Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
23 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Should I license real Characters? Quick Poll rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Andrew Cole
United States
Newport Beach
California
flag msg tools
designer
Do you think people will enjoy a game that has a few "real" wrestlers from the olden days? My artist drew this after getting permission from Virgil (old WWF). Of course he wants money, but i think it may be worth it if people enjoy the nostalgia factor. He would make the fight deck slightly better, because i would incorporate his signature and finishing move cards in as well. On the other hand people might say why 2-4 real wrestlers and 10-12 Fantasy characters.
Any feed back would really awesome. Thanks Andrew



 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Cody
United States
Placentia
Select state
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yes and No. Should you license Virgil? No. Would a game benefit from licensing other old school wrestlers? Yes.

There was a major shift in who retained rights to wrestling characters thats began in the 1970s.

Theres also more money to be made off characters from the 70s, 80s, 90s, or current rosters. Its a fruitful market waiting for a good game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Crazed Survivor
France
flag msg tools
The Orzhov welcome you. Please leave your belongings with the Obzedat. They are not yours anymore.
badge
Hi, I'm a european crested tit, and a very small punk rocker!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It would be twofold.

Most of us are dubious when we see IP games and stay away from as these tend to be very poor games released for a quick cash-in. But some people would get them because of that.

I think you're better off creating your own characters and universe.

Use them as promotional content.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ηaralampos Tsakiris
Greece
Athens
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
if the game is really good (people can testify that in the playtests if they are sincere) and you are publishing it yourself then go for it, but with an artists that can be better in depicting the fighters exactly in their facal characteristics because now its so generic and it does not look like that this drawing could be a real person...

If the game is ok or just good, i would say skip the licencing and maybe stick to your artist if you can have good communication with him about your needs for the game...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
alex bermudez
United States
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
Sounds expensive. My first reaction is using homage/parody characters. Bulk Bogan, or whatever. Make sure the artist knows the difference between copying an exact likeness and borrowing features.

Two cents.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adrian Schmidt
Sweden
Malmö
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
smackwell wrote:
Sounds expensive. My first reaction is using homage/parody characters. Bulk Bogan, or whatever. Make sure the artist knows the difference between copying an exact likeness and borrowing features.

Two cents.


This is the worst option in my opinion. It smells of cheap and unimaginative.

Regarding licensing, it will increase the risk of the project. Do you really want to assume that extra risk?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Harper
United Kingdom
Wantage
Oxfordshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There's also no guarantee that WWE will even consider licensing you rights to use their wrestlers, even long-retired ones.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Monts

Louisiana
msg tools
I'd go for part created and part parody. I wouldn't use any real.

After the game is made, then I'd go to McMahon, or whomever is running marketing now, and see about making an official version of the existing game, with real characters.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Cole
United States
Newport Beach
California
flag msg tools
designer
I wasn't going to do the parody thing. I reached out to some guys who say they own the rights to their likeness. They want like $500+ and a contract. I was trying to see if it would be worth the investment but I didn't think it would be. yuk still WWE has a few more lawyers than me.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Warrender
United States
Averill Park
New York
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
No. The great thing about wrestling is that the characters are so ridiculous and over-the-top that it's easy to parody and you hardly lose anything in immersion and fun factor. See for example Wrasslin', with great and utterly ridiculous characters like "Hot Cocoa" and "Mister Brutal, the Mad Hairdresser". Would it actually be more fun to be able to play with King Kong Bundy and Roddy Piper? In some ways I think it might actually be less so.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Cole
United States
Newport Beach
California
flag msg tools
designer
My thought was real wrestlers may help me promote the Game and Campaign on social media , but at what cost. I have cool original characters (imo)and i can save that money to just run ads.

Its either $500 to an older wrestler or $500 in ads?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Monts

Louisiana
msg tools
BeatDownWrestling wrote:
My thought was real wrestlers may help me promote the Game and Campaign on social media , but at what cost.

I have cool original characters (imo)and i can save that money to just run ads.
Its either $500 to an older wrestler or $500 in ads?


Depends on how many followers the wrestlers have on social media, as well as how much they're going to promote. That $500 might be better than a $500 ad spend.

It's all about reach, and if they're going to add to your reach, that's pretty valuable.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John "Omega" Williams
United States
Kentwood
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You will find that licensing those characters will end up costing you far more than you may make as a game unless you have a big print run. And even that may not be enough.

Having done IP games before. Heres some vital advice.

1: Ask them.

Contact the current rights holders and just ask what the fees are or if the license is even open currently. Someone else may currently have the rights to a board game.

2: Expect to be either just told "No" or for it to be expensive. Possibly REALLY expensive. Possibly Impossibly expensive.

Bigger companies tend to have set fees and higher fees.

3: Have a fallback plan! IP games are notoriously fickle and Ive been a playtester on two games now where the deal was yanked at the proberbial eleventh hour and theres been more than a few incidents with other publishers of the IP holders cancelling the deal after production or trying to blackmail more money.

Allways have a fallback that isnt IP related.

4: RESEARCH! Know your subject! This helps for getting the deal and for making a better game.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mr Pavone
United States
Ruby
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
You bring up some good points, especially that an IP might not be open for license. It's easy to assume an IP holder would be up for licensing their stuff for the money to be made but in reality holders tend to guard their IP closely.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John "Omega" Williams
United States
Kentwood
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Its more a matter of it being common practice to hand out the IP to one publisher only as part of the deal.

Example: Marvel has licensed out its various characters to different companies. One has the Avengers but not the X-men, the other has the X-Men but not the Avengers, and so on. Having Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in both meant that one of those companies had to retool the characters.

Or way back, Marvel licensed the Fantastic Four. But the Human Torch could not be used as Marvel had licensed him to a different company.

TSR did the same thing with their settings. One would have Ravenoft, another would have FR, and so on.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Krumlauf
United States
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'd add that you need to be sure the guy actually owns the rights, regardless of what he may say. That means a lawyer and some serious research. That will cost more 500 dollars.

It's not just his likeness. It's the character. Trademark infringement (can using an image be construed as an unauthorized endorsement by the WWE?). What rights might he have signed away back in the day.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John "Omega" Williams
United States
Kentwood
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
That too!

Make sure a person has the rights. I never ran into the problem myself as I went straight to the source who was also the rights owner each time. But when you have a broad spectrum like in wrestling its a possibly iffy matter who has the rights. The producers? The actor? both? Someone else?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jade Knight
United States
Upper Valley
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
BeatDownWrestling wrote:
Do you think people will enjoy a game that has a few "real" wrestlers from the olden days? My artist drew this after getting permission from Virgil (old WWF). Of course he wants money, but i think it may be worth it if people enjoy the nostalgia factor. He would make the fight deck slightly better, because i would incorporate his signature and finishing move cards in as well. On the other hand people might say why 2-4 real wrestlers and 10-12 Fantasy characters.
Any feed back would really awesome. Thanks Andrew


You know, if you use 19th century wrestlers (or wrestlers from the early 20th century), there will be no licensing fees at all! Win-win.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John "Omega" Williams
United States
Kentwood
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
One option would be to not name the characters at all. Let the players make up their own names.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt D
United States
Peachtree corners
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Vaguely related note: Do you have any idea how much money Marvel Comics made off of licensing to WWF? Hint: a lot.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Freelance Police
United States
Palo Alto
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Omega2064 wrote:
But when you have a broad spectrum like in wrestling its a possibly iffy matter who has the rights. The producers? The actor? both? Someone else?


Up Front was fun. WotC gave the okay for The Wargame Vault to release a PnP version of the game, then it turned out the cover artist of the box didn't give them the rights for publication beyond the original dead tree printing (or something like that). Tom of Impact Miniatures sometimes runs KS for older molds, but seems to have a hairy time trying to find out and contact who has the rights for them.

Promo content is a *great* idea. You can have limited print runs with promos, so can negotiate for a more limited license. The IP holder won't be holding your core game hostage, nor will the core game be in trouble if you find out the IP holder doesn't actually have the rights.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Cody
United States
Placentia
Select state
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Omega2064 wrote:
You will find that licensing those characters will end up costing you far more than you may make as a game unless you have a big print run. And even that may not be enough.

Having done IP games before. Heres some vital advice.

1: Ask them.

Contact the current rights holders and just ask what the fees are or if the license is even open currently. Someone else may currently have the rights to a board game.

2: Expect to be either just told "No" or for it to be expensive. Possibly REALLY expensive. Possibly Impossibly expensive.

Bigger companies tend to have set fees and higher fees.

3: Have a fallback plan! IP games are notoriously fickle and Ive been a playtester on two games now where the deal was yanked at the proberbial eleventh hour and theres been more than a few incidents with other publishers of the IP holders cancelling the deal after production or trying to blackmail more money.

Allways have a fallback that isnt IP related.

4: RESEARCH! Know your subject! This helps for getting the deal and for making a better game.


That seems like good advice.

I cant imagine a company like WWE licensing anything to an independent designer/publisher. To even have a shot youd atleast need a fully tested game to pitch them.

However, there are a number of smaller/tiny promotions out there. Many of which are pretty fly by night operations. And they might bite.

If youre going to do a license you might as well use real photos rather than illustrations. As a consumer Id love a wrestling game with over the top photos of the actual wrestlers.

Do me a favor though and form some sort of company, even if its just a LLC/LC/LLP before you take on the risk of a license.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Cole
United States
Newport Beach
California
flag msg tools
designer
That is an extremely good point. Lots of good points !
1 
 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.