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Subject: How do I make my boardgame idea safe from stealing? rss

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francis gayoso
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Hey guys I am new to this forum, I am creating a boardgame and the rules are almost finished as well as a demo of the game, next step is to play with some friends who will give me honest advice and see if it works and if it does what should it be my next steps if I want it to publish it or something, my first question would be how do I protect my idea from being stolen?
 
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Kai Bettzieche
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You don't.

There is no way you can protect your idea.

You can protect a method to create the pieces required for your game.

But you cannot protect your idea.

No way.

In no law.



Kind regards,
Kai
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J J
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francis2064 wrote:
Hey guys I am new to this forum, I am creating a boardgame and the rules are almost finished as well as a demo of the game, next step is to play with some friends who will give me honest advice and see if it works and if it does what should it be my next steps if I want it to publish it or something, my first question would be how do I protect my idea from being stolen?


Well, in addition to the previous post, you need to give up this whole idea. Apart from ideas not being stealable, there really is not a bunch of people camped out there just waiting to grab your idea, as so many new users here seem to think.

On the other hand, you have right here a web site full of people who will be only too happy to help you, many with far more relevant experience and skills than your friends.
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John "Omega" Williams
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schattentanz wrote:
You don't.

There is no way you can protect your idea.

You can protect a method to create the pieces required for your game.

But you cannot protect your idea.

No way.

In no law.



Kind regards,
Kai


Um. Yes you can. Its why designers and publishers sometimes have NDA and other clauses. Also if you are say a playtester and steal someones game in development. Then you actually have broken the law. There are certain protections on a persons creations. Some like to use the "you cant protect designs!" as an excuse to steal games. It doesnt work that way.

To the OP.

This question comes up ALOT.

Quick answer is that the likelyhood of someone stealing your game are really low. Its just too easy to get caught and if you are caught then that is likely jail or prison time or a sizable fine for the crime.

The other reason it rarely happens is that an unfinished design or one in playtest is usually useless. what most often happens is that if a game is stolen it is not untill the game is on the shelves. And that happens fairly often. Not it is not as rampant as it once was a few decades ago.

So do not worry about your game being stolen. It is unlikely to happen and keeping it hidden means you have no playtesters and no proof your game even exists.
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John "Omega" Williams
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francis2064 wrote:
Hey guys I am new to this forum, I am creating a boardgame and the rules are almost finished as well as a demo of the game, next step is to play with some friends who will give me honest advice and see if it works and if it does what should it be my next steps if I want it to publish it or something, my first question would be how do I protect my idea from being stolen?


Some more advice.

The chances of a publisher stealing your game is also very rare. Its just not worth the effort to worry about.

Look at the the publishers submission terms. LOOK AT THEM CLOSELY!

If you see a clause in there anywhere that essentially reads "You submit it. We own it." then never deal with that publisher.

Also steer clear of any publisher that requires you to PAY THEM just to submit a game to be looked over.

Past that just dont worry. Post some outlines of your game and publicly ask for playtesters so theres some record of it at the very least.
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"What do you mean, I can't pay in Meeples?"
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The odds of some random layperson stealing your game idea is too small to be worth worrying over. Ideas have no value. Even with published games, the artwork, specific text, logos and sometimes names can be copyrighted or trademarked but the actual mechanics of a game are not. Every single game out there is technically 'stealable' in that regard.

Untested games are doubly worthless. Why steal something that's not finished when there are thousands of proven games out there?
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Pelle Nilsson
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There is a reason this thread is pinned in the forums:

MythBusting: Game Design and Copyright, Trademarks, and Patents (US Law)

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James Clarke
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francis2064 wrote:
Hey guys I am new to this forum, I am creating a boardgame and the rules are almost finished as well as a demo of the game, next step is to play with some friends who will give me honest advice and see if it works and if it does what should it be my next steps if I want it to publish it or something, my first question would be how do I protect my idea from being stolen?


Your idea isn't finished, it hasn't been tested and you're not sure if it works yet?

Theft is the least of your worries.
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Many new games are slight twists and turns on previous offerings. Just get out there and make it and if it's absolutely red hot it will do well and set you up for expansions and more game design - good luck!
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Jason Bush
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francis2064 wrote:
Hey guys I am new to this forum, I am creating a boardgame and the rules are almost finished as well as a demo of the game, next step is to play with some friends who will give me honest advice and see if it works and if it does what should it be my next steps if I want it to publish it or something, my first question would be how do I protect my idea from being stolen?


As a side note, friends don't give honest advise. They have vested interest in you feeling like they're supportive.
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Eddy Sterckx
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DanielFirestorm wrote:
francis2064 wrote:
Hey guys I am new to this forum, I am creating a boardgame and the rules are almost finished as well as a demo of the game, next step is to play with some friends who will give me honest advice and see if it works and if it does what should it be my next steps if I want it to publish it or something, my first question would be how do I protect my idea from being stolen?


As a side note, friends don't give honest advise. They have vested interest in you feeling like they're supportive.


That would be my stock answer, but my main game group simply delights in tearing designs to pieces - including mine - as they should. So if you're lucky your friends might be horrible to you too cool
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Dave Lartigue
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On the other hand, I posted a game idea here and then, a couple days later, had someone message me saying they wanted to take it to a prototype event with a few tweaks and "allow" me to have co-designer credit, so...
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Eddy Sterckx
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Legomancer wrote:
On the other hand, I posted a game idea here and then, a couple days later, had someone message me saying they wanted to take it to a prototype event with a few tweaks and "allow" me to have co-designer credit, so...


Let's get this straight. You posted your design document, mechanics and art and somebody copied that or you posted a "I want to make a game about x" idea ?
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Dave Lartigue
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eddy_sterckx wrote:
Legomancer wrote:
On the other hand, I posted a game idea here and then, a couple days later, had someone message me saying they wanted to take it to a prototype event with a few tweaks and "allow" me to have co-designer credit, so...


Let's get this straight. You posted your design document, mechanics and art and somebody copied that or you posted a "I want to make a game about x" idea ?


I posted this.

I got this:

Quote:
I'm going to a protospiel event this weekend and an UnPub event in November abd possibly another similar event later this month. I will primarily be playtesting and running demos of two of my own designs. However, it would be pretty easy to run some playtest of your babe as well. How would you feel about this? I would probably making some design decisions in response to testing and especially with the goal cards. Are you ok with that? Would you prefer I wholly credit you as the designer or could I present the game as a co-design?


I don't have a lot of experience so maybe this is just how it is, but it kind of soured me.
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Charles Boyung
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Legomancer wrote:
eddy_sterckx wrote:
Legomancer wrote:
On the other hand, I posted a game idea here and then, a couple days later, had someone message me saying they wanted to take it to a prototype event with a few tweaks and "allow" me to have co-designer credit, so...


Let's get this straight. You posted your design document, mechanics and art and somebody copied that or you posted a "I want to make a game about x" idea ?


I posted this.

I got this:

Quote:
I'm going to a protospiel event this weekend and an UnPub event in November abd possibly another similar event later this month. I will primarily be playtesting and running demos of two of my own designs. However, it would be pretty easy to run some playtest of your babe as well. How would you feel about this? I would probably making some design decisions in response to testing and especially with the goal cards. Are you ok with that? Would you prefer I wholly credit you as the designer or could I present the game as a co-design?


I don't have a lot of experience so maybe this is just how it is, but it kind of soured me.


Yeah, so, that quote does not line up with what you accused the person of in your original statement at all. It was still a very weird request, but nothing like what you portrayed.
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Kai Bettzieche
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Omega2064 wrote:
schattentanz wrote:
You don't.

There is no way you can protect your idea.

You can protect a method to create the pieces required for your game.

But you cannot protect your idea.

No way.

In no law.



Kind regards,
Kai


Um. Yes you can.


Um. No. You cannot. Especially not in US laws.

See: https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf

2nd page, lower paragraph:

Quote:
Copyright does not protect
• Ideas, [...]
• Works that are not fixed in a tangible form [...]


To put it in one sentence: "You cannot copyright an idea, only the physical expression thereof."

That's why you cannot copy Lost Patrol, but you are welcome to copy Patrol: Lost!.

However, I agree with your statement "the likelyhood of someone stealing your game are really low";
People here are too busy trying to create their own designs.



Kind regards,
Kai
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Frank McNally
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Agree that likelihood of an idea being taken is low. But as was pointed out above one can get an NDA or other contractual arrangement for others not to use or share your information. You might not be able to extract such a consideration from a publisher and even with one in hand, your only recourse would be a civil suit which would likely not be worth effort, but in principle there is a method.
 
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Will Beckley
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NDAs are the norm in many industries, but board games aren't one of them. Many publishers would be off-put by an unknown designer showing up with legal documents to sign before they can even consider a game, and just opt to not consider it at all.

Also, even if your game is published and has been on the market for years, it is not safe from wholesale theft, as ruled in US court rather unambiguously.
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Michael Coniff
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motoyugota wrote:
Legomancer wrote:
eddy_sterckx wrote:
Legomancer wrote:
On the other hand, I posted a game idea here and then, a couple days later, had someone message me saying they wanted to take it to a prototype event with a few tweaks and "allow" me to have co-designer credit, so...


Let's get this straight. You posted your design document, mechanics and art and somebody copied that or you posted a "I want to make a game about x" idea ?


I posted this.

I got this:

Quote:
I'm going to a protospiel event this weekend and an UnPub event in November abd possibly another similar event later this month. I will primarily be playtesting and running demos of two of my own designs. However, it would be pretty easy to run some playtest of your babe as well. How would you feel about this? I would probably making some design decisions in response to testing and especially with the goal cards. Are you ok with that? Would you prefer I wholly credit you as the designer or could I present the game as a co-design?


I don't have a lot of experience so maybe this is just how it is, but it kind of soured me.


Yeah, so, that quote does not line up with what you accused the person of in your original statement at all. It was still a very weird request, but nothing like what you portrayed.


Who cares how he portrayed the initial comment, that request by the supposed play-tester is way out of line.

------------

To the OP: Be well documented. If, on the rare chance, someone actually does try and steal your game concept, you're option at that point is to take legal action. Unfortunately, there is no solid way to keep this from happening and simultaneously have random strangers play test your game. But, If you get a working demo copy and have something physical, you can copyright that, which will give you the "insurance" you're after.
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James Clarke
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To the OP: Is your game completely new and unique? Can you tell us anything about it?

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Drew Dallas
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WisdomForWizards wrote:

Who cares how he portrayed the initial comment, that request by the supposed play-tester is way out of line.


Why?


Also for the OP:


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Tor Iver Wilhelmsen
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Legomancer wrote:
I posted this.

I got this:

Quote:
I'm going to a protospiel event this weekend and an UnPub event in November abd possibly another similar event later this month. I will primarily be playtesting and running demos of two of my own designs. However, it would be pretty easy to run some playtest of your babe as well. How would you feel about this? I would probably making some design decisions in response to testing and especially with the goal cards. Are you ok with that? Would you prefer I wholly credit you as the designer or could I present the game as a co-design?


I don't have a lot of experience so maybe this is just how it is, but it kind of soured me.

Funny, to me that looks like an offer of helping playtest your game at various playtest-focused gatherings, and asks if you want to be sole designer - or if his assistance counts as co-designer credit.

You are of course free to decline the offer. As he says, he has his own designs to playtest instead if you want to be the only one working on your game. But why go for the paranoid angle?
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Przemyslaw Kozlowski
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JadedGamer wrote:
Legomancer wrote:
I posted this.

I got this:

Quote:
I'm going to a protospiel event this weekend and an UnPub event in November abd possibly another similar event later this month. I will primarily be playtesting and running demos of two of my own designs. However, it would be pretty easy to run some playtest of your babe as well. How would you feel about this? I would probably making some design decisions in response to testing and especially with the goal cards. Are you ok with that? Would you prefer I wholly credit you as the designer or could I present the game as a co-design?


I don't have a lot of experience so maybe this is just how it is, but it kind of soured me.

Funny, to me that looks like an offer of helping playtest your game at various playtest-focused gatherings, and asks if you want to be sole designer - or if his assistance counts as co-designer credit.

You are of course free to decline the offer. As he says, he has his own designs to playtest instead if you want to be the only one working on your game. But why go for the paranoid angle?


I can see how he could be put off. The other guy is asking for co-designer credit without having done any work on the game and only offering to playtest it. It might be just bad phrasing but the guy seems rather presumptive.
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Charles Boyung
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azmod2000 wrote:
JadedGamer wrote:
Legomancer wrote:
I posted this.

I got this:

Quote:
I'm going to a protospiel event this weekend and an UnPub event in November abd possibly another similar event later this month. I will primarily be playtesting and running demos of two of my own designs. However, it would be pretty easy to run some playtest of your babe as well. How would you feel about this? I would probably making some design decisions in response to testing and especially with the goal cards. Are you ok with that? Would you prefer I wholly credit you as the designer or could I present the game as a co-design?


I don't have a lot of experience so maybe this is just how it is, but it kind of soured me.

Funny, to me that looks like an offer of helping playtest your game at various playtest-focused gatherings, and asks if you want to be sole designer - or if his assistance counts as co-designer credit.

You are of course free to decline the offer. As he says, he has his own designs to playtest instead if you want to be the only one working on your game. But why go for the paranoid angle?


I can see how he could be put off. The other guy is asking for co-designer credit without having done any work on the game and only offering to playtest it. It might be just bad phrasing but the guy seems rather presumptive.


I agree with your last sentence, but for the rest, did you miss this part:

Quote:
I would probably making some design decisions in response to testing and especially with the goal cards.


Still quite presumptuous, especially since the guy was not looking for help with the design, but it's more than "only offering to playtest it".
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Tor Iver Wilhelmsen
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azmod2000 wrote:
The other guy is asking for co-designer credit

... if you ignore the whole "Would you prefer I wholly credit you as the designer" part.
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