Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 Hide
13 Posts

Twixt» Forums » General

Subject: If he could speak, would Alex Randolph agree? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Roundabout2 Katz
United States
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Mr. Dolezal claims that he has the rights to TwixT. Do you think Alex Randolph would agree?

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rex Moore
United States
Woodbridge
Virginia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If he could speak, we'd have a much bigger story than this petty squabbling.
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dr Neau
msg tools
mb
If he could speak, he'd say "Get me outta this box!"
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Cook
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Apparently he'd be speaking French for some reason, so many of us would have trouble understanding him.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Wayne Dolezal
msg tools
About 15 years ago, I used to work at a software consulting company. The owners were former Intel Vice Presidents. If you do not know, Intel is a company that makes processors for computers. Anyway, their claim to fame is that the two of them came up with the slogan "Intel Inside". You have probably seen commercials back in the day with this slogan. Intel rewarded them with high paying Vice President positions. They have stories about little old ladies coming into electronics stores demanding computers that must have Intel Inside.

The situation with TwixT is identical. I don't know how much Alex Randolph made. At some point he did indeed sell all rights in the United States to 3M. That is really just a fact. He enjoyed perhaps commissions and those types of things, and legally gave up his rights as an inventor to a company that could have continued marketing TwixT for years. It was perhaps the top selling product for the 3M gaming segment. "Acquire" was the second best selling, and you can find that at Wal-Mart. Had he not made a decision in the 1970s to "buy the rights back", TwixT would probably be widely available today.

I think Michael Katz is probably right when he says money is not his issue here, as it is ownership of the game. He is trying to keep his uncle's proudest accomplishment alive, and that is admirable. It really is, and I do respect that.

My argument is that TwixT would be widely available as a child's game, because inherently, that is what it is. It is a simple connection game that mirrors checkers or chess. In the case of a child's game, I have to start at the beginning and completely rewrite the instructions.

I advocate two editions available: one for kids, and one with lines and strategies and all of those things that the online community desires, because this game can be competitively played by all ages. Basically, I think the marketing was wrong all along.

The lines of communication were open between Michael and me until about 3 weeks ago when he stopped responding to my requests. I won't go into details but I did propose two versions of the game. I really believe that kids ages 8+ can play this game, and I also feel that a separate version can be played in competitions and the like. I also did offer him (gasp!) royalties.

This has become a passion project for me. I don't understand why such a once popular product has languished. I really don't. At this point, believe it or not, it's really not about the money. Yes, I do think it will be successful, but that really is not the driving force. This project really started when I couldn't find a new edition for my nephew's birthday and has since spiraled out of control obviously.

Did I do things "immorally"? I don't know. But what I do know is that Michael made a proclamation a few weeks ago on this forum that he was in contract with a company in Canada for production. After having secured a US trademark and giving him time to realize I was serious about bringing TwixT back, he didn't secure an EU Trademark. So I did. I now KNOW he has something working in Canada, and yet as of now, he has not secured that Trademark! I'm not completely a Kim Jong Un, so I won't do it. But as a casual observer, knowing that there was a guy out there claiming rights.... wouldn't you protect them in the areas that you supposedly have interests? I just...am absolutely baffled here. I really am.

TwixT will come back, at least in America, but as a child's game. I would like Michael's help in doing so. But he needs to respond to me.

One last minor thing... I'm Wayne...not Mr Dolezal. Mr Dolezal is my father....

Wayne
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roundabout2 Katz
United States
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Mr. Dolezal’s primary goal is to acquire the Trademark for TwixT. If (as he says) the game is in the public domain, he can manufacture and sell it without registering a trademark. However, his goal is to OWN Alex Randolph’s creation.

Dolezal has gone so far as to mask his EU trademark application by filing it under the name of Irini Garner of Houston, Texas.

As a “publisher,” he could have contacted me to secure a license. His BGG friend, David Bush had my email address. Instead, he looked for a possible legal loophole, which would enable him to appropriate Alex Randolph’s work.

Mr. Dolezal should use his dubious talent to create something of his own and not to usurp the work of Alex Randolph.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roundabout2 Katz
United States
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Alex Randolph published over 100 games. TwixT is a very important part of his legacy. The game was very important to him, his relatives and friends.

The fate of his game may seem like a petty squabble, but not to the members of his family.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martin DeOlden
United States
Chino
California
flag msg tools
badge
3D board game prints: www.3dhubs.com/service/3dgaming
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Then Produce it rather then let is sit.

At least Wayne is going to get the rights and then make the game. If you do not want to have it in print and make any money off of it then someone else is ready to pick up the dropped ball and run with it.

I say more power to him as at least he sounds like he is going to get it back into print.

If all you are doing is letting it sit and never put it back out and do not want to make any money out of it then you should let someone else have a go at it.

Lots of games come under this type of miasma where they are held in an ownership that never wants to put it back out. If you do not want to make it then let someone else have a go with it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roundabout2 Katz
United States
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Obviously, you didn't read my comment in another section of the forum. I have not been sitting around but have been trying to work with established publishers who know how to succeed in the game business:

My name is Michael Katz. I am the nephew of the late Alex Randolph, author of many memorable board games. Among his successes is TwixT. It was originally published by 3M in 1962 and subsequently by Avalon Hill in 1976, Schmidt in 1979, Alga in 1985, Klee in 1990, Selecta in 1990 and by Kosmos in 1998. Due to poor sales, Kosmos terminated the agreement and returned the rights to his widow, Gertrude Randolph on December 31, 2005. Mrs. Randolph passed away on December 12, 2008. Her estate was settled in February 2013. I was assigned the rights to Alex Randolph’s intellectual properties on March 30, 20013.

On September 23, 2013, I signed a license agreement with Z-Man Games, Rigaud, Quebec for the publication of TwixT. It was stipulated that the game would be published within 24 months of its signing (September 20, 2015). During that period, Z-Man was sold to Asmodee. The game wasn’t published and the agreement was terminated.

During the same time period, I corresponded with a Mr. David Bush of Radiant, Virginia who provided me with information and suggestions for the proposed release of TwixT.

In February 2017 I traveled to Canada to meet with another publisher. They expressed their interest in TwixT and anticipated a release date of August 2, 2018.

At no time was TwixT ever abandoned.


5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Miguel Santos
msg tools
Mike K, did you ever consider publishing/bringing Twixt to market yourself?
Maybe you can in Europe?

I think with the WWW, potential buyers prefer to go direct, as opposed to a publisher.

Publishers for sure will want a sure fire hit, or the next "Monopoly", so if anything the Publishers are likely to draw up a contract more favorable to them.

Maybe you can bring Twixt to life as an App, think of Angry Birds, what a great story, and credit to them.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Wayne Dolezal
msg tools
Michael,
Miguel brings about an interesting point insofar as how the 21st century has changed the way board games are marketed. It used to be that you needed a publisher to bring about a game. That's just not true nowadays. With Amazon, eBay, and the online community, it is possible to bring about a creation. Smaller brick and mortar game shops should not be marginalized, as many people will only buy from those sources. Working in both the online and brick and mortar model, it makes it hard to bring a publisher into the fray, as they also take a cut. All of a sudden the retail price of TwixT must be over $30 to just break even. For what it's worth, in my research, TwixT cannot sell for more than $25. $20 seems to be the point that the game would sell ideally. Had you considered the Amazon approach at all? Because if you sell at say $23 on Amazon, there is still opportunity to sell in bulk to retailers for $10, allowing them a decent markup. When you work with publishers, there's just no room for that. I don't want to get too much in the weeds of a pricing strategy but a new TwixT could sell for $23 on Amazon, while selling for $20 at a brick and mortar small shop. You would realize about $15 in revenue for Amazon and $10 in revenue for the smaller shops, and everyone is happy.

The reason I am responding to you is because I know in our emails you were not confident of my status as a game publisher. I'm not that, as that model would probably not work for TwixT selling at a decent price that people would pay...

Wayne
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Fabian Zimmermann
Germany
Kaiserslautern
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
When you work with publishers, there's just no room for that.


What you are describing is part of the job of a publisher. And in your model you are the publisher.

The production prize of a game highly depends on the size of a print run. It makes a huge difference if 500 copies or 10,000 copies are produced.

A big publisher is able to finance a big production run, has lots of experience in marketing and distribution channels to sell the game.

How many copies of the game are you able to produce?

After reading all your postings here, I share Michael Katz's concerns. You are really passionated in getting TwixT published, but I don't know, if I could trust you and if you know the board game business well enough for a successful relaunch. And any contract with you would decrease Michael's chances to find an established publisher for this great game.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Wayne Dolezal
msg tools
Fabian,
I get where you are coming from in your concern, and the field of game sales has changed significantly over the past couple of decades.

Nowadays, it is entirely possible for Vertical Integration in gaming to reduce redundancies and sell a product for cheaper than it was once imagined. And I'm not talking about making a shoddy product. Standard Oil over 100 years ago pioneered this process. Let me explain...

In 1995, for example, a board designer creates a game. He contacts a publisher to produce it. The publisher contracts with a factory to produce it. That publisher works with a distributor to get it in retailers hands. The retailer sells to the customer. In every portion of this chain, there is money taken.

In 2017, it is possible to bypass almost all of those steps, and yet become successful. I am the publisher, and will contract with a factory. It will initially sell on Kickstarter, bypassing the distributor and retail route. If it is a success, retail channels would be brought about, as I discussed earlier. Because I cannot make 10,000 games, it is only if the Kickstarter is successful that I would be able to sell to retailers so that they could make a good margin. Kickstarter helps to scale product sales.

To answer your question, there is a BIG difference between producing 500 versus 10,000 units. I am producing at a minimum of 2,000 units @ a sale price of $20/each. Many small scale Kickstarters for this type of game are priced at $40, mainly because most people do try and find game publishing companies, and spend a fortune trying to get it produced because they do not know how to navigate the entire creation process. The mechanics of the creation of the board and pieces are not intricate in terms of some specialized design requirement. The mold has already been created, the boards look nice, are durable, and the only thing left is instruction finalization and the retail box. I spend many hours a week speaking to the factory that is actually producing the game and outsource almost nothing. Anyone can do it if you can navigate the process.

Sid Sackson's classic game "Sleuth" (also in the 3M collection) was Kickstarted a couple of years ago for $29. If you don't know the game, it is essentially a deck of cards whose actual cost to produce is under $2. That money, I assume, went to royalties, game publishers, and the like. Can you imagine how much TwixT would have to retail for with so many hands in the pot?

I realize my approach may seem sketchy if you have an old-school thought process to producing games. I am hopeful that Kickstarter will succeed to scale up in the future to retailers. If all else fails, it will sell a copy or two a day on Amazon. And that's perfectly ok. As long as TwixT is back. While finding a publisher is always an option, it is just not really necessary this day in age. As many people have said, What's the likelihood of TwixT exploding? If given the right amount of TLC, it could Come back bigger and better than ever. But I AM a dreamer, so there's that...

Toys R Us just announced bankruptcy proceedings. Thats a huge deal, and points to the reality of the online product culture.

I want to reiterate that I DO want to involve small retailers at some point in the process, having them sell TwixT for less than it is available online. There are creative ways to do that.


Wayne
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.