W. Eric Martin
• In a Nov. 7, 2012 press release, publisher Spin Master Ltd. notes that "a Los Angeles jury unanimously found yesterday that Zobmondo!! Entertainment LLC and its owner Randall Horn ('Zobmondo') are liable for willfully infringing Spin Master Ltd.'s WOULD YOU RATHER...? trademark". From the release:
For years, Zobmondo has sold board games, books, and card games under the WOULD YOU RATHER...? brand, in violation of the trademark rights of Spin Master Ltd. and [its licensors Justin Heimberg and David Gomberg, authors of the Would You Rather...? series of books]. After a two week trial, the jury reached a verdict awarding Spin Master Ltd. $5.1 million in compensatory damages. The jury also awarded an additional $3.5 million in punitive damages after finding that Zobmondo acted with malice, oppression, or fraud. In so doing, the jury affirmed the validity of Spin Master Ltd.'s WOULD YOU RATHER...? trademark.
Hmm, would you rather have an $8.6 million judgment against your company or attempt to gargle a salad of raisins, asbestos and shards of glass? (HT: Purple Pawn)
• Mad Men actor (and BGG user) Rich Sommer has added an intriguing and unique prize lot on the 2012 Jack Vasel Memorial Fund Auction: a game night in Los Angeles with him and fellow actors Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory) and Jorge Garcia (Lost). Notes Sommer in the description:
The toughest part may be the scheduling. We will work closely with the winner to pin down a time that works for everyone, but we will all need to be a little flexible. Might be easier if you're someone in or near the LA area, but, hey. Go for it. [...]
Let me tell you right now: I know Simon and Jorge, and they like games. Our games. Good games. So this will be a LEGIT GAME NIGHT.
• Following the votes of roughly 11,000 people, the winners of the Speelgoed het van Jaar – the toy of the year award in the Netherlands – have been announced, with Bernd Brunnhofer's Stone Age winning in the 12+ category and Frans Rookmaaker's Boom Boom Balloon winning in the 9+ category.
• Retailer Gary Ray from Black Diamond Games in California notes that he's through carrying Kickstarted games from small and medium-sized publishers:
Bigger projects can break out of this market saturation, but for the most part, most Kickstarter products we've brought into the store lately, including games that are highly ranked and reviewed, have failed for us. This includes companies that used to sell direct to us that now use Kickstarter. They've captured all our previous customers. Good for them, but obviously I shouldn't continue participating in that.
Kickstarter on a product now says to me, "Hey, we've done our best to sell this exact product, along with bonuses you can't offer, direct to customers before you. But perhaps you know somebody we missed?" Unlike the PDF market, which sells a different product, or the direct sales competitor, who sells things at the same time as us, the Kickstarter product is sold to customers not only before we can get it, but with added benefits. As I've mentioned, the Kickstarter market is a tiny part of the game trade, but these small companies used to have a place on our shelf. Now I'm pushed to focus on the mainstream, which is unfortunate.
Another retailer chimes in along the same lines in the comment section: "When I have gamers coming in talking about a game on KS, it immediately, in my head, goes to the 'stay away from this' pile..." Something for smaller publishers to keep in mind if they're trying to enter the normal distribution system and not limit themselves to direct sales or sales via Kickstarter (notwithstanding the small detail that, of course, "Kickstarter isn't a store" so no one is actually selling games that way, right?).
• Under the headline "Is this the oldest d20 on Earth?", io9 highlights a twenty-sided die dating from "between 304 and 30 B.C., a timespan also known as Egypt's Ptolemaic Period". Funny thing is that if you click through to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the die is housed, you'll find another die (shown below) dating from the same time period, which makes the headline question a tad silly since it suggests that only one such die from this time period exists. Ah, well – now we should be looking for a treasure table on a pyramid wall, or perhaps a hieroglyph that looks like a beholder... (HT: Dale Yu)