Recommend
42 
 Thumb up
 Hide
421 Posts
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [17] | 

Flash Duel» Forums » General

Subject: Is Flash Duel Sufficiently Original? Knizia Weighed In. rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
that Matt
United States
Toledo
Ohio
flag msg tools
I'm a quitter. I come from a long line of quitters. It's amazing I'm here at all.
badge
I can feel bits of my brain falling away like wet cake.
mbmb
A few months ago, a somewhat unrelated thread was immediately derailed by debates over the originality of David Sirlin's Flash Duel given Reiner Knizia's En Garde. Christian T. Petersen of FFG posted his 'suggestion/assumption' that En Garde ought to have been formally licensed: flame war heated discussion ensued.

More recently, some two months after that thread's closure, Knizia tweeted about the controversy:

24 Feb I do certainly not approve of David Sirlin using my En Garde design! http://penny-arcade.com/2012/02/22
24 Feb Copying and profiting from other's work has a moral aspect (pointing out black sheep!) and a legal aspect (consulting lawyers).
24 Feb The quality of a good designer stems from his or her ability to originate truely new and innovative ideas, found within themselves.
24 Feb Some are destined to lead, others are condemned to follow...
24 Feb @EL_CO4tw Ask and you shall be given, steal and you shall be punished...
24 Feb If original work is not protected, original work will disappear.
24 Feb @Fad23 I differentiate between design and development: design creates, development refines...

I'd like to think through this topic without the distractions of the earlier thread. To avoid rehashing pointless discussions from the earlier thread, please keep the following in mind.

1. We can set aside the legal question. As Knizia highlighted, the legal is not synonymous with the moral. The implication from these tweets is that he considers this to be a case of a failure in morality, possibly a failure in good design, but he is decidedly not raising this as an infringement of intellectual property law. For this thread, please address questions of quality and morality of the Flash Duel design, not questions of legality. We can discuss whether or not something should be morally permissible, and whether or not a design is poor, without getting into the always-dubious world of legal speculation on the internet.

2. The motives and morals of Christian T. Petersen and/or FFG are now beside the point. He originally brought up the issue in the earlier thread, but Knizia has now independently addressed this. From my read, most of the previous thread argued over the faults of FFG or Petersen himself.

3. We no longer need to speculate about Knizia's opinion, as several posters did in the earlier thread. It is now known, at least in rough terms.

So...

Do you think that Sirlin acted wrongly by using En Garde in this way? And does Knizia's disapproval affect how you view this game?

Furthermore -- even if you think that Sirlin is morally in the clear -- do you think that this use of Flash Duel as "inspiration" demonstrates worse design or a worse designer? (See Knizia's third tweet.)
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Doug Adams
Australia
Oakleigh
Victoria
flag msg tools
NASA Dawn approaching Ceres
mbmbmbmbmb
Is that really Knizia tweeting?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Anderson
United States
seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
Two Time Cancer Survivor - Never Give Up. Never Surrender. -Jason Nesmith from Galaxy Quest (1999 movie)
badge
Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLVIII Champions!
mbmbmbmbmb

I think credit should be given where credit is due. I'm not sure if Flash Duel is sufficiently different from En Garde as I never played either, but if Sirlin drew inspiration from Knizia he should at least tip his cap to him.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rodney "Watch It Played" Smith
Canada
Montague
Prince Edward Island
flag msg tools
Join us to learn and watch games played at youtube.com/watchitplayed
mbmbmbmbmb
dougadamsau wrote:
Is that really Knizia tweeting?


Yup. http://twitter.com/reinerknizia
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
that Matt
United States
Toledo
Ohio
flag msg tools
I'm a quitter. I come from a long line of quitters. It's amazing I'm here at all.
badge
I can feel bits of my brain falling away like wet cake.
mbmb
turtleback wrote:
I think credit should be given where credit is due. I'm not sure if Flash Duel is sufficiently different from En Garde as I never played either, but if Sirlin drew inspiration from Knizia he should at least tip his cap to him.

For the record, Sirlin did at least tip his cap. The rulebook gives a credit to En Garde for inspiration, and Sirlin has done the same in other venues. (E.g. on a post on his website: "The game is inspired by a game called En Garde by Reiner Knizia.")
15 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Doug Adams
Australia
Oakleigh
Victoria
flag msg tools
NASA Dawn approaching Ceres
mbmbmbmbmb
Pelvidar wrote:
dougadamsau wrote:
Is that really Knizia tweeting?


Yup. http://twitter.com/reinerknizia


Wow, he is quite the twitterbox!

I've played both games and FD is obviously lifted from EG. Knizia got an acknowledgement in the first edition of EG.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Anderson
United States
seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
Two Time Cancer Survivor - Never Give Up. Never Surrender. -Jason Nesmith from Galaxy Quest (1999 movie)
badge
Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLVIII Champions!
mbmbmbmbmb
tumorous wrote:
turtleback wrote:
I think credit should be given where credit is due. I'm not sure if Flash Duel is sufficiently different from En Garde as I never played either, but if Sirlin drew inspiration from Knizia he should at least tip his cap to him.

For the record, Sirlin did at least tip his cap. The rulebook gives a credit to En Garde for inspiration, and Sirlin has done the same in other venues. (E.g. on a post on his website: "The game is inspired by a game called En Garde by Reiner Knizia.")


Then I don't really see a problem here. My understanding is that you can't copyright a mechanic. It appears Flash Duel may have started with En Garde, but it has been rethemed and additions have been made that make it a different game. Does Knizia expect payment?
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Sampson
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
turtleback wrote:
tumorous wrote:
turtleback wrote:
I think credit should be given where credit is due. I'm not sure if Flash Duel is sufficiently different from En Garde as I never played either, but if Sirlin drew inspiration from Knizia he should at least tip his cap to him.

For the record, Sirlin did at least tip his cap. The rulebook gives a credit to En Garde for inspiration, and Sirlin has done the same in other venues. (E.g. on a post on his website: "The game is inspired by a game called En Garde by Reiner Knizia.")


Then I don't really see a problem here. My understanding is that you can't copyright a mechanic. It appears Flash Duel may have started with En Garde, but it has been rethemed and additions have been made that make it a different game. Does Knizia expect payment?
What about Rex and Dune? FFG basically did exactly what you said, but they still paid for the rights to sell the game even without the Dune license, but by that logic there would have been no need.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Just imagine how irked he would be if he was the game designer of Dominion and invented the deck building mechanic
17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Sirlin
United States
California
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
There's a good Penny Arcade post on this.
32 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adam Kazimierczak
United States
Falmouth
Maine
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
Looking at the mechanics they are VERY similar games. I think Flash Duel is Sirlin's most blatant system "repurposing." But Sirlin Games has never been about original game mechanics. Puzzle Strike is a retheme of Dominion and Yomi is a retheme of rock-paper-scissors.

It's up to the consumers which theme they like more (although the price point on the original RPS beats $100 for Yomi).surprise

Edit: so it's a question of whether Sirlin crossed the line and actually copied a game and pasted on his theme. After reading a review of En Garde it looks like he did. "5 copies each of cards numbered 1 to 5" and the same linear track! The only difference in the 1st edition is the addition of character special abilities. Even Rex has more original material in it than that (changed number of turns and map, etc.).

Now if only the maker of rock-paper-scissors would weigh in...
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert Garcia
msg tools
Before I comment on this, is this the same Reiner Knizia that designed this game:

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/24520/sudoku-challenge

It looks like a game that is rated 4.61/10 and is a Sudoku rip-off. Tom Vasel review says "Nice components and a fun time for children will keep me from discarding the game, but I cannot recommend it."

I don't want to get my facts wrong; is this another Reiner Knizia or the same guy as the Twitter guy?
30 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Cameron Chien
United States
Rancho Cucamonga
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Rex and Dune are virtually the same game. The addition of the characters and the three special abilities per character significantly changes the overall game of Flash Duel. The board was also shrunk, to allow the combatants to get within striking distance of each other sooner.

Cameron

Edit: Puzzle Strike is much more than a retheme of Dominion. Puzzle Strike remains one of the very few deck building games that is not about having the most victory points. Thunderstone or Tanto Cuore are much closer to Dominion than Puzzle Strike is.

If you just don't like Sirlin's games, then fine, but while you could argue that Flash Duel is a retheme of En Garde, Puzzle Strike and Yomi are significantly different than the games that inspired them.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Bigney
Canada
Kingston
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I used to be entirely on Mr. Sirlin's side on this, based on his development work and the fact that he had given due credit.
Then he called En Garde "kind of boring" in the aforementioned Penny Arcade post, and to be frank I find such comments rather crass given the circumstances.
19 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Sampson
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I have not played either game, but I am curious, those of you that have played both, do you think it is reasonable for someone to buy both games, specifically if they were aware of both and both were available? I would say that is certainly true of Puzzle Strike and Dominion as they are very distinct despite the similar base idea. On the other hand, from the looks from these games at least, I feel that if I had Flash Duel, it would be silly to have the other, and that, to me, causes concern, especially if RK doesn't approve.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Greg R.
United States
Indian Trail
North Carolina
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
David took a good (20 year old) idea and made it better. People need to relax.
40 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
True Blue Jon
United States
Vancouver
Washington
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
What I find ludicrous is that these designers don't just talk to each other instead of posting on websites.
19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Hackman
United States
Champaign
Illinois
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Sirlin's defense mentions Pulp Fiction for borrowing small bits from several films. He mentions that WoW did not originate online gaming and Street Fighter was not the first fighting game. None of these, however seems analogous to his situation.

Lots of game borrow a theme or a mechanic. Most people don't have a problem with new deckbuilding games or a new traitor game. As he mentions himself, the raid and traitor modes in Flash Duel are inspired by other properties, yet no one is accusing him of ripping off Shadows over Camelot or WoWTCG. The fact that Flash Duel has a raid mode will likely have minimal to no effect on whether a gamer also buys WoWTCG. Likewise, no one is going to ignore Indiana Jones because Pulp Fiction also has an object that glows.

However, if a copy of Flash Duel contains within it an almost complete version of En Garde, then the originator of the game stands to suffer from the "creative cloning" that is going on. I guess one might purchase En Garde simply because I assume it has a lower price or the Sirlin universe doesn't appeal to you, but that certainly must be a small demographic who would make such a choice.

I don't think anyone, including Knizia, would complain if Sirlin made a dueling game or a game that uses numbered cards or a game that uses similarly numbered cards to block. But making a game that includes all of this, which is basically all of En Garde, is a little more troubling.

Whether or not Knizia has an overly high opinion of his creative genius is a separate matter.
29 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kweku
United States
Oakland
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
tumorous wrote:
Do you think that Sirlin acted wrongly by using En Garde in this way? And does Knizia's disapproval affect how you view this game?

Furthermore -- even if you think that Sirlin is morally in the clear -- do you think that this use of Flash Duel as "inspiration" demonstrates worse design or a worse designer? (See Knizia's third tweet.)


Everyone has their own set of morals. Personally I don't care that Sirlin built off En Garde's concept

Nah I don't think it demonstrates a "worse design or designer", but it's probably "less impressive." Original designs that are also really good are super impressive. Designs that are either original but mediocre, or unoriginal but good aren't as impressive.

As a player, I care mostly about the game just being fun to play. And in that way, Flash Duel succeeds for me, and En Garde fails. But Flash Duel won't "impress" me as much as a fun game that is also original. Every game doesn't need to impress me though, so I don't mind unoriginal designs at all if they're good. When I'm actually playing I'm not trying to be impressed, I'm just trying to have fun.

garcia1000 wrote:
Before I comment on this, is this the same Reiner Knizia that designed this game:

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/24520/sudoku-challenge

It looks like a game that is rated 4.61/10 and is a Sudoku rip-off. Tom Vasel review says "Nice components and a fun time for children will keep me from discarding the game, but I cannot recommend it."

I don't want to get my facts wrong; is this another Reiner Knizia or the same guy as the Twitter guy?


Yes, same guy. Pretty funny.
ras2124 wrote:
I have not played either game, but I am curious, those of you that have played both, do you think it is reasonable for someone to buy both games, specifically if they were aware of both and both were available? I would say that is certainly true of Puzzle Strike and Dominion as they are very distinct despite the similar base idea. On the other hand, from the looks from these games at least, I feel that if I had Flash Duel, it would be silly to have the other, and that, to me, causes concern, especially if RK doesn't approve.


No, its not reasonable for someone to buy both games. Your impression is right, Flash Duel cannibalizes En Garde. The only reason someone would prefer En Garde is if they can't stand asymmetry for some reason, and even then you can play En Garde rules with Flash Duels components (other than the shortened board).
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sam
Australia
Dickson
ACT
flag msg tools
??!
badge
And when you gaze long into Ducky Momo, Ducky Momo also gazes into you.
mbmbmbmbmb
24 Feb @Fad23 I differentiate between design and development: design creates, development refines...

I've heard a lot of stories from professional entrepreneurs, professional authors, professional screenwriters and so on, about people who come up to them and say, I've got a great idea: you can develop/write it and we'll split the profits 50/50.

Of course, and this is Sirlin's defense in a nutshell, that's insane. Ideas are cheap; success is 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration. I am quite prepared to believe that his work on Flash Duel dwarfs, both in time and effort, Knizia's on En Garde -- balancing asymmetrical powers is hard, and dismissing that work as "refinement" is inadequate.

I don't think Martin Wallace owes Donald X. Vaccarino for taking the deckbuilding/shuffling part of Dominion and using it in a game which is actually interesting. The main difference here seems to be that there is so little to En Garde that taking its key mechanic effectively copies the entire game.
66 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kweku
United States
Oakland
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
srand wrote:
Of course, and this is Sirlin's defense in a nutshell, that's insane. Ideas are cheap; success is 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration. I am quite prepared to believe that his work on Flash Duel dwarfs, both in time and effort, Knizia's on En Garde -- balancing asymmetrical powers is hard, and dismissing that work as "refinement" is inadequate.


Well said. Won't even get into the alternate gameplay modes
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jesse Fuchs
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
My basic take is that it's a grey area—the fact that he did incorporate the entire tiny tiny ruleset of another game is like some sort of moral vase-face optical illusion, as was seen the last time this subject came up—but ethically I think Sirlin is more or less in the clear, especially given Knizia's own history (did he credit Howard Garnes in his Sudoku Challenge game, I wonder?).

There's no way anybody who actually wants En Garde and just En Garde is going to pay $35 for a whole bunch of shiny extra cards and sheets etc. The idea that Sirlin is cannabilizing Knizia's sales—rather than competing with their market space with a more expensive but arguably superior product—is pretty weak, especially when you consider that En Garde is probably literally not even one of Knizia's last 100 published games, and that the iOS version of it is probably the most slapdash and lazy of his wildly uneven digital ports. So it's not like we're talking about cloning 7 Wonders here.

I think the main lesson for us all here is that, if you're going to take someone else's tiny tiny ruleset, polish it up, make it the tutorial version of your more ambitious game, and then call the original "kind of boring," it's probably best not to do it to the sort of math Ph.D who insists on being called "Dr."
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Gee
Canada
St Catharines
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
The quality of a good designer stems from his or her ability to originate truely new and innovative ideas, found within themselves.


Hmmmm, I wonder if Knizia found the idea for FITS "within himself".
37 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Sampson
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Jesse F wrote:
My basic take is that it's a grey area—the fact that he did incorporate the entire tiny tiny ruleset of another game is like some sort of moral vase-face optical illusion, as was seen the last time this subject came up—but ethically I think Sirlin is more or less in the clear, especially given Knizia's own history (did he credit Howard Garnes in his Sudoku Challenge game, I wonder?).

There's no way anybody who actually wants En Garde and just En Garde is going to pay $35 for a whole bunch of shiny extra cards and sheets etc. The idea that Sirlin is cannabilizing Knizia's sales—rather than competing with their market space with a more expensive but arguably superior product—is pretty weak, especially when you consider that En Garde is probably literally not even one of Knizia's last 100 published games, and that the iOS version of it is probably the most slapdash and lazy of his wildly uneven digital ports. So it's not like we're talking about cloning 7 Wonders here.

I think the main lesson for us all here is that, if you're going to take someone else's tiny tiny ruleset, polish it up, make it the tutorial version of your more ambitious game, and then call the original "kind of boring," it's probably best not to do it to the sort of math Ph.D who insists on being called "Dr."
En Garde was reprinted in 2009 with an MSRP of $29.99 so I think there is definitely a cannibalizing issue. It is true that it is available for cheaper than MSRP online, but that is more an issue of Sirlin's business tactics.

Also, "Dr." is the correct honorific for someone with a Ph.D.
23 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nathan Ehlers
United States
Cleveland
Ohio
flag msg tools
I love you!
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't know, Knizia complaining makes me less sympathetic. How many ways can you repackage Keltis while still complaining about your ideas being rehashed?

I see absolutely no moral issue with what this designer has done, even considering the fact that there is no longer a veil of confusion over whether he did it intentionally. He's the guy that put the digital clock in some other guy's VCR and started selling them as his own. I'm okay with that, it reminds me to go get my hot pocket out of the microwave.
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [17] | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.