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Subject: Statement from Fireside Games rss

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Justin De Witt
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Hello Everyone,

We understand there is some confusion regarding Orcs, Orcs, Orcs and Castle Panic. Orcs, Orcs, Orcs is in no way related to the Panic line that Fireside Games produces. It is not an authorized version and was made without any form of approval or permission from Fireside Games. While we briefly discussed the possibility of Queen Games licensing Castle Panic for foreign distribution a couple of years ago, we have never been contacted by Queen Games regarding their Kickstarter project.

We are very disappointed in the graphical and thematic similarities to Castle Panic and are concerned that this may result in confusion on the part of consumers. Since this confusion benefits neither company, we are contacting Queen Games to ask if they will consider making graphical changes to their game in this or future printings to ensure each game can stand on its own in the market.

We understand that innovative mechanics are often inspirational and can be included in later games, and we’re proud of the products we make. However, it’s important to us that consumers have a clear understanding when it comes to the family friendly, accessible brand we have built. We will keep you updated on the situation. In the meantime, we will continue to work at bringing you great games.

Thank you
Justin De Witt
Chief Creative Officer, Fireside Games
Designer of Castle Panic
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Sam Carroll
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And the plot thickens . . .
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Kevin Seachrist
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I truly hope Fireside comes out on top on this one. This is more than just a general mechanical similarity and to suggest otherwise is either being naive or consciously untruthful.

The fact that the game has most likely already gone to the printers means it's extremely unlikely that Queen will make any changes willingly, though.

EDIT: and the fact that Fireside had already approached Queen for Castle Panic distribution? Seems like the implied response "we're not interested in distributing your game, but we're happy to steal from it shamelessly" hopefully comes back to haunt them in a major way.
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Bruno Gaia
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Rykaar wrote:
I truly hope Fireside comes out on top on this one. This is more than just a general mechanical similarity and to suggest otherwise is either being naive or consciously untruthful.

The fact that the game has most likely already gone to the printers means it's extremely unlikely that Queen will make any changes willingly, though.

EDIT: and the fact that Fireside had already approached Queen for Castle Panic distribution? Seems like the implied response "we're not interested in distributing your game, but we're happy to steal from it shamelessly" hopefully comes back to haunt them in a major way.

In which case the community as a whole should shun the game for what it would be: IP theft (IMO one of the worst kind of felonies)
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Bartosz Popow
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Was there a similar incitement for boycotting Thunderstone et consortes?
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Kevin Seachrist
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brunogaia wrote:
Rykaar wrote:
I truly hope Fireside comes out on top on this one. This is more than just a general mechanical similarity and to suggest otherwise is either being naive or consciously untruthful.

The fact that the game has most likely already gone to the printers means it's extremely unlikely that Queen will make any changes willingly, though.

EDIT: and the fact that Fireside had already approached Queen for Castle Panic distribution? Seems like the implied response "we're not interested in distributing your game, but we're happy to steal from it shamelessly" hopefully comes back to haunt them in a major way.

In which case the community as a whole should shun the game for what it would be: IP theft (IMO one of the worst kind of felonies)

I won't buy it for this reason, even though it looks like it'll be pretty good. Until Fireside actually weighed in, I was planning to do so, but Justin's post just made it clear there's a problem.

However, the Kickstarter campaign has been hugely successful. So there's already a huge number of people who either don't know or don't care, or truly feel there's no issue here. I suppose there's a chance they never heard of Castle Panic, but I doubt most folks preordering this game on Kickstarter can honestly claim that.
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Kevin Seachrist
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BartP wrote:
Was there a similar incitement for boycotting Thunderstone et consortes?

You mean for lifting the deck building mechanic from Dominion? Well, before Dominion there was the boardgame version of StarCraft that featured deck building during the game. I'm not sure that mechanic itself can be claimed as IP.

However, in the case of OOO vs CP, the similarities really start adding up:

A central tower that the players are "occupying" set in the middle of a circular game board.

The board is divided into six pie wedges and those are in turn divided into segments that the inbound monsters move through. New monsters appear at the outer edge and work their way inward. Players can often only target the monsters in particular wedges.

The main adversaries are cartoonish orcs in both games.

The expansion for Castle Panic features wizard spells that, while simpler in execution than those in OOO, adds one more bullet point to the ideas being lifted.

OOO in general looks to be more tactically complex and in some respects makes better use of the board aspects if you want a more complex game, but that's not really the point.
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Andy Szymas
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Chump move on Queen Games part, which seems to be their Modus Operandi currently.
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Daniel Kearns
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AndySzy wrote:
Chump move on Queen Games part, which seems to be their Modus Operandi currently.

Been like this for a long time. The thing is, nothing they do seems to matter. They can put up half-baked kickstarters all day long and people will still pony up 50-100k for each. Keep the prices high and toss in their junky game overstock for free and people feel like they won the lottery. All this in spite of their terrible behavior, awful customer service, poor quality, questionable ethics, and extremely bad choices.

And it isn't just the average rube that gets the Queen treatment. DXV said they wouldn't reply to his emails either. I love Kingdom Builder but I hate that Queen has it and I'd rather see Donald kill it than publish one more thing with them.

The whole Queen phenomenon is completely baffling.
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Bartosz Popow
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I am interested in OOO (but not the Kickstarter) and not in Castle Panic mainly due to cooperative nature of the latter. So that one thing makes a huge difference to me.
 
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Andy Szymas
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dkearns wrote:
DXV said they wouldn't reply to his emails either.

I missed this - where did he say that? Link, by any chance?
 
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Andy Szymas
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BartP wrote:
I am interested in OOO (but not the Kickstarter) and not in Castle Panic mainly due to cooperative nature of the latter. So that one thing makes a huge difference to me.

Castle Panic is a coop? Or at least everyone I've seen play it plays it that way.
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Daniel Kearns
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AndySzy wrote:
dkearns wrote:
DXV said they wouldn't reply to his emails either.

I missed this - where did he say that? Link, by any chance?

Ironically, it was in a "news" advertisement about Greed.

BGG.CON 2013: Greed — Making Your Fortune on a Wing and a Prayer (and Two Thugs and a Gin Joint)

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Lee Fisher
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AndySzy wrote:
BartP wrote:
I am interested in OOO (but not the Kickstarter) and not in Castle Panic mainly due to cooperative nature of the latter. So that one thing makes a huge difference to me.

Castle Panic is a coop? Or at least everyone I've seen play it plays it that way.

That's what he was saying. He likes that OOO is not a co-op.
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I'm a backer and before I knew about OOO, I was interested in the upcoming Munchkin Panic. Why I choose this over Castle/Munchkin Panic, is that it is an language independent game (only symbols on the cards) and has a deck building aspect which I like very much.

So I admit the games seem VERY much alike, OOO is still different enough for me to prefer it over the Panic game.

But, who knows... Maybe the game will suck and I will buy Munchkin/Castle Panic too
 
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David Hubbard
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My initial impression on seeing OOO was "gee, looks like Castle Panic" but it didn't take much reading of the Kickstarter to see they're different games. Castle Panic is a coop (slightly competitive if you play with the "master slayer" rule, but you all still need to work together) and OOO isn't. The visual/mechanical similarities didn't bother me too much in light of that core difference.

Until I read this. I was borderline on backing but won't now. Castle Panic is a lot of fun, and the Wizard's Tower remains one of my favorite expansions ever for a game. It took an already good game and significantly improved on it. Way to go Queen.
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BartP wrote:
Was there a similar incitement for boycotting Thunderstone et consortes?

Nope. That was because Thunderstone introduced the dungeon which added an entirely new game element to the genre.

-Ski
 
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Alejandro G.
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Different Games. Queen Games gets my money, Fireside already has mine. The End.
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Mannie Germain
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xpiredsodapop wrote:
Different Games. Queen Games gets my money, Fireside already has mine. The End.
Exactly! This is completely ridiculous, and I don't know why Fireside would bother making a public statement about it.

The are thousands of games that share themes. Just because you made a fantasy tower defense game doesn't mean no one else can. The games look very unique from one another in terms of how they play, hey didn't rip off any art, and the titles have nothing in common to make it misleading (it's not like they called this game Orc Panic).

This actually makes me think less of Fireside for whining about it. Just because another company makes a thematically similar game doesn't mean they ripped anything off.

I'm also confused at why anyone would be at all confused about whether or not OOO has anything to do with Castle Panic. It's blatantly obvious they're not related.
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Alejandro G.
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I considering it whining because they posted it IN these forums. Post it in their own game forum, I'm all for that. No need to come over here and rain on this parade...
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Thaddeus Ryan
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I don't begrudge Justin for raising his objection. If Castle Panic were my product and a competitor came up with something that looked very close to my product, I'd tell them about it. I'd especially do so if I had tried to enter into an arrangement with my competitor, was rejected and they still came out with something very similar. The cards function differently (drafting mechanic in OOO), but the board, layout, theme and zones are quite similar.

I'm honestly surprised that Queen came out with what someone called "Castle Panic 1.5" on one of OOO pictures here. The resemblance is strong enough to evoke comparisons in an unfavorable way, even if it's not a perfect copy. This could easily have been a "Last Stand Against Cthulhu" with tentacles coming in, or "Last Defense at the Alamo" or something like that. At best OOO is unoriginal in theme, at worst it's an intentional copy.

As for whether it was appropriate for Justin to comment here rather than on Castle Panic, I don't know the circumstances going on between Fireside and Queen. Are they in conversation and Queen agreed that Fireside should make a statement here, is Queen not responsive and Fireside is making a good faith effort to get their attention, have they concluded their conversations and Fireside is venting or trying again or whining? Is it something as simple as Fireside being tired of responding to fan inquiries over whether Orcs Orcs Orcs is an expansion of the original Castle Panic. I can't say where it's appropriate for Justin to talk outside of Castle Panic's or Fireside's page, but it is odd that Queen isn't making a statement if Fireside has raised this issue some time ago. It's one thing to ignore a patent troll - that pipsqueak who sends a cease-and-desist letter five minutes after your successful Kickstarter demanding royalties for some mechanic he claims to have told you about 12 years ago at a party. It's another for a product to very highly resemble another popular product. Again, I think it was dumb for Queen to so mimic Castle Panic.

IP (Intellectual Property) in gaming is a tricksy thing. The complexity, vagueness, and expense of it really keeps me from taking my ideas and wanting to develop them to the point of publishing them - this after several conversations with an IP attorney. Yes, many games resemble one another, and unless you own Magic: The Gathering, you probably can't copyright much other than the artwork. Dominion, Thunderstone and the like are great games if you like a market-drafting mechanic, and they differ in ways that make them unique enough. Stone Age, Carc and Viticulture are alike in the worker placement mechanic but they're all very different games and they play very diferently. I can't say how differently OOO and CP would play, but that is something that would be considered if this dispute did go to a legal process.

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Since when has the boardgame world been a bastion for IP and originality? Good grief, if every company complained about every other company "stealing" their idea, then every game forum would be filled with these types posts. There's not a single game in this database that isn't either inspired, copied or straight-up stolen its idea from another game. That's reality. Even Castle Panic got its idea from other games. Is someone going to tell me Castle Panic "invented" tower defense? I don't think so.
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I agree that the games look similar and that they use similar mechanics but it's definitely a different game. Descent 2.0 and D&D Castle Ravenloft also look similar but they are a very different game (maybe a bad comparison but there are numerous games that look alike).

I can understand the reaction from Fireside but in the end I think it will benefit both games. Some people will like a certain aspect of the game but not another and this will push the gamer into the other game's direction.

In the end, we as the players will benefit because of a greater choice in games.

Just for info, I own Castle Panic and kickstarted Orcs,Orcs,Orcs.
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I've been tempted by castle panic and the expansion forever because i'm a solitaire gamer and i love thinning out the horde. What's held me back was the fear it might quickly lose its lustre for me, due to its simplicity. But i'm still interested.

OOO is a game that excited me for three seconds until i saw no solitaire. Not even on my radar. I would go for it otherwise due to its deeper nature. For one thing, I think the fact that it's not co-op puts it in a very different category for potential buyers.

Frankly, i think carnival zombie has more in common with CP than OOO does.....
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ManuMan wrote:
The are thousands of games that share themes. Just because you made a fantasy tower defense game doesn't mean no one else can. The games look very unique from one another in terms of how they play, hey didn't rip off any art, and the titles have nothing in common to make it misleading (it's not like they called this game Orc Panic).

"Sharing themes" and "being virtually identical" are two different things. The phrasing "sharing themes" as used in this board seems just a careful or polite phrasing. And of these thousands of games that share a theme, most of them, at least the significant ones, actually try to be graphically or mechanically dissimilar to each other. There are some differences between OOO and CP but the similarities heavily outweighs them and OOO is undeniably a copy unless you want to be an argumentative contrarian or sophist.

As for market communication, OOO purportedly "blends deck building with tower defence, which has never been done before". Well, Queen Games, if only there was any Tower Defence mechanics in the game. For any who might not be familiar with the denomination, "tower defence" is NOT about defending a tower, it is a well-defined genre where explained somewhat oversimplified you protect a winding path from a conga line of advancing enemies by building defence structures on the roadsides, the "towers" that more or less by themselves kill, weaken or slow the enemies.

In short: OOO is not only a copy, it is also a lie.
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