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Subject: Should designers now take greater care when pitching? rss

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Steen Bang-Madsen
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I don't know how many of you are familiar with a boardgame named Merchants and Marauders, that was picked up by Pro Ludo, renamed to Age of Piracy, only then to be dropped when Pro Ludo went back to their original businessmodel without publishing any games themselves.

Now it seems Pat Braun - a former employee at Pro Ludo, and now employed at Phalanx Games - are now in cooperation with Michael Palm working on a "Age of Piracy", which seems a complete ripoff from Merchants and Marauders. Not only aren't the original designers listed on the game, but this may also prove a huge obstacle in Christian Marcussens efforts to find another publisher for his game.
The description on spotlightongames says "A re-make with changes of Merchants and Marauders."

I will certainly hold a keen eye on this game. I've played Merchants and Marauders during the beta-stages, and the description from Phalanx sounds like its pretty much the very same game.

Is it just me, or must this be a kick in the ding-ding? This will certainly make me think twice before pitching anything to Phalanx Games.

Sources:
- Boardgamenews Essen preview list
- Spotlightongames.com : http://www.spotlightongames.com/list/pirate.html (Age of Piracy entry)

[EDIT] Please disregard. It seems the matter has been solved.
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Frank Strauss
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yuk Even with a link to the Merchants & Marauders BGG entry ! yuk

Christian Marcussen should do something against that "theft" !

I hope that this will not be the end of the original !

 
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Steen Bang-Madsen
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I sent him a PM with a link to this entry, straight after I created it. Then it may be up to him, if he want to take any action on it.
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Dan Rosewater
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Maybe this statement from Christian Marcussen is helpful:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/2456603#2456603
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Mike Jones
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Goodsound wrote:
Maybe this statement from Christian Marcussen is helpful:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/2456603#2456603


Thanks for the link. I remember that dust off, but during that exchange (and there was another one), I got the impression that M&M and AoP were two completely different games. Is this now something like the AoS/Windsome dust odd where they are going to be fairly much the same game only with slightly different rules and presentation?
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Mendon Dornbrook
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I find the business end of designing and publishing games to be fascinating. We're still a small enough community that gamers, designers, distributors, and resalers are often the same people. As a result, more traditional business strategies that are technically lawful but damaging to the community are more clearly visible.
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Steen Bang-Madsen
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Thanks for the link. I do hope that it is spotlightongames.com that's just off the mark.
 
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Christian Marcussen
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Hi Guys. And thanks Stony for pointing me this way.

Ok. Before I go into an all-consuming eternal rage I would like to hope that spotlightongames.com simply has some wrong info. But if I'm wrong then that's something else! I'll definately do what I can to try ensure that stealing my game (or central mechanics) was a very, very bad business call (and I'm sure BGG community would be very helpful in that quest).

However Pat has told me that the game is unlike ours and much more 'euro', and until prooven otherwise I would like to trust him. But time will tell - our game has a few pretty unique mechanics, so it should be easy to spot any plagerism.

Quote:
Thanks for the link. I remember that dust off, but during that exchange (and there was another one), I got the impression that M&M and AoP were two completely different games.


You are right. When we had that little debate we were talking about two seperate games. I just had an issue with what seemed to me to be a clear case of trying to "cash in" on the good will M&M enjoys here on the geek, and the confusion that arrised from all this mess. It seemed like a really cheap tactic, and one that I feared would be used. So when I saw this I just reacted.

But, as I said. I think and hope that spotlightongames.com simply have their facts wrong. And even though I do feel pretty screwed over, I don't think they would do something as malicious and business-suicidal as this.

But we will see.
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Van Overbay
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Pat just recently purchased a SeaRovers game and added it to his owned list. I'm hoping he's just a pirate game fan!?

-Van
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Richard Pardoe
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Might be stating the obvious - but Spotlight on Games is Heli (Rick Heli) here on the Geek. So easy to contact should Christian wish to do so.
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Steen Bang-Madsen
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I think Christian is the one to do so, if he so wishes. Otherwise Heli might get flooded with PMs.
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Christian Marcussen
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PM sent

Quote:
Pat just recently purchased a SeaRovers game and added it to his owned list. I'm hoping he's just a pirate game fan!?


devil
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upandawaygames.com
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Hi all,

No, I didn't have any contact with Phalanx on this one. It was just a conclusion I had deduced from surfing the web (sorry, don't remember which sites anymore and they could have been English or deutsch). Anyway, as it was apparently incorrect, I'll update the page. Sorry for the trouble; hadn't intended any controversy.

cheers and happy gaming,
Rick Heli
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Albert Hernandez
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You have to admit, there's some great irony in stealing someone's idea about a game on piracy.
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Van Overbay
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Pat Braun
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Once again I have to take a call here..!

As i wrote before in other statements. I believe in the ultimative pirate themed game and i am a big fan of the atmosphere.

Neither am i stealing any ideas nor am i copying any ideas. The scene is aware of all games which are somewhere out there and it is easy to see any relations to other prototypes.

Again, we from Phalanx follow the idea of publishing the perfect carribean themed pirate game and are working hard to realize it. Bottom Line: Merchant & Marauders did not fit the requirements.
I hope that a publisher picks up the game and is financially strong enough to publish it.
First: we are not able to fullfill the financial needs
Second: our partners rejected the game
and third: we think that the game is not aiming our focus.

In the meantime we have a final version of a really cool game and we test it since approx. eight weeks.
We know that the Title "Age of Piracy" is not well chosen and we will change that for shure that no one can complain that we try to hit a buzz.

The new game will be presented in Essen and everyone is welcome to test a game.

Pat
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Richard Berg
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"...there's some great irony in stealing someone's idea about a game on piracy."

Several issues here that gamers should know. You cannot copyright an idea - or a theme - only the way it is expressed (literally). That goes for game mechanics as well as themes . . . An example would be the entire range of historical simulations - wargames - most of which are pretty much alike in system and mechanics.

I, personally, always look for good ideas in other designers' games. (I always try to give credit, much the same as on does in a bibliography.) There's very ;little that is truly "original". Look at music . . .

Having said that, I would also note that PHalanx, as are most companies, is an outstanding professional game company, in all aspects of the business, from creativity to accounting. Having dealt with them for over 20 years - on both a business and personal level - I can say that without any hesitation whatsoever.

Then again. ..."we from Phalanx follow the idea of publishing the perfect carribean themed pirate game"

Ain't no such thing as a "perfect" game, Pat. (But trying is worthwhile . . .) What one gamer loves, another despises. And any given subject has a multitude of fun, playable, yes. "good", games on the subject/theme. Having y own pirate game - and seeing it sell smashingly well - does not stop me from recognizing that there are others that gamers find just as much, or more, Fun. And I have plenty of games - having had over 140 of them published -whose mechanics and systems pop up here, there and everywhere.

So, folks, stop worrying about all this non"-theft" . . . Creativity is Adaptation . . . and just go and do what YOU think is Fun.

RHB
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Van Overbay
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BROG wrote:
"...there's some great irony in stealing someone's idea about a game on piracy."

Several issues here that gamers should know. You cannot copyright an idea - or a theme - only the way it is expressed (literally). That goes for game mechanics as well as themes . . . An example would be the entire range of historical simulations - wargames - most of which are pretty much alike in system and mechanics.

I, personally, always look for good ideas in other designers' games. (I always try to give credit, much the same as on does in a bibliography.) There's very ;little that is truly "original". Look at music . . .

Having said that, I would also note that PHalanx, as are most companies, is an outstanding professional game company, in all aspects of the business, from creativity to accounting. Having dealt with them for over 20 years - on both a business and personal level - I can say that without any hesitation whatsoever.

Then again. ..."we from Phalanx follow the idea of publishing the perfect carribean themed pirate game"

Ain't no such thing as a "perfect" game, Pat. (But trying is worthwhile . . .) What one gamer loves, another despises. And any given subject has a multitude of fun, playable, yes. "good", games on the subject/theme. Having y own pirate game - and seeing it sell smashingly well - does not stop me from recognizing that there are others that gamers find just as much, or more, Fun. And I have plenty of games - having had over 140 of them published -whose mechanics and systems pop up here, there and everywhere.

So, folks, stop worrying about all this non"-theft" . . . Creativity is Adaptation . . . and just go and do what YOU think is Fun.

RHB


I agree Richard. I used your original Blackbeard for inspiration when creating my game as well as any other pirate RPG or CCG that I could get my hands on. My game has not been released in mass-market form as of yet but I did enjoy trading a copy with you before the release of the new Blackbeard and enjoyed helping in any way I could. I also very much appreciate Pat's purchase. I've also read Christian's rules and find his concepts very intriguing. I wish him the best. I don't think we can have enough good pirate games. Creativity, inspiration, research and design go hand-in-hand.

-Van

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Richard Berg
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Reminds me, Van . . .I owe you a copy of BLACKBEARD. I'm so far behind on mailing out stuff I define Procrastination . . .

And you pirate folks ought to check out Van's game . . .it's real neat.

RHB
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Van Overbay
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BROG wrote:
Reminds me, Van . . .I owe you a copy of BLACKBEARD. I'm so far behind on mailing out stuff I define Procrastination . . .

And you pirate folks ought to check out Van's game . . .it's real neat.

RHB


Thanks Richard, just don't forget to sign it!

-Van

 
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Christian Marcussen
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Quote:
Several issues here that gamers should know. You cannot copyright an idea - or a theme - only the way it is expressed (literally). That goes for game mechanics as well as themes . . . An example would be the entire range of historical simulations - wargames - most of which are pretty much alike in system and mechanics.


You are completely right legally speaking. However one can easily think of cases where using the term stealing would apply in a general/common use of the word.

For instance: If company A announced the intent to release game X. Then cancel game X, and release game Y which is basically the same game or uses "unique" mechanics from game X. In that case the word stealing would surely apply, and original designers of game X would be entitled to eternal revenge

But as I expected - it was just website that got it's info wrong.
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Doug Adams
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BROG wrote:
Having said that, I would also note that PHalanx, as are most companies, is an outstanding professional game company....

Their development on Waterloo was amazing. Never seen anything quite like it... I still treasure being told all the problems were my fault.
 
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Van Overbay
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marqzen wrote:
PM sent

Quote:
Pat just recently purchased a SeaRovers game and added it to his owned list. I'm hoping he's just a pirate game fan!?


devil


I just wanted to make sure no one was offended by the video post I made earlier. It was not meant as a criticism or comment on the OP or anything as such. I the context of the thread it was meant as a bit of levity after this post by Christian (which I immediately thumbed up) and after the next two posts in which one the author of the indicated web page pointed out his mistake. Then the next post pointed out the irony of the perceived situation.

I was looking for the Goonies clip where the woman says "You wanna play pirates, we'll play pirates...now walk the plank!" That clip was not on YouTube so I grabbed the one above instead. Anyway, best regards and one thing I've learned after being in and around the biz for 10 years is that a little good will goes a long way. Now to grab some kill-devil rum...

arrrh

-Van
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