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Subject: Mmmm... Reiner Tweets - I wonder what all this is about? rss

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Stew Woods
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Cory J
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Sounds like more litigation forthcoming. dun dun dun...
 
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Yeah, and it would have to involve the company that holds the rights to my beloved Battletech. I'm not sure what this is all about, but this isn't the first time Loren Coleman's name has been attached to a costly incident for Catalyst.
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Looks like Reiner has reached his limit with publishers. I swear he must have his games published by over a dozen different publishers (the man is prolific) so it's not a surprise that some of the smaller publishers he deals with might have financial issues.

The problem with game publishing is they are generally started by gamers or designers with the best of intentions. However being an avid boardgamer or designer doesn't doesn't necessarily make one good at business. Like any business most game publishing companies fail in just a few years. Companies like GMT, Rio Grande and Fantasy Flight are the exceptions. Most companies even with good games struggle along until they eventually go the way of the dodo.

I see now Catalyst is working the Kickstarter angle. To me if an established publisher suddenly starts throwing out Kickstarter projects it means they're having cash problems.
 
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mrbeankc wrote:
Looks like Reiner has reached his limit with publishers. I swear he must have his games published by over a dozen different publishers (the man is prolific) so it's not a surprise that some of the smaller publishers he deals with might have financial issues.

The problem with game publishing is they are generally started by gamers or designers with the best of intentions. However being an avid boardgamer or designer doesn't doesn't necessarily make one good at business. Like any business most game publishing companies fail in just a few years. Companies like GMT, Rio Grande and Fantasy Flight are the exceptions. Most companies even with good games struggle along until they eventually go the way of the dodo.

I see now Catalyst is working the Kickstarter angle. To me if an established publisher suddenly starts throwing out Kickstarter projects it means they're having cash problems.


I don't think Catalyst was ever a super-successful business and I see their Kickstarter participation as just one more small business taking advantage of a system in which they wouldn't need to risk their own capital to publish something. That being said, they've had "cash" problems in the past, but that horse was beaten to death a few years back. Basically, a six-figure sum of money that should have been in their account, wasn't. Loren took responsibility for it and my understanding is that it was paid back, but it was all really shady business.

So what does all that have to do with the current tweet by Herr Knizia? Not much. I suspect this is going to generate a ton more speculation. For all he knows, there might not be anything illegal about CGL publishing the game.
 
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Is this the same catalyst as current battletech?
 
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These things still confuse the hell out of me.

On many, many threads about copyright, IP, patents, etc., we hear the experts tell us that games cannot be protected. Names can, very unique mechanisms can (if you can get a patent approved), pictures can, a particular expression of the rules can, but not the game itself. We are told that it is quite legal to take an existing game, rewrite the rules, slap on your own graphics, come up with a new name and publish.

Yeah, I know, legal does not equal ethical.

Now, I am squarely on the side of the game designer here. But what are the facts? Are all those threads wrong? Or are folks like the good doctor relying on getting legal heavies to issue threats, rather than just winning in a court?
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atraangelis wrote:
Is this the same catalyst as current battletech?

Yes, and many other games: Catalyst Game Labs
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mrbeankc wrote:
I swear he must have his games published by over a dozen different publishers


Technically true, it is more than a dozen. A lot more than a dozen.
 
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AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
These things still confuse the hell out of me.

On many, many threads about copyright, IP, patents, etc., we hear the experts tell us that games cannot be protected. Names can, very unique mechanisms can (if you can get a patent approved), pictures can, a particular expression of the rules can, but not the game itself. We are told that it is quite legal to take an existing game, rewrite the rules, slap on your own graphics, come up with a new name and publish.

Yeah, I know, legal does not equal ethical.

Now, I am squarely on the side of the game designer here. But what are the facts? Are all those threads wrong? Or are folks like the good doctor relying on getting legal heavies to issue threats, rather than just winning in a court?


Is it not that (within certain limits) a contract is biding, regardless of the terms?
 
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carthaginian wrote:
AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
These things still confuse the hell out of me.

On many, many threads about copyright, IP, patents, etc., we hear the experts tell us that games cannot be protected. Names can, very unique mechanisms can (if you can get a patent approved), pictures can, a particular expression of the rules can, but not the game itself. We are told that it is quite legal to take an existing game, rewrite the rules, slap on your own graphics, come up with a new name and publish.

Yeah, I know, legal does not equal ethical.

Now, I am squarely on the side of the game designer here. But what are the facts? Are all those threads wrong? Or are folks like the good doctor relying on getting legal heavies to issue threats, rather than just winning in a court?


Is it not that (within certain limits) a contract is biding, regardless of the terms?
Contracts are binding, sure. Were he complaining about not being paid, then it would be obvious what was happening. But the complaint is that they do not have a licence. Whether they have never had a licence, or whether they had one, but no longer do, is unclear. If they never had a licence at all, then at the very least, even if the thing about no protection is true, they would be using his name without agreement.
 
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They are publishing the exact same game. There is no rewriting of the rules, just a translation.
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l-hansen wrote:
They are publishing the exact same game. There is no rewriting of the rules, just a translation.
Presumably some lawyers would get rich arguing whether a translation is a rewrite or not. I guess that would depend on the style of the translation. German rules translated pretty much word for word into English are awful (just look at GolfProfi). But as soon as a translator starts to phrase things differently to be more appropriate to native speakers in the new language, they I guess it start to get grey.
 
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It doesn't surprise me. Catalyst has made questionable business decisions in the past.
 
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AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
carthaginian wrote:
AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
These things still confuse the hell out of me.

On many, many threads about copyright, IP, patents, etc., we hear the experts tell us that games cannot be protected. Names can, very unique mechanisms can (if you can get a patent approved), pictures can, a particular expression of the rules can, but not the game itself. We are told that it is quite legal to take an existing game, rewrite the rules, slap on your own graphics, come up with a new name and publish.

Yeah, I know, legal does not equal ethical.

Now, I am squarely on the side of the game designer here. But what are the facts? Are all those threads wrong? Or are folks like the good doctor relying on getting legal heavies to issue threats, rather than just winning in a court?


Is it not that (within certain limits) a contract is biding, regardless of the terms?
Contracts are binding, sure. Were he complaining about not being paid, then it would be obvious what was happening. But the complaint is that they do not have a licence. Whether they have never had a licence, or whether they had one, but no longer do, is unclear. If they never had a licence at all, then at the very least, even if the thing about no protection is true, they would be using his name without agreement.


Not if they signed a contract saying that they will only print 5000 copies of the game "Merchants", that they agree the game is owned by Mr Knizia, and that they will only reprint if Mr. Knizia allows them to do so. That would be a "de facto" licence, I guess.
Contracts aren't limited to the payment, I'm certain.

edit: what I mean is that my feeling is that a contract can provide a stronger protection than the law itself; it's only when there's no contract that the law applies...
 
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Mitch Pronschinske
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So this is why I can't get the english version of the game anymore. I was really interested after reading that Wired article.

Do you think this game will ever come back in an english editon?
What other simple commodities trading-style games are out there that would be similar and mimics real world commodities trading?
 
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