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Andrea Angiolino
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kevinpdx wrote:
The game is Isla Dorada, written by Bruno Faidutti and published by Fantasy Flight Games.

If you look at the cover box art (and the designer list on the BGG webpage) you will see 3 other authors listed, including Andrea Angiolino.


Thanks a lot for quoting this.

A little note: the original publisher of Isla Dorada is the French company FunForge, who bought the rights from the authors and developed the prototype into the actual released game. FFG then licensed it from FunForge for foreign distribution.

Bruno Faidutti has been a real gentleman. When he had the idea of "Ulysses in Elfenland" (that later on became "Caravan Merchant", and then "Isla Dorada") he asked Alan Moon and Pier Giorgio and me if he could use our ideas and make us co-authors. Piergorgio and me accepted but asking to be "minority authors", not on the same level as him. After that, he has been the main developer of the game - I somehow contributed to it by email and I even went to France to playtest the game with him, but he has been by far the most motivated and involved designer of the team. I just helped with a few little details, in the end.

kevinpdx wrote:
Although extremely similar in mechanics, the games are VERY different in components (I don't think anyone reading the questions would mistake the two games), and the rules themselves have some differences as well


I have a theory about this, in my conferences and essays about game design - alas published in Italian only. To make it short, a game is mainly made of three components: mechanics, materials, setting (that can be scaled from abstract to simulation). You can change part of them and still get the same game under a different form, especially if you keep the same mechanics. Change the materials of chess from a chessboard and wooden piecs into a computer program: you will get computer chess, but they are still chess even if the game materials are completely changed. The same if you turn Battleship from a paper & pencil game into a boardgame, or again a computer program. Change the setting of Monopoly into Star Wars without changing the game mechanics, or just altering them sightly, you get a Star Wars Monopoly - but it's still Monopoly.

Probably you are correct, it is the "gaming experience" that matters.

But this is only a personal point of view as a game designer and a game historian. It has nothing to do with legal matters and with what somebody has to do when developing a game inspired by others. This is a matter left to the good taste and fairness of each person. In worst cases it is a matter to lawyers and judges, and I am neither of them.
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To me cards against humanity seems closer to being a copy of a game just with questions and answers substituted for nouns and adjectives that are in apples to apples. Nothing against cards against humanity just an observation.

I'm also not sure why en garde wasn't credited in this version while it was in the previous version. I'm guessing Sirlin thought the changes were so significant it barely resembled the original game. Still, its hard to argue en garde was used as the base of the game and some sort of credit should be given. If we get to the point were there are tons of games with this mechanic then credit wouldn't be needed but since its just this and en garde, as far as I know, still giving credit would at least be good courtesy.
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I've played both En Garde and Flash Duel many times and can tell one from another. There are 3 minor changes in FD basic rules (small changes in a simple games make a difference) which have a huge meaning for a gameplay and for me make FD a better game than En Garde (I'm still talking about basic rules Flash duel vs En Garde):
- used cards are visible (this is change in a rules, not new one!)
- you can push (new move)
- you can move forward and backward using bigger number then there are free spaces (another change in a rules!)

So we have 2 changes in rules and 1 new one.

For inexperienced players maybe it doesn't make a difference but if I played anybody using FD rules vs En Garde rules I'd squash them. Why? Let me give you some examples on how those 3 minor changes, change En Garde from being mediocre to a good game - FD.

3 simple examples:
1) Near the end of a game. I'm next to my opponent and we are near the middle of a board, there is only 1 card left in a draw deck. I have no 1s.
- En Garde: I have to play some card to move backward, the best option is to move x spaces away and have a card(s) x+1 in hand (ex. move 3 away and have 4s). If I don't I lost because my opponent is closer to the middle.
- Flash Duel: I can do the action above BUT I can also push my opponent away. All used cards are visible so I only don't know 6 cards in game (1 in a draw deck and 5 in opponent's hand). If I have 5, I can push him to make 6 spaces away (safe distance) and win by being closer to the middle!

2) Near the end of a game. I'm 3 spaces away from my opponent, we are on my side of a board. I have no 3s (can't attack) and can't do a dashing strike but have 1s and 5s.
- En Garde: I have to move backward and probably lost because I had no options.
- Flash Duel: I can use 5 card to move 2 space forward (next to my opponent). Round ends and I won having more 1s (I knew I'd win because I had two 1s in my hand and two 1s were discarded and I could see that).

3) I'm 2 spaces away from the last space. You attack me with dashing strike and I can't block.
- En Garde: I can flee if I have 1 or 2
- Flash Duel: I can flee using any card.

You would probably say: hey, the only difference I can see is during a final card played. YES but if you played this game many times (and know how to play it) you know that 9/10 times this game ends after final card is played so this changes are crucial. En Garde gives you no or less options during decisive moments (is more random) while Flash Duel gives you more options.
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For me the issue isn't whether the idea or game was stolen. I couldn't careless. My ideas and creations are stolen all the time and I still don't care (used to but not anymore).

Life is to short and not worth fighting over personal creations. I am happy just with knowing I inspired innovation or improvement. That to me is what should matter.

There are 2 reasons I am so angered.

1) What is the CEO of a giant publisher like FFG doing calling out a person publicly? Why wasn't it handled using PMs and such? Is FFG making En Guarde (FFG edition)?

2) If Dr. Knizia cares so much then why isn't he fighting this battle publicly? Does he get a source of income from each sale for a product with his name on it?

The questions with go unanswered for the involved parties obviously, but I am still curious enough to see the responses from the community.
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Kevin Tierney
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DDPage wrote:
I've played both En Garde and Flash Duel many times and can tell one from another. There are 3 minor changes in FD basic rules (small changes in a simple games make a difference) which have a huge meaning for a gameplay and for me make FD a better game than En Garde (I'm still talking about basic rules Flash duel vs En Garde):
- used cards are visible (this is change in a rules, not new one!)
- you can push (new move)
- you can move forward and backward using bigger number then there are free spaces (another change in a rules!)

So we have 2 changes in rules and 1 new one.

For inexperienced players maybe it doesn't make a difference but if I played anybody using FD rules vs En Garde rules I'd squash them. Why? Let me give you some examples on how those 3 minor changes, change En Garde from being mediocre to a good game - FD.

3 simple examples:
1) Near the end of a game. I'm next to my opponent and we are near the middle of a board, there is only 1 card left in a draw deck. I have no 1s.
- En Garde: I have to play some card to move backward, the best option is to move x spaces away and have a card(s) x+1 in hand (ex. move 3 away and have 4s). If I don't I lost because my opponent is closer to the middle.
- Flash Duel: I can do the action above BUT I can also push my opponent away. All used cards are visible so I only don't know 6 cards in game (1 in a draw deck and 5 in opponent's hand). If I have 5, I can push him to make 6 spaces away (safe distance) and win by being closer to the middle!

2) Near the end of a game. I'm 3 spaces away from my opponent, we are on my side of a board. I have no 3s (can't attack) and can't do a dashing strike but have 1s and 5s.
- En Garde: I have to move backward and probably lost because I had no options.
- Flash Duel: I can use 5 card to move 2 space forward (next to my opponent). Round ends and I won having more 1s (I knew I'd win because I had two 1s in my hand and two 1s were discarded and I could see that).

3) I'm 2 spaces away from the last space. You attack me with dashing strike and I can't block.
- En Garde: I can flee if I have 1 or 2
- Flash Duel: I can flee using any card.

You would probably say: hey, the only difference I can see is during a final card played. YES but if you played this game many times (and know how to play it) you know that 9/10 times this game ends after final card is played so this changes are crucial. En Garde gives you no or less options during decisive moments (is more random) while Flash Duel gives you more options.


I agree that I missed another rule, and have edited my original post (again) to reflect my mistake. I also attempted to tone done the assertions because they were easy to take out of intended context.

Just as I felt stating

Quote:
The idea that a card with a 5 on it can move a piece on a board 5 spaces or attack something 5 spaces away


was an unfair and misleading statement about what the two games had in common, my restricting the comparison to the "simple mode" rules of Flash Duel was equally unfair, even if the point was to demonstrate how much of the entire idea that defines the game of En Garde (rules, pieces, goals, etc.) were in the core of Flash Duel. It was not the taking of a single mechanic and making a new game out of it.

Knowing that, and knowing there is obviously some contention between the designers changed my decision on purchasing Flash Duel. If I had never seen the initial post, I'd be playing Flash Duel this Christmas, no question. How much it bothers you will be an individual thing. I pass no judgements on where you draw the line -- these posts were an attempt to explain/rationalize the arguments I used on myself when forming my conclusion.

Still, as we have all agreed, there is nothing Sirlin Games has done that is illegal. I would defend his right to sell Flash Duel in its current form without hesitation. Again, I'm just disappointed that the parties involved couldn't come together more amicably, and I hope this type of situation never becomes the normal way new games are developed.

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Fede Miguez
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DarkKami wrote:
2) If Dr. Knizia cares so much then why isn't he fighting this battle publicly? Does he get a source of income from each sale for a product with his name on it?
I think I can give a hint on why this could be. AFAIK legally the best course of action is to do nothing if you are not committed to the issue so when you there is not history on your side. Sometimes this is done until the issue is worth enough money that the lawyers cost. At least this is the behaviour i have seen in other cases.
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Benoit Flageol
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En garde looks boring.

Flash duel on the other hand looks very cool. I preordered a copy.

That CEO is just jelly.
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Kiren Maelwulf
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So FFG is now a developer of completely unique games and ideas? Every time a new FFG game comes out it seems I hear, “It’s just like _____ but with nicer bits.” I can get past that FFG has devolved into the Gamesworkshop mentality of production quality in respect to appearance over actual refined game play, I just don’t buy FFG games anymore. But come on, they are the last company that should be calling someone out on this issue.
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Kyle Johnson
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HauRuck wrote:
angiolillo wrote:
kevinpdx wrote:
The game is Isla Dorada, written by Bruno Faidutti and published by Fantasy Flight Games.

If you look at the cover box art (and the designer list on the BGG webpage) you will see 3 other authors listed, including Andrea Angiolino.


Thanks a lot for quoting this.

A little note: the original publisher of Isla Dorada is the French company FunForge, who bought the rights from the authors and developed the prototype into the actual released game. FFG then licensed it from FunForge for foreign distribution.

Bruno Faidutti has been a real gentleman. When he had the idea of "Ulysses in Elfenland" (that later on became "Caravan Merchant", and then "Isla Dorada") he asked Alan Moon and Pier Giorgio and me if he could use our ideas and make us co-authors. Piergorgio and me accepted but asking to be "minority authors", not on the same level as him. After that, he has been the main developer of the game - I somehow contributed to it by email and I even went to France to playtest the game with him, but he has been by far the most motivated and involved designer of the team. I just helped with a few little details, in the end.



I don't think its unreasonable to desire things to work as above, even if there are seldom legal reasons to do so.

I do acknowledge that the whole X-Wing thing could make for a wicked case of irony here but as I've neither read the rules nor played the game as of yet I'll have to fully reserve judgement there for a later date.


In regards to the X-Wing thing, from session reports and reviews form those that tried it at Gen Con, there seems to be at least a few opinions that it is just Wings of War with some alterations and with spaceships.

Pot...Kettle...
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Dominion is a complex game with a lot going on, and its copiers are complex as well. The Apples to Apples analogies are much more appropriate in this case. Have the Apples to Apples creators sued the makers of Say Anything and the other myriad of party games where everybody submits one answer and one person picks whatever they feel like?

En Garde's complexity is one step above Apples to Apples and one step below Uno. I'm all for protecting designers and not copying their work without compensation, but not in the case of games that can be replicated with a deck of regular playing cards and a couple pebbles.

Obviously, Sirlin played En Garde, liked it, and built on it. So what? The game is, like, three rules long, and the components and details are completely nondescript. Any game that you could program on a computer in less than 10 minutes probably doesn't require a license to be copied. It was nice of Sirlin to mention Knizia as the inspiration for the game. Beyond that, there's just not enough to the game to worry about it.

If I write rules for the same game using a standard deck of cards and two coins, and post it on BGG with a couple modified rules, are people really gonna get mad? This isn't like stealing a song someone else wrote. It's more like copying a 5-chord chord progression... just not enough there to protect.

(Edit: spelling errors)
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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joepinion wrote:
(En Garde) is, like, three rules long, and the components and details are completely nondescript.


Lime for truth.

I realize everyone wants to have their moment on this, but I think the insult being implied to Dave Sirlin is being drastically overlooked here.
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kevinpdx wrote:
darksurtur wrote:
Sometimes people don't want to share when they are not legally required to. Which is their right (assuming they are ok with the reputation loss that might occur).


I can't argue against that, although I don't see how having Reiner Knizia's name on the box under David Sirlin's would do anything except help sales of Flash Duel...


Indeed. And for that reason I'd assume that Knizia requires a fee any time you want to put his name on the front of a game box.
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While I agree more with Kevin and Andrea on this issue .... I think it is time for us all to take a step back and view a perfectly legal derivative form...

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These sort of unintentional borrowings happen all the time. Look at the iphone version of the game "Fits" for example (I'm not sure who the author is):



Now look at this shoddy ripoff, "Tetris" :



Obviously, Tetris has been influenced by Fits. But does the author of Fits pitch a fit or whisper to their friends to make a stink about it online? No, because that would be ridiculous. Instead, they obviously realize that art begets more art, and that overreacting to the slight similarities eventually kills the creative process, leaving us all relatively impoverished.

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craniac wrote:
These sort of unintentional borrowings happen all the time. Look at the iphone version of the game "Fits" for example (I'm not sure who the author is):

...

Obviously, Tetris has been influenced by Fits. But does the author of Fits pitch a fit or whisper to their friends to make a stink about it online? No, because that would be ridiculous. Instead, they obviously realize that art begets more art, and that overreacting to the slight similarities eventually kills the creative process, leaving us all relatively impoverished.



That's just because "in Soviet Russia, copyright owns you."

No, seriously, look it up. Russia took all the royalties from the creation of Tetris.
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craniac wrote:
Obviously, Tetris has been influenced by Fits. But does the author of Fits pitch a fit or whisper to their friends to make a stink about it online? No, because that would be ridiculous. Instead, they obviously realize that art begets more art, and that overreacting to the slight similarities eventually kills the creative process, leaving us all relatively impoverished.


The important thing here is whether or not Alexey Pajitnov credited the designer of FITS. I hear someone at FFG might have written a post giving Pajitnov a well-deserved scolding, so probably not.
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I always thought Sirlin was a bit of a jerk, but after this I'm not even playing an FFG game again.

Disgraceful.

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I will play games by Sirlin, by FFG and even train games, because I care a lot more about having fun playing games than I do about delightful personalities. What percentage of game players or even BGG users are wonderfully charming? 20 percent? I'm not willing to play those odds.



Disclaimer: I would put myself in the category of "total doorknob, 80 percent of the time."

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Most of my customers follow a code and when a company steps out of line, for one reason or another, they get replaced.

At my store Games Workshop was replaced by Privateer Press who then was replaced by Wyrd (though they have come back to Warmachine), DND for the most part was replaced by Pathfinder, and now FFG is being replace by Dominion, Sirlin's games, and Days of Wonder products such as Small World.

I asked my customers why they do this and they told me because if they can find similar fun through a cheaper product then they don't need expensive FFG and Wizard of the Coast games.

I think it is just because they have grown up and don't have the time to setup an epic sprawl like Runewars or Chaos in the Old World. They don't have college loans to pay for Magic. They don't have mom and dad buying them expensive figures. Life gets pretty rough for most gamers after college when they are force to get a part time job while college friends go their own separate ways.

My point being that Mr. Petersen really doesn't have room to be making these mistakes. Bottom line is that he PUBLICLY called out another developer and my customers and Sirlin's fans didn't like this.Although I know this is only Mr. Petersen's personal view, FFG and co. just happens to be the unfortunate collateral damage.

I am sure there are many Sirlin fans that are also FFG customers who do not know about this debacle. If Sirlin wanted...he could have put a serious dent on FFG by making a blog about this on his site and a topic in the Fantasy Strike forums. I am glad to see he stayed quiet and tried to get the topic back on track. Sirlin is after all "the peoples champ" for aspiring small developers, with almost 2,000 supporters on his personal site or the 16k+ on Fantasy Strike.
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GamesOnTheBrain wrote:
kevinpdx wrote:
My point was/is Flash Duel utilizes 100% of a previous game without officially recognizing it, and this bothers me enough to pass on purchasing it.


Wait a second... I thought he *did* officially recognize Knizia by crediting him as inspiration for the game. I thought the question was whether this acknowledgment is enough or whether the property needs to be licensed.


Recognizing someone with a "thank you" and no money or a design credit is not the same as actually paying him to license the mechanics exactly duplicated in the base game.
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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Macabee wrote:

Recognizing someone with a "thank you" and no money or a design credit is not the same as actually paying him to license the mechanics exactly duplicated in the base game.


Well thank god he didn't need to do that, neither by gentlemens agreement, common decency, or law. If he had violated that we'd have a real thread on our hands here.
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So, having read the thread (so far), I take away a few things:

1. It was decent of Mr. Petersen to follow up multiple times on the initial laconic post. I think the first post made the point he was trying to make, but the engagement with other commentors who questioned the first posting is good to see.

2. I find it very telling that the good Dr. Knizia has not commented publicly. (Yes, he may be 'biased'... but it's not as though Mr. Petersen, Sirlin, or even yours truly are models of impartiality.) Dr. Knizia would seem to have an interest in not criticizing Sirlin publicly at this time, otherwise he could have done so in any number of fora.

3. Speaking only for myself, if my work was possibly being infringed, I wouldn't necessarily move immediately to limit sales of the infringing property: greater success would seem to indicate greater damage to me... and an infringing person who profited handsomely by her infringement of my work would then have assets to pay for the judgement I would then attempt to obtain against her (or, more likely, the settlement my lawyers would negotiate on my behalf).

4. I wonder, then, whether Mr. Petersen's initial post expresses a personal opinion (possibly connected to feeling of concern regarding potential similarities to the prior work of apparent friend Dr. Knizia), is animated by some form of business concern (a company that sometimes goes to lengths to license precursor games [and may have gone to the trouble in respect of En Garde and an as-yet-in-development game] upset that a rival appears not to have gone to that time and expense), and/or just exhibits some quirk of personality?

5. While we are all on the topic of copyright law and not being an attorney myelf, I am left wondering how the courts would treat this thread in the context of defamation law?

Anyhow, just my 2 ep worth.
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I think you neglected to notice that Fantasy Flight Games, the company, has no interest here. So its not a big company vs small company problem at all.

My line of reasoning certainly has nothing to do with it. It has to do with the claim being baseless, incorrect, and simply wrong.
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petercox1001 wrote:
Frankly, as a writer...


"As a writer", you must know that it isn't the idea, or the plot, or the characters, or any other element, but what you do with it. "As a writer,". you must often be confronted with people willing to 'sell you their idea' for 50% of a book's profits, as if the Idea is the soul of a novel. "As a writer", you of course know that it's all in the work you do with the idea.

"As a writer", you must acknowledge that paying attention to what other writers are doing with an eye towards 'who has stolen what' is idiotic and counterproductive. And "as a writer", you must realize the folly of applying arbitrary marketplace morality to this stuff, because this ain't writing, and the law is quite clear - game mechanics are fair game.

"As a writer", you must realize that nearly all successful writers acknowledge that influence is an undeniable fact of Art, and that writers often riff directly off one another, as Jonathan Lethem eloquently points out here:

http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/02/0081387

"As a writer," of course, you know that concerns about originality thrive amongst people who aren't really writers.

As writers, you and I are better off worrying about how much, and how well, we've written today. And Mr. Peterson is better off worrying about dumping the cheap marketing pastiches his company has been passing off as boardgames during the past year, confronting the reality that videogame/movie/fiction "properties" don't matter if the game is underdeveloped and overproduced, and he'd be well-served getting back to actually producing games that excite people again.
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