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Subject: Rules Database rss

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Nick Case
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As a matter of course when I purchase a new game I always scan a copy of the rules as a pdf. That way I can distribute the rules to my group ahead of the game to avoid down time required with a read through and to let people have time to launch in on an equal footing. It is also useful to check over the rules if possible before buying a game.

I was recently impressed to find that the full glossy rules for Caylus, Shadows over Camelot and War of the Ring were available on the production companies web sites ditto several others.

BGG has a very useful selection of rules for some games but other games have no downloadable rules at all. When I recently tried to upload a pdf of the rules for Atikka, they were turned down as they breached copyrite. However when a set of rules are translated or abridged or reformatted there seems no problem in them being lodged on the geek although in essence they are the same.

I am the first to admit that I don't understand copyrite law and some people have suggested that my pdf's being mailed to people may breach copyrite but when the benifits of releasing rules openly are appreciated by some companies, why not all when it can only assist the client base and encourage further sales?

In an ideal world, a section in BGG where first generation rules for 'all' games could be accessed (even if they were only links to external web sites) would be of enormous benifit to manufacturers and gamers alike. If large manufacturers gave consent for their rules to be lodged or signposted in such a database, surely others would think twice about with-holding such consent.

Is this a naive concept or would anyone else out there appreciate such a facility?

 
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Leif Norcott
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I would appreciate it, but I also can see where simple games can lose alot of money if their rules where put up. Most people, including me, will read the rules and maybe try it with some home brewed materials to see if they like the game. If I like the game enough I end up buying it, but if I don't get past two plays then I probably won't buy it. When looking at the games I bought there are about 15-20 games that I have only played two times, and each one of those games I probably would not have bought had I known this.

I think it is hard to adjust to the need for this because it happens to video games and movies all the time, with all the piracy. The problem is there is so much more money in video games and movies when compared to board games, thus the need to be that much more careful with copyrighted material, besides the ethics of the issue.
 
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Geo
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nibuen wrote:
I would appreciate it, but I also can see where simple games can lose alot of money if their rules where put up.


I don't think that's the reason. Rules for Abstract games which are the easiest of all to recreate using basic materials are usually available at the developer's sites (see Pacru).

The problem is usually with German games that get a US reprint. If the US rules are posted here and since the US editions are released a few months late, most people would buy the German version instead.
 
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Leif Norcott
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Hmm maybe, but the problem with that is shipping to America from Germany can be expensive. The prices for waiting for the English release are almost always lower as well. Also notice when I say simplier game I am refering to games with hundreds of counters, thus making it harder to duplicate, and not the complexity of the game.
 
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Tim Synge
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GeoMan wrote:
The problem is usually with German games that get a US reprint. If the US rules are posted here and since the US editions are released a few months late, most people would buy the German version instead.


I am sure that this is true. A few years back, Rio Grande had files of their rules translations available on their site, now they don't. I guess they assessed that this was hitting their own sales.

If the components of a game are language-independent, I tend to buy the German version and hope to pick up English rules somewhere, so this is a valid concern. I have bought games like Tikal, Lost Cities, Manhattan and the Gardens of Alhambra in the German versions, simply because they were much cheaper and there are English rules out there.

Admin Edit: Fixed quote.
 
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Nick Case
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Quote:

If the US rules are posted here and since the US editions are released a few months late, most people would buy the German version instead.


But at least people are buying the games. There is nothing stopping the German manufacturers printing English translations to encourage sales. Access to the rules to my mind only markets the product more.

Just to regroup and refocus, if people want to 'forge' a game, modern scanners and printers make this very easy, however if you cost the time involved, people on a minimum wage are usually better off buying the shop version after a few hours overtime and the end result is rarely as good as the real thing.

Is there truly a copyrite issue in scanning rules as opposed to using OCR and uploading as a .doc file? Feedback from BGG admin would be appreciated.
 
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A Derk appears from the mists...
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There is definitely a copyright issue with exact replicas of the rules. In the US, you can either patent specific game mechanisms or you can use the copyright laws to protect the rules themselves. Seeing as patents are fairly expensive and not that much more effective protection, most games are covered by copyright laws of the rules. If you re-write the rules entirely, then there's less of a case to be had. Also, the specific graphics used to execute the rules are subject to these laws.

Unfortunately, not all owners of intellectual property regard the sharing of these properties with the same view. Some think that releasing well-formated English rules will cut into sales. Others think that not having exclusive control over the distribution over said material reduces the value of the material. Speaking purely as a gamer and someone who's studied the marketing strategies of boardgames for a while now, I tend to think that having the rules available in a common place is a good thing, but I can appreciate the various other schools of thought. Unfortunately for you and I and many others, our policy here is to err on the side of caution, so we don't accept copyrighted material unless the submitter can demonstrate ownership or if he receives some sort of permission from the owner.

I'm sorry that that's the case, but we here at the 'Geek are committed to the idea of sanctity of intellectual property rights.
 
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Hayden Scott
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derk wrote:
There is definitely a copyright issue with exact replicas of the rules ... If you re-write the rules entirely, then there's less of a case to be had. Also, the specific graphics used to execute the rules are subject to these laws.

... our policy here is to err on the side of caution, so we don't accept copyrighted material unless the submitter can demonstrate ownership or if he receives some sort of permission from the owner.

... we here at the 'Geek are committed to the idea of sanctity of intellectual property rights.


For me, the ability to review the rule sets of games that I have not yet purchased is an important aspect of BGG and all that it does. So I would hate to see BGG stop making rule sets available.

That said, I'm not sure the distinction you appear to draw between rule sets that are "exact replicas" and those which are something else is a valid one in terms of copyright.

Copyright in an immaculately prepared set of rules, set with colour pictures, is still infringed if those rules are typed out in times new roman, absent the pictures. Furthermore, copyright in a german set of rules is still infringed if reproduced by way of a translation. It is no defence to copyright infringment that the repoduction didn't look as nice as the original, or that the rule set was not published in english. Either way the "sanctity of intellectual property rights", as you refer to it, is violated (although "sanctity" is not a word that immediately comes to my mind in all of this).

I thought that BGG's position in this area was not so much about copyright law strictly applied but about managing the politics of gaming. The idea being that, say, Rio Grande won't mind an uguly looking version of the rules because many people will pay just to have the official rule set in english, which explains, for example, why Ra (as published by Rio Grande) historically sold for more on eBay than Ra (as published by Alea only).
 
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Randy Cox
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I can't understand why Rio Grande removed their rules they used to have for all games. It's not going to hurt sales. Remember, only a tiny portion of geeks like us would ever go the the effort to make a prototype-quality game to use with some publicly available rules set for a game that is in print and readily available. And only the most anal obsessive passionate collectors will grab a game in German a month or two before it's available over here. We are the minority, y'all know.

I don't see how publicly available rules sets could hurt sales at all. Unless the game sucks so bad that it's obvious from reading the rules. : )
 
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Matthew M
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Randy Cox wrote:
I can't understand why Rio Grande removed their rules they used to have for all games. It's not going to hurt sales. Remember, only a tiny portion of geeks like us would ever go the the effort to make a prototype-quality game to use with some publicly available rules set for a game that is in print and readily available. And only the most anal obsessive passionate collectors will grab a game in German a month or two before it's available over here. We are the minority, y'all know.


A lot of Rio Grande games are language independent enough that the English rules are the main reason to purchase from them. If their translation was easily downloadable from BGG they could potentially lose sales to foreign publishers that would otherwise have gone to them.

That's the position, anyway. I think it would be difficult to prove that they lose more money by not posting the rules than they makeup by encouraging people to purchase from them to get the English translations.

Certainly this applies less to games that need fully different print runs due to text on components, but it would difficult to say you have a policy of no rules posted online only for some of the games you offer and not others, thus the blanket policy.

-MMM
 
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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This seems like a decent opportunity to point out that
http://www.bggfiles.com/viewfile.php3?fileid=3685
is a scan of the RGG Mammoth Hunter rules.
 
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Tim Synge
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Er, it seems to have disappeared. Which just goes to show ...
 
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Mike Siggins
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Quote:
I don't see how publicly available rules sets could hurt sales at all. Unless the game sucks so bad that it's obvious from reading the rules. : )


Well, if they are out there I sometimes read them and think, hmm, probably not for me. As has been pointed out to me, this works least well with CCGs where a lot of the rules are on the cards.

I concede I may be an unusual (nut) case.
 
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Mik Svellov
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In Germany they demand 1 Euro per set of rules for such a service:
http://www.spielanleitung.com/
 
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