Plagiarism? Games VERY similar to others
Daniel Danzer
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Do you know the feeling to read about or play a game and think: "I know this one - but with a different name by another designer from another publisher - strange!"
Plagiarism is the rather unpleasant side of the boardgame industry and not easily recognized. This is, because
a) ideas are usually not under copyright. Single mechanisms or "ideas" for a game can be freely adopted and changed and a different game built around without violating the copyright of the original "mind", at least in most countries (as far as I know, but of course, in case of several countries being involved, this is is even more difficult!),
b) some ideas are "in the air", parallel designs might happen and being published without knowing about each other,
c) designers of a game and its publishers might be just not aware of the game published ten years ago being the same of theirs. Not until the original designer is showing saying: "Hey, that`s my game!"

The SAZ (Spiele-Autoren-Zunft, aka Game Designer`s Guild), an organization of more than 400 boardgame designers, mainly from Germany, but also worldwide, has announced an initiative to settle arguments between designers and publishers about this matter. Their "Code on Matters of Intellectual Property Rights With Respect to Games" can be read here (German & English): http://www.spieleautorenzunft.de/tl_files/files/Nachrichten-...
It is yet a draft to start a discussion with publishing companies, but a good start, as I think. It is a tool to show publishers, that the game designers are all aware of the problem and they want to solve things in a constructive way.

This list has the purpose to just collect and record some similarities WITHOUT JUDGMENT about the fact of plagiarism. Please add the "original" game (usually published earlier) and give a hint to the "copy", telling us your observation of similarities, but leave it to the reader to research and coming to their own conclusion.


This is a delicate matter, so please treat it like that. Thanks.
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1. Board Game: Anno Domini: Erfindungen [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:3287]
Board Game: Anno Domini: Erfindungen
Daniel Danzer
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Well, Bruno Faidutti makes a single entry for 3 games with the same core mechanism - building up a timeline of event cards in chronoligal order, then checking the back of the cards for the correct year info:
http://www.faidutti.com/index.php?Module=ludotheque&id=722

Chronology (1996), the first one with this core mechanism, is different to the other two, since every player builds his own line and collect ten cards.

1998 Urs Hostettler`s "Anno Domini" concept included several thematic sets like "Nature", "Inventions", "Lifestyle", each with 336 cards. He came up with building a single line with all players getting rid of their cards and leaving all years hidden, until one player doubts the correct order, which adds a lot of bluffing to the "knowledge" game.

In 2010, Timeline: Inventions has illustrations and no bluffing element: All players place a card to a common line and immediately check, if they are correct. Again, there is a series of sets (starting with "Inventions" and "Discoveries") in small boxes.

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2. Board Game: [_BLÄNK] [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:13362]
Board Game: [_BLÄNK]
Daniel Danzer
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This seems to be a commercialized version of Cards Against Humanity - which is produced under cc license, excluding being commercialized ...
 
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Board Game: Jungle Jam
I hope it's OK to link this list even though some of it's items are judgmental. It's mostly games BGG specifies as "unauthorized".
 
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4. Board Game: Catch the Match [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:8075]
Board Game: Catch the Match
Daniel Danzer
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Stuttgart
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The open letter of designer Reinhard Staupe was starting the discussion more than ever last year. He talked about a parallel design, but was still thinking about how to deal with this ...
http://www.spielbox.de/pdf/staupeOLen.pdf

Core mechanism:
Two cards with a number of objects on them are placed on the table and the players have to recognize the two items on both cards, which are the same.
Board Game: Catch the Match

In this game, the items on the cards are always the same, but they occur in different colours. You have to find the two items with identical colours.

15 years later, Spot it! was published, with a smaller number of different items on the cards and you have to spot the items. There are no differences of the colours of each item, and a number of variant rules.
Board Game: Spot it!


BGG thread about the topic:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/588336/unauthorized-copy...

German video comparing both games:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/4513/spot-it/kunterbunt-u...
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5. Board Game: Chicken Dance [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Board Game: Chicken Dance
Manuel Uzelmaier
Germany
Freiburg i. b.
Deutschland
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its very very near to Dancing Eggs or Dancing Eggs from Habe.

There is a Video Spot from Chicken Dance [url]www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=WugqPn0-6No [/url]

and her is a German Comment http://de.trictrac.net/news-doppelter-eiertanz.php
 
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6. Board Game: Coup d'État [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:7920]
Board Game: Coup d'État
David
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San Antonio
Texas
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This was published in the 60s.
Dragonmaster was published 15 years later and is very similar.
But why play either when Barbu just requires a deck of cards? Other than the cool interlocking "scoring jewels" of Dragonmaster, that is.
 
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7. Board Game: Deadline Saloon [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked]
Board Game: Deadline Saloon
Daniel Danzer
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Stuttgart
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The game designer of this wrote to both Zoch as the designers of Beasty Bar, informing them he would produce his own version of the game. Although they didn't give him permission and asked him not to do so, he told them there would be no copyright for games and published it via gamecrafter.
 
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8. Board Game: Deadlock City Bounty Hunters [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Deadlock City Bounty Hunters
Markus Hagenauer jr.
Germany
Surheim
Germany
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With Deadlock City Bounty Hunters, the "designer" of the mentioned above Deadline Saloon did another variation of a popular game designed by someone else. It is nothong more then Love Letter + 2 additional cards.
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9. Board Game: Diamant [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:704]
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Daniel Danzer
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Stuttgart
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Here, a case of obviously non-licensed publishing occurred, and designer Bruno Faidutti finally agreed in giving permission, but with credits.
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/500657/faidutti-gives-permis...
The game version in question was Tensão Total.

More games rather just published unlicensed than pretending to be new designs, here:
Cardboard Pirates: Unauthorized Editions
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10. Board Game: Encounters [Average Rating:5.69 Overall Rank:15606]
Board Game: Encounters
Steffan O'Sullivan

Plymouth
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The Geek? Yes, it's a good site. But - ah! You should have seen it before the rebranding! It was legible and a joy to read! All gone now, sadly, and so (mostly) am I because of it ...
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Encounters from Mayfair (1982) is a fun little battle card game I used to play with a girlfriend and her four-year-old son and we had a good time with it. A little light for an all adult audience, but not a bad game, really.

Fast forward to GenCon 1990, long after I've broken up with that girlfriend (well, the inverse, really). At that point I buy a copy of The Challenge from Lion Rampant. I don't open it until I get home. Then ... hmmm, I've seen this game before. Oh wait, they tweaked it a tiny bit. It's maybe 10% different.

No mention of Encounters in the credits, though...
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11. Board Game: Flash Duel [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:4909]
Board Game: Flash Duel
Daniel Danzer
Germany
Stuttgart
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See here for the discussion about being influenced by Knizia`s En Garde:
Is Flash Duel Sufficiently Original? Knizia Weighed In.
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12. Board Game: Full Metal Planète [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:1945]
Board Game: Full Metal Planète
Daniel Danzer
Germany
Stuttgart
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Well, the new TF22 and what might be behind its publishing, is discussed here:
New Full Métal Planète?
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13. Board Game: Glory to Rome [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:190]
Board Game: Glory to Rome
Daniel Danzer
Germany
Stuttgart
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According to this thread CGF sends cease and desist regarding unlicensed version of Glory To Rome, there are some question arising regarding [thing=73421][/thing] ...
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14. Board Game: Haunted Village [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Haunted Village
Daniel Danzer
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Stuttgart
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Very similar to Fatal Frame: The Card Game
See FATAL FRAME?

Edit: According to the posts in the discussion thread, this turned out in an agreement between the original designer and the one who took the idea and claimed it being his own. Good thing, in the end, and the only case so far, IMO. Of course, we are NOT talking about big business here, so it was an agreement between two gamers, not companies ...
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15. Board Game: Heckmeck Junior [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:7240]
Board Game: Heckmeck Junior
I was pleasantly surprised to see my sons handed a dice game entitled "Hotchpotch"/"Sammelarium" on a recent flight with Lufthansa.

Then I read the rules and noticed it was almost identical to Heckmeck (Pickomino) Junior!
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16. Board Game: HeroQuest [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:563] [Average Rating:7.14 Unranked]
Board Game: HeroQuest
United Kingdom
Poole
Dorset
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The box design at least was ripped off by Herocults:

Board Game: HeroQuest

Board Game: Herocults



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17. Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish! [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:817]
Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish!
Daniel Danzer
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Russian publisher Zvezda has created some strange version of the original game because not having a license for the original one:
What's wrong with this cover?
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18. Board Game: Hungry Hungry Hippos [Average Rating:4.13 Overall Rank:19497]
Board Game: Hungry Hungry Hippos
Randall Bart
United States
Winnetka
California
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Baseball been bery bery good to me
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Parker Brothers went bananas.
 
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19. Board Game: Laser Battle [Average Rating:5.58 Overall Rank:15659]
Board Game: Laser Battle
Khet just won a lawsuit against the makers and retailers (Walmart and Toys R Us) of Laser Battle for infringing on their patent.
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20. Board Game: Legends of the Three Kingdoms [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:11145]
Board Game: Legends of the Three Kingdoms
This is a reskinned BANG!, down to the card effects.
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21. Board Game: Polar Dare! [Average Rating:5.57 Overall Rank:16124]
Board Game: Polar Dare!

Eugene
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And Im Reich des weißen Bären. Both published the same year.
 
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22. Board Game: Stacked [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Stacked
Plagiarism of Sid Sackson's Focus/Domination.
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23. Board Game: Stacket! [Average Rating:4.20 Unranked]
Board Game: Stacket!
Daniel Danzer
Germany
Stuttgart
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Well, the designer said, he had no knowledge about Bausack, when creating this. But to be honest - a little research should be done before trying to make a cut on kickstarter or licensing to a publisher. It seems to be just one additional rule (build your piece, so it touches the last piece built before) to the 25 years old "Tower of Babel" variant for Bausack ...

Board Game: Bausack

Bausack
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