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Crypto Cartel» Forums » Crowdfunding

Subject: Official AMIGO Statement Crypto Cartel vs. Bohnanza rss

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AMIGO GER
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Official AMIGO Statement:
"A few days ago, a Kickstarter campaign was launched for the ‘Crypto Cartel’ card game. Even though the author and campaign leader meanwhile admitted that he was "inspired" by our classic card game Bohnanza by Uwe Rosenberg, the game described on Kickstarter shows not only a relatedness or inspiration, but appears as 1:1 image of the game mechanism of Bohnanza.

When do you talk about pure inspiration and when about plagiarism in a game? Picking up, reinterpreting, modifying and developing an existing mechanism is a recurring theme in the game industry. And if sufficient differences between original and adaptation can be found, there is no reason for an author or publisher to be alerted. However, as in the case of ‘Crypto Cartel’, if the complete gameplay, including rules for hand cards, card storage and scoring (to name just a few), are adopted without significant changes, we, as the publisher that launched Bohnanza in 1997 and has been distributing since then (Rio Grande Games has the distribution rights for the US market for many years), must speak out:

For the ideas of authors like Uwe Rosenberg, who, like many others in his profession, has been developing games for over 20 years.
For all creative minds, who live for and from games and who, with extraordinary ideas, can create new game worlds and transform the already existing game mechanisms into a completely new game.
All this cannot be found in ‘Crypto Cartel’. It is not a modification, not a re-creation, but the complete takeover of an already established and successful game, which was only extended by action cards. This is not an inspiration for us, but a plagiarism.

Therefore, AMIGO appeals to all campaign supporters and fans out there to ask themselves whether they really want to support or even tolerate the appropriation of others' ideas or their intellectual property. We think that in the end, game designers like Uwe Rosenberg, who work on their games for years and live off their ideas, must bear the damage.
Besides, in our opinion it is highly disrespectful to an author and his work to use his ideas without prior contact and consent, even without a public reference to the author of the original."



https://www.amigo-spiele.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Gegen...
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Andy Mazeika
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I created Crypto Cartel.

Before I begin: what are your thoughts on the differences between "Apples to Apples" and "Cards Against Humanity"?
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Grayden Hormes
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This certainly isn't plagiarism. Small tweaks can lead to a drastically different experience. I would hate if we lost the ability to iterate on other's designs within reason.
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Andy Mazeika
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I'm worried they think I'm trying to take away a great game from the market when I simply came up with a different scenario to keep up with what is currently taking place in the world.

I love Bohnanza! It's a great game!

I think what's great about both of our games is that my fans who have never played Bohnanza can fairly easily pick up and learn how to play it.

Conversely, I think people who have played Bohnanza can fairly easily learn how to play Crypto Cartel as well. They just need to understand how the DEA and Silk Road Cards change your tactics and strategy as the game progresses.
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mccoovy wrote:
I would hate if we lost the ability to iterate on other's designs within reason.


"Within reason" is what stands out to me, there are certainly games that take inspiration from mechanisms in other games, but usually it's 75-80% original ideas that build upon the work of another designers. In this case the tweaks look so small that it's largely the same game! To me this skews more towards a case of plagerism than towards something that pays homage to Bohnanza. When the vast majority of the game is similar I think there's obviously an issue.
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mccoovy wrote:
This certainly isn't plagiarism. Small tweaks can lead to a drastically different experience. I would hate if we lost the ability to iterate on other's designs within reason.


That is the whole point. There is a difference between "being inspired" by someones elses game and taking parts of it to create something new. And on the other hand just plain copying and just adding some expanding cards.
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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mccoovy wrote:
This certainly isn't plagiarism. Small tweaks can lead to a drastically different experience. I would hate if we lost the ability to iterate on other's designs within reason.


I agree enthusiastically.

But when you wholesale copy a game - a game with something like 5 or 6 pages of rules - and then bolt on some other mechanics....that falls WELL short of the bar I can accept as "iteration".

AndyTheGameMaker wrote:
I created Crypto Cartel.

Before I begin: what are your thoughts on the differences between "Apples to Apples" and "Cards Against Humanity"?


It doesn't help that the designers response is comparison to the wafer thin design (which is duplicated between) Apples to Apples and CaH (the incumbent value of which, and thus explains the plethora of other copycats, is in the authorship of specific cards).

Or, to link this to my first point, its equating "compare two concepts and blindly judge who made the best pair" with. ....enthusiastically reusing 5-6 pages of rules.

Nobody is saying this is illegal. I agree with the OP here that it is immoral.
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Billy McBoatface
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Hi Andy,

Writing a book inspired by another is fair; for example, lots of fantasy authors were inspired by Tolkien. But if anybody copied Lord of the Rings and just changed the names of the characters, that would be plagiarism. From the rules of your game, it looks to me more like a copy of a book with new names, less like a work inspired by the original.

Just my opinion, but I'd be happy to see you abandon your kickstarter and work on a different game.
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Andy Mazeika
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Interesting that no one has acknowledged the DEA AI/Non-player-character cards in the game.
 
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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apotheos wrote:

Nobody is saying this is illegal. I agree with the OP here that it is immoral.


While I was writing this someone actually insinuated this is illegal.

Lets all real quick now get on the same page that nothing here is REMOTELY illegal in the United States of America (I heard once that there are some EU laws that could be different and I know nothing about that, so I'll just be specific).
 
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AndyTheGameMaker wrote:
Interesting that no one has acknowledged the DEA AI/Non-player-character cards in the game.


I don't think its at all fair or genuine to accuse critics of not fully understanding your product.

I fully acknowledge all the changes you made, and definitely think you have crossed the line of good taste and ethical conduct, and are ripping off the original designer.
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Andy Mazeika
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Here’s a live gameplay. See for yourself the differences—-

https://www.facebook.com/drfunk27/videos/10156801198173910/
 
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It might be a good idea to ask yourself why the publisher is doing this? Is there anything you might have done wrong? Is there a reason for that behavior?

Stop your campaign. Contact Uwe Rosenberg and Amigo Spiele about your game and show it to them. Explain what you did and why. And why you see there is a difference that your game is different within a reason.

Talk to the people. It is obvious that you took Bohnanza and kept almost every rule. You have to contact the people owning the rights to this game.

And if you still think you want to publish it anyway you have to share credit and royalties. Or expect a lawsuit.
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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bayerbube wrote:
Or expect a lawsuit.


There is zero chance of a lawsuit. Amigo knows that. Hence this shaming tactic.

in the USA this is entirely legal and has been well proven in precedent
I am definitely not a lawyer and have not even played one on TV

I like the shaming tactic myself. Because...for shame, man, for shame.
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I think it's a bit disingenuous to just pick out all the things that are the same, and leave out all the things that are different. This is a different game with different mechanics, even if the core ruleset is the same.

And if you want to talk about morality, how about the morality of a corporation bullying a guy who wants to make a slicker version of a game he loves when he's not legally doing anything wrong. As if he's some criminal butthole for having a small kickstarter which has gathered interest.
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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polyjay wrote:
As if he's some criminal for having a small kickstarter which has gathered interest.


If he was a criminal, they would have called the police.

Instead they convened the court of public opinion. Which is entirely moral and ethical. And should remain so, even if you don't agree with them.

And a *lot* of mechanics - very specific and unusual mechanics - have been straight up copied. Claiming its a game with "different mechanics" is dishonest of you. Its like a rethemed Bohnanza with an expansion pack. Which is neat and all. Print and play the hell out of this everyone! Oh? You want to get paid for it? Thats ....shady. Thats definitely shady.
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Andy Mazeika
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apotheos wrote:
polyjay wrote:
As if he's some criminal for having a small kickstarter which has gathered interest.


If he was a criminal, they would have called the police.

Instead they convened the court of public opinion. Which is entirely moral and ethical. And should remain so, even if you don't agree with them.

And a *lot* of mechanics - very specific and unusual mechanics - have been straight up copied. Claiming its a game with "different mechanics" is dishonest of you. Its like a rethemed Bohnanza with an expansion pack.


When you're carrying a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

I look forward to your opinion after you have played the game.
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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AndyTheGameMaker wrote:

When you're carrying a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

I look forward to your opinion after you have played the game.


...how am I carrying a hammer?

I mean its convenient as hell that you want to wave away my enthusiastic agreement with the original creators of the game you have copied (and added content to) but I'm an independent third party with too much time on his hands, who has hand crafted his own opinion out of the available material.

Here lets be specific: How many thousands of hours of playtesting do you estimate you saved yourself by reusing someone elses game as the core mechanic?

That is why you did this*. And that is why this is wrong.

* probably why. Or at least related. Or why its a good idea to experiment with as a designer. Lots and lots of people do just that all the time. Its when you repackage and sell it you fall off the morality bus. But I'm not a psychic and have no idea *why* you did anything.
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Andy Mazeika
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Quote:
...how am I carrying a hammer?


Here is the origin of the expression:
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/if_all_you_have_is_a_hammer,_...
 
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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AndyTheGameMaker wrote:
Quote:
...how am I carrying a hammer?


Here is the origin of the expression:
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/if_all_you_have_is_a_hammer,_...



Please feel free to elaborate on this and correct me, but here is how I see your use of a common idiom that I completely understand as applying to my comments:














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AndyTheGameMaker wrote:
Interesting that no one has acknowledged the DEA AI/Non-player-character cards in the game.


Lol I can write on or print some cards and put them into my copy of Bohnanza, that's how close your game is, when I can just add cards to the game it's "inspired by".

International Trade Cards – Field cards in Bohnanza
The DEA Cards – random cards drawn to discard your highest value beans
Silk Road Cards – add 18 different "take that" cards that steal from other players etc.

I can just print those out and play a game of Bohnanza with random losses of fields, and 18 different randomly drawn "take that" cards. They are just strapped on top of the original game.
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katanan wrote:
Lol I can write on or print some cards and put them into my copy of Bohnanza, that's how close your game is, when I can just add cards to the game it's "inspired by".


Yeah, but did you playtest for those take that cards? Or the DEA ones? Or even the amount of fields/production lines?
Did you create original artwork?
Did you create an original theme?

Is there a specific line you're drawing that decides where something is moral and something is immoral? Where is that line drawn for you, or is it something you just "feel?" It's hard to judge fairly if you're just going based of your own judgement. Exactly how much more would he need to add/change before you think it's okay? And as he almost pointed out, Cards Against Humanity is MORE similar to Apples to Apples than this game is to Bohnanza. Should they have never created that game (besides the fact that it sucks)?
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polyjay wrote:
katanan wrote:
Lol I can write on or print some cards and put them into my copy of Bohnanza, that's how close your game is, when I can just add cards to the game it's "inspired by".


Yeah, but did you playtest for those take that cards? Or the DEA ones? Or even the amount of fields/production lines?
Did you create original artwork?
Did you create an original theme?

Is there a specific line you're drawing that decides where something is moral and something is immoral? Where is that line drawn for you, or is it something you just "feel?" It's hard to judge fairly if you're just going based of your own judgement. Exactly how much more would he need to add/change before you think it's okay? And as he almost pointed out, Cards Against Humanity is MORE similar to Apples to Apples than this game is to Bohnanza. Should they have never created that game (besides the fact that it sucks)?


You're missing the point entirely, the CORE of the game is the same, to me it doesn't matter what you strap on top of it, the core gameplay loop is the same as Bohnanza.

It really doesn't matter to me how much "playtesting" it took to make 'take that' cards (so original!), it's the fact that the entire rules overview is lifted from Bohnanza. And it's not an "opinion" or my "judgement", read the rules overview and please point out where the CORE GAMEPLAY differs. Objectively the core game rules are exact.

Quote:
Rules Overview:

Each player starts the game with seven cards. ALL CARDS PLAYED FROM THE HAND MUST STAY IN ORDER.

The first player to go is to the left of the dealer.

Each turn comprises of three basic steps: a Production Phase, a Trade Phase, and a Draw Phase.

Production Phase:

The player taking a turn will begin with the Production Phase by adding two or three cards to his or her respective production line area. A player will start off with a limit of three production lines (-- later on in the game, players will have the ability to add as many as two additional production lines by purchasing as many as two International Trade Cards.)

You reserve three spots in front of you, and then place cards in those spots to build upon resources: similar cards are thrown on top of each other.

Later on in the game, if you find yourself in a position where you have completely filled up your production area, but some of the cards in your hand do not match the cards in your production area, then you must discard/exchange those production lines to make room for the cards you are required to play. (This is why it's a good idea to get rid of cards in your hand that don't match production lines during the trade phase.)

Trade Phase:

After the player taking a turn has added cards from his or her hand, they will transition to the Trade Phase by drawing three cards from the Main Deck and onto the table for everyone to see. The player taking a turn ultimately assumes responsibility for where these cards end up, so if no one is interested in acquiring these cards the player must use as many as all three of them to create new production lines.

NOTE: ALL TRADES MUST INCLUDE THE PLAYER TAKING A TURN! NO SIDE TRADES!

THE ONLY CARDS TRADED ARE CARDS FROM ANY PLAYER'S HAND OR THE CARDS REVEALED ON THE TABLE DURING THE TRADE PHASE! SILK ROAD CARDS MAY NOT BE TRADED.

But this is also to the players advantage. If the player likes what he or she sees, the player can immediately take them and add them to their respective production area.

Otherwise the player can use these cards for trading -- and any cards traded are immediately added to all production lines. (This is a great opportunity to remove cards from your hand that might be otherwise useless for you AKA cards that might force you to turn in your production lines for Crypto.)

Donations: the player taking a turn may also donate any of the cards if it makes sense to the player taking a turn; however, donations must be accepted in order to take place AKA if no one wants to take a donation, you could be stuck with some cards you don't want.

Once all three cards are added to production lines, this phase ends.

Draw Phase:

This is the last phase before any player ends a turn. The player taking a turn draws three cards from the main deck one at a time and will immediately place these cards in their hand.


He added 18 'take that' cards, whoop-de-doo. I could myself add 18 completely different take that cards to Bohnanza, but that doesn't make it an original game.
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katanan wrote:
read the rules overview and please point out where the CORE GAMEPLAY differs.


Well there are a lot of differences.

For example, there are three phases in Crypto Cartel, and four in Bohnanza.

In Crypto's first phase, you add two or three cards to the production line area and starts with three production lines and can add up to two later. This is different from Bohnanza, where you must add the first card and can choose to add a second to your bean fields. Also, in Bohananza, you have two production lines and can add a third.

In the trade phase in Bohnanza, you turn over two cards. In Crypto Cartel, you turn over three.

And also, these silk road cards are obtained based on the amount of resources you turn in, or have one of the special cards with the red icon.


I understand this may seem like nothing, but as someone else said, Bohnanza was probably playtested for hundreds of hours to make sure everything felt right. It's a very tight game. And when a game is so tightly designed, little changes can have BIG gameplay consequences. It might even feel like a completely different game. Suddenly you're allowed many more fields which is very different from that "tight" feeling that Bohnanza gives. Or those red icon cards suddenly have a different kind of value that players have to keep track of. And in the second round, Silk Road cards and DEA cards change how people play because things get riskier. These can potentially change up the dynamics in a huge way.

Someone else mentioned that this takes away from Rosenberg's hard work, but who's to say that this doesn't have just as much put into it? As mentioned, the tweaks and additions change things up in a large way that could need delicate oversight. Not to mention the artstyle which is very professional looking not only in quality, but cohesiveness.

To say that no one should be allowed to experience these subtle changes, or the original artwork, or a new theme just because the core rules are familiar, seems limited and unfair.

katanan wrote:
He added 18 'take that' cards, whoop-de-doo. I could myself add 18 completely different take that cards to Bohnanza, but that doesn't make it an original game.


Right, you can. That's the beauty. If you like a game and have the passion to tweak around the rules and add new things and change up the art, you can! Maybe people will find your rules and theme more interesting, and you should be allowed to sell it. And if you just want to make a quick buck, that's fine too.


I still don't understand the Cards Against Humanity thing. It's literally the exact same mechanic as Apples to Apples and everyone knows it, but people don't care because they like the theme and writing. But suddenly comes this game with a different theme (and literally new gameplay elements), and people want to shut it down? The makers of CaH have a hard enough time shutting down those unofficial expansion packs, and rightly so. They don't own fill in the blanks.
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Can't believe Amigo even started this thread.... gulp Push the envelope and keep making better games.
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