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Subject: About That Designer Change rss

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Larry Levy
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I really hope this request for information doesn't get dragged into the increasingly contentious Wallace/Bohrer turf war. I'm not saying I'm confident it will, but please keep in mind, I'm not trying to score points for either side, I'm just trying to get some data.

Anyway, I see that both Pampas Railroads and Veld Railroads have had the designer switched from Martin Wallace to John Bohrer on their Geek entries. Since most data on the Geek can be altered using a Wiki-like request, I'm wondering if there is a plausible source for this change. The only thing on this subject I'm aware of is this thread (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/3173850#3173850), in which Wallace volunteers that he had no input in creating Prairie Railroads. But "Prairie Railroads" is a title given to both a series of games and a single game. The series includes Ferrocarriles Pampas and Veld Spoorweg, which no one seems to deny that Wallace designed, and Prairie Railroads, Pampas Railroads, and Veld Railroads. I had interpreted Wallace's statement as being limited to only Prairie Railroads the game, as he clearly had designed some of the titles in the Prairie Railroads system. So that would mean that Prairie Railroads was Bohrer's design, based on the earlier work Wallace had done on the series. It wouldn't be hard to believe that the same thing happened with the last two games of the PR series, but without any further evidence, I'd be reluctant to go against the designer credit given on the box. However, it's entirely possible that other information has come to light. So I was wondering if anyone could either supply that or give further insight of what Wallace's comments really applied to.

It's not a big deal, but I would like to know for myself. I also think it's important that the information in the Geek be as accurate as possible. So any information about this would be welcome. It would also be nice if grandstanding for either of the two combatants could be kept to a minimum (hey, a fellow can hope!).
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Costas
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John explains it over here:

John Bohrer wrote:
Back in 1996 Martin Wallace suggested his Consortium Bidding mechanism to me, so I created an entire game to use the idea. After two games (Ferrocarriles Pampas & Veld Spoorweg), I saw that Consortium Bidding did not work, but I did not want to waste all my design work! So, I created a follow-on game, Prairie Railroads, that used only my base game design and some more development work to spiff it up. Martin had nothing to do with Prairie Railroads, Pampas Railroads or Veld Railroads; I left his name on it as he needed publicity back then. He was happy to get the credit, it helped his rep as a game designer.


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John Bohrer
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Larry Levy wrote:
I also think it's important that the information in the Geek be as accurate as possible.


http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/3920163#3920163
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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Which made crediting Winsome Games on AoS as a favour so very unlikely (ps - that's sarcasm in operation).

But the real answer is that there's no way to discuss any project that JB and MW were both involved in *without* opening up a whole can of worms, with each side (or their favourite supporters) chipping in.
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Bruce Murphy
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RDewsbery wrote:
Which made crediting Winsome Games on AoS as a favour so very unlikely (ps - that's sarcasm in operation).

But the real answer is that there's no way to discuss any project that JB and MW were both involved in *without* opening up a whole can of worms, with each side (or their favourite supporters) chipping in.


As they just did above. And cue cat pictures in 5... 4... 3...

Series credit isn't so terribly unreasonable because it's often tricky to draw the line on where early contributions stopped mattering. Would John have designed Pampas without the impetus provided by the formwork of the Martin design parts of Ferrocile he tossed out? Probably not, it would have been a very different game. Does this mean Pampas Railroad was designed by Martin? Probably not.

B>
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Bruce Murphy
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BrenoK wrote:
Defining authorship (not an inherent part of creative products) in cooperative efforts is difficult when the sides start hating each other [/captain obvious].


Sure. Having had a little insight into some of the development processes around related game in there, I have no reason to distrust the account given. Series credit even when the initial mechanic had gone away. Martin has never disputed this.

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Larry Levy
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BrenoK wrote:
Defining authorship (not an inherent part of creative products) in cooperative efforts is difficult when the sides start hating each other [/captain obvious].

Sadly, I agree completely, Captain.

And Bruce, if you've seen anything from Martin other than that brief snippet I quoted above which supports John's claims, I'd love to see it.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Larry Levy wrote:
And Bruce, if you've seen anything from Martin other than that brief snippet I quoted above which supports John's claims, I'd love to see it.


A problem with this question is that any statements by John are likely to be considered either compromised or self-serving, and Martin has not only has no incentive to assist in clarifying the matter, his interests appear to be better served by letting the question hang.
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Bruce Murphy
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Rather than speculating wildly, it might be useful to contrast the actual games.

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Bruce Murphy
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Also, why not email or geekmail Martin for his side. Ask if you post it to this thread otherwise paraphrase. That might just clear things up. (it might also devolve horribly, but still worth a shot I think)

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Larry Levy
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clearclaw wrote:
Larry Levy wrote:
And Bruce, if you've seen anything from Martin other than that brief snippet I quoted above which supports John's claims, I'd love to see it.

A problem with this question is that any statements by John are likely to be considered either compromised or self-serving, and Martin has not only has no incentive to assist in clarifying the matter, his interests appear to be better served by letting the question hang.

Understood. But Martin has already volunteered one statement on the matter that he didn't have to, so I was just wondering, given the change in designer status, if he had said anything else about it.

As far as contacting Martin, I'd rather not impose, as I suspect he has more pressing matters to worry about. If he feels moved to comment on the matter, I'm sure he won't be shy.

It's a sad fact that, for both individuals, statements which do not appear self-serving will carry more weight than those that do. But I'm afraid that's where this sorry affair has led us.
 
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Bruce Murphy
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Really, you should contact Martin. I very much doubt he spends time reading forums on Winsome published games he didn't design in case someone has left a question hanging.

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Larry Levy
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Thanks, as always, for your unbiased advice, Bruce.
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Bruce Murphy
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Quote:
Thanks, as always, for your unbiased advice, Bruce.


Well, since approximately no-one says Martin designed the game, I'm going to go out on a limb and accept that he probably didn't. So I wouldn't expect him to be found here answering questions.

I don't think there's bias there.

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thepackrat wrote:
Well, since approximately no-one says Martin designed the game...


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Bruce Murphy
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Note 'says' not 'said'. Latest updates from all parties says no. I'll accept handwaved series credit for that version.

Note also:



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Eric Flood
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I don't get the problem?

MW claims he didn't design the game; JB immediately takes the opportunity to make the claim visable and change the designer status. There is established motive for both the original credit and the subsequent re-crediting.

And there's a dispute?

This is like watching Republicans try to argue with Democrats over the validity of every detail of an established fact because they have no other base to do anything of value.
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J C Lawrence
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blueatheart wrote:
I don't get the problem?


Because the tendency is to justify positions after they are adopted rather than before.
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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Curious as to why it matters. So what if he did or didn't design the game and so what if they changed the designers? If MW wants it changed back, he's perfectly able to attempt to get that done, why is this our issue?

Love ya Larry, but there's just too much (imo unnecessary) stirring of the pot here. Let MW be a grown man and be responsible for his own design credits.

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Larry Levy
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blueatheart wrote:
I don't get the problem?

MW claims he didn't design the game.

I don't think that's what he did, Eric. He said he did no design work for Prairie Railroads, the immediate predecessor of Pampas. If he's expanded on that, I'm unware of it (and would genuinely like to see it). Again, I'd say the most likely occurance is that Martin designed the first two games of the series and that the succeeding ones came from John. But before it's put in black and white, I'd really like for there to be more than just this assumption and John's rather broad statement, which, due to the events of the past two years, don't carry quite the weight they ordinarily would. That desire now appears to be a pipe dream, but I thought there might have been something I'd missed.
 
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Larry Levy wrote:
blueatheart wrote:
I don't get the problem?

MW claims he didn't design the game.


Again, I'd say the most likely occurance is that Martin designed the first two games of the series and that the succeeding ones came from John.


Then you would just be wrong. Enjoy the 'mystery', Larry!
 
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Larry Levy
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jschlickbernd wrote:
Curious as to why it matters. So what if he did or didn't design the game and so what if they changed the designers? If MW wants it changed back, he's perfectly able to attempt to get that done, why is this our issue?

I understand you shaking your head over this apparent fruitless attempt, Jennifer, and I was well aware I was veering into dangerous territory when I made the request. But, to me at least, recorded facts are important. It's one thing for John and Martin to be firing counter-claims at each other in a "He said, He said" soap opera. It's another when a respected database like the Geek's essentially alters history without corroboration. If we have the facts to back this up, I'm all for it, but right now, I just don't see it.

If it were me, I'd list both Wallace and Bohrer on all the games in the Prairie Railroads series. Regardless of how much Martin worked on the later games, there's no question that they were all derived from his original ideas. It could be comparable to crediting both Knizia and Wrede on Carcassonne: The Castle, even though all the original work on that design came from Reiner; the game has strong ties to the original Carcassonne, so it makes sense to credit Wrede as well. Since we don't know, and probably will never know, the genesis of these games, shared credit seems like the best solution to me.

I realize this may have been a Sisyphusian attempt on my part, Jennifer, but it was important to me to see if anything had changed. I just think it would be unfortunate if we see a widespread alteration in design credits because one side is talking and the other isn't. Even if this new reality turns out to be correct, for now, it's suspect in the minds of many and that's never a good thing in a database that tries to record the facts.

Forgive me? kisskiss
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Bruce Murphy
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Larry Levy wrote:

I understand you shaking your head over this apparent fruitless attempt, Jennifer, and I was well aware I was veering into dangerous territory when I made the request. But, to me at least, recorded facts are important. It's one thing for John and Martin to be firing counter-claims at each other in a "He said, He said" soap opera. It's another when a respected database like the Geek's essentially alters history without corroboration. If we have the facts to back this up, I'm all for it, but right now, I just don't see it.

Why do the facts you want to have appear have any more justification that the ones that both parties involved agree on?
Quote:

If it were me, I'd list both Wallace and Bohrer on all the games in the Prairie Railroads series. Regardless of how much Martin worked on the later games, there's no question that they were all derived from his original ideas.

It's not clear you were following. When a designer comes up with a game idea, their contribution can be anything between a nearly-finished game or the suggestion for a setting or mechanic. We have an uncontradicted report (no he-said, he said opera here) that Martin this case submitted a mechanic (consortium bidding) which completely disappears from later titles in that series.

So, in what way do you feel a game lacking this mechanic was derived from the idea of this mechanic?

B>
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