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Age of Steam» Forums » General

Subject: Fred suing Martin Wallace for breach of contract rss

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Paul Lister
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www.boardgamenews.com/index.php/boardgamenews/comments/marti...

V sad
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Bruce Murphy
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*sigh*

Just when you thought it had all died down.

B>
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Jack Neal
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Good grief.
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Giles Pritchard
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How sad.
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Jesse Dean
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Damn.

Breach of contract is serious business.
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WolfLord Hawkeye

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Interesting that they waited until Steam came out.Did they reject all his other games made since that contract?
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Gareth
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Damn.

The wording of the contract seems pretty clear cut, he was prohibited from selling Age of Steam in anything but its then-current form. Looks like a huge oversight.

The sad part of all this is that the only people who really win will be lawyers. Martin will lose money and, more importantly from our perspective, development time. FRED will likely engender bad will from Wallace/Warfrog supporters (regardless of right or wrong). We lose out on all the games which could have been created if people weren't investing their energy bickering.

*sigh*
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Gareth
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WolfLord_Hawkeye wrote:
Interesting that they waited until Steam came out.Did they reject all his other games made since that contract?

Tensions between FRED and Wallace were pretty strained over the whole AoD 3rd edition. It could be that this has been triggered by recent actions such as Martin's threats to sue over copyright on the AoS logo or his requests to sever contracts for the Railroads of the World series.
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Jesse Dean
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IANAL, but they probably had to wait until Steam came out to sue. So they could have proof of the breach.
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Jack Neal
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Quote:
The wording of the contract seems pretty clear cut, he was prohibited from selling Age of Steam in anything but its then-current form. Looks like a huge oversight.


My question (as a game designer) is why would you sign something that ties your hand this much if you had little or no intention of following through? Maybe Steam was supposed to be more derivative and less Age of Steam like - enough to honor Fred's contract and still get Mayfair's business. Even if 3rd Edition AoS is different enough, the contract states pretty clearly that they acquired rights to further development of the game.

Quote:
FRED, the Activision of boardgames.


In some respects, you could make that argument. In this particular instance, I think FRED has a legitimate gripe.

Take from it what you will.
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Antonio B-D
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Raiderjakk wrote:


In some respects, you could make that argument. In this particular instance, I think FRED has a legitimate gripe.

Take from it what you will.


I take what I will, which is everything.

As far as I read it, FRED paid $10,000 for the rights for Age of Steam and all its derivatives.
They also paid $5,000 for a new game.

Martin Wallace has not (or so FRED says, we will have to hear the other party) provided a new game.

Martin Wallace has issued a game which can be considered a derivative of Age of Steam. (and this is open to discussion, but in my book and just reading the material here in BGG, it is pretty clear that both games are very, very, very closely related)

Therefore, FRED paid $15,000 for...nothing, well, for less than nothing as now people can play the maps for AoS with Steam thus losing sales, and people are still claiming that FRED is the wrongdoer?

I am probably missing something.
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Fabio Banin
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but doesnt the new Steam have differences enough from old AoS to be seen as a different game?
Since rules cant be copyrighted, and the game isnt EXACTLY the same
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Stephen Smith
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Quote:
Maybe Steam was supposed to be more derivative and less Age of Steam like

Maybe, but it was originally being billed as Age of Steam, third edition with the name change (reportedly) coming as a result of the trademark fiasco not this contract.
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Gareth
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IANAL

Anyone else get the sneaking suspicion that the Age of Steam-Eagle Games Variant mentioned in the contract is actually Railways of the World?

In this case, while I still think he's in breach of the contract, the wording of the claim could be a little off. After all Steam is clearly an iteration on Age of Steam and not Railways of the World.

Other than that, the only argument I can see them making is that they were prohibited from selling Age of Steam in anything but its then-current form. However, they were not explicitly prohibited from iterating on it. They were explicitly prohibited from iterating on Age of Steam-Eagle Games Variant. So, if they can argue that Steam != Age of Steam and that it was an iteration of Age of Steam and not AoS:EGV (which I still suspect is RRT) then they might be okay.

Obviously this is a total fallacy for anyone who has been following the story since, were it not for the trademark dispute, Steam would be called Age of Steam, but when have lawyers ever let a little thing like truth get in the way.
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Stephen Smith
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Quote:
but doesnt the new Steam have differences enough from old AoS to be seen as a different game?

It is a different game, but it looks as though it is going to get caught up in the derivatives clause in the contract. I don't think anybody with any knowledge of the games could reasonably argue that Steam is not a derivative of Age of Steam.

Quote:
Since rules cant be copyrighted

Rules are copyrighted all the time. Just ask John Bohrer.
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Robert Fox
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Better get your copy of Steam while it's still legal!
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Robert Kuster
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Honestly this is quite rediculous but hopefully it gets resolved soon and the gaming industry is not overly affected in a negative way. It seems like the ones that are doing all the muscling are not true gamers that want first and foremost to provide people with great games to play. Not sure how this will affect my game purchases, I avoided buying the Age of Steam by Fred and picked up Steam from Wallace/Rio Grande, rather have it from the original designer and support him.
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Jack Neal
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Quote:
Rules are copyrighted all the time. Just ask John Bohrer.


From what I understand, the rules are the only thing that really can be copyrighted. Board art as well.

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Anthony Simons
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abendoso wrote:
I am probably missing something.

One thing you're missing is that Eagle Games, not FRED, allegedly paid $15000. I know nothing about the legitimacy of the claim, all I do know is that none of this can be doing the industry any good.
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Tim Gilberg
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FuManchu wrote:
Better get your copy of Steam while it's still legal!


I wouldn't worry about it. FRED's not going to win anything that gets rid of Steam. However, this takes the wind out of the sails for any Wallace argument and legal threat--this is a hell of a potential hammer. I expect it will lead to rather clean and quiet settlement all around.
 
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Tim Gilberg
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fellonmyhead wrote:
abendoso wrote:
I am probably missing something.

One thing you're missing is that Eagle Games, not FRED, allegedly paid $15000. I know nothing about the legitimacy of the claim, all I do know is that none of this can be doing the industry any good.


Yes, but FRED purchased Eagle Game's rights, trademarks, etc in the bankruptcy proceedings.
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Breno K.
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As far as I know, rules can be copyrighted only as far as how they're written. If I re-write the rules (different sentences, different order), then it's not illegal. Yeah, the protection here's pretty shoddy, but hey, what can you do.
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Stephen Smith
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Quote:
Anyone else get the sneaking suspicion that the Age of Steam-Eagle Games Variant mentioned in the contract is actually Railways of the World?

I think you may be right, especially since (AFAIK) Eagle was never reported to be producing Age of Steam in that time period.
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Steve Holden
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I can't help but feel crappy about this, and to be honest, it makes me want to pretty much avoid FRED distribution...
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Tim Gilberg
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seppo21 wrote:
Quote:
Anyone else get the sneaking suspicion that the Age of Steam-Eagle Games Variant mentioned in the contract is actually Railways of the World?

I think you may be right, especially since (AFAIK) Eagle was never reported to be producing Age of Steam in that time period.


Eagle released and distributed Age of Steam in the US. It was the same game as the Warfrog printing, but it was an Eagle release. It happened a bit before Railroad Tycoon was released, as I recall.
 
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