of the original piece (vocals and all), but transforms it from something melancholy and acoustic to a happier, danceable piece of music. Again, I have no idea if any licensing fees were paid for this.

I asked for other board game examples where one game contained a set of rules that would allow an experience identical to a competing game where every move/turn would be legal under both rulesets. The only specific citation was "Apples to Apples" and "Cards Against Humanity". Although a party game was not what I had in mind, I checked out the rules to both, having never played "Cards Against Humanity".

Although extremely similar in mechanics, the games are VERY different in components (I don't think anyone reading the questions would mistake the two games), and the rules themselves have some differences as well:

- The amount of cards in each player's hands to choose from are doubled (5 in one, 10 in the other.)

- Some question cards in "Cards Against Humanity" are "fill in the blank", where to my knowledge no Apples to Apples cards are.

- Some question cards in the new game have "Pick 2" printed on them, requiring players to submit two answers each instead of the normal one.

My argument has always been that the inclusion of the "Simple Mode" rules is the major cause for contention in this discussion because it allows for the play of an identical game. "Cards Against Humanity" does not have an official variant that does this.

Since no other games were cited, I did some more research on my own. The best case I found was Outpost and two following games Sceptor of Zavendor and Phoenicia

Scepter sounds like it was very close to the original game, changing the theme and only adding new features. Still, there are tons of credit given to the original game, including a thanks to Outpost's designer for permission to copy the rules.

There is also a recent news entry by Tom Lehmann that discusses these games further. The link is here Co-Developer Diary: Outpost and I'll cite one passage of it below.

Quote:
Outpost's Influence

Outpost was heavily influenced by Civilization and, in turn, has influenced other games. Andreas Seyfarth credited Outpost as one of the primary sources for Puerto Rico.

A more direct descendant is The Scepter of Zavandor, which transported Outpost to a fantasy setting and added new technologies that primarily affect its end game. Its designer, Jens Drögemüller, approached me at Essen one year and I put him in touch with the TimJim partners to arrange permission to publish it.

Finally, I designed Phoenicia which considerably streamlines the production side of Outpost and adds more upgrade choices, to produce a shorter, much "tighter", but quite demanding game.


I do not know if licensing money was payed, but it sounds like there was a greater degree of respect between the designers in these cases.

My last observation is many posters argued that the games were similar enough for SirlinGames to give credit to En Garde for its inspiration, but they are not similar enough to require licensing. Further, Flash Duel cited this inspiration in the rulebook, so no harm no foul.

I read, printed and re-read the Flash Duel Second Edition rulebook (v 4.1) and do not see any such credit. I did find it in the original rules, but it appears to be gone now.

Also, the original BGG entry for both games also had circular references (The En Garde page has a "Re-imagined by Flash Duel" link in its description and the Flash Duel page had a blurb crediting En Garde.

The new game entry, which was the original topic for this post, contains a link back to the first edition, but zero credits to En Garde.

It certainly appears that SirlinGames is distancing itself from recognizing the work of Dr. Knizia with the new release.
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Kevin Tierney
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I found another example of a new game building on an older one, this one illustrating the positive kind of behavior I was hoping for for Flash Duel.

It is especially interesting since two of the parties involved have posted in this thread.

The game is Isla Dorada, written by Bruno Faidutti and published by Fantasy Flight Games.

If you look at the cover box art (and the designer list on the BGG webpage) you will see 3 other authors listed, including Andrea Angiolino.

There is a great blog entry on www.faidutti.com that explains why the other authors are listed, even though Faidutti himself spent over 10 years developing the game. You can read it yourself by following this link:

Link to Isla Dorada's web page

and then clicking the "History of the game" link on the left.

The short version is "Isla Dorada" was inspired by the board of Elfenroads and the movement mechanics of Ulysses. Even though the final game was different than either earlier work, Faidutti shared the credit.

What is preventing that from happening here?
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darksurtur
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kevinpdx wrote:
I found another example of a new game building on an older one, this one illustrating the positive kind of behavior I was hoping for for Flash Duel.

It is especially interesting since two of the parties involved have posted in this thread.

The game is Isla Dorada, written by Bruno Faidutti and published by Fantasy Flight Games.

If you look at the cover box art (and the designer list on the BGG webpage) you will see 3 other authors listed, including Andrea Angiolino.

There is a great blog entry on www.faidutti.com that explains why the other authors are listed, even though Faidutti himself spent over 10 years developing the game. You can read it yourself by following this link:

Link to Isla Dorada's web page

and then clicking the "History of the game" link on the left.

The short version is "Isla Dorada" was inspired by the board of Elfenroads and the movement mechanics of Ulysses. Even though the final game was different than either earlier work, Faidutti shared the credit.

What is preventing that from happening here?


Sometimes people don't want to share when they are not legally required to. Which is their right (assuming they are ok with the reputation loss that might occur).
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Kevin Tierney
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darksurtur wrote:
Sometimes people don't want to share when they are not legally required to. Which is their right (assuming they are ok with the reputation loss that might occur).


I can't argue against that, although I don't see how having Reiner Knizia's name on the box under David Sirlin's would do anything except help sales of Flash Duel...
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Andrea Angiolino
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kevinpdx wrote:
The game is Isla Dorada, written by Bruno Faidutti and published by Fantasy Flight Games.

If you look at the cover box art (and the designer list on the BGG webpage) you will see 3 other authors listed, including Andrea Angiolino.


Thanks a lot for quoting this.

A little note: the original publisher of Isla Dorada is the French company FunForge, who bought the rights from the authors and developed the prototype into the actual released game. FFG then licensed it from FunForge for foreign distribution.

Bruno Faidutti has been a real gentleman. When he had the idea of "Ulysses in Elfenland" (that later on became "Caravan Merchant", and then "Isla Dorada") he asked Alan Moon and Pier Giorgio and me if he could use our ideas and make us co-authors. Piergorgio and me accepted but asking to be "minority authors", not on the same level as him. After that, he has been the main developer of the game - I somehow contributed to it by email and I even went to France to playtest the game with him, but he has been by far the most motivated and involved designer of the team. I just helped with a few little details, in the end.

kevinpdx wrote:
Although extremely similar in mechanics, the games are VERY different in components (I don't think anyone reading the questions would mistake the two games), and the rules themselves have some differences as well


I have a theory about this, in my conferences and essays about game design - alas published in Italian only. To make it short, a game is mainly made of three components: mechanics, materials, setting (that can be scaled from abstract to simulation). You can change part of them and still get the same game under a different form, especially if you keep the same mechanics. Change the materials of chess from a chessboard and wooden piecs into a computer program: you will get computer chess, but they are still chess even if the game materials are completely changed. The same if you turn Battleship from a paper & pencil game into a boardgame, or again a computer program. Change the setting of Monopoly into Star Wars without changing the game mechanics, or just altering them sightly, you get a Star Wars Monopoly - but it's still Monopoly.

Probably you are correct, it is the "gaming experience" that matters.

But this is only a personal point of view as a game designer and a game historian. It has nothing to do with legal matters and with what somebody has to do when developing a game inspired by others. This is a matter left to the good taste and fairness of each person. In worst cases it is a matter to lawyers and judges, and I am neither of them.
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Justin
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To me cards against humanity seems closer to being a copy of a game just with questions and answers substituted for nouns and adjectives that are in apples to apples. Nothing against cards against humanity just an observation.

I'm also not sure why en garde wasn't credited in this version while it was in the previous version. I'm guessing Sirlin thought the changes were so significant it barely resembled the original game. Still, its hard to argue en garde was used as the base of the game and some sort of credit should be given. If we get to the point were there are tons of games with this mechanic then credit wouldn't be needed but since its just this and en garde, as far as I know, still giving credit would at least be good courtesy.
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Remigiusz Bajor
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I've played both En Garde and Flash Duel many times and can tell one from another. There are 3 minor changes in FD basic rules (small changes in a simple games make a difference) which have a huge meaning for a gameplay and for me make FD a better game than En Garde (I'm still talking about basic rules Flash duel vs En Garde):
- used cards are visible (this is change in a rules, not new one!)
- you can push (new move)
- you can move forward and backward using bigger number then there are free spaces (another change in a rules!)

So we have 2 changes in rules and 1 new one.

For inexperienced players maybe it doesn't make a difference but if I played anybody using FD rules vs En Garde rules I'd squash them. Why? Let me give you some examples on how those 3 minor changes, change En Garde from being mediocre to a good game - FD.

3 simple examples:
1) Near the end of a game. I'm next to my opponent and we are near the middle of a board, there is only 1 card left in a draw deck. I have no 1s.
- En Garde: I have to play some card to move backward, the best option is to move x spaces away and have a card(s) x+1 in hand (ex. move 3 away and have 4s). If I don't I lost because my opponent is closer to the middle.
- Flash Duel: I can do the action above BUT I can also push my opponent away. All used cards are visible so I only don't know 6 cards in game (1 in a draw deck and 5 in opponent's hand). If I have 5, I can push him to make 6 spaces away (safe distance) and win by being closer to the middle!

2) Near the end of a game. I'm 3 spaces away from my opponent, we are on my side of a board. I have no 3s (can't attack) and can't do a dashing strike but have 1s and 5s.
- En Garde: I have to move backward and probably lost because I had no options.
- Flash Duel: I can use 5 card to move 2 space forward (next to my opponent). Round ends and I won having more 1s (I knew I'd win because I had two 1s in my hand and two 1s were discarded and I could see that).

3) I'm 2 spaces away from the last space. You attack me with dashing strike and I can't block.
- En Garde: I can flee if I have 1 or 2
- Flash Duel: I can flee using any card.

You would probably say: hey, the only difference I can see is during a final card played. YES but if you played this game many times (and know how to play it) you know that 9/10 times this game ends after final card is played so this changes are crucial. En Garde gives you no or less options during decisive moments (is more random) while Flash Duel gives you more options.
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For me the issue isn't whether the idea or game was stolen. I couldn't careless. My ideas and creations are stolen all the time and I still don't care (used to but not anymore).

Life is to short and not worth fighting over personal creations. I am happy just with knowing I inspired innovation or improvement. That to me is what should matter.

There are 2 reasons I am so angered.

1) What is the CEO of a giant publisher like FFG doing calling out a person publicly? Why wasn't it handled using PMs and such? Is FFG making En Guarde (FFG edition)?

2) If Dr. Knizia cares so much then why isn't he fighting this battle publicly? Does he get a source of income from each sale for a product with his name on it?

The questions with go unanswered for the involved parties obviously, but I am still curious enough to see the responses from the community.
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Kevin Tierney
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DDPage wrote:
I've played both En Garde and Flash Duel many times and can tell one from another. There are 3 minor changes in FD basic rules (small changes in a simple games make a difference) which have a huge meaning for a gameplay and for me make FD a better game than En Garde (I'm still talking about basic rules Flash duel vs En Garde):
- used cards are visible (this is change in a rules, not new one!)
- you can push (new move)
- you can move forward and backward using bigger number then there are free spaces (another change in a rules!)

So we have 2 changes in rules and 1 new one.

For inexperienced players maybe it doesn't make a difference but if I played anybody using FD rules vs En Garde rules I'd squash them. Why? Let me give you some examples on how those 3 minor changes, change En Garde from being mediocre to a good game - FD.

3 simple examples:
1) Near the end of a game. I'm next to my opponent and we are near the middle of a board, there is only 1 card left in a draw deck. I have no 1s.
- En Garde: I have to play some card to move backward, the best option is to move x spaces away and have a card(s) x+1 in hand (ex. move 3 away and have 4s). If I don't I lost because my opponent is closer to the middle.
- Flash Duel: I can do the action above BUT I can also push my opponent away. All used cards are visible so I only don't know 6 cards in game (1 in a draw deck and 5 in opponent's hand). If I have 5, I can push him to make 6 spaces away (safe distance) and win by being closer to the middle!

2) Near the end of a game. I'm 3 spaces away from my opponent, we are on my side of a board. I have no 3s (can't attack) and can't do a dashing strike but have 1s and 5s.
- En Garde: I have to move backward and probably lost because I had no options.
- Flash Duel: I can use 5 card to move 2 space forward (next to my opponent). Round ends and I won having more 1s (I knew I'd win because I had two 1s in my hand and two 1s were discarded and I could see that).

3) I'm 2 spaces away from the last space. You attack me with dashing strike and I can't block.
- En Garde: I can flee if I have 1 or 2
- Flash Duel: I can flee using any card.

You would probably say: hey, the only difference I can see is during a final card played. YES but if you played this game many times (and know how to play it) you know that 9/10 times this game ends after final card is played so this changes are crucial. En Garde gives you no or less options during decisive moments (is more random) while Flash Duel gives you more options.


I agree that I missed another rule, and have edited my original post (again) to reflect my mistake. I also attempted to tone done the assertions because they were easy to take out of intended context.

Just as I felt stating

Quote:
The idea that a card with a 5 on it can move a piece on a board 5 spaces or attack something 5 spaces away


was an unfair and misleading statement about what the two games had in common, my restricting the comparison to the "simple mode" rules of Flash Duel was equally unfair, even if the point was to demonstrate how much of the entire idea that defines the game of En Garde (rules, pieces, goals, etc.) were in the core of Flash Duel. It was not the taking of a single mechanic and making a new game out of it.

Knowing that, and knowing there is obviously some contention between the designers changed my decision on purchasing Flash Duel. If I had never seen the initial post, I'd be playing Flash Duel this Christmas, no question. How much it bothers you will be an individual thing. I pass no judgements on where you draw the line -- these posts were an attempt to explain/rationalize the arguments I used on myself when forming my conclusion.

Still, as we have all agreed, there is nothing Sirlin Games has done that is illegal. I would defend his right to sell Flash Duel in its current form without hesitation. Again, I'm just disappointed that the parties involved couldn't come together more amicably, and I hope this type of situation never becomes the normal way new games are developed.

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Fede Miguez
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DarkKami wrote:
2) If Dr. Knizia cares so much then why isn't he fighting this battle publicly? Does he get a source of income from each sale for a product with his name on it?
I think I can give a hint on why this could be. AFAIK legally the best course of action is to do nothing if you are not committed to the issue so when you there is not history on your side. Sometimes this is done until the issue is worth enough money that the lawyers cost. At least this is the behaviour i have seen in other cases.
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Benoit Flageol
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En garde looks boring.

Flash duel on the other hand looks very cool. I preordered a copy.

That CEO is just jelly.
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Kiren Maelwulf
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So FFG is now a developer of completely unique games and ideas? Every time a new FFG game comes out it seems I hear, “It’s just like _____ but with nicer bits.” I can get past that FFG has devolved into the Gamesworkshop mentality of production quality in respect to appearance over actual refined game play, I just don’t buy FFG games anymore. But come on, they are the last company that should be calling someone out on this issue.
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Kyle Johnson
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HauRuck wrote:
angiolillo wrote:
kevinpdx wrote:
The game is Isla Dorada, written by Bruno Faidutti and published by Fantasy Flight Games.

If you look at the cover box art (and the designer list on the BGG webpage) you will see 3 other authors listed, including Andrea Angiolino.


Thanks a lot for quoting this.

A little note: the original publisher of Isla Dorada is the French company FunForge, who bought the rights from the authors and developed the prototype into the actual released game. FFG then licensed it from FunForge for foreign distribution.

Bruno Faidutti has been a real gentleman. When he had the idea of "Ulysses in Elfenland" (that later on became "Caravan Merchant", and then "Isla Dorada") he asked Alan Moon and Pier Giorgio and me if he could use our ideas and make us co-authors. Piergorgio and me accepted but asking to be "minority authors", not on the same level as him. After that, he has been the main developer of the game - I somehow contributed to it by email and I even went to France to playtest the game with him, but he has been by far the most motivated and involved designer of the team. I just helped with a few little details, in the end.



I don't think its unreasonable to desire things to work as above, even if there are seldom legal reasons to do so.

I do acknowledge that the whole X-Wing thing could make for a wicked case of irony here but as I've neither read the rules nor played the game as of yet I'll have to fully reserve judgement there for a later date.


In regards to the X-Wing thing, from session reports and reviews form those that tried it at Gen Con, there seems to be at least a few opinions that it is just Wings of War with some alterations and with spaceships.

Pot...Kettle...
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Joseph Ellis
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Dominion is a complex game with a lot going on, and its copiers are complex as well. The Apples to Apples analogies are much more appropriate in this case. Have the Apples to Apples creators sued the makers of Say Anything and the other myriad of party games where everybody submits one answer and one person picks whatever they feel like?

En Garde's complexity is one step above Apples to Apples and one step below Uno. I'm all for protecting designers and not copying their work without compensation, but not in the case of games that can be replicated with a deck of regular playing cards and a couple pebbles.

Obviously, Sirlin played En Garde, liked it, and built on it. So what? The game is, like, three rules long, and the components and details are completely nondescript. Any game that you could program on a computer in less than 10 minutes probably doesn't require a license to be copied. It was nice of Sirlin to mention Knizia as the inspiration for the game. Beyond that, there's just not enough to the game to worry about it.

If I write rules for the same game using a standard deck of cards and two coins, and post it on BGG with a couple modified rules, are people really gonna get mad? This isn't like stealing a song someone else wrote. It's more like copying a 5-chord chord progression... just not enough there to protect.

(Edit: spelling errors)
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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joepinion wrote:
(En Garde) is, like, three rules long, and the components and details are completely nondescript.


Lime for truth.

I realize everyone wants to have their moment on this, but I think the insult being implied to Dave Sirlin is being drastically overlooked here.
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kevinpdx wrote:
darksurtur wrote:
Sometimes people don't want to share when they are not legally required to. Which is their right (assuming they are ok with the reputation loss that might occur).


I can't argue against that, although I don't see how having Reiner Knizia's name on the box under David Sirlin's would do anything except help sales of Flash Duel...


Indeed. And for that reason I'd assume that Knizia requires a fee any time you want to put his name on the front of a game box.
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While I agree more with Kevin and Andrea on this issue .... I think it is time for us all to take a step back and view a perfectly legal derivative form...

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Mark crane
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These sort of unintentional borrowings happen all the time. Look at the iphone version of the game "Fits" for example (I'm not sure who the author is):



Now look at this shoddy ripoff, "Tetris" :



Obviously, Tetris has been influenced by Fits. But does the author of Fits pitch a fit or whisper to their friends to make a stink about it online? No, because that would be ridiculous. Instead, they obviously realize that art begets more art, and that overreacting to the slight similarities eventually kills the creative process, leaving us all relatively impoverished.

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craniac wrote:
These sort of unintentional borrowings happen all the time. Look at the iphone version of the game "Fits" for example (I'm not sure who the author is):

...

Obviously, Tetris has been influenced by Fits. But does the author of Fits pitch a fit or whisper to their friends to make a stink about it online? No, because that would be ridiculous. Instead, they obviously realize that art begets more art, and that overreacting to the slight similarities eventually kills the creative process, leaving us all relatively impoverished.



That's just because "in Soviet Russia, copyright owns you."

No, seriously, look it up. Russia took all the royalties from the creation of Tetris.
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Kevin Heckman
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craniac wrote:
Obviously, Tetris has been influenced by Fits. But does the author of Fits pitch a fit or whisper to their friends to make a stink about it online? No, because that would be ridiculous. Instead, they obviously realize that art begets more art, and that overreacting to the slight similarities eventually kills the creative process, leaving us all relatively impoverished.


The important thing here is whether or not Alexey Pajitnov credited the designer of FITS. I hear someone at FFG might have written a post giving Pajitnov a well-deserved scolding, so probably not.
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I always thought Sirlin was a bit of a jerk, but after this I'm not even playing an FFG game again.

Disgraceful.

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