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Subject: Questions about permissions / rights rss

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Greetings All !

I'm new to this forum and frankly, hadn't thought about designing or publishing a board game until a few games ago.

I actually have more of a "history" with pen-and-paper RPGs, plus I've designed some web-based games (PHP /MYSQL) on my own.

I have a love for two small, local, struggling, older shopping districts near my neighborhood. And I meet once a month with local merchants there to work on improving those areas.

Well, last fall, when I was in JC Penneys and saw the "Design-your-own-Monopoly" game, I figured I'd ask for that as one of my Christmas gifts. Sure enough, my wife bought it for me. My intention was to design the game using local businesses as properties.... certainly not a NEW idea... I remember seeing several similar games in the past during the 80's and 90's.

So, I'm at the point where I'm almost completely done with the game. I intend to show it to the local merchants on Wednesday. Note that this is not a marketing thing. I just thought they'd get a kick out of it. I used some of their faces on the playing pieces and used some local events that actually have occurred on the "good news" and "bad news" cards (my slightly-modified versions of "Chance" and "Community Chest").

But, for some reason, the thought occurred to me: What if they like it and suggest that we actually somehow start producing this thing as some sort of fundraiser? Hmmmmmm....

So that's when I discovered this forum and read the big stickied post at the top about board game design.

Now, on to my questions:

If I WERE to start producing this thing, I guess I'm wondering about "rights" and getting permissions from people.

OK, on the board right now, I put photos (which I took myself) of local stores. I would think, in order to use those, I would NOT need anybody's permission. However, since the store NAMES are on there, I would think that I'd have to come up with some sort of legal form / waiver / release?

(Now, true, with some similar games in the past, marketing companies have, I think, actually had local businesses PAY to have their businesses placed on the board. I don't think I could do that because, frankly, I struggled to fill up the board. It was hard to find enough businesses that were.... shall we say... "stable enough"... to be placed on the board.)

Now, if I design my own box artwork by making a sort of "collage" from photos I take of local businesses and landmarks, would I need to get any sort of permission to place those photos on the box? I would think that if I took photos of PEOPLE, then maybe, but not buildings, right?


Thanks!

Dave
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Depending on the buildings, they may be under architectural copyright

http://www.aepronet.org/pn/vol5-no2.html

and you may not be allowed to photograph them and publish images of them.

Read this:

http://www.photosecrets.com/tips.law.html

(IANAL, just pointing you in the direction of things to look into)
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Thanks!

Just started reading that photosecrets page and already, it seems to me that I'm okay on photographing the buildings. They are all, I guarantee you, older than 1990. (Looking at the stuff under the "Buildings" heading on that page.)


Dave


 
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Confusion Under Fire
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I don't know much about copyright but you may have to look at the copyright for the game itself as well as the images you are going to include. Others may be able to guide you better.
 
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Well, I would make some slight design changes, if I were to reproduce it myself. I'd make the entire board myself and not go on their design. I mean, bare-bones, this "Make your own -opoly" game I purchased originally.... is a "take off" itself.

Yet it's not infringing on Monopoly in any way (I'm at work, so I'm not even sure off-hand if the word "Monopoly" is used in its name or directions)!

Since what they give you is very, very generic in the first place... (you use software to design most of the spaces on the game board)... I would think it shouldn't be hard for me to make some slight design changes and it would be my own game.

I mean, it's not like I would be selling it as a generic "Make your own -opoly" game. I'd have a Monopoly-like game that would be specifically targeted to a retail shopping area that's no more than a few blocks in size.

I would certainly not use their parts or playing pieces. I can think of some things I don't like about their real estate cards.

Actually, I've remade most of the game parts already, even when I didn't have to. The real estate cards were pretty much good as-is. But instead, I measured them, created a new Microsoft Publisher file, duplicated their dimensions, and then redesigned them there.

If you'd see this "Make-your-own -opoly" game, you'd realize just how generic it is to begin with. What they're really selling, in the end, is a fairly-blank board and some software.



 
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J Holmes
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This is a very messy area, and you'd want real legal advice on it.

I'm desperately trying to find the website that used to do print runs of -opoly boards. The name "fly by night" is in the back of my mind, but it might also be "Winning Moves" who have the license for the official your-location-here-opoly games.

According to http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/3759
make your own opoly is legally different from monopoly, but thats in part because things have been changed, and because it isnt the same as Monopoly due to the changes.

The 3 big questions you'd have to ask yourself are:

1) Regardless of the legal situation would this affect your future reputation/career as a games designer or being part of the games industry?

2) Is there a market for this game even if it turns out its entirely legal? zombie

2b) Is there a market for this game outside your current city/state/country?

3) Can you afford all the costs?


In reality I'd recommend properly researching the background of Monopoly, and then examining your market place and seeing if there is a real interest in the game or not.

The problems include "Its monopoly" or worse "Its not even monopoly" to "Yeah thats a great idea BUT" and so on. If you can get the local retailers on board to help subsidise it, you might be onto a winner, but in reality, you definately need to put a lot of groundwork in to see if tis even viable before starting.

As always, I'd recommend rading "The Game Inventor's Guidebook" by Brian Tinsman as its exceptionally easy to read, has many chapters and you bound to find the bits that are handy.

I'd also recommend you use this experience as a great way to think about designing new games, since you have an eye for detail and for opportunities, camera work and inspiration.

Monopoly can be seen as
"Come to my store, buy my products, make me richer than the other retailers, help me put them out of business" so its possible you can come up with a new game incorporating these concepts and monopoly concepts, yet still be different enough.

Best wishes with whatever happens, and if the monopoly game does fly, please let us know.
 
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James Hutchings
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Building on the post above:

the theme of this proposed game would be that the players are property developers, seeking to buy independent local businesses and replace their owners with a monopoly. OK, people probably wouldn't think it through that much, but isn't that sort of the opposite of your intent?

Now, a themed game along the lines of Dungeon Plungin' might be fun...
 
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Andy K
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DR4296 wrote:
What if they like it and suggest that we actually somehow start producing this thing as some sort of fundraiser?

j_holmes wrote:
I'm desperately trying to find the website that used to do print runs of -opoly boards.

I don't know if this is of interest/relevance to either of you, but I came across www.boardgamedesign.com today through this thread. It appears that this publisher will produce "custom opoly" games with a minimum order of 500 copies.
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Missouri
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apeloverage wrote:
Building on the post above:

the theme of this proposed game would be that the players are property developers, seeking to buy independent local businesses and replace their owners with a monopoly. OK, people probably wouldn't think it through that much, but isn't that sort of the opposite of your intent?

Now, a themed game along the lines of Dungeon Plungin' might be fun...



Ahhh... good point!

But then again, there are certain individuals around here who, if they had that kind of money, they would certainly do a fine job of managing those properties and keeping them up.... unlike several landlords in there now.

So, I guess it all depends on what kind of "scale" of monopoly one is talking about. If a couple of the best property owners were to buy up three or four more properties each, I think we'd see some good things!


Thanks!
 
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fibroptx wrote:
DR4296 wrote:
What if they like it and suggest that we actually somehow start producing this thing as some sort of fundraiser?

j_holmes wrote:
I'm desperately trying to find the website that used to do print runs of -opoly boards.

I don't know if this is of interest/relevance to either of you, but I came across www.boardgamedesign.com today through this thread. It appears that this publisher will produce "custom opoly" games with a minimum order of 500 copies.



Hmmmm.... fascinating!

Ahhh, so now I'm thinking how much fun it would be to scrap a few concepts for the prototype I have here...and redesign the whole thing!

Oh, but I have other responsibilities in life. We'll see what happens. My meeting with the merchants is tomorrow.

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OK, I just got back from my meeting with the local merchants. They absolutely loved seeing their businesses on the board, plus their own faces on the playing pieces.

Sure enough, one of them brought up the idea of maybe producing and selling such a game (or a very similar one) as a fundraiser. They asked me how much producing such a game would cost versus how much money per copy could be made as a fundraiser.

Of course, I have no idea. I explained to them that it seems that most printing companies will insist on minimums of 500-1000 copies per board or box. I told them that, theoretically, if we'd only be thinking about producing in small quantities, I can do a lot with my laser printer and some sticker/label paper. But, we'd still be looking for help in producing a nice-looking box and the bare board (assuming I'd make and apply some sort of large sticker-paper to the board itself for the "playing field".

And I talked about how we'd probably need to get written permission from the local businesses to be able to use their names in the game. (They thought that wouldn't be hard to do at all.)

So, I guess I'm going to have to do some investigating into how much unprinted boards and then actual printed-on game boxes would cost us, plus the playing pieces and dice. For cards, I have to work a few kinks out regarding back-to-back printing. My laser printer (and possibly my publisher file) isn't lining up the fronts and backs very well. And the card stock is a little thin. It's possible that we could outsource that to a local printer.

I'm thinking of just producing 100 copies to start with. The market for this won't be very big. But if we were to sell 100 copies and make $10 per copy "profit" for the fundraiser, after expenses, hey, that's still $1000 more than we had previously. Not to mention the ongoing value to the local businesses in the form of free advertising and goodwill generated by the game.

Thanks for the advice so far!

If anybody has ever done a "small run" like this and can share some advice or info about their costs versus their profit, I'd love to hear from them.

But for now, it sounds like I've got a nice little research project to do.

Thanks!

-= Dave =-
 
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J Holmes
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If its a fund raiser and a gamble, definately go with a professional print run of 500.

Will look so much better good, will save you days in time and will look better since you can focus your efforts into design and art rather than production.

Will also give you a more solid base as well.

The downside you might get stuck holding a lot of spare copies, but thats the risk.
 
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J Holmes
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Finally found it:

www.lateforthesky.com is the site that does -opoly games, you can probably talk with them about print runs and costs and everything else.
 
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