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Brass: Lancashire» Forums » News

Subject: Brass Facts rss

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Frederick Soued
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Martin Wallace has stated publicly on BGG (more than once) that he has not been paid royalties from Eagle Games (EG) for Brass. His most recent statement on this was made on July 22, 2015, at 9:27 pm:

“I asked EGG for outstanding royalty reports and payments in December 2014. I received statements and payments for 2013 and 2014. However, I did not receive any statements or payments for 2009, 2010, 2011 or 2012. I have asked for these and been refused…. It is clear that EGG have earned money from Brass without paying royalties to me. They had thirty days from when I contacted them in December to rectify this situation. They clearly have not done so, so under the terms of the contract I am allowed to terminate it immediately…. Martin Wallace”

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1405358/deluxe-brass-pr...

Here are the facts:

1) Martin Wallace (MW) and Eagle Games (EG) signed an Agreement regarding Brass in late February, 2008

2) MW was paid $4,148 USD in 2008. The game was produced and made available for sale prior to July 1, 2009 (as per the Agreement).

3) 50% of the $4,148 payment (or $2,074) was paid “for the existing art/print/computer production files for the game”. These are thus owned by Eagle Games, not by MW.

4) 50% of the $4,148 payment (or $2,074) was paid as an “advance on royalties”. Based on sales of the game, this advance royalty payment covered the remainder of 2009 and part of 2010.

5) In 2010, MW was paid $896 in royalties for Brass

6) In 2011, MW was paid $2,430 in royalties for Brass

7) In 2012, MW was paid $675 in royalties for Brass

8) In mid-December, 2014, within 10 days of his request for royalties, MW was paid $2,003 in royalties for Brass (covering the period from 1/1/13 thru 11/30/14).

9) Every payment of royalties (above) was accompanied by a statement of account. The only time Martin was “refused” copies of statements was in July, 2015 (e.g. earlier this month) when he asked to get copies of these statements again. I refused this request because of his public accusations made earlier in the month that we had not paid him, and cited the fact that we had already provided him these payments and statements and I had no obligation to give them to him again solely because he had lost them.

10) MW has been paid a total of $8,078 in royalties for Brass plus another $2,074 for the art and production files, a total of $10,152. Royalties have been paid in every year, and they total an average of $1,469 per year for the approximately 5.5 year period that they cover.

11) MW has not been paid for December, 2014, nor for any of 2015. Nor has he asked to be paid for those periods of time.

12) The Agreement has been followed exactly by EG. MW has been paid every time he has asked for payment, within 30 days of his requests, as per the Agreement terms.

13) EG firmly denies that it has not sent MW payments or statements when asked for and due; and it firmly denies it has “earned money from Brass without paying royalties” to MW.

14) MW has knowingly made false accusations to the BGG community.

15) MW has no right to terminate the Agreement with EG made in February, 2008; nor does EG acknowledge any such termination of its rights to produce the game of Brass.

16) EG will produce and sell another edition of Brass. Production is currently underway and the game is expected to arrive in the US for launch and sale in September, 2015. EG will pay MW his royalties earned on the sales of this edition of Brass as we have done since 2008.

17) EG will directly oppose and object to any attempt on the part of MW to sell the rights to produce the game Brass (or any related version of it called by another name) to another company as a breach of the February, 2008 Agreement.


Rick Soued, CEO, Eagle-Gryphon Games July 29, 2015

Another (related) fact and an opinion:

Fact: In May, 2005, MW signed a different Agreement with EG wherein EG paid MW over $10,000 (USD) as an advance towards a game to be designed and submitted for approval by EG – originally by the end of 2006 but extended (indefinitely) by virtue of emails exchanged at that time. Per this Agreement, EG was to have “first right of refusal” for all MW designs created from that point of time on, until EG chose one to publish.

Opinion: MW only submitted Brass to us over the course of the next several years, thus we have also assumed that we have the right to claim Brass to be the “unnamed product”. Either that or MW owes us the return of the $10,000 that EG paid MW for this product, given that neither MW nor EG wants to do business with each other in the future.
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Bryan Thunkd
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This will be interesting.
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Thunkd wrote:
This will be interesting.

On the other hand, I'm getting kind of bored of this. I would rather some other company reprint Brass, and MW/EG let this dispute die (as far as the public is concerned).
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Marius van der Merwe
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With more information being made public the better informed our opinions can be. The more I learn about Martin Wallace and his dealings with Eagle/Gryphon the less sympathy he is getting from me (for whatever that is worth).

I already own and love Brass. If that was not the case I would have gladly signed up for the new edition.
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So Rick agrees that Martin didn't get paid the mimimum of $1000 that Martin says the contract says he has to to stop Martin being able to terminate the contract.

ricks wrote:
...
5) In 2010, MW was paid $896 in royalties for Brass

6) In 2011, MW was paid $2,430 in royalties for Brass

7) In 2012, MW was paid $675 in royalties for Brass
...


Quote:
'This agreement will come into force on 26 February 2008 and will remain in force, initially, until 26 February 2013. Thereafter it will be renewed automatically from year to year, unless either party gives notice in writing six months in advance of its wish to terminate this agreement. However, the previous sentence notwithstanding, provided that the licensee pays a minimum royalty of $1000 per year, and abides by all other terms of this agreement, licensor agrees not to terminate this agreement under this clause.'


So it's just a matter of clearing up if the contract says that or not, right?
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Unfortunately, these are not only facts, they are unavoidably facts as interpreted by Eagle-Gryphon Games. Moreover, there is no way to know if the actual facts in the OP (and in Mr. Wallace's messages) are the only relevant facts for this disagreement. Sadly, only a court of law can ascertain the full story.

The only certainty after this statement is that at least one party has been less than sincere (or unacceptably mistaken) in stating his case. It is sad the parties in this dispute chose to publicly question each other's honesty.

I (and all the other people on this forum) cannot form an informed judgment on the merits of each party's case and probably should not attempt to do it at least unless/until evidence is presented in court. There may be objective, hard arguments for or against buying this edition of the game, but who we think is right in this disagreement is not one of them.
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ricks wrote:


9) Every payment of royalties (above) was accompanied by a statement of account. The only time Martin was “refused” copies of statements was in July, 2015 (e.g. earlier this month) when he asked to get copies of these statements again. I refused this request because of his public accusations made earlier in the month that we had not paid him, and cited the fact that we had already provided him these payments and statements and I had no obligation to give them to him again solely because he had lost them.



Why not just provide the statements to him again? Maybe you aren't obligated to, but it seems like something that simple would go a long way towards resolving the dispute with very little effort. I'm objective in this, but it seems a little petty to refuse this request. Perhaps ask for a public retraction of his statements about lack of payment in return for providing the statements again.
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ricks wrote:
Martin Wallace has stated publicly on BGG (more than once) that he has not been paid royalties from Eagle Games (EG) for Brass. His most recent statement on this was made on July 22, 2015, at 9:27 pm:

“I asked EGG for outstanding royalty reports and payments in December 2014. I received statements and payments for 2013 and 2014. However, I did not receive any statements or payments for 2009, 2010, 2011 or 2012. I have asked for these and been refused…. It is clear that EGG have earned money from Brass without paying royalties to me. They had thirty days from when I contacted them in December to rectify this situation. They clearly have not done so, so under the terms of the contract I am allowed to terminate it immediately…. Martin Wallace”

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1405358/deluxe-brass-pr...

Here are the facts:

1) Martin Wallace (MW) and Eagle Games (EG) signed an Agreement regarding Brass in late February, 2008

2) MW was paid $4,148 USD in 2008. The game was produced and made available for sale prior to July 1, 2009 (as per the Agreement).

3) 50% of the $4,148 payment (or $2,074) was paid “for the existing art/print/computer production files for the game”. These are thus owned by Eagle Games, not by MW.

4) 50% of the $4,148 payment (or $2,074) was paid as an “advance on royalties”. Based on sales of the game, this advance royalty payment covered the remainder of 2009 and part of 2010.

5) In 2010, MW was paid $896 in royalties for Brass

6) In 2011, MW was paid $2,430 in royalties for Brass

7) In 2012, MW was paid $675 in royalties for Brass

8) In mid-December, 2014, within 10 days of his request for royalties, MW was paid $2,003 in royalties for Brass (covering the period from 1/1/13 thru 11/30/14).

9) Every payment of royalties (above) was accompanied by a statement of account. The only time Martin was “refused” copies of statements was in July, 2015 (e.g. earlier this month) when he asked to get copies of these statements again. I refused this request because of his public accusations made earlier in the month that we had not paid him, and cited the fact that we had already provided him these payments and statements and I had no obligation to give them to him again solely because he had lost them.

10) MW has been paid a total of $8,078 in royalties for Brass plus another $2,074 for the art and production files, a total of $10,152. Royalties have been paid in every year, and they total an average of $1,469 per year for the approximately 5.5 year period that they cover.

11) MW has not been paid for December, 2014, nor for any of 2015. Nor has he asked to be paid for those periods of time.

12) The Agreement has been followed exactly by EG. MW has been paid every time he has asked for payment, within 30 days of his requests, as per the Agreement terms.

13) EG firmly denies that it has not sent MW payments or statements when asked for and due; and it firmly denies it has “earned money from Brass without paying royalties” to MW.

14) MW has knowingly made false accusations to the BGG community.

15) MW has no right to terminate the Agreement with EG made in February, 2008; nor does EG acknowledge any such termination of its rights to produce the game of Brass.

16) EG will produce and sell another edition of Brass. Production is currently underway and the game is expected to arrive in the US for launch and sale in September, 2015. EG will pay MW his royalties earned on the sales of this edition of Brass as we have done since 2008.

17) EG will directly oppose and object to any attempt on the part of MW to sell the rights to produce the game Brass (or any related version of it called by another name) to another company as a breach of the February, 2008 Agreement.


Rick Soued, CEO, Eagle-Gryphon Games July 29, 2015

Another (related) fact and an opinion:

Fact: In May, 2005, MW signed a different Agreement with EG wherein EG paid MW over $10,000 (USD) as an advance towards a game to be designed and submitted for approval by EG – originally by the end of 2006 but extended (indefinitely) by virtue of emails exchanged at that time. Per this Agreement, EG was to have “first right of refusal” for all MW designs created from that point of time on, until EG chose one to publish.

Opinion: MW only submitted Brass to us over the course of the next several years, thus we have also assumed that we have the right to claim Brass to be the “unnamed product”. Either that or MW owes us the return of the $10,000 that EG paid MW for this product, given that neither MW nor EG wants to do business with each other in the future.



How do you know these statements to be correct?


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ricks wrote:
The only time Martin was “refused” copies of statements was in July, 2015 (e.g. earlier this month) when he asked to get copies of these statements again. I refused this request because of his public accusations made earlier in the month that we had not paid him, and cited the fact that we had already provided him these payments and statements and I had no obligation to give them to him again solely because he had lost them.

Just because you felt you didn't have to, doesn't mean you shouldn't have. How hard could it have been? That could appear to be unnecessarily inflammatory, petulant and not a little childish. Hmmm ... deja vu all over again.
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SD40 wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
This will be interesting.
On the other hand, I'm getting kind of bored of this. I would rather some other company reprint Brass, and MW/EG let this dispute die (as far as the public is concerned).
Not happening:
ricks wrote:
16) EG will produce and sell another edition of Brass. Production is currently underway and the game is expected to arrive in the US for launch and sale in September, 2015.
Looks like EG had already committed to a print run before realising they'd not squared it with MW and/or their contract. Ooops. No wonder they're anxious to get pre-orders for as many copies as possible before any sh*t hits the legal fan. Kickstarter, pre-orders .... whatever means to turn WIP into cash ....
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enoon wrote:
SD40 wrote:
Production is currently underway and the game is expected to arrive in the US for launch and sale in September, 2015. either MW nor EG wants to do business with each other in the future.
Looks like EG had already committed to a print run before realising they'd not squared it with MW and/or their contract. Ooops. No wonder they're anxious to get pre-orders for as many copies as possible before any sh*t hits the legal fan. Kickstarter, pre-orders .... whatever means to turn WIP into cash ....


If MW and EG want nothing to do with each other in the *future* then does EG's production run not say that EG implicitly DID want to do business with him up until it became news?

You're either surely thinking "Let's quickly cash in and make more copies of that H**** T*** Q***'s game, what could go wrong?", or you go and engage with him to do so on a good basis. How do you amicably ignore someone? Seems like another simple example of them thinking it's just fine and dandy to hide behind a (shitty) contract instead of being decent.
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ricks wrote:
17) EG will directly oppose and object to any attempt on the part of MW to sell the rights to produce the game Brass
Depending on the contact(s) between you that might or might not have been reasonable a while ago, might not be reasonable today; and might be less reasonable in future.
ricks wrote:
(or any related version of it called by another name) to another company as a breach of the February, 2008 Agreement.
That just looks a spiteful poison pill to prevent someone earning their livelihood. Not nice. m Possibly not even possible except by virtue of one party's ability to out-spend the other. Ick.
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TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
enoon wrote:
SD40 wrote:
Production is currently underway and the game is expected to arrive in the US for launch and sale in September, 2015. either MW nor EG wants to do business with each other in the future.
Looks like EG had already committed to a print run before realising they'd not squared it with MW and/or their contract. Ooops. No wonder they're anxious to get pre-orders for as many copies as possible before any sh*t hits the legal fan. Kickstarter, pre-orders .... whatever means to turn WIP into cash ....


If MW and EG want nothing to do with each other in the *future* then does EG's production run not say that they implicitly DID want to do business with him up until it became news?

You're either surely thinking "Let's quickly cash in and make more copies of that H**** T*** Q***'s game, what could go wrong?", or you go and engage with him to do so on a good basis. How do you amicably ignore someone? Seems like another simple example of them thinking it's just fine and dandy to hide behind a (shitty) contract instead of being decent.


Please note I'd left behind some extraneous text in that quote - now deleted - which might have mislead you, although it might not affect the conclusions you draw.
 
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I know nothing about the business of board games, really, but I have one comment:

I didn't think he'd be proper rich, but is that really what the designer of the 15th best ranked game of all time (usual BGG ranking disclaimer) made from it?!

I'd have figured it was more that that and they'd make more money.

(Yes I know they are unsubstantiated figures but everyone will agree MW didn't get paid more- so that'll do!)

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Rick:

It'll feel a lot better when you do - all warm and fuzzy inside!
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Neal Smith wrote:
I know nothing about the business of board games, really, but I have one comment:

I didn't think he'd be proper rich, but is that really what the designer of the 15th best ranked game of all time (usual BGG ranking disclaimer) made from it?!

I'd have figured it was more that that and they'd make more money.

(Yes I know they are unsubstantiated figures but everyone will agree MW didn't get paid more- so that'll do!)




Being the 15th ranked boardgame on BGG is not the same thing as being the 15th ranked boardgame on Amazon. If you sum all the money he made from it, yeah, that is about right for a hobby niche boardgame.
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Neal Smith wrote:
I didn't think he'd be proper rich, but is that really what the designer of the 15th best ranked game of all time (usual BGG ranking disclaimer) made from it?!

I'd have figured it was more that that and they'd make more money.

Assuming numbers are correct, I took am surprised how little in royalties he got for Brass.
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Neal Smith wrote:
I didn't think he'd be proper rich, but is that really what the designer of the 15th best ranked game of all time (usual BGG ranking disclaimer) made from it?!


In these disputes people who know what's going on should usually not share their knowledge, while people who don't know what's going on should avoid inaccurate speculation. If that leaves people with nothing to say, say nothing. Which is what I've been doing.

But in this side branch, while I have no idea how much Eagle have or have not paid Martin, figures of the order quoted aren't surprising. Designers get a small percentage of the final price, and sales are measured often in low thousands. Those stack up to low thousands of pounds/euros/dollars even for fairly successful games.

To make real money (enough to live on) there are three main strategies:
- Get a bigger slice of the pie, in particular by being your own publisher.
- Sell a lot of game designs.
- Have a big hit and exploit it.

Martin's main approach is the first. Reiner Knizia was the arch-exponent of the second, before also hitting the third. Klaus Teuber is the poster figure for the third (or possibly Richard Garfield).

Of course most designers follow a fourth strategy:
- Don't give up the day job (or be retired).
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$8,078 in royalties paid (according to EG), 9000+ owners on BGG. Less than $1 per copy in royalties.
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enoon wrote:
$8,078 in royalties paid (according to EG), 9000+ owners on BGG. Less than $1 per copy in royalties.


That 9,000 figure is (a) too low, not everyone with a copy has reported it on BGG (I am one for a start), and (b) too high, Brass was initially a Warfrog game, and those sales were nothing to do with Eagle.
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Yes, I knew the figures wouldn't be "right" but they are might be indicative. Of something.
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Quote:
'This agreement will come into force on 26 February 2008 and will remain in force, initially, until 26 February 2013. Thereafter it will be renewed automatically from year to year, unless either party gives notice in writing six months in advance of its wish to terminate this agreement. However, the previous sentence notwithstanding, provided that the licensee pays a minimum royalty of $1000 per year, and abides by all other terms of this agreement, licensor agrees not to terminate this agreement under this clause.'


Well, I dunno, but it seems to me MW "gave notice" in Feb 2009 ..... http://fredwallacelawsuitinfo.com/document04.html

"from Martin Wallace <martinwallace@********>
to Rick Soued <rjsoued@********>
date Mon, Feb 23, 2009 at 2:20 AM
subject Re: your recent attempts to contact me

...

As far as I am concerned I want nothing more to do with FRED or F......n. You have shown yourself to have questionable business ethics. Under these circumstances it would be best for us to end all financial ties. I would like all the potential royalties for Brass calculated, including foriegn productions, and paid to me. From this sum you can deduct the advance for the UK Rails game. I would like that and the Brass contract returned to me as I do not want any further games published by FRED"

so they had notice as long ago as 2009 ... and in 2010 and 2012 they failed to make the required minimum payment by their own admission.

Messy, messy, messy ...
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Dearlove wrote:
enoon wrote:
$8,078 in royalties paid (according to EG), 9000+ owners on BGG. Less than $1 per copy in royalties.


That 9,000 figure is (a) too low, not everyone with a copy has reported it on BGG (I am one for a start), and (b) too high, Brass was initially a Warfrog game, and those sales were nothing to do with Eagle.


Kind of seems like the whole first refusal thing that Rick is whining about is hogwash. If Warfrog produced it first then Brass couldn't be that game then...
 
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I move that the subject of this thread be renamed to, "Let's get down to Brass Facts."

I also look forward to the inevitable Martin Wallace reply thread, "Refactive Brass."
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clydeiii wrote:
I move that the subject of this thread be renamed to, "Let's get down to Brass Facts."

I also look forward to the inevitable Martin Wallace reply thread, "Refactive Brass."


I was wondering when this pot would finally get a good stirring!
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