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Subject: OBG 43: Prototypes rss

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Erik Dewey
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Round table about creating prototypes

Giles talks about illegal copies of games

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Donald Dennis
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Rock on!

Thanks for getting that posted Erik!
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Giles Pritchard
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Great job Erik!

Cheers,

Giles.
 
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Tim Roediger
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Cool, I look forward to listening.

Tim
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Donald Dennis
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Giles - Interesting thoughts in your segment, however I don't think it was titled correctly.

It's not illegal to make your own copy of a game and play it, heck I'm not even sure how illegal it would be to make your own components and give them to your friends as long as the graphics and bits were all original to you. (You couldn't just copy the rules book though.) That being said you did a great job at explaining why ripping-off somebodies idea instead of just shelling out the cash for a legit copy.

When would it be perfectly reasonable to make your own copy? I have a few ideas along those lines:
You purchased a copy, but Erik one of your friends spilled coke all over it.
You own a copy of the game, but just want to make a cool version of it as a craft project or as a demo project.
You've tried to purchase the game but found new copies unavailable from retail vendors or the company that created it. (I don't count new copies from ebay or other second-hand auction resources.) If it is republished/reprinted just buy a copy when the game becomes available again.
You are going to be demonstrating the game, and want something larger than life to catch people's eye.

Can you think of any other times when it is reasonable?



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Giles Pritchard
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Walsfeo wrote:
Giles - Interesting thoughts in your segment, however I don't think it was titled correctly.

It's not illegal to make your own copy of a game and play it, heck I'm not even sure how illegal it would be to make your own components and give them to your friends as long as the graphics and bits were all original to you. (You couldn't just copy the rules book though.) That being said you did a great job at explaining why ripping-off somebodies idea instead of just shelling out the cash for a legit copy.

When would it be perfectly reasonable to make your own copy? I have a few ideas along those lines:
You purchased a copy, but Erik one of your friends spilled coke all over it.
You own a copy of the game, but just want to make a cool version of it as a craft project or as a demo project.
You've tried to purchase the game but found new copies unavailable from retail vendors or the company that created it. (I don't count new copies from ebay or other second-hand auction resources.) If it is republished/reprinted just buy a copy when the game becomes available again.
You are going to be demonstrating the game, and want something larger than life to catch people's eye.

Can you think of any other times when it is reasonable?





I can't disagree with this - I think there are certainly occassions where making your own version of a game, or your own copy are perfectly ok. I also think it can be a real fine line.

I am more curious I guess about a culture of offering ways of making games so they don't have to be purchased. In this instance we are talking specifically about someone who is making a copy of a game so they don't have to buy it. I have heard that this has gotten more commonplace through websites like Artscow - I am sure people who do or support this have their reasons, but I find it kind of destructive. I am sure most would argue it's a drop in the ocean, but nonetheless, it is a point worth considering.

I know a common argument runs along the lines that it is more expensive to make a copy of the game than to buy it, but there are games out there that are cheap to rip. And regardless of what it costs, I'm sure we all agree the actual designer should get their royalty!

Another thing I was going to touch on, but didn't want to go too long - is when an internet version of a game is constructed without the permission of the publisher or designer. I'm not familiar enough with online gaming, but I know of games that have been converted to a web format with little in the way of permission. Maybe these are good for business? I'm not sure. But a healthy respect for IP and copyright can't be a terrible thing, and I think we can all agree we want to see designers rewarded for their work!

Cheers,

Giles.

Edit: You're probably correct re the title! I was thinking specifically about ripping a game with the intention of not buying it!
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Donald Dennis
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caradoc wrote:
I can't disagree with this - I think there are certainly occassions where making your own version of a game, or your own copy are perfectly ok. I also think it can be a real fine line.


I know what you mean. I'm torn on this because I think the designers should be supported by the people who play the games they designed, however I don't think there is anything wrong with doing it yourself.

More people are consumers than creators, so more people will (if given the choice and easy access) purchase a valid copy of a product if doing so is easier than creating their own. People are also social and like to talk about things they enjoy.

It is almost always tougher to create an equivalent (or better) copy than purchase one, and the person who creates their own without buying one is unlikely to have ever purchased one anyway.

So, if the person who creates their own version introduces it to friends (who then want to play the game) the odds of the publisher selling a copy has gone up.

In other words "Sure it's free, but we'll make it up in volume".

FYI - I don't have any games that I created myself instead of acquiring an actual copy. Unless I was one of the original creators.

caradoc wrote:
Another thing I was going to touch on, but didn't want to go too long - is when an internet version of a game is constructed without the permission of the publisher or designer. I'm not familiar enough with online gaming, but I know of games that have been converted to a web format with little in the way of permission. Maybe these are good for business? I'm not sure. But a healthy respect for IP and copyright can't be a terrible thing, and I think we can all agree we want to see designers rewarded for their work!


That's a great topic for another episode!
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Dale Moore
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I find that when it comes to playing a game I find that the quality of the game adds to my enjoyment of it. So I would in general want to own a real copy of the game.

The only way I would consider making my own would be if it could be done extremely cheap (this would rule out most games) and it would be just to give it a try before I bought the real thing.


The other time that I find it would be good to make your own is if it is no longer produced. If a game is no longer being sold and there's no plans on it being sold, then I think that changes things a bit. After all no royalty is being made if nobody is selling it.
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Giles,

In my estimation, shunning copy-making is less about giving the artists/designers their due than the publishers. Say, aren't you affiliated with a publisher...?


Out of curiosity, have any publishers had the chutzpah to license a game to consumers akin to what digital publishers do? In other words, you would buy the right to play the game, not to actually own the "bits". Maybe those shenanigans are only possible when the bits aren't made of wood.

Speaking of digital copies, Infocom, former publishers of "Zork" and other interactive fiction, used to include quality bits ("feelies") in the box that were needed to solve a puzzle. You could copy the disk and even get word of what clues the feelies held, but everybody I knew coveted those feelies. Quality production makes a difference.

I made my own copy from scratch of a long OOP game, and I have no problem with that, but I also shared my card images. Now I've read that a re-print is in the works, which is making me re-think the validity of OOP as justification for sharing my cards. The designer in question is dead, but the new publishers deserve to make money, so I nuked my images.
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Walsfeo wrote:
Can you think of any other times when it is reasonable?

When the bits are sold in randomly packed boosters? I've never chased "collectible" games; I'm curious what others deep into that market segment think.

Donald, the show's music and your love of renaissance faires had me wondering what this Gamewright game "Lute" was -- until I realized that I already own it.
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Brad Brooks
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After listening to your segment Giles, I tried to figure out where the line was or what the factors were that made one situation seem okay and another not.

Some thoughts and examples:

- you duplicate a friend's copy of a game (using a scanner, printer and pieces from abandoned Monopoly sets) so you don't have to buy one
[This seems out and out wrong.]

- you build your own copy of a game that has been long out of print and you know of no plans to reprint it
[This seems okay, although I suppose you could make some tortured argument that if a bunch of people do this then it removes any future incentive to reprint.]

- You make your own Chess, Mancala, Crokinole, etc. game.
[This seems fine and dandy since these are in the public domain even though there are companies currently selling the same game.]

- You make your own version of a game because it is a trivial change to an existing game or uses some combination of ubiquitous components (e.g. could be played with a standard deck of cards and some tokens).
[This one probably revolves around your definition of trivial and/or if there's anything novel in the rules or mechanics. If there isn't, one wonders why you care about making your own copy in the first place.]

- You make your own inexpensive copy of a game that you feel is too expensive, perhaps due to mark-up or extravagant production value.
[This seems wrong, although an argument could be made that if you would never have purchased the official copy then no one has lost revenue from your DIY copy. This is similar to the justification of having a bootleg copy of Photoshop or MS Office because you'd never have paid what it costs. A counter-argument is that perhaps by making your own copy of game A you are then unlikely to purchase a copy of game B which is more affordable and scratches some of the same itch as game A.]

I think it's also interesting that the urge to "make your own copy" is in line with the DIY/Maker movement that is gaining momentum and promotes being a producer (if just for one) rather than just a consumer.

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Magnus Esko
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This is an interesting topic. I've not seen a game so simple to make that anyone should consider making their own copy just to save money. If you count the time it takes to make the copy and the cost of the material you are probably going to end up with a more expensive product that doesn't look as good as the original. Or you spend a lot more time and money on components to make it look better. If the game is simple enough for anyone to make then it's probably also cheap to buy.

I am very much against people posting any original artwork on the Internet but I see nothing wrong with people posting their own artwork. Usually when people do their own artwork for games it generates some publicity, like getting images on the front page. This in turn makes people know about the game and might get them interested. Most people will just buy the game (if it's available) if they like it.
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Giles Pritchard
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LurkingMeeple wrote:
Giles,

In my estimation, shunning copy-making is less about giving the artists/designers their due than the publishers. Say, aren't you affiliated with a publisher...?



I don't know what you mean ninja

Seriously though - Yes - I am, though not financially. And I agree, publishers get the larger slice - but if someone is using and enjoying a product I think the creator/s of that product should get their dues!


Quote:
Out of curiosity, have any publishers had the chutzpah to license a game to consumers akin to what digital publishers do? In other words, you would buy the right to play the game, not to actually own the "bits". Maybe those shenanigans are only possible when the bits aren't made of wood.


I haven't heard of it. That's not saying it hasn't happened though!

Quote:
I made my own copy from scratch of a long OOP game, and I have no problem with that, but I also shared my card images. Now I've read that a re-print is in the works, which is making me re-think the validity of OOP as justification for sharing my cards. The designer in question is dead, but the new publishers deserve to make money, so I nuked my images.


I think this is fair!
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Giles Pritchard
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beehive23 wrote:
After listening to your segment Giles, I tried to figure out where the line was or what the factors were that made one situation seem okay and another not.

Some thoughts and examples:

- you duplicate a friend's copy of a game (using a scanner, printer and pieces from abandoned Monopoly sets) so you don't have to buy one
[This seems out and out wrong.]

- you build your own copy of a game that has been long out of print and you know of no plans to reprint it
[This seems okay, although I suppose you could make some tortured argument that if a bunch of people do this then it removes any future incentive to reprint.]

- You make your own Chess, Mancala, Crokinole, etc. game.
[This seems fine and dandy since these are in the public domain even though there are companies currently selling the same game.]

- You make your own version of a game because it is a trivial change to an existing game or uses some combination of ubiquitous components (e.g. could be played with a standard deck of cards and some tokens).
[This one probably revolves around your definition of trivial and/or if there's anything novel in the rules or mechanics. If there isn't, one wonders why you care about making your own copy in the first place.]

- You make your own inexpensive copy of a game that you feel is too expensive, perhaps due to mark-up or extravagant production value.
[This seems wrong, although an argument could be made that if you would never have purchased the official copy then no one has lost revenue from your DIY copy. This is similar to the justification of having a bootleg copy of Photoshop or MS Office because you'd never have paid what it costs. A counter-argument is that perhaps by making your own copy of game A you are then unlikely to purchase a copy of game B which is more affordable and scratches some of the same itch as game A.]

I think it's also interesting that the urge to "make your own copy" is in line with the DIY/Maker movement that is gaining momentum and promotes being a producer (if just for one) rather than just a consumer.



I think this is a very well thought out post. I really can't disagree - I agree there are times where a copy of a game is completely fine, there are times though when I think it crosses the line.

I have heard of Artscow (and similar sites) being used to replicate published games cheaply and reasonably attractively, and I don't like that idea at all.

To use such a site to create a fan expansion seems fine to me though...

All in all I think it probably is a storm in a tea-cup. But it falls in line with a general feeling I have that a game designer (and by extension the larger industry) deserves credit, dues and rights in the same way other creative producers such as writers do. Though I have had this argument several times and I know there are alternate and quite different views on this.

I agree it is a part of the general trend that has been growing of DIY game producers and PnP producers, having said everything I have said - I think this move is generally positive, and produces some absolutely wonderful stuff.
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Giles Pritchard
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Awakening wrote:
This is an interesting topic. I've not seen a game so simple to make that anyone should consider making their own copy just to save money. If you count the time it takes to make the copy and the cost of the material you are probably going to end up with a more expensive product that doesn't look as good as the original. Or you spend a lot more time and money on components to make it look better. If the game is simple enough for anyone to make then it's probably also cheap to buy.

I am very much against people posting any original artwork on the Internet but I see nothing wrong with people posting their own artwork. Usually when people do their own artwork for games it generates some publicity, like getting images on the front page. This in turn makes people know about the game and might get them interested. Most people will just buy the game (if it's available) if they like it.


I have seen remakes - not of 'bits heavy' games though.

I have also seen threads for different (mainly card games) advising players - "This is a cool game, and you can play it without buying it -just use a deck of cards and..." which seems counter-intuitive to me - if it's a cool game - should you be encouraging the designer, publisher and industry by supporting it?

Having said that though - as I said above - it probably is a storm in a tea-cup - it may well be that such practice does more harm than good. It may be otherwise - I don't think it's widespread, but I'd hate to see it get more widespread, especially utilising websites like Artscow and similar to support such things.

All in all I was going for food for thought!

Cheers,

Giles.

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Donald Dennis
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LurkingMeeple wrote:
Donald, the show's music and your love of renaissance faires had me wondering what this Gamewright game "Lute" was -- until I realized that I already own it.


HA!

I was wondering if anyone listened to my reviews. arrrh
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Giles Pritchard
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Walsfeo wrote:
LurkingMeeple wrote:
Donald, the show's music and your love of renaissance faires had me wondering what this Gamewright game "Lute" was -- until I realized that I already own it.


HA!

I was wondering if anyone listened to my reviews. arrrh


You review?
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Giles Pritchard
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caradoc wrote:
Walsfeo wrote:
LurkingMeeple wrote:
Donald, the show's music and your love of renaissance faires had me wondering what this Gamewright game "Lute" was -- until I realized that I already own it.


HA!

I was wondering if anyone listened to my reviews. arrrh


You review?


Well, I have to be honest and say they are they are better than my droning, rambling overviews!

I think I should take a coffee injection before I review! laugh
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Donald Dennis
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caradoc wrote:
You review?

You cut me, you cut me real deep.
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Giles Pritchard
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Walsfeo wrote:
caradoc wrote:
You review?

You cut me, you cut me real deep.


A pirate should be used to a little salt in the wound
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Donald Dennis
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Dale-not-Chip wrote:
I find that when it comes to playing a game I find that the quality of the game adds to my enjoyment of it. So I would in general want to own a real copy of the game.

I agree 100%, but there are some cases (more often than it should be) where I could design better looking or easier to use components. .

Dale-not-Chip wrote:

The other time that I find it would be good to make your own is if it is no longer produced. If a game is no longer being sold and there's no plans on it being sold, then I think that changes things a bit. After all no royalty is being made if nobody is selling it.


And if a new version comes out, then buy it. Perfectly reasonable!
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Giles Pritchard
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On a different note - since the main part of the episode was talking about prototyping, could we get some photos posted to the games pages or the guild of some prototypes?

Don or Scott - what about the pre-JKLM Tulipmania?

Scott - what about your new game (oooooohhh)?

Magnus - Your soon to be published games?

Tim - your kids game?

Anyone else who has a prototype!

I think it would be really interesting to see what some of these look like at their different stages!

Cheers,

Giles.
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Magnus Esko
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caradoc wrote:
I have seen remakes - not of 'bits heavy' games though.

I have also seen threads for different (mainly card games) advising players - "This is a cool game, and you can play it without buying it -just use a deck of cards and..." which seems counter-intuitive to me - if it's a cool game - should you be encouraging the designer, publisher and industry by supporting it?

Having said that though - as I said above - it probably is a storm in a tea-cup - it may well be that such practice does more harm than good. It may be otherwise - I don't think it's widespread, but I'd hate to see it get more widespread, especially utilising websites like Artscow and similar to support such things.


I'm a bit skeptical about games that are based on standard game cards, as a buyer I would feel slightly robbed paying for something like that. Having designed a card game myself, if anyone made their own version of the cards and printed them on Artscow and made their own player aids etc. I would be fine with that, if someone spent so much time and effort on it they kind of deserve it if it's for their own use only. I don't know the price difference but if people start printing cards through Artscow without any effort to get a cheaper game I would feel cheated as a designer. The artist Zev have hired to makeover The King Commands is really good and I believe people would rather pay for that artwork.

caradoc wrote:
On a different note - since the main part of the episode was talking about prototyping, could we get some photos posted to the games pages or the guild of some prototypes?

Magnus - Your soon to be published games?


I do have photos that I don't mind sharing myself. I should check with my publishers. I do have a thing or two to say about making prototypes. With the exception of the 3 games I have announced 5 other games have made it into the prototype stage. But since this thread turned into a conversation on illegal copies I was thinking about starting a new thread later. I have a lot of other things to do right now so I'm a bit short on time.
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Magnus Esko
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BTW, both The King Commands and Unpublished Prototype have photos of final prototypes. Well, I made some fancier looking player aids for TKC after those photos were taken. Those cards were printed through Artscow if anyone wonders.
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Donald Dennis
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caradoc wrote:
On a different note - since the main part of the episode was talking about prototyping, could we get some photos posted to the games pages or the guild of some prototypes?

Don or Scott - what about the pre-JKLM Tulipmania?



I'll see if I can find the art, but I gave all of the originals to Scott.

Hey Scott, post 'em if you've got em.
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