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Christian T. Petersen
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The Fallen wrote:
Flightmaster wrote:
KenToad wrote:
[q="Flightmaster"]

Now I really want to play X-Wing, so I can judge for myself how it compares to Wings of War and whether that's more incestuous than Flash Duel and En Garde.


Ken,

First, I recommend you check out Wreckage, a game that FFG published before WoW was released, and something we developed for several years in the late 90's. Further, I would very much invite you to play X-Wing when released, as I find the notion of "incest" vis-a-vis WoW to be baseless. The two games share a genre (dog-fighting miniatures), to which I hope you agree there is no proprietary claim. Similarly, we do not claim "Eclipse" is an infringement of our "Twilight Imperium" on the basis that the two share a common concept and theme (great game, Eclipse, BTW, and a great addition to the genre).

I, and FFG, hold designers and their proprietary ideas in the highest regard, and we have decades long relationships with dozens of the finest designers in the world. I think they're important, and I will speak to defend them.

On the matter of this game, I consider Reiner a friend, and I personally think there's an issue here, so I will speak out when he cannot (due to the obvious bias). I think you'll agree these are not merely two games sharing the "fencing genre".

In this case, it is my opinion that both the publisher of En Garde (Gryphon) and Reiner is injured. I think it is in interest of the gaming public to understand that, even if some may disagree with me.

If I create special powers for Monopoly tokens, I would argue that I've made an expansion (or a variant) to an existing product, not that I made a new game.

From the response here, I think it is clear a license was not taken on En Garde. I would submit that this was, and remains, the correct thing to do. There is no reason why this shouldn't be a win-win for the parties, and it is not too late.

Disclaimer: I have no stake in En Garde, Gryphon, or Reiner Knizia's financial upsides or downsides. I express this as a personal opinion.

cP
FFG




Given the bold [emphasis mine] passage above, why didn't FFG contact Hamblin when you decided to remake Merchants of Venus?


We had no reason to suspect he was not aware of our work. In hindsight, obviously we should have, but our approvals and communication was through the entity which licensed us the game and TM.

cP
FFG


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Tim Harrison
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Flightmaster wrote:
If I create special powers for Monopoly tokens, I would argue that I've made an expansion (or a variant) to an existing product, not that I made a new game.

Yet surely you'd agree that at some point an idea can be expanded and transformed so much that it bears little resemblance to the original idea, such that it can rightfully be called a new game.

That determination is a subjective one, and it's rarely black and white. In this case, you clearly believe Flash Duel is little more than an expansion of En Garde, and David does not, so who's right? Without something like a patent, who knows?

And speaking of patents and proprietary rights, I'm curious... has FFG has licensed the patented tapping mechanic from WotC?
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Christian T. Petersen
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darksurtur wrote:
Flightmaster wrote:

I, and FFG, hold designers and their proprietary ideas in the highest regard, and we have decades long relationships with dozens of the finest designers in the world. I think they're important, and I will speak to defend them.

On the matter of this game, I consider Reiner a friend, and I personally think there's an issue here, so I will speak out when he cannot (due to the obvious bias). I think you'll agree these are not merely two games sharing the "fencing genre".

In this case, it is my opinion that both the publisher of En Garde (Gryphon) and Reiner is injured. I think it is in interest of the gaming public to understand that, even if some may disagree with me.

If I create special powers for Monopoly tokens, I would argue that I've made an expansion (or a variant) to an existing product, not that I made a new game.

From the response here, I think it is clear a license was not taken on En Garde. I would submit that this was, and remains, the correct thing to do. There is no reason why this shouldn't be a win-win for the parties, and it is not too late.

Disclaimer: I have no stake in En Garde, Gryphon, or Reiner Knizia's financial upsides or downsides. I express this as a personal opinion.

cP
FFG




I appreciate you articulating your concerns in more detail than above, but I am still confused on what the point of posting here was. You saw what you think is infringement. You implied you notified the possibly aggrieved parties. It is their role, and their responsibility, to act if they see a legitimate reason for doing so. The fact that they haven't yet speaks volumes. Posting here and implying you are the voice of a party that has no ability to speak (they do) is not only comes off as very passive aggressive and catty, in my opinion it is not even particularly appropriate.


While I agree with your assessment generally, I believe this is the interest of the injured parties. Had they voiced opinion on the subject, they would have been seen as defensive and biased. If Gryphon and Knizia believe my concern to be misplaced, I would be happy to apologize to them. There are times, however, in the interest of what I value in our industry, when silence is the greater sin. I'm not thrilled to seem "catty". In this case, however, I'll take the lumps (and don't fault you for giving them).

cP
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Flightmaster wrote:
darksurtur wrote:


I appreciate you articulating your concerns in more detail than above, but I am still confused on what the point of posting here was. You saw what you think is infringement. You implied you notified the possibly aggrieved parties. It is their role, and their responsibility, to act if they see a legitimate reason for doing so. The fact that they haven't yet speaks volumes. Posting here and implying you are the voice of a party that has no ability to speak (they do) is not only comes off as very passive aggressive and catty, in my opinion it is not even particularly appropriate.


While I agree with your assessment generally, I believe this is the interest of the injured parties. Had they voiced opinion on the subject, they would have been seen as defensive and biased. If Gryphon and Knizia believe my concern to be misplaced, I would be happy to apologize to them. There are times, however, in the interest of what I value in our industry, when silence is the greater sin. I'm not thrilled to seem "catty". In this case, however, I'll take the lumps (and don't fault you for giving them).

cP
FFG




By "voice," I don't mean here on BGG (because it seems unlikely you'll ever gain enough public support on a niche forum about a niche game to exert effective pressure on a game publisher). I mean court, which is the proper venue for handling infringement claims and defenses. Court also has real costs, and that means rights holders have to make real decisions about the strength of their case. In other words, it seems the other parties are aware of the game, but they have not filed a claim despite years of availability, which implies that they think the claim is not particularly strong. And I tend to believe them.
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Flightmaster wrote:
David,

I don't see Reiner's name anywhere on here, but I assume (or rather hope) this is a license of En Garde.

Christian
FFG


Have you actually played the game?

This is a serious question. I would really like to know if you actually played the game before deciding it was so close to En Garde that it needed to licensed. I get the impression that you're basing your premise on just the picture. I suspect that's why you haven't even attempted to address Sirlin's detailed post about the differences and similarity between the games. Because personally, I can't really imagine anyone playing both games and coming to the conclusion that you have. I find it more plausible that you simply reacted to a photo.

I am quite comfortable in saying that Ascension, Thunderstone, Nightfall, Throne Worlds, and other deck building games have more in common with Dominion than Flash Duel does with En Garde. I am equally comfortable in saying that Dr. Knizia's Blue Moon owes more to Magic the Gathering than Flash Duel does to En Garde (by a wide margin). I thought crediting Dr. Knizia with inspiration for the idea was a classy gesture, and correctly indicated the extent to which Flash Duel owes anything to En Garde.
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Flightmaster wrote:
The Fallen wrote:
Flightmaster wrote:
KenToad wrote:
[q="Flightmaster"]

Now I really want to play X-Wing, so I can judge for myself how it compares to Wings of War and whether that's more incestuous than Flash Duel and En Garde.


Ken,

First, I recommend you check out Wreckage, a game that FFG published before WoW was released, and something we developed for several years in the late 90's. Further, I would very much invite you to play X-Wing when released, as I find the notion of "incest" vis-a-vis WoW to be baseless. The two games share a genre (dog-fighting miniatures), to which I hope you agree there is no proprietary claim. Similarly, we do not claim "Eclipse" is an infringement of our "Twilight Imperium" on the basis that the two share a common concept and theme (great game, Eclipse, BTW, and a great addition to the genre).

I, and FFG, hold designers and their proprietary ideas in the highest regard, and we have decades long relationships with dozens of the finest designers in the world. I think they're important, and I will speak to defend them.

On the matter of this game, I consider Reiner a friend, and I personally think there's an issue here, so I will speak out when he cannot (due to the obvious bias). I think you'll agree these are not merely two games sharing the "fencing genre".

In this case, it is my opinion that both the publisher of En Garde (Gryphon) and Reiner is injured. I think it is in interest of the gaming public to understand that, even if some may disagree with me.

If I create special powers for Monopoly tokens, I would argue that I've made an expansion (or a variant) to an existing product, not that I made a new game.

From the response here, I think it is clear a license was not taken on En Garde. I would submit that this was, and remains, the correct thing to do. There is no reason why this shouldn't be a win-win for the parties, and it is not too late.

Disclaimer: I have no stake in En Garde, Gryphon, or Reiner Knizia's financial upsides or downsides. I express this as a personal opinion.

cP
FFG




Given the bold [emphasis mine] passage above, why didn't FFG contact Hamblin when you decided to remake Merchants of Venus?


We had no reason to suspect he was not aware of our work. In hindsight, obviously we should have, but our approvals and communication was through the entity which licensed us the game and TM.

cP
FFG




Thank you for the response and sorry for the derail.
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Christian T. Petersen
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GamesOnTheBrain wrote:
Flightmaster wrote:
If I create special powers for Monopoly tokens, I would argue that I've made an expansion (or a variant) to an existing product, not that I made a new game.

Yet surely you'd agree that at some point an idea can be expanded and transformed so much that it bears little resemblance to the original idea, such that it can rightfully be called a new game.

And speaking of patents and proprietary rights, I'm curious... has FFG has licensed the patented tapping mechanic from WotC?


No. Primarily because, despite common belief, WOTC does not have a patent on tapping. They have patent for a style of play of which the "tapping" is one of a number of claims. Many years ago, FFG had discussions with WOTC on this, and we did a full exploratory (and expensive) legal analysis on this issue, including a review on the prior-art on the matter. WOTC did not contest our written observation to them on the matter, nor was our request for other details on their patent case history provided. In other words, we did our full due diligence and communicated with WOTC in good faith on this issue (in 2002 I believe).

In our reading, they have a patent for a style of play that is embodied in Magic the Gathering (as manifested in play in correlation to the series of claims on that Patent), not for the obvious (i.e. as opposed to non-obvious, an important aspect in patents) changing the direction of a card as a means to imply effect. However, we would have gladly licensed the patent should we have wished to derive the style of play protected by their patent (i.e a game product that embodied the series of claims).

FFG takes licenses from game systems from their designers or rights-holders, giving them compensation for our use of their proprietary rights. I think our record shows this clearly, and that I can speak without a double-standard on this issue to defend Reiner and Gryphon.

I take it you think this issue is related to the "tapping patent"? I don't think that anyone (certainly not I) is claiming that Knizia has a proprietary claim to "moving a pawn on a track" (a tactile equivalent to a card "tap".) In this issue, I would point to a broad and direct derivation of the copyright in the rules of En Garde, and an unjust use of En Garde's accrued goodwill in the mind of the public.

This is not an easy area, and proprietary rights of others can be inadvertently violated. This is usually amicably and fairly resolved, however, as this issue could be, if David contacts Reiner.

It is one thing to stand on the shoulders of a giant, it is another to kick him in the knee and take his lunch.

cP
FFG
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Christian T. Petersen
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darksurtur wrote:
Flightmaster wrote:
darksurtur wrote:


I appreciate you articulating your concerns in more detail than above, but I am still confused on what the point of posting here was. You saw what you think is infringement. You implied you notified the possibly aggrieved parties. It is their role, and their responsibility, to act if they see a legitimate reason for doing so. The fact that they haven't yet speaks volumes. Posting here and implying you are the voice of a party that has no ability to speak (they do) is not only comes off as very passive aggressive and catty, in my opinion it is not even particularly appropriate.


While I agree with your assessment generally, I believe this is the interest of the injured parties. Had they voiced opinion on the subject, they would have been seen as defensive and biased. If Gryphon and Knizia believe my concern to be misplaced, I would be happy to apologize to them. There are times, however, in the interest of what I value in our industry, when silence is the greater sin. I'm not thrilled to seem "catty". In this case, however, I'll take the lumps (and don't fault you for giving them).

cP
FFG




By "voice," I don't mean here on BGG (because it seems unlikely you'll ever gain enough public support on a niche forum about a niche game to exert effective pressure on a game publisher). I mean court, which is the proper venue for handling infringement claims and defenses. Court also has real costs, and that means rights holders have to make real decisions about the strength of their case. In other words, it seems the other parties are aware of the game, but they have not filed a claim despite years of availability, which implies that they think the claim is not particularly strong. And I tend to believe them.


I understand your point, but I think you underestimate the power of niche communities and the public discourse on BGG to change publisher behavior (speaking from personal experience).

Cheers.
cP
FFG
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Robert Garcia
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As a consumer this looks like a non-issue. Games build on previous games, just as ideas build on previous ideas. I doubt Shadow Hunters had to license anything from Bang! guys. (Incidentally, Shadow Hunters is much more fun for me.)
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Flightmaster wrote:
In this issue, I would point to a broad and direct derivation of the copyright in the rules of En Garde, and an unjust use of En Garde's accrued goodwill in the mind of the public.


I think this is quite a strong claim, because it contradicts most of the things I have read online, such as

http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl108.html

"Once a game has been made public, nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles."

My understanding of this is that nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles.
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garcia1000 wrote:
Flightmaster wrote:
In this issue, I would point to a broad and direct derivation of the copyright in the rules of En Garde, and an unjust use of En Garde's accrued goodwill in the mind of the public.


I think this is quite a strong claim, because it contradicts most of the things I have read online, such as

http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl108.html

"Once a game has been made public, nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles."

My understanding of this is that nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles.



When it comes to games, the only thing you can copyright apparently are rules (exact wording of rules, actually) and artwork. You can get patents for especially unique gameplay elements, I'm sure, but usually of something physical in nature.

David gives credit to Reiner in his rules for the inspiration. I hope X-Wing has a similar blurb devoted to Andrea.

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andrewgr wrote:
Have you actually played the game? ... Because personally, I can't really imagine anyone playing both games and coming to the conclusion that you have. I find it more plausible that you simply reacted to a photo.

Flightmaster wrote:
On the matter of this game, I consider Reiner a friend, and I personally think there's an issue here, so I will speak out when he cannot (due to the obvious bias).

I also get the impression that you haven't played the game. You claim Reiner cannot speak due to an obvious bias, but you also say that you consider him a friend, your company publishes some of his games, and you likely haven't played Flash Duel either. Doesn't that make you approximately the second most biased person to determine whether a legal violation exists here?

Flightmaster wrote:
I think you'll agree these are not merely two games sharing the "fencing genre"...If I create special powers for Monopoly tokens, I would argue that I've made an expansion (or a variant) to an existing product, not that I made a new game.

If that analogy was appropriate, your concerns would make sense, but the designer of the game, as well as others on this forum have provided details explaining how that analogy is not appropriate. A game of monopoly with tokens that had special powers would still feel like playing Monopoly as nearly all of the rules details would be exactly the same. Considering the number of differences between Flash Duel and En Garde, it seems clear me that the similarities between them constitute no more than a mechanic (using number cards to move and attack on a 2 dimensional plane), and that even this mechanic has been adjusted in significant ways. The theme is not even the same, Flash Duel is not a fencing game as you seem to imply above. Obvious design effort has been put into the asymmetrical characters and detailed theme, and these are what determine the feel of a game of Flash Duel, not the mechanic taken from En Garde. As someone who has played both games, I argue that a reasonable analogy for En Garde and Flash Duel would be Dominion and Ascension. Ascension used the exact same deckbuilding mechanic, but changed some of the details of the rules, and added some creative twists.

GamesOnTheBrain wrote:
Yet surely you'd agree that at some point an idea can be expanded and transformed so much that it bears little resemblance to the original idea, such that it can rightfully be called a new game.

That determination is a subjective one, and it's rarely black and white.

I second this, and furthermore feel that it is a determination that would be much better made by a less biased individual. (Or at least one that has played both games).
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ohbalto wrote:
Wow. Zing.


Since the WoW/X-Wing case keeps on being quoted, please let me very quickly give my point of view too. I think that it's more fair if you have both, and not just Christian's, on such a delicate matter that, as Tim whisely says, "it's rarely black and white."

I too look forward to play X-Wing when released to better judge. For the moment I must say that - according to what I see and read - to my eyes Wings of War

and X-Wing

seems quite far more similar to each other than any other dog-fighting miniatures game that I can think of, so they share IMHO quite more than just "a genre". Let's see what will be in the released box.

What's more important to my eyes, FFG has been the first to think that WoW's mechanics were original and new enough to be worth licensing by them. They contacted the rights owners of WoW to buy the game mechanics to be used in X-Wing, and they even offered to write
Quote:
Game Design By Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Paglia
on all packagings and manuals. They then decided to withdraw the offer and they now feel that they don't owe anything to WoW's authors, but I find difficult to see how the existence of Wreckage (yes, please study that game well too) or of any previous game might justify this change of mind.

Thanks to everybody.
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Christian, I love FFG and by extension love you but I think your attitude displayed here is bad for the industry, and I sincerely hope that the copyright laws others have posted are right and no court would agree with you, because the morals you are implying would stifle innovation or at least limit it to companies who had the connections or the capital to "license" simple ideas

David Sirlin had a good point when he said "Luckily for us all, the idea that a card with a 5 on it can both move a piece 5 spaces and attack a distance of 5 is not something that anyone has a monopoly on."

What's the difference between Flash Duel and any other game that uses simple mechanics from other games, really? For a recent example that's already been brought up, what about pretty much every deck building game?

Flash Duel DEFINITELY used a couple mechanics from En Garde. But I think that the difference here is, and the reason you are even taking issue with that is because En Garde is a bare-bones, basic game and those couple mechanics are basically all it consists of (thats not an insult)

Basically, it looks like 100% of the game was taken and simply added to. But to realize what's going on, you have to first recognize the simplicity of En Garde... that "100%" was just a few mechanics big

Also, it's easy for you to pick on Flash Duel unfairly simply because there haven't been enough similar games released for you to consider it a "genre"... kinda like how before there was a term for "First Person Shooter" there were only "Doom Clones"
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angiolillo wrote:
ohbalto wrote:
Wow. Zing.


Since the WoW/X-Wing case keeps on being quoted, please let me very quickly give my point of view too. I think that it's more fair if you have both, and not just Christian's, on such a delicate matter that, as Tim whisely says, "it's rarely black and white."

I too look forward to play X-Wing when released to better judge. For the moment I must say that - according to what I see and read - to my eyes Wings of War

and X-Wing

seems quite far more similar to each other than any other dog-fighting miniatures game that I can think of, so they share IMHO quite more than just "a genre". Let's see what will be in the released box.

What's more important to my eyes, FFG has been the first to think that WoW's mechanics were original and new enough to be worth licensing by them. They contacted the rights owners of WoW to buy the game mechanics to be used in X-Wing, and they even offered to write
Quote:
Game Design By Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Paglia
on all packagings and manuals. They then decided to withdraw the offer and they now feel that they don't owe anything to WoW's authors, but I find difficult to see how the existence of Wreckage (yes, please study that game well too) or of any previous game might justify this change of mind.

Thanks to everybody.


Oh my. This just keeps getting messier. I miss the good old days when we just argued about who owned Age of Steam.
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Wow this got a bit unpleasant. When I saw the train image I was just thinking train wreck instead of the intended derailed meaning. To me it seems the FFG ceo is acting more in bad faith than sirlin. Sirlin credited knizia for the idea in the previous game and this version even further separates itself from en garde. Seeing this makes me want to avoid any fantasy flight purchases.

Unfortunate because this looks to be the best vaule of any sirlin game yet. Yomi is $100 for the full game and the previous deluxe version of flash duel was about the same cost as this yet this has way more components. This may be my first sirlin games purchase.
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Mark Crane
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Here is a representation of what will happen once the lawyers get involved.

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SirHandsome wrote:

David Sirlin had a good point when he said "Luckily for us all, the idea that a card with a 5 on it can both move a piece 5 spaces and attack a distance of 5 is not something that anyone has a monopoly on."


I won't argue that some of Mr. Petersen's points may have been overstated, but Mr. Sirlin certainly over-generalized here to argue his point. I am a fan -- I own Yomi and recently traded Puzzle Strike, but if this comment is representative of his outlook/respect for the work of his peers then I am disappointed.

I just reviewed the rules of Flash Duel. The "Simple Mode" rules described on page 2 (as well as the recommended ruleset to use for your first game) are the same exact rules as En Garde, with the only real exception of the "Push" move added by Flash Duel. The only other 2 3 4 minor differences I could see were

1. There appear to be 5 fewer spaces on the player mat (1 X 18 instead of
1 X 23).

2. A game of FD is best 3 out of 5, where the recommended length of
En Garde is first to 5.

edit

3. In Flash Duel, it is legal to play a bigger card than there are
available spaces to move. The pawn moves as far as it can (either
up to the opposing pawn or backwards to the last space on the
board) in this circumstance.

4. The discard pile is public knowledge in Flash Duel.
end edit.

(I missed these rules in the first post, and they should
be included here for fairness when listing differences.)

To my understanding, the other rules/attributes of the games are identical similar, including:

- a two player game simulating a duel between two pawns.
- a deck of 25 cards with the exact same distribution
- movement is done on a single axis where the pawns approach from
different directions and cannot pass each other.
- each player holds 5 cards, and on a turn plays 1 or more cards and
draws back to 5.
- Mr. Sirlin's aforementioned mechanic of a card being used to either
move or attack.
- playing combinations of matching cards to attack/defend.

I could keep going on, but I think you get the point. Everything else (not including the exceptions listed above) is the exact same nearly identical*, right down to the special victory conditions when the draw deck is depleted.

* edited again for correctness.

I'll present it from another angle. I could buy Flash Duel, set up the board and deal the movement cards for my daughter and me to play. She knows En Garde very well and would immediately begin playing Flash Duel without any instructions from me. She would, of course, be playing En Garde with the Flash Duel pieces, but she would also be 100% playing the "Simple Mode" of Flash Duel as documented in the rules. Any move she made or action she might take would be a legal Flash Duel move. There is not one mechanic or concept in En Garde that is not in Flash Duel.

I know, I know... "Flash Duel has so much more, and once you add the other elements it becomes such a different game..." That may be true, but I'll repeat myself:

There is not one mechanic or concept in En Garde that is not in Flash Duel.

Not one.

All the deck-building comparisons are not the same. I couldn't set up Thunderstone or Ascension and play with the same rules as Dominion and still be playing an officially documented version of the other game.

I certainly agree that individual mechanics should not belong to a single designer, but at what point does using the same combination of mechanics combined with the same components define a recognizable piece of work? En Garde is not the inspiration for Flash Duel, it is the foundation.

Mr. Sirlin cites all the new rules and materials added to Flash Duel that go above and beyond En Garde -- 2 v 2, 20 different characters w/ assymmetrical special abilities, co-op, solo, etc. I have to admit these enhancements sound awesome, but they are enhancements, even if he spent years balancing and developing them. They sit atop the "Simple Mode" of the game, which is 99% exactly like En Garde -- there is simply no arguing that fact away. No comments like "Have you even read the rules" can change it.

One other point I'd like to add. Most of the enhancements Mr. Sirlin argues makes his game different did not exist in the first edition of Flash Duel. That was a strictly 2 player game with the addition of 10 characters each with special abilities as the only real distinguishing feature from En Garde. The first edition rules did have a "This game was inspired by Reiner Knizia'a game En Garde." at the bottom of the first page, but I didn't see it in the new edition rules (v. 4.1 on the sirlingames website.)
My apologies if it is still there and I missed it.

Bottom line is reading the Flash Duel rules gives me the same feeling I got when I played the Dominion-ripoff iOS app. I was hoping for an iPad game with deck-building mechanics and what I got was Dominion with different card names and artwork. The card powers and rules were taken directly from Dominion. I certainly felt then (and now) that Donald X. and Rio Grande deserved a % of the money I spent.

Maybe there are no legal grounds for copyright infringement here, but put yourself in Dr. Knizia'a place. Any would-be game designer should be upset that his hard work could be so easily copied provide such detailed inspiration for a different game from which he gets no royalties.

Flash Duel sounds like a great way to bring new life to an old favorite, but I won't be buying it until it has Dr. Knizia's name on the box next to Sirlin's.

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kevinpdx wrote:

One other point I'd like to add. Most of the enhancements Mr. Sirlin argues makes his game different did not exist in the first edition of Flash Duel. That was a strictly 2 player game with the addition of 10 characters each with special abilities as the only real distinguishing feature from En Garde. The first edition rules did have a "This game was inspired by Reiner Knizia'a game En Garde." at the bottom of the first page, but I didn't see it in the new edition rules (v. 4.1 on the sirlingames website.)
My apologies if it is still there and I missed it.

Bottom line is reading the Flash Duel rules gives me the same feeling I got when I played the Dominion-ripoff iOS app. I was hoping for an iPad game with deck-building mechanics and what I got was Dominion with different card names and artwork. The card powers and rules were taken directly from Dominion. I certainly felt then (and now) that Donald X. and Rio Grande deserved a % of the money I spent.

Maybe there are no legal grounds for copyright infringement here, but put yourself in Dr. Knizia'a place. Any would-be game designer should be upset that his hard work could be so easily copied provide such detailed inspiration for a different game from which he gets no royalties.

Flash Duel sounds like a great way to bring new life to an old favorite, but I won't be buying it until it has Dr. Knizia's name on the box next to Sirlin's.



If a would-be game designer, or any creative artist, really didn't want their ideas copied, they have a mechanism for doing that: not telling anyone. Most don't choose that option, because ideas that are not shared usually have little value.

Yes, if IP isn't protected, people won't have economic incentives to come up with new ideas (they'll still come up with them anyways, history tells us.) So copyright/patents/trademarks serve as kludgey mechanisms for protecting the commercial viability of new ideas for a limited amount of time. They also have limits for a reason, because they are fundamentally antithetical to all the other ways societies work.

Which is a long-winded way of saying that, in my opinion, there is no moral duty to respect copyright above and beyond the strict limits of the law. People abrogate their claims over their ideas they moment they communicate them, as I am doing in this post.

Finally, your point about the first edition is exactly why I am still puzzled this has come up now. The first edition was more like En Garde and yet no one filed an infringement claim. Why then is there a case when a less-similar second edition comes out?
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That's a good post kevinpdx, you obviously did your research. But I still think the size of the game matters. You see it as "100% of En Garde's ideas are represented in Flash Duel" and I see it as "A few ideas from En Garde are in Flash Duel." It just so happens that En Garde is only a few ideas big

After your list of things that are in both games you said "I could keep going on", but can you really? for how much longer?

kevinpdx wrote:

I'll present it from another angle. I could buy Flash Duel, set up the board and deal the movement cards for my daughter and me to play.


I see what you're saying here but again, I think the simplicity of En Garde is relevant. When the components are limited to a track, two abstract pawns, and a deck of cards with "unique" names such as 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5... well, your point just doesn't have as much impact with me as it would for another game maybe. Truth be told, I could play En Garde with sticks (for the pawns), leaves (for the track), and five varieties of round smooth rocks mixed up and shuffled in a clay pot

I guess we just "draw the line" differently. I don't really see what Flash Duel has done as "bad"

darksurtur wrote:
Finally, your point about the first edition is exactly why I am still puzzled this has come up now...Why then is there a case when a less-similar second edition comes out?


It was discussed a bit actually, but by different people. There are probably new people being exposed to the game with the second edition.
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SirHandsome wrote:

darksurtur wrote:
Finally, your point about the first edition is exactly why I am still puzzled this has come up now...Why then is there a case when a less-similar second edition comes out?


It was discussed a bit actually, but by different people. There are probably new people being exposed to the game with the second edition.


My point is a bit different. I'm sure it was discussed - everything game-related is discussed here. But the rights holders did not file a claim then, when their case was stronger. If they didn't then, what has changed to make it more relevant now?
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darksurtur wrote:

Finally, your point about the first edition is exactly why I am still puzzled this has come up now. The first edition was more like En Garde and yet no one filed an infringement claim. Why then is there a case when a less-similar second edition comes out?


I am somewhat puzzled by this too. Possibly because Flash Duel was never really marketed heavily before -- it was always the minor third option after Yomi and Puzzle Strike. I saw the thread, was curious enough to do some research and wrote a (probably too long) opinion.

As I said in my first post, I have no idea whether it is legal or not and I won't argue it either way. I do think that by including the "Simple Mode" rules, Flash Duel is being marketed as a superset of En Garde. Sirlin wants his game to be recognized as a stand-alone entity yet he keeps it directly tied to a known, recognizable, highly-regarded previous work.

I never agreed with the negative Dominion/Puzzle Strike comparisons when that game was released. Many mechanics were shared, but the games did not play at all alike. A major reason for this was the win conditions were so different. This is not really true with any 2 player variant of Flash Duel when compared with En Garde. (And no, I am not arguing that just because two games share the same goals and win conditions means one ripped off the other. My problem is the near-perfect match of En Garde's rules to the basic version of Flash Duel.)

I still regard Mr. Sirlin as a brilliant designer, but in this case he should have either shared more of the credit, or altered his rules to further differentiate his game from En Garde.
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I won't argue that some of Mr. Petersen's points may have been overstated, but Mr. Sirlin certainly over-generalized here to argue his point. I am a fan -- I own Yomi and recently traded Puzzle Strike, but if this comment is representative of his outlook/respect for the work of his peers then I am disappointed.

I just reviewed the rules of Blazblue. The "Simple Mode" rules described on page 2 (as well as the recommended ruleset to use for your first game) are the same exact rules as street fighter 2, with the only real exception of the burst move added by blazblue. The only other 2 minor differences I could see were

1. There appear to be 1 fewer buttons used

2. a game of BB is best 3 out of 5, while sf2 is first to 2

All the other rules/attributes of the games are identical, including:

- a two player game simulating a battle between two characters
- a character with attacks, throws, and special moves
- movement is done on a 2d plane
- each player has all their attacks available, and does them on their turn
- Mr. Sirlin's aforementioned mechanic of a move being used to either
defend or attack.
- using different attacks in combinations.

I could keep going on, but I think you get the point. Everything else is the exact same, right down to the special victory conditions when the timer hits zero.

I'll present it from another angle. I could buy Blazblue, set up the game and give my daughter a joystick to play. She knows street fighter 2 very well and would immediately begin playing blazblue without any instructions from me. She would, of course, be playing street fighter 2 with the blazblue pieces, but she would also be 100% playing the "Simple Mode" of Blazblue as documented in the rules. Any move she made or action she might take would be a legal Blazblue move. There is not one mechanic or concept in street fighter 2 that is not in blazblue.

I know, I know... "Blazblue has so much more, and once you add the other elements it becomes such a different game..." That may be true, but I'll repeat myself:

There is not one mechanic or concept in street fighter 2 that is not in blazblue.

Not one.

All the special move comparisons are not the same. I couldn't set up Tekken or Melty Blood and play with the same rules as street fighter 4 and still be playing an officially documented version of the other game.

I certainly agree that individual mechanics should not belong to a single designer, but at what point does using the same combination of mechanics combined with the same components define a recognizable piece of work? Street fighter 2 is not the inspiration forblazblue, it is the foundation.

Mr. Sirlin cites all the new rules and materials added to Blazblue that go above and beyond Street fighter 2 -- Air Combos, 20 different characters w/ assymmetrical special abilities, training mode, single player, etc. I have to admit these enhancements sound awesome, but they are enhancements, even if he spent years balancing and developing them. They sit atop the "Simple Mode" of the game, which is 99% exactly like street fighter 2 -- there is simply no arguing that fact away. No comments like "Have you even read the rules" can change it.

One other point I'd like to add. Most of the enhancements Mr. Sirlin argues makes his game different did not exist in the first edition of blazblue. That was a strictly 2 player game with the addition of 12 characters each with special abilities as the only real distinguishing feature from street fighter 2. The first edition rules did have a "This game was inspired by Capcom's game Street Fighter 2." at the bottom of the first page, but I didn't see it in the new edition rules (v. 4.1 on the sirlingames website.)
My apologies if it is still there and I missed it.

Bottom line is reading the Blazblue rules gives me the same feeling I got when I played the World Heroes Perfect-ripoff iOS app. I was hoping for an iPad game with Fighting mechanics and what I got was World Heroes Perfect with different attack names names and artwork. The character powers and rules were taken directly from World Heroes Perfect. I certainly felt then (and now) that Kenji Sawatari and ADK deserved a % of the money I spent.

Maybe there are no legal grounds for copyright infringement here, but put yourself in Capcom's place. Any would-be game designer should be upset that his hard work could be so easily copied provide such detailed inspiration for a different game from which he gets no royalties.

Blazblue sounds like a great way to bring new life to an old favorite, but I won't be buying it until it has Capcoms's name on the box next to Sirlin's.
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SirHandsome wrote:
... But I still think the size of the game matters. You see it as "100% of En Garde's ideas are represented in Flash Duel" and I see it as "A few ideas from En Garde are in Flash Duel." It just so happens that En Garde is only a few ideas big

After your list of things that are in both games you said "I could keep going on", but can you really? for how much longer?

kevinpdx wrote:

I'll present it from another angle. I could buy Flash Duel, set up the board and deal the movement cards for my daughter and me to play.


I see what you're saying here but again, I think the simplicity of En Garde is relevant. When the components are limited to a track, two abstract pawns, and a deck of cards with "unique" names such as 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5... well, your point just doesn't have as much impact with me as it would for another game maybe. Truth be told, I could play En Garde with sticks (for the pawns), leaves (for the track), and five varieties of round smooth rocks mixed up and shuffled in a clay pot


I certainly won't argue the small size of the En Garde ruleset, but it does manage to define an entertaining and thematic game with the few rules it has.

My point on the hypothetical game of Flash Duel with my daughter was not so much a statement on the similarity of components as much as to illustrate that Flash Duel presents a version of its game that exactly matches another game still actively marketed by a different author. It is not just that the components match, it is that the rules and experience match as well. Again, I am not saying the expanded rules of Flash Duel wouldn't make it a different experience -- my problem is only with the inclusion of the basic rules.

I can't think of another set of games where this same situation is true. The Steam/Age of Steam pair comes close, but I don't think one includes the exact ruleset for the other as an official variant. (I could be wrong.)
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