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Subject: No Up Front from MMP (repost of official announcement) rss

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Merric Blackman
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From Brian Youse of MMP - reposted from ConSimWorld:

Recently, we were able to agree with Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro on extending a number of the licenses that we hold from them. Unfortunately, with the status of Up Front in the air, that license was not continued. WotC/Hasbro could not estimate when, if ever, they would be able to work through the legal issues surrounding ownership of that game that have prevented us from producing anything for the last five years. We regret that we will not be involved in the future of Up Front. We are very grateful to Andy Maly and Ken Smith for all the hard work that they put into Up Front for us. It was a pleasure working with them, although the results did not pan out. We are big fans of Up Front, and we hope it is able to thrive somewhere else.
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Andrew Walters
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Well rats.

Thanks for the news.

Andrew
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Larry Welborn
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Doesn't surprise me but I still hate to see it become "official".
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Merric Blackman
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Indeed. It's really unfortunate that they couldn't resolve the rights. There seem to be a number of old Avalon Hill games that can't be reprinted due to confused rights... or that if they appear are a great surprise to everyone. (e.g. Titan).

Cheers,
Merric
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Rob Rob
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Quote:
"prevented us from producing anything for the last five years"

Would love to see some of what you came up with in the five years before that (UF2000).
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Robert Taylor-Smith
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Glad I didn't sell my copy of Up Front. I expect the price of existing games might rise.
 
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M Evan Brooks
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I concur; I guess now is the time to sell my Up Front and Banzai.

Probably at WBC this August ...
 
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Michael Rinella
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How much ought a copy fetch on the open market, do you think?
 
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Richard Irving
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Good thing I have a couple extra decks in reserve....
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Roar Stensrud
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Sad news, but Up Front will never die! With all the excellent redesign-work done lately, all who want it can get to experience this great game. And I suspect the most die-hard fans have an extra copy or two stashed away in the attic. The rules are online and Wargameroom and Vassal exist for online play. Heck, Vassal even have images of rather close resemblance to the original images... And now recently, Battlegrounds has also popped up as an online-option.

And if this is not enough, go ahead and make your own private copy! I've made lots of new Personality Cards and even AFV cards for my own use with only the help of MS Word (because I'm to lazy to learn to use a real graphics-program). And if figuring out who has the rights is such a problem, I guess the people who have spent years trying to figure that out (and not succeeded) will now have trouble throwing lawyers at people trying to make their own copies of the game. Who would be hiring the lawyers if the ownership is in the blue?

Much of this can of course also be used as arguments for why NOT to re-publish Up Front. If that is indeed the reasoning behind not going the extra mile to resolve the ownership-rights, I think Hasbro, Wizards and MMP have missed the mark, though.

As I say, there ARE options (plenty) for people wanting to play Up Front without owning the original game. Still I'm 100% sure that a re-published version would be people's first choise for playing Up Front. And I'm also 100% sure that the vast majority of those already owning the original Up Front, would also want to buy the new version.

But for now, let's play with what options we have! Teach your friends or go online. I'll be over at Vassal and you'll also find a lot of players in the Wargameroom and possibly on the Battlegrounds.

R.
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Merric Blackman
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stroar wrote:
Much of this can of course also be used as arguments for why NOT to re-publish Up Front. If that is indeed the reasoning behind not going the extra mile to resolve the ownership-rights, I think Hasbro, Wizards and MMP have missed the mark, though.


I doubt it. My suspicion is that the rights for Up Front are actually owned by a number of separate groups, and that one or more of them don't want to relinquish those rights.

I suspect Hasbro have tried to gain all the rights themselves, for it's much, much easier for them to operate that way (especially for such a marginal property compared to their bigger brands), but the other right-holder(s) hasn't felt it worth their while to relinquish their set of the rights. Of course, this is if they can even *find* the other right-holders. (Consider the case of David Trampier, one of the early RPG/AH artists, who just disappeared from the face of the earth one day, and was last reported to be driving a cab).

Cheers,
Merric
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Slyvanian Frog
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Or that the dollar value for this from Hasbro's perspective is nothing from a materiality standpoint, and therefore it does not make sense for them to even try to sort things out if there is the slightest difficulty in figuring out who has what rights.

With something like this, there's always a good chance that someone took a look at it and said, "We're going to get sub-six figures a year from licensing this? Who cares."
 
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Todd Pytel
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SlyFrog wrote:
With something like this, there's always a good chance that someone took a look at it and said, "We're going to get sub-six figures a year from licensing this? Who cares."

Probably more like "the amount of money we could possibly get for licensing this is less than it will cost us to pay the lawyers to sort out the rights."
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Jerry Steffler
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I just found my copy of the 12/2001 dated Word document; Up Front 2000. Unless my memory fails me, Andy Maly was coordinating its distribution and the feedback process back then.
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Andrew Walters
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Completely ignoring the more rational argument "Anything you do with it will cost you more than it will ever make, so you're never going to do anything with it, so selling it to me for a thousand bucks has an infinite return-on-investment!"

Meanwhile, I can stop worrying they're going to ruin it with the new edition.

Andrew
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Larry Welborn
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merciless1 wrote:
I just found my copy of the 12/2001 dated Word document; Up Front 2000. Unless my memory fails me, Andy Maly was coordinating its distribution and the feedback process back then.


He was.
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James McHaffey
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I've heard it stated at least a dozen times that you can't patent or trademark boardgame rules. So what is to prevent someone from designing a new game in the same vein as Up Front? It's a great game but could use some significant rules updates and refinements. I'm thinking something along the lines of Russia Besieged vs. Russian Campaign...
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Slyvanian Frog
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tppytel wrote:
SlyFrog wrote:
With something like this, there's always a good chance that someone took a look at it and said, "We're going to get sub-six figures a year from licensing this? Who cares."

Probably more like "the amount of money we could possibly get for licensing this is less than it will cost us to pay the lawyers to sort out the rights."


You just expressed the same thing I was thinking (as an attorney), using greater detail for the reason for the "Who cares."
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Franz Halder
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Right on!
Just make your own version...or use the great Squad Leader graphics and just write your own card game rules. If they can't get it together just DIY....I am doing just that.
 
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