Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
9 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Patents/Licensing and FFG's FlightPath system rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Eric Etkin
United States
Gloversville
New York
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
biddi biddi biddi
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Could someone explain why if game mechanics can't be patented, Wizkids felt the need to license FFG's Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game "FlightPath maneuver system" for Star Trek: Attack Wing and Dungeons & Dragons: Attack Wing?

This is especially confusing to me since the ST and XW aren't even cross-compatible.

Couldn't Wizkids have done the exact same thing, just with different colored/shaped dials and maneuver templates and not pay the licensing fee?

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hedyn Brand
Norway
Oslo
Lethargy
flag msg tools
Nothing to see here. Move along.
badge
Rules? I gotta read RULES‽
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
FFG are known for their meticulous lawyers in some circles, so I'm not surprised if NECA/WizKids covered their butts like that. But yes, I agree it's weird when they are similar only by general description (and none of them are original at that).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Lee
United States
East Meadow
New York
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Maybe they were looking at the cross pollination effect? X-Wing was already very popular at that point and since they were trying to do tournaments and such while everything was still fresh and hot, I'd think it would be tons faster to work out a licensing deal and use similar components as a starting point than to re-create it.

On top of that, these games did get more publicity partly because they use the same base system mechanics as X-Wing, so they could leverage that game and the popularity for promotional purposes.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Etkin
United States
Gloversville
New York
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
biddi biddi biddi
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
That makes sense.

So I guess to reiterate the age-old question... you can't patent mechanics?

I could, in theory, come out with my own "flight plan" system that uses orange dials and some curvy polka-dotted templates of slightly different lengths/angles and there's not much anyone could do about it?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Szymas
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
MOTHDevil wrote:
I could, in theory, come out with my own "flight plan" system that uses orange dials and some curvy polka-dotted templates of slightly different lengths/angles and there's not much anyone could do about it?


Well as always, "not much anyone could do about it" could include burying you in lawsuits that you could/would win... if you can afford to fight them.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bwian, just
United States
Longmont
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think you would be fine with a similar system, but I'm not sure why you would use the FlightPath one. FFG knows cardboard inside and out, so their using cardboard dials makes sense. For anyone else, I would think a laminated card (marked with erasable marker) or some magnetic system would work better: you can see all your options at once, and even plan multiple turns if desired.

I would also definitely go with difference lengths and angles, just to be extra sure.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Etkin
United States
Gloversville
New York
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
biddi biddi biddi
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
AndySzy wrote:
MOTHDevil wrote:
I could, in theory, come out with my own "flight plan" system that uses orange dials and some curvy polka-dotted templates of slightly different lengths/angles and there's not much anyone could do about it?


Well as always, "not much anyone could do about it" could include burying you in lawsuits that you could/would win... if you can afford to fight them.


True, but as I've discovered in personal matters, our legal system essentially allows anyone at anytime to force one party to make another party spend money on legal defense, regardless of how fruity or ridiculous the charge is. Sure you COULD go with a "court appointed lawyer," but...

My point is, I believe getting buried in litigation is always potentially a possibility, regardless of what you do or don't do.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Etkin
United States
Gloversville
New York
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
biddi biddi biddi
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Bwian wrote:
I think you would be fine with a similar system, but I'm not sure why you would use the FlightPath one. FFG knows cardboard inside and out, so their using cardboard dials makes sense. For anyone else, I would think a laminated card (marked with erasable marker) or some magnetic system would work better: you can see all your options at once, and even plan multiple turns if desired.

I would also definitely go with difference lengths and angles, just to be extra sure.


Thank you, but to clarify before this turns into a suggestion thread, I have zero intention of copying the FFG system or of even creating a dogfighting game.

Really, this was more about having come up with what (I think) is a rather unique way to handle something both from a method/template standpoint, and wanting to know if there's any conceivable way, within financial means of someone other than Hasbro, to protect it.

My guess is/was "no," which isn't going to dissuade me from moving forward, but it'd be nice to know if options were available, or at the very least what steps I could take to inoculate this component/resolution mechanic from idea theft or co-opting.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bwian, just
United States
Longmont
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Gotcha.

You might be interested in the rumor, then, that WK licensed FFG's system as part of the legal wrangling over whether the FlightPath movement dials were infringing on WK's patent for clix dials. This seems like a stretch to me, but it fits with modern patent functionality as I understand it: patents are not so much to protect your own ideas, as to give you markers to trade around with people to use their ideas. Given the low number of patents in the game industry, though, a patent portfolio doesn't seem to be necessary to play.



2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
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.