Ian Luxmoore
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Hi all

I have designed a game using components from Settlers of Catan (hexes, wooden pieces) and Stone Age (wooden pieces) although the resulting game is nothing like either of those games. I have played the game about 15 times and it has had a good response from people who have played it, although I know that is about 0.1% of the required playtesting for a finished product.

I am not really interested in trying to get the game properly published because of time and money constraints but I think the game is good enough to be worth sharing with other gamers, and I am interested in feedback about the game.

My questions are:

1. Is there a problem (copyright or otherwise) with a free PnP game saying (for example) "use component x,y and z from settlers"? (I realise I could design my own components but they'd just be replicating the existing components and I don't have the ability to create those components).

2. What is the best way to "publish" a game like this - i.e. a ruleset that will be freely available? Should it have an entry on BGG or just a thread in this forum or another option?

3. Is there anything else worth worrying about in terms of contingencies before making the game publicly available?

All suggestions very much appreciated

Ian
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Mark Ashton
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Ginarley wrote:
Hi all

1. Is there a problem (copyright or otherwise) with a free PnP game saying (for example) "use component x,y and z from settlers"? (I realise I could design my own components but they'd just be replicating the existing components and I don't have the ability to create those components).



Nope. You haven't copied anything. As long as you aren't causing some sort of confusion with regard to the origin of the components (and since you're not selling them, or claiming to be Mayfair or whatever, you won't be), there are no trademark implications. Your idea is like saying "Turn to page 100 in your copy of Lord of the Rings" or "you can use the freeble valve from your Ford engine to whiten your teeth". Perfectly reasonable.

Ginarley wrote:

2. What is the best way to "publish" a game like this - i.e. a ruleset that will be freely available? Should it have an entry on BGG or just a thread in this forum or another option?


I think a new game entry on BGG is a good idea, although I'm not an expert in the community rules for doing such a thing. I believe publishers and designers often create entries for their new games here. Maybe someone like
Kwanchai Moriya
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who has self-published a PnP game could weigh in?

I'm a former IP lawyer (in the USA). I've been fortunate to be able to flee the legal field entirely, but my knowledge is pretty up to date, so I think this is pretty sound advice. You can take it with a grain of salt because I haven't been practicing for about four years. I wouldn't consider yourself advised by a lawyer -- say rather a person with legal training.
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Jake Staines
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mvkhaos wrote:

I think a new game entry on BGG is a good idea, although I'm not an expert in the community rules for doing such a thing. I believe publishers and designers often create entries for their new games here. Maybe someone like kwanchai who has self-published a PnP game could weigh in?


The Game Submission Guideliens cover part of this:

Game Submission Guidelines wrote:

For self-published games and user-designer efforts, a game is ready to be added to the BGG database after the game has undergone play-testing and is available in its final form. If details about the game are still being resolved and the rules are still being changed over the course of the play-testing, the game is not sufficiently finalized for a BGG entry.


So if you're not done playtesting, it's too early for a DB entry.

However, it's never too early to start a thread in the Game Design forum and ask for feedback and/or playtests; if you're using existing components exclusively - there's no extras of your own people will need to print out - you could plausibly even just post the rules in your new thread and avoid the necessity of downloading anything entirely. Otherwise, services like Dropbox or Box.com (or several others) will allow you to share files with the public fairly easily.
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Russ Williams
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Bichatse wrote:
Game Submission Guidelines wrote:

For self-published games and user-designer efforts, a game is ready to be added to the BGG database after the game has undergone play-testing and is available in its final form. If details about the game are still being resolved and the rules are still being changed over the course of the play-testing, the game is not sufficiently finalized for a BGG entry.


So if you're not done playtesting, it's too early for a DB entry.

Wow, I never noticed that. Too bad it's not enforced at all. E.g. many game design contests that require people to put their untested half-baked ideas into the BGG game database. :/
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John "Omega" Williams
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russ wrote:
Bichatse wrote:
Game Submission Guidelines wrote:

For self-published games and user-designer efforts, a game is ready to be added to the BGG database after the game has undergone play-testing and is available in its final form. If details about the game are still being resolved and the rules are still being changed over the course of the play-testing, the game is not sufficiently finalized for a BGG entry.


So if you're not done playtesting, it's too early for a DB entry.

Wow, I never noticed that. Too bad it's not enforced at all. E.g. many game design contests that require people to put their untested half-baked ideas into the BGG game database. :/


Yeah. Part of why I stopped participating in "create a game" contests.
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Ian Luxmoore
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mvkhaos wrote:
Nope. You haven't copied anything. As long as you aren't causing some sort of confusion with regard to the origin of the components (and since you're not selling them, or claiming to be Mayfair or whatever, you won't be), there are no trademark implications. Your idea is like saying "Turn to page 100 in your copy of Lord of the Rings" or "you can use the freeble valve from your Ford engine to whiten your teeth". Perfectly reasonable.


Thanks, that is what I assumed but I figured I'd better ask around!
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Ian Luxmoore
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Bichatse wrote:
The Game Submission Guideliens cover part of this:

Game Submission Guidelines wrote:

For self-published games and user-designer efforts, a game is ready to be added to the BGG database after the game has undergone play-testing and is available in its final form. If details about the game are still being resolved and the rules are still being changed over the course of the play-testing, the game is not sufficiently finalized for a BGG entry.


So if you're not done playtesting, it's too early for a DB entry.

However, it's never too early to start a thread in the Game Design forum and ask for feedback and/or playtests; if you're using existing components exclusively - there's no extras of your own people will need to print out - you could plausibly even just post the rules in your new thread and avoid the necessity of downloading anything entirely. Otherwise, services like Dropbox or Box.com (or several others) will allow you to share files with the public fairly easily.


Good catch, thanks for that - I'll create a new thread with the information in it and go from there, cheers!
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Ian Luxmoore
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FYI thread for game is here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/825626/tribes-of-the-sto...
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Joe Mucchiello
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russ wrote:
Bichatse wrote:
Game Submission Guidelines wrote:

For self-published games and user-designer efforts, a game is ready to be added to the BGG database after the game has undergone play-testing and is available in its final form. If details about the game are still being resolved and the rules are still being changed over the course of the play-testing, the game is not sufficiently finalized for a BGG entry.


So if you're not done playtesting, it's too early for a DB entry.

Wow, I never noticed that. Too bad it's not enforced at all. E.g. many game design contests that require people to put their untested half-baked ideas into the BGG game database. :/

I complain about that all the time. Maybe next time a bunch of us should "report" the thread encouraging people to break the rules.

Omega2064 wrote:
Yeah. Part of why I stopped participating in "create a game" contests.

Hopefully only a teeny, tiny reason. Otherwise, that's unfortunate.
 
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Whats ironic about the submission requirement that the rules/playtesting be complete, is that I can think of about 50% of commercial games that are broken or still needed play testing...
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Matthew Rodgers
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Well, yes the whole thing about creating entries for a game is a bit schizophrenic.

I made a thread for a game I'm working on, and I guess being cutesy with the name and having my graphics done up too much got it moderated. The mods then say to add the game to the database so that the thread can be attached to the game.

However, the game isn't done and I'm still refining the player aids/rules (which was what the thread was about). So I'm kind of in a Catch-22, the thread is effectively invisible but I can't legitimately enter the game in the database until I get further along in the process.

=/threadjack=

P.S. the actual game Tribes of the Stone Age - WIP (but ready to play) from this thread looks very interesting, a bit too "combatey" for the theme for me, but very interesting.
 
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John "Omega" Williams
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Yeah... Sometimes the moderators dont seem to be aware of the BGG rules either... whistle

If you get a case of a moderator ordering you to break the BGG rules. Report it to one of the higher up admin so it can be cleared up.
 
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