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Subject: Need steps with how to make a game legally rss

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David Stephens
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Hi,

My name is David, and I have a great Idea for a card game that is based on anime, but I have no idea how to go about making this game a reality, legally. Does anyone know what I would need to do? Or who I could talk to, to get a list of sorts of things that need to be done to get the game published with breaking copyright or whatnot?

Hopefully you can help, cause I have tried google and just no luck. I just don't know what to do. Any help would be appreciated! Thank you!
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mike
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What company owns the anime show?

You would have to see who to contact for licensing deals
1.) to see if they even are willing to license the show for a game
2.) to see if someone already holds the license rights

If you're not an established publisher with a track record of producing games, then it's not going to happen
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mike
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No luck with a google search? I seriously doubt that, finding this stuff took all of 5 minutes


"Licensing IP games"
https://www.google.com/search?q=Licensing+IP&ie=utf-8&oe=utf...:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=sb#channel=sb&q=Licensing+IP+games&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official

Licensing IP Anime
https://www.google.com/search?q=Licensing+IP&ie=utf-8&oe=utf...:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=sb#channel=sb&q=%22Licensing+IP+Anime&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official

Oh look a topic here on BGG
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/981623/how-do-you-license-co...

IP Attorneys media
http://www.medialawyer.com/

Licensing deal with anime producer
https://www.google.com/search?q=Licensing+IP&ie=utf-8&oe=utf...:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=sb#channel=sb&q=Licensing+deal+with+anime+producer&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official

List of anime companies
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_anime_companies

MOst of them probably have some kind of contact page
http://a1p.jp/contact/contact_cat/english/
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David Stephens
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Well as I stated before I have no idea what I was looking for, whereas you obviously knew...
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You never did explain if you wanted to use EXISTING anime or original. If you use original art not depicting copyrighted material, there is no issue.
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David Stephens
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No sorry the idea I have is for an Attack on Titan co-op deckbuilding game... just need to find out how to go about making it real... not so easy...
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Paul DeStefano
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There's already a truckload of Attack On Titan games. There's a card game available, but you'll need to find someone to translate to find the company that owns the rights:

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Chad
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David, why don't you just make the characters look so it's very similar but not the same? Give them similar names and such but change just enough so that people know what you are doing but without copying.
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Chad
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Oh, and I forgot to say good luck on your project.
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John "Omega" Williams
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I have done IP themed RPGs for comics before and heres some advice.

1: Make sure you know the subject inside and out. If you come across as a wanna-be then you are more likely to get told to get lost. Also a good knowlege of the subject helps to attract fans. Screwups will cost you.

2: You will either have to pay a licensing fee, or royalties, or both. This is NOT a free ride. Depending on the IP this can be cheap, or it can be a huge sum.

3: Have a good idea of what you want to do with the game and how the IP ties in. This will help sell the owner on the idea. If you come across as without a clue then forget it.

4: Have lots of money to throw at such a project. Really. IP games rarely come cheap and Card games and especially CCGs are some of the most expensive games to produce due to the high art costs.

5: Have a fallback plan. IP deals are NOTORIOUSLY fickle and you can and likely will at some point end up losing the license without warning. Being able to retheme your game helps.

As for Attack on Titan. Bemusingly I am one of the people who inspired that particular manga.
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Jake Staines
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Omega2064 wrote:

As for Attack on Titan. Bemusingly I am one of the people who inspired that particular manga.


I have to ask: are you fifty metres tall?
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Mark J
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As others have pointed out, getting legal rights to someone else's characters is difficult and expensive, unless you are already rich and famous yourself, which I'm guessing you're probably not.

So I would ask: Is it essential to use these existing characters? Or could you just take whatever the basic idea is and create your own characters and whatever other details you need?

Like I recall that when Star Wars first came out, a very big game company at the time made a game called "Freedom in the Galaxy", about a group of rebels fighting against a tyrannical galactic empire. It was very, very obviously based on Star Wars. You could easily match their characters against the characters in Star Wars. Their empire had something called the "Planetary Stabilizer" that sounded an awful lot like the Death star, they had a rebel secret base, etc. But they never called it Star Wars, they gave all the characters and the planets and all different names, etc. They made everything just different enough that while it was clearly "inspired" by Star Wars, it was not a copy of Star Wars. So it was all completely legal.
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mike
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Here's a crazy but probably obvious question

How many games have you designed or published?

Just throwing that out there because it's not likely an anime company particularly one that has already licensed games is going to risk their IP if you don't have an history in the industry either freelance or working directly for a toy company, publisher, video game studio, etc



And do you already have a design ready present to them?

Or at least have something storyboards to pitch?

Or are you pretty much going with Hey I'm a fan and I's like to make a game

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David Stephens
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I keep just saying to myself that someone must come up with the ideas for the games I see in the store... and if no one thinks of this idea, why can't I just share my idea and have a company make this game? Is it that farfetched? I just seriously want to see this on shelves...

There are not many deckbuilding games that I know of... but maybe talking with a lawyer would be the best first step I guess?
 
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John "Omega" Williams
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Bichatse wrote:
Omega2064 wrote:

As for Attack on Titan. Bemusingly I am one of the people who inspired that particular manga.


I have to ask: are you fifty metres tall?


Nah. Not that short... whistle
 
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John "Omega" Williams
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EdElric190 wrote:
I keep just saying to myself that someone must come up with the ideas for the games I see in the store... and if no one thinks of this idea, why can't I just share my idea and have a company make this game? Is it that farfetched? I just seriously want to see this on shelves...

There are not many deckbuilding games that I know of... but maybe talking with a lawyer would be the best first step I guess?


It doesnt work that way. IP holders rarely if EVER actually make their own games and merchandise unless they are created from the ground up as multi-media.

This is why licensing an IP is so lucrative. You get creative types to pay you for the right to turn your IP into merchandice.

As for deckbuilders. There are TONS of CCGs in Japan. New ones come out and promptly vanish every year. Standalones though are becoming more common as even over there the CCG market is a dead horse still shambling along.

Take note that you will need an actual game to present to a publisher. Not just an "idea" for a game. And you will need the license first otherwise none will even let you in the door.

Think things through. If you are not publishing the game yourself then do not get your hopes up. IP is convoluted and can be costly to deal with.
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Paul DeStefano
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EdElric190 wrote:
There are not many deckbuilding games that I know of...


Considering every week there are posts from people saying "Why is every new game a deckbuilder" and "Does the market have too many deckbuilders", "deckbuilders are detroying the industry" and "I'm sick of all the deckbuilders", you may want to do a bit more research.
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Mike Strickland
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To be honest, I'd start by creating an entirely original anime and create a game from that, unless you have tons of money to put into licensing. You can create an LLC for $125 max, at least in the state of Florida. It's probably not too far off in other states. You can then copyright your art and any stories for $30. You can fund your game through Kickstarter, and handle all the marketing, coordinating with manufacturers, configure shipping logistics and distribution channels, contract artists, and market your game online through social media. Congratulations, you're now a publisher. The publishing part is inexpensive, it is the art that you're going to need to invest money into, unless you're a great artist yourself, then you've got an advantage. All in all, self publishing isn't expensive, but it's a lot of work. If you're really passionate about your idea, you'll be willing to put forth that work. Best of luck to you.
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Adam Tucker
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EdElric190 wrote:
There are not many deckbuilding games that I know of... but maybe talking with a lawyer would be the best first step I guess?


As Geosphere indicated, this seems to say more about your knowledge of deckbuilding games. If you are looking to design your own, you may want to try a few more to see what works, and what doesn't.

I have played:
Dominion
Trains
Thunderstone/Thunderstone Advance
Friday
Ascension
Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
Eminent Domain
Core Worlds
Bulwark
Rune Age
Puzzle Strike
Nightfall
Tanto Cuore
DC Comics Deck-Building Game
Star Realms
Star Trek Deck Building Game
Penny Arcade: The Game – Gamers vs. Evil
Eaten by Zombies!
Resident Evil Deck Building Game
Shadowrift
Briefcase
Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game
EndBreaker! SCG: Build & Break
Heroes of Metro City
Arctic Scavengers
Barbarossa
Heroes of Graxia
El Alamein
3012
Terra Evolution
Miskatonic School for Girls
Quarriors! (though only with the original Rules As Written)
Cirque du Monstre
Dynamite Nurse
Kanzume Goddess
The Lord of the Rings Dice Building Game

Board games that really focus on deckbuilding, but there are some other mechanisms in play:
Fantastiqa
Copycat
Empires of Zidal
Galactic Strike Force (note that it doesn't feel much like deck-building, because most of the cards you'll add to your deck will be out of your deck {installed as tech on your ship} the first time you can play them)

Games where there is deck-building, but it is not the primary focus of the game:
A Study in Emerald (area control as a form of bidding and hidden partnerships/teams are more important here)
City of Iron (a close call - tableau and deck building are intermixed here; as an odd quirk the cards in each players decks (military and citizen) are not shuffled: when draw piles are empty, the corresponding discard pile is flipped upside down {maintaining order} to create the new draw deck)

Games where you don't go through your deck that much, so you don't really build up your deck that much (plus there is more going on in the game so the primary focus is not deck-building):
Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game
The Adventure of Hayabusa
Mage Knight Board Game
(Cirque du Monstre might fit here too, but the primary focus there is on deck building)

Games that are called deck-building games, or are said to have a deck-building mechanism, but in my opinion are really something else - though some are much closer to deck-building than others. The most popular variant are games that are really action selection limited by a hand of cards. Cards are discarded after having been played and cannot be picked up to use their action again until all cards have been played (all different actions taken) or early at some significant cost and/or the playing of a specific card (like Witch of Salem):
Concordia (Action-selection as noted above; cards can be gained, but not removed; all cards start in hand - any card in hand may be played; gained cards go to hand {immediately available to be played on following turns}; discarded cards are picked up with the playing of a specific card - which gives the player more money for more cards picked up.)
Lewis & Clark (Action-selection as noted above; cards can be gained and removed from the game; all cards start in hand - any card in hand may be played; gained cards go to hand {immediately available to be played on that turn or following turns}; some actions can be taken without playing cards {by spending indian meeples}; played cards need to be fueled by other cards and/or retained indian meeples; played cards can be picked up by "setting up camp", which can be taken before or after any action but incurs a cost which is based on unplayed cards and retained indian meeples.)
Rococo (Action selection similar to as noted above, but closer to actual deck-building; cards can be gained and removed from the game; there is an actual "draw pile", but players can select from their entire draw pile their hand of 3 cards for the round (if fewer than 3 cards remain in the draw pile, they must take any remaining cards from the draw pile into their hand before moving cards from the discard to form a new draw pile); cards don't actually have actions on them, but rather restrict what actions can be taken and potentially give some bonus.)
Archon: Glory & Machination (Worker placement where the cards need to be played with the worker to denote the power/ability of the worker; cards are only ever upgraded not added or removed; always 10 total cards and players split them every 2 rounds into 2 hands - 1 for the current round, 1 for the next; any Courtier card may be upgraded to any 1 of the 4 different Magisters: cards in hand, cards already played, cards for the next round {with set maximums for any one type per player}.)
Kashgar: Merchants of the Silk Road (Action selection where you can select the action at the top of one of 3 "decks" - the chosen card goes the "bottom" of its "deck"; each "deck" is arranged in a row, so you can see all the actions and the order they will be available in; instead of playing an action, an action may be skipped {except for those marked with a "!"} - moving it to the "bottom" of its "deck" as if it had been played; cards added to decks will, in general, be from a blind draw from a shared standard card deck, or, with actions on certain cards from the standard card deck from a smaller shared "special" card deck; some cards will or can remove themselves from the game after their action is used, many will not - there are a few of the "special" cards that can remove any card from a deck; all decks have a card {marked with a "!"} that will add a standard card to its deck - either 1 of the top 2 in blind draw or taking two turns/actions any 1 card from the standard card discard that cannot remove itself from the game.)


There are even more deck-builders listed on BGG if you do the Advanced search, Filter on Board Game Mechanic with + Deck / Pool Building.
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Jason Washburn
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Design the game play it, fix it. Redesign it. Play it. Fix it. Play it, Play it, Play it. if after this process you have a game that really fits the world and the theme and the game plays extremely well. Then write the rules and have other people play it. And do this until all the ways to break your game are smoked out. After this, get some basic art done for your game so it is at least pleasing to look at. Nothing flashy but not a sharpie on white cards either.

Then you can pitch your game. You are putting the cart WAY ahead of the horse. I don't foresee any company giving you access to their IP without know the game, playing the game, seeing the game.
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I am a lawyer, and just wanted to chime in with agreement to much of what has been said in here. You can't make a game based on an existing IP (it would be a derivative work, which is the exclusive right of the IP holder) without their express permission. You're not going to get an IP holder to give that permission (known as a license) without demonstrating value on your end. This could be done through an established brand or audience, a brilliant game design or some other show of value. If all you have is an idea, then it's time to go back to the drawing board.

The advice that you should get your chops up by creating a few other games first is very good. Very few companies are going to work with a first-timer who can't prove that the IP would be in good hands.

Best of luck to you! If you want to get a good overview of the legal issues in game development, I have a free eBook that talks about these things. Check it out here.
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jason2043 wrote:
Design the game play it, fix it. Redesign it. Play it. Fix it. Play it, Play it, Play it. if after this process you have a game that really fits the world and the theme and the game plays extremely well. Then write the rules and have other people play it. And do this until all the ways to break your game are smoked out. After this, get some basic art done for your game so it is at least pleasing to look at. Nothing flashy but not a sharpie on white cards either.

Then you can pitch your game. You are putting the cart WAY ahead of the horse. I don't foresee any company giving you access to their IP without know the game, playing the game, seeing the game.


In fairness to the OP ... If the answer is, "There's no way you're going to get the license rights to do this", then there's no point spending months developing the game before trying to pitch it. Just because a step comes late in the process doesn't mean it's not worth thinking about it early on. It might change your approach to earlier steps, or convince you that the whole project is pointless and you should spend your time on something else.
 
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saneperson wrote:
jason2043 wrote:
Design the game play it, fix it. Redesign it. Play it. Fix it. Play it, Play it, Play it. if after this process you have a game that really fits the world and the theme and the game plays extremely well. Then write the rules and have other people play it. And do this until all the ways to break your game are smoked out. After this, get some basic art done for your game so it is at least pleasing to look at. Nothing flashy but not a sharpie on white cards either.

Then you can pitch your game. You are putting the cart WAY ahead of the horse. I don't foresee any company giving you access to their IP without know the game, playing the game, seeing the game.


In fairness to the OP ... If the answer is, "There's no way you're going to get the license rights to do this", then there's no point spending months developing the game before trying to pitch it. Just because a step comes late in the process doesn't mean it's not worth thinking about it early on. It might change your approach to earlier steps, or convince you that the whole project is pointless and you should spend your time on something else.


Great point. I pretty much tell everyone who wants to do a project based on an existing property the same thing. That energy is almost always better spent creating something unique on your own, at least at first. Once you're established, it becomes easier to get the licensing deal.
 
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David Cheng
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I found two games about the anime now. One is a board game & the other is a card game.



 
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John "Omega" Williams
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Probably a video game out by now too. I know someone had a short lived flash one out but looks like it was closed down promptly as they didnt have permission.
 
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