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Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small» Forums » General

Subject: Controversial: Can I PnP this? rss

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Caitlyn Paget
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I love Agricola. So much so, that I've spent hours pimping my copy with adorable sculpey animals (horses aren't done yet).

While I'm curious about All Creatures, I really don't want to buy a game where I only need half the components in the box (because the Animeeples aren't necessary for me). I'm short on storage space, and I've bought too many games recently.

All this makes me consider PnPing it.

But... The ethics of PnPing someone's intellectual property give me pause.
What does the community think? Is it ok for me to do this project, or should I just suck it up and buy the thing?



(Honestly, if there was a cardboard-only version available for sale then I wouldn't think twice about buying it.)

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Bruce Murphy
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Buy the game and then give away any pieces you don't want to some budding game designer.

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Caitlyn Paget
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That's a good point.

How many of each animal comes in the game? Are there enough that I could trade the Animeeples to someone who wants to upgrade their copy of Agricola???
 
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Davi Rosa
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There is no such a thing as too many bits.
Now, towards PnPing, I only think it is acceptable when it is impossible to get it otherwise. For example, I wanted to play Dune, but it was long dead, so I printed it (although now they have Rex). The X-deck for agricola itself, I have never found a place selling it so I'm considering PnPing it, but only because I can't properly buy it.

When you don't buy the game and instead Print it, your are hurting a lot of people's jobs (designers, publishers, destributors, FLGSs).
Make a priority list and either buy it now or later.
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Wil
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tathta wrote:
I really don't want to buy a game where I only need half the components in the box (because the Animeeples aren't necessary for me). I'm short on storage space, and I've bought too many games recently.

But... The ethics of PnPing someone's intellectual property give me pause.
What does the community think? Is it ok for me to do this project, or should I just suck it up and buy the thing?


From my perspective, most definitely no on PnP.

The cost of the components is a factor in the price of a game, but the cost of a game should really always be assumed to be for the game design itself.

If you want a game because it looks like something you can enjoy, then in my opinion that means you should fully support it by paying the designer and publisher for their hard work. It's really that simple.

Regarding storage space, the game footprint looks small to me and it might even fit in the Agricola box, so in my opinion space won't end up being much of a concern either. It's also pretty darn cheap as far as recent games go.


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Quite a few BGGers PnP published games before, after, or without buying them. What they don't do is write up methods for doing it to make others question their own convictions and be tempted to violate their conscience.

The long and short of it is that if you're interested in copying a published game, there is usually more than enough information on BGG in the forums, files, and images to show you how to do it / how difficult it would be.

Presumably, if you want to make a PnP copy, it's a personal project (if it was for money, it would almost unquestionably be illegal), so it falls on you to do your own research and figure out the details on your own. This is essentially an unwritten BGG policy.
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Caitlyn Paget
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Yeah, it seems the consensus matches my gut feeling: only PnP published games if they are no longer available.
I'll add All Creatures to my wishlist, and will probably wait until I'm ready for a new game. And then I'll tuck the cardboard into my already=heavy 'Gric box, and get rid of the animeeples eventually.

~~~~~

On a different note: what do people think about pimping a full game.

For example, there are games out there where someone pimped the entire game, which means that the published version is redundant. There was a 3D Notre Dame recently, or beautiful Puerto Ricos pre-aniversary addition.

My gut says "no" to PnP as a way to avoid purchasing, but I feel differently about these types of projects because they are a labour of love. But I'm wondering where the line is drawn - when is this a good thing vs unethical copying?

Thoughts?
 
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Matt Shinners
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tathta wrote:
On a different note: what do people think about pimping a full game.

But I'm wondering where the line is drawn - when is this a good thing vs unethical copying?

Thoughts?


If you want to pimp a full game, purchase the original, then slowly replace everything (we've solved Theseus' paradox!).

That way, the designer/publisher/etc... gets a cut, and you have a pretty game.
 
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Aaron Shanowitz
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ldsdbomber wrote:
Uncontroversial. Just do it.Or don't. Be your own judge on morals don't rely on others. There's certainly no legal obstruction to making a home brew version for your own personal use.


I just want to second this and what Nate said. Making a copy for your own use is perfectly fine, regardless of whether or not the game is no longer available.
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B Mendez
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I'll buy the bits for from you. I already replaced the reed, wood, stone and farmer discs with eeples, but might want more animal meeples.

Edit: spelling
 
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Inno Van
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I believe you're grossly underestimating how much work you're setting yourself up for.

You'll have to draw the graphics, add a whole lot of explaining text, add additional meeple outlines and other icons to show which pieces go where, print, glue onto cardboard backing, cut out with an x-acto knife and steel edge, then lacquer:

* One main board with lots of fiddly text, meeple outlines and icons.
* Two player farm boards with cottages. With additional text and icons.
* Four farm expansion boards
* Half-timbered house. With fiddly text and icons.
* Storage Building. With fiddly text and icons.
* Shelter. With fiddly text and icons.
* Open Stables. With fiddly text and icons.
* Four stalls with stables on the other side (making doubled sided PnP is always a PITA and they never line up right). With fiddly text and icons.
* Professionally printed storage box

I've got sets of both the Mayday animeeples AND Lookout Animeeples. But I bought A:ACBaS for $30 for the printed cardboard pieces. That alone is worth it vs the time it would take me to puzzle everything out, draw up my own versions in a graphics program, get all the icons and text to line up, print it all out, and craft everything at home.

There is a lot of text and meeple outlines specific to each space in this game. Getting that all lined up correctly is always a fiddly business and will take multiple days in any drawing program. I'd really end up wasting a least a week of evenings if I tried to make my own version. I'd rather just pay $30 and see if I actually like the game before I make that kind of time investment.

Plus, the manufactured artwork is nice. I myself only make the time investment of making my own graphics for a game once I've played it enough to know I like it and knowing it will continue to hit the table. Hence the long road of pimping my original copy of Agricola between play after play. I'm still waiting for my first play of A:ACBaS, so it has yet to prove itself worthy of such a time investment.

I've also found that PnP held in crummy DIY cardboard boxes never get asked out onto the table. It looks like a prototype, and people will only play those if you beg them. Professional appearances count if you want your games to actually get out on the table and be played.


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Caitlyn Paget
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ldsdbomber wrote:
Maybe this will help, do you honestly think every single player on BSW, vassal, yucata, boardspace and all the other online gaming sites, you think all those guys have bought copies of every game they play?


I really hadn't thought of that, but it's a very good argument in favour of homebrewing anything and everything. Interesting...
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Wil
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tathta wrote:
ldsdbomber wrote:
Maybe this will help, do you honestly think every single player on BSW, vassal, yucata, boardspace and all the other online gaming sites, you think all those guys have bought copies of every game they play?


I really hadn't thought of that, but it's a very good argument in favour of homebrewing anything and everything. Interesting...


Interesting as I view this point the exact opposite way. Online implementations to me are either games I already have that I can now also play online, or games that I've been interested in and can now get a trial-ish play in. If I end up liking them, my immediate thought is to buy the game as I like it and would prefer to play it with people sitting in front of me. If I don't like it, I simply bail on it and move along.

This is why I think online implementations are positive and shouldn't be feared. I'd find it hard to imagine that people who play online implementations end up homebrewing what they like. I really see them as simply sticking with the online version and/or buying the game. I don't think there is a correlation in homebrewing here.

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Wil
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ldsdbomber wrote:
I'm always bemused by the intensity of some people in their arguments against homebrewing given the existence of these sites (almost always authorised by the game companies themselves).


In my opinion this is in synch with the comment I just made. I don't see online versions of games leading to hombrewing. They are really separate topics and mindsets.

To me, online interpretations of games shake out as this:

* Positive: A potential buyer who plays the electronic version and ultimately buys the game because they want to play it offline with friends as well.

* Positive - A potential buyer who plays an electronic version and doesn't like it. They are no longer a potential buyer. This is a loss in sale, but I see this as a positive loss in sale as the game didn't appeal to this user. In this case, they simply moved on as their investment in the game was minimal. They typically wouldn't become bitter about wasting money and complain in a forum. They also wouldn't contribute to the second hand trading pool.

* Positive: A potential buyer who plays the electronic version, likes it, but decides that the electronic version scratches their itch and they don't end up buying the game. This is fine though as they are still a fan, and a fan means marketing and keeping the game alive. Their positive interest will likely lead to some sale some day.


In summary, all positive, in my opinion. This is why most publishers are for this.

I don't see hombrewing fitting the same definitions. The time involved in homebrewing is significant and therefore the gamers investment is high. This will yield different outcomes then the minimal investment of playing an electronic version. There are still positives that can match some of what I mention above, but the negatives are stronger in my opinion.


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Wil
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ldsdbomber wrote:
The thing is, doesn't it boil down to individuals? Objectively speaking, which is where I was trying to come in, the net result of homebrewing and online playing is some people are playing a game and a designer, publisher and associated people are not getting paid for it. What happens after that, and what possible aftereffects follow is IMO a separate issue, but YMMV


I agree and think this really sums it up.

---

As for my comments on the negatives of homebrewing, I am mainly referring to the investment a user has to put into the game and how that will factor into the end result. For example, if we use the same points I used on electronic versions, here's my opinion on what homebrewing will yield due to the increased investment in time, energy, money, and sweat in building the personal homebrew.

wgerken wrote:
* Positive: A potential buyer who plays the electronic version and ultimately buys the game because they want to play it offline with friends as well.


In this case, the homebrewer made the game and likes it. They may end up buying the game but I think a number of these folks will want to keep the version they spent a good amount of time (and money) making.

From a marketing standpoint, this is still positive. From a sales standpoint, not as much. Overall, I'd still round up to positive but definitely a lesser positive than the electronic counterpart.


wgerken wrote:
* Positive - A potential buyer who plays an electronic version and doesn't like it. They are no longer a potential buyer. This is a loss in sale, but I see this as a positive loss in sale as the game didn't appeal to this user. In this case, they simply moved on as their investment in the game was minimal. They typically wouldn't become bitter about wasting money and complain in a forum. They also wouldn't contribute to the second hand trading pool.


In my opinion, this one flips to negative for homebrew. If someone spends a good amount of time and money making a homebrew version and doesn't like the game, they will feel a loss. This loss will definitely vary but in some cases, it may even be higher then someone who bought the game and can still at least trade it away. In my opinion, this loss may lead to negative marketing rather than just "moving on" like in the electronic counterpart.


wgerken wrote:
* Positive: A potential buyer who plays the electronic version, likes it, but decides that the electronic version scratches their itch and they don't end up buying the game. This is fine though as they are still a fan, and a fan means marketing and keeping the game alive. Their positive interest will likely lead to some sale some day.


This is likely identical with homebrewing.


In summary, the points are valid for homebrewing. There are positives but it's not as much in my opinion. This is among the reasons I think homebrewing has a worse rep or stigma than electronic versions.

 
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Kuba P.
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theaaron wrote:
ldsdbomber wrote:
Uncontroversial. Just do it.Or don't. Be your own judge on morals don't rely on others. There's certainly no legal obstruction to making a home brew version for your own personal use.


I just want to second this and what Nate said. Making a copy for your own use is perfectly fine, regardless of whether or not the game is no longer available.



I disagree with that. On this principle anyone could decide that stealing is OK and go to the nearest shop and just take whatever you feel like.

When you PnP something that is available for purchase you do essentially the same thing - at least from my perspective.
 
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Aaron Shanowitz
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Quote:
I disagree with that. On this principle anyone could decide that stealing is OK and go to the nearest shop and just take whatever you feel like.

When you PnP something that is available for purchase you do essentially the same thing - at least from my perspective.


Woah, nobody mentioned anything about stealing. That's a whole different thing and I think we would probably all agree that stealing from a shop is wrong. You're also incorrectly assuming that everybody who makes a PnP version of a game would have instead purchased a copy, which is just not true.

If you think PnP is anything like stealing then we'll just have to fundamentally disagree.
 
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Wil
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Art and copy for games have typically been copyrighted and in most cases, PnP or electronic use of that art or copy will be in violation of that copyright.

Art tends to be a more sensitive item as not only is it copyrighted, but the artist may also have a single use clause attached to it so any additional use would be violating the artist's rights as well.

Arguably, you are not even supposed to upload images to BGG that are clearly game components without the copyright or intellectual property holder's permission. In fact, if you do that with Games Workshop bits, I think they chop off one of your fingers as well.

All of that said, PnP and electronic versions of games really can't be considered stealing. Stealing is something quite different.
 
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Inno Van
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ldsdbomber wrote:

check out photocurio and his winsome maps (though I think Peter takes quite some time), or look at garygarison, he chucks proper homebrew stuff together, often with stunning results in what looks like a bit of sketching on a piece of old board, and using glass beads etc.


Oh yeah, there's a lot of time invested by photocurio to make his work look good. And that's the thing. Getting the graphics right takes a lot of time. Good graphics explain the game and make it easier to play. Bad graphics make it more confusing.

No offense against Mr. Garison, but my gaming buddies would veto this ever getting to the table over their favorites:



and would ask who I'm trying to kid if I asked them to play this over Thunderstone or any other commercial release:



The limitation in my groups isn't games to play, it's opportunities to play them. Dodgy looking home brewed titles are going to be voted down over well designed, already play tested and balanced commercial games. And if there's well designed graphics that make it easy to understand fiddly game mechanisms, that's even better.

If over time A:ACBaS proves itself a popular title, I'll probably make a new version of the boards with larger spaces so that animeeples aren't stacked to the ceiling. But before I do that, I have to see first if I like it any and if it's worthy of being pimped out!

[Edit: Turns out part of the fun during downtime is stacking the animeeples to fit their spaces, and that people prefer the small size. Who knew?]

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Bruce Murphy
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One important distinction is that yucata.de can have games removed easily if the publisher decides that's what they want to do.

B>
 
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Jeffrey Bourbeau
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buy it or email them and ask for a p2p model for their games. Like Sirlin Games does.
 
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Kuba P.
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jeekubPL wrote:
theaaron wrote:
ldsdbomber wrote:
Uncontroversial. Be your own judge on morals don't rely on others. There's certainly no legal obstruction to making a home brew version for your own personal use.


I just want to second this and what Nate said. Making a copy for your own use is perfectly fine, regardless of whether or not the game is no longer available.



I disagree with that. On this principle anyone could decide that stealing is OK and go to the nearest shop and just take whatever you feel like.

When you PnP something that is available for purchase you do essentially the same thing - at least from my perspective.


Uhh, I was posting from a cellphone and apparently wasn't specific enough...

The sentence about stealing was supposed to be an exaggerated reference to the bolded bit about morals.

ldsbomber wrote:
...if you dont use the original artwork or use the rules expressed in exactly the way the author did.

...Rio Grande specifically gives permission for them to do so...


Of course in these cases it's OK!

For me it's not cool if somebody would make an exact copy of the game and play it as they would the original. This way they are not paying the people that came up with it but using their intellectual property. That's very similiar to music piracy, which is considered 'stealing'.

I hope I made myself clear(er) this time : )
 
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Caitlyn Paget
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Great discussion!

I'm seeing some themes...

People can play games for free (ie. no money to the publisher, not necessarily free) in a couple ways:
- online implementations
- homebrew copies

"Homebrew" can mean vastly different things:
- Trying to copy a game by printing the art etc.
- Making a new & improved version of the game using whatever craftsmen skills you have
- Throwing together a quick version of the game to try it out, could even be pencil on foodscap components

What's interesting is that all these options elicit different responses and ethical opinions. But all of them also have the same outcome: people play games without paying the publisher.
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For me, as a specific example... I'm still not sure what I'll do, but I am feeling comfortable about how I'm making this decision.


I'm really not trying to "cheat" Uwe or Z-man, I just don't like the idea of buying a complete product when I only need a smaller module of that product.

And I'm not underestimating the amount of time needed to homebrew this. I have a bunch of experience pimping games, and I know what I'm getting into.


Option 1: Buy the game, and eventually trade away the animeeples, when I find someone local who wants to take them off my hands.

Option 2: Make my own copy, probably doing a bit of everything: scupley-ing some components, buying some components individually, cutting up other player boards for some components, printing and pasting some components. This probably won't save me money, and it definitely won't save me time, but it'll fit nicely into my Agricola set and I can edit the game to make stables look like stables and troughs look like something else.

If I go with option 2, then I will NOT buy the game. I have no interest in buying a game that I'm constructing myself. And I've already shown plenty of support to the publishers, buying Agricola twice (once as a gift), FotM, Legendary deck, and paying for the player mats (although that got lost in the mail twice and I gave up).

I'm not looking for opinions on these options anymore, I'll decide what I want to do whenever I'm ready for a new game or a new pimping project. But I thought all the people who joined in the discussion might be interested in it's effect on the person who original asked the question.

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tathta wrote:
Great discussion!
People can play games for free (ie. no money to the publisher, not necessarily free) in a couple ways:
- online implementations
- homebrew copies


But the most common one is:

-have a friend bring their copy to share.

Do each of us need to own a copy of Monopoly: The Simpsons for us to play it together? No. No we do not.

If fact, with a minimum number of players of 2, the game is unplayable with only one person. It requires multiple other people (max players 6) who volunteer to play it with you for the game to happen.

The game is bought knowing that up to five other people will be sharing your copy with you when played.

As a two player game, and once you factor in things like coffee shops where both players are borrowing the cafe's copy, most likely less than half of all players of A:ACBaS will ever buy a copy of it.
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