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Subject: Age of Steam (sold out at publisher level) has arrived at Funagain! rss

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Lynda Shea
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Per an email I just received from Funagain, Age of Steam is now in stock there...

"The long anticipated and long awaited re-print of Age of Steam has arrived!

http://www.funagain.com/redir/28645/AgeOfSteam

Relive the era of the pioneering US railroad companies that built the track that transformed America's economy. The intense action is centered on the industrial nerve-center of the growing nation - Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago and Wheeling.

The new printing of Age of Steam comes with the original map, but also includes the Barbados/St. Lucia expansion map by Bezier Games. There are also over 30 other expansion maps which can be played with this edition of the basic game.

This printing has already sold out at the publisher level so don't wait to grab your copy!"
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I got the same info but not about to pay $60 for it, either.
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J C Lawrence
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wytefang wrote:
I got the same info but not about to pay $60 for it, either.


$60 is a good price, quite comparable to the first and second edition's prices as corrected for recent inflation.
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I totally understand...I just have this stupid mental block about paying that much for my games. I'm sure I'll eventually cave in someday and pick it up.
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80sGirl wrote:
This printing has already sold out at the publisher level so don't wait to grab your copy!"


Yes, they are all gone. Adding in the free Ted Alspach expansions (a $20 freebie) made the rush for the game that much faster.

I wonder what they will sell for on the BGG Marketplace in 6 months?
 
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Bret Smith
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If they are trying to sell to me, then no more than $20...
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BloodyJack wrote:
If they are trying to sell to me, then no more than $20...


I'd go $30.
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peg_gamer wrote:
Sounds great! Can't wait to see how FRED fucks it up.


Wow.

These things never run according to plan.
 
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Teacher Fletcher
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wytefang wrote:
I totally understand...I just have this stupid mental block about paying that much for my games. I'm sure I'll eventually cave in someday and pick it up.


When you do, consider buying Steam instead.

This edition of Age of Steam is neither authorized by the designer, Martin Wallace, nor do any of the proceeds of its sale go to him.

Buying the FRED edition of AoS is, to me, no different than paying for a bootlegged copy of a movie from a guy on the street in Chinatown.
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Lawnjob wrote:
Buying the FRED edition of AoS is, to me, no different than paying for a bootlegged copy of a movie from a guy on the street in Chinatown.

Except that usually bootlegs run a lot cheaper, right? Otherwise, what's the incentive?

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Lawnjob wrote:
wytefang wrote:
I totally understand...I just have this stupid mental block about paying that much for my games. I'm sure I'll eventually cave in someday and pick it up.


When you do, consider buying Steam instead.

This edition of Age of Steam is neither authorized by the designer, Martin Wallace, nor do any of the proceeds of its sale go to him.

Buying the FRED edition of AoS is, to me, no different than paying for a bootlegged copy of a movie from a guy on the street in Chinatown.


Except for the fact that nothing about it is bootleg and that everything is legit? If you don't want to buy it great, but to liken FRED to a Chinatown bootlegger is ridiculous.

If you're concerned about Martin, there's another thread that explains how FRED offered to pay him, but he declined any payment. Martin is one of my absolute favorite game designers and he seems like a great guy, but I don't see why it's FRED's responsibility to pay him once he declined to be paid from this print run of AoS.

For some reason, some people continually look for anything to nitpick FRED about. Fortunately for the rest of us, the majority of people notice that FRED is bringing a lot of great games to the market and are supporting them with their gaming dollars. Glad to see Age of Steam has already sold out at the publisher level! Just goes to show that FRED is making some excellent decisions as to what games they're publishing.
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Teacher Fletcher
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chaddyboy_2000 wrote:

For some reason, some people continually look for anything to nitpick FRED about. Fortunately for the rest of us, the majority of people notice that FRED is bringing a lot of great games to the market and are supporting them with their gaming dollars. Glad to see Age of Steam has already sold out at the publisher level! Just goes to show that FRED is making some excellent decisions as to what games they're publishing.


Wallace was legally barred from accepting funds for the bootleg version of AoS due to his new contract with Mayfair producing the authorized third edition of the game, entitled Steam.

I'm sure I could make a lot of money reprinting a sold-out, sought-after game without the designer's consent or permission as long as I had 100% free legal representation and he was too penurious ever to take me to court for it.

Maybe I'll pick Tresham's "Civilization"? And if he (understandably) refuses to acknowledge my illicit reprint due to contractual obligations and moral objections, that means my reprint was justified, right? And I'm making good decisions as a publisher!
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J C Lawrence
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You're making enough assumptions to sink a battleship here Fletcher. Without attempting top open the full can of worms yet again...

Lawnjob wrote:
Wallace was legally barred from accepting funds for the bootleg version of AoS due to his new contract with Mayfair producing the authorized third edition of the game, entitled Steam.


I've never seen a publication contract which contains such a stipulation and I've seen (and signed) some doozie publication contracts. I doubt this is true.

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I'm sure I could make a lot of money reprinting a sold-out, sought-after game without the designer's consent or permission as long as I had 100% free legal representation and he was too penurious ever to take me to court for it.


I don't believe you're that naive. The only question is who holds the license. Consent, permission etc aren't part of the picture if there's a license, and it is fairly clear that Winsome has held the license from day one (see the back of every Age of Steam box, every Age of Steam ruleset etc).

Oh, and the case was for trademark, not license-to-publish.

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Maybe I'll pick Tresham's "Civilization"? And if he (understandably) refuses to acknowledge my illicit reprint due to contractual obligations and moral objections, that means my reprint was justified, right? And I'm making good decisions as a publisher!


Why do you think that Warfrog's license to print Age of Steam didn't release back to Winsome when it was out of print for so long?
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Martin Wallace
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I regard the new edition of Age of Steam as stolen property. There was never a 'real' license from Winsome to Warfrog. The 'licensed from... ' was favour to John to help big up Winsome, in the same way that John published Prairie Rails with my name on even though I never designed it. The game was never submitted to Winsome for publication, it was always designed to be a Warfrog game. John was paid to develop it, that is all.

Even if Winsome did own the license then there should also be a contract between Winsome and the designer. There is no such contract. Even if there was one the fact that Winsome have paid me no royalties for the design would mean they were in breach of contract. I'm sure John is never tired of telling people in private about the money I owe him but that's all in his head. After AoS was released Warfrog and John made an agreement to share the profits on Winsome designed maps. John later reneged on this deal and demanded 1 Euro per map printed, as well as more money for the second printing of AoS. As a third of each of the maps are still unsold that meant Warfrog losing money on them. However, we agreed a sum and I paid him all monies owed. He then came back the following year demanding more money - hence why we have fallen out. Please note that the original deal was witnessed. For some reason John cannot remember it.

Winsome has never had to risk money publising AoS yet wishes to claim it as its own design. Warfrog took the risk to publish it and yet is not regarded as the legitimate owner.

Now it gets even better. Not only does John find a company stupid enough to reprint Age of Steam but he also convinces them that he paid for the original artwork. Please note that the title boilerplate is from the original version. The copyright for this artwork lies with Warfrog, since they paid for the artist to do the work. FRED were told last October by another person that the artwork was copyright Warfrog but they ignored the warning. They did not even bother to email me to ask who the rights belonged to. Winsome has never paid for artwork - notice the use of covers that are in the public domain. I will be taking this matter further as copyright law is much more straightforward than trademark law.

As far as the trademark issue goes that's simply as case of not having enough money to see justice done. As John receives free legal advice he is always going to win on the grounds that the opponent does not have enough money to fight him. That does not mean he is the legal owner of the trade mark.

FRED are in receipt of stolen property. There has been enough discussion of the ownership of the game to warn them of the issues surrounding it. Instead of contacting me about this they chose to publish it without my knowledge, even though we have been in regular contact about other matters. You'd think a simple, 'hey, we're printing AoS' would not have been too difficult.

As far as I am concerned I want nothing more to do with FRED or Funagain, they being the same company, and am doing my best to terminate the existing contracts I have with them.

Sorry for ranting but I'm a bit brassed off about the situation. It used to be that companies did not behave in this manner, as the public reaction would bankrupt them, (see Hexagames as an example). Today it seems that some companies believe that it's OK to rip designers off.

Martin Wallace
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Holy shit. Give 'em hell, Martin.

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Teacher Fletcher
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Frog1 wrote:
I regard the new edition of Age of Steam as stolen property. There was never a 'real' license from Winsome to Warfrog. The 'licensed from... ' was favour to John to help big up Winsome, in the same way that John published Prairie Rails with my name on even though I never designed it. The game was never submitted to Winsome for publication, it was always designed to be a Warfrog game. John was paid to develop it, that is all.

Even if Winsome did own the license then there should also be a contract between Winsome and the designer. There is no such contract. Even if there was one the fact that Winsome have paid me no royalties for the design would mean they were in breach of contract. I'm sure John is never tired of telling people in private about the money I owe him but that's all in his head. After AoS was released Warfrog and John made an agreement to share the profits on Winsome designed maps. John later reneged on this deal and demanded 1 Euro per map printed, as well as more money for the second printing of AoS. As a third of each of the maps are still unsold that meant Warfrog losing money on them. However, we agreed a sum and I paid him all monies owed. He then came back the following year demanding more money - hence why we have fallen out. Please note that the original deal was witnessed. For some reason John cannot remember it.

Winsome has never had to risk money publising AoS yet wishes to claim it as its own design. Warfrog took the risk to publish it and yet is not regarded as the legitimate owner.

Now it gets even better. Not only does John find a company stupid enough to reprint Age of Steam but he also convinces them that he paid for the original artwork. Please note that the title boilerplate is from the original version. The copyright for this artwork lies with Warfrog, since they paid for the artist to do the work. FRED were told last October by another person that the artwork was copyright Warfrog but they ignored the warning. They did not even bother to email me to ask who the rights belonged to. Winsome has never paid for artwork - notice the use of covers that are in the public domain. I will be taking this matter further as copyright law is much more straightforward than trademark law.

As far as the trademark issue goes that's simply as case of not having enough money to see justice done. As John receives free legal advice he is always going to win on the grounds that the opponent does not have enough money to fight him. That does not mean he is the legal owner of the trade mark.

FRED are in receipt of stolen property. There has been enough discussion of the ownership of the game to warn them of the issues surrounding it. Instead of contacting me about this they chose to publish it without my knowledge, even though we have been in regular contact about other matters. You'd think a simple, 'hey, we're printing AoS' would not have been too difficult.

As far as I am concerned I want nothing more to do with FRED or Funagain, they being the same company, and am doing my best to terminate the existing contracts I have with them.

Sorry for ranting but I'm a bit brassed off about the situation. It used to be that companies did not behave in this manner, as the public reaction would bankrupt them, (see Hexagames as an example). Today it seems that some companies believe that it's OK to rip designers off.

Martin Wallace


Fantastic. Quoted for posterity.

There may be shades of gray on the truth of this issue, as there will be for bystanders witnessing any disagreement between two or more parties.

For my part, I am pushing my chips in with Martin. His story makes the most sense, and his behavior has been open and dignified. Mr. Bohrer has conducted himself like a petty child. ("Age of Scheme", "thanks to the trademark office for vindicating me," etc.)

Martin, I hope that you will carry through your legal action against FRED and Bohrer. With the right legal representation you could end up owning both companies. Maybe allow discounts on titles like Through the Ages and, uh, test the market for value of plastic clamshell cases?

As to Bohrer's boastful claim that his bootleg AoS has sold out -- having a great deal of money is not, to my mind, a vindicator of bad behavior. One out of every six dollars in the USA is spent at Wal-Mart. Lockheed Martin is doing pretty well, too. What good is treasure if so much blood is spilled getting it?
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J C Lawrence
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Lawnjob wrote:
His story makes the most sense, and his behavior has been open and dignified.


We must be reading different posts.

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Mr. Bohrer has conducted himself like a petty child. ("Age of Scheme", "thanks to the trademark office for vindicating me," etc.)


It is easy to confuse our opinions with our emotional reactions to the people involved. In particular it is easy to side with the person we like or emotionally resonate with more simply because we like them for whatever reason. However like most subjective techniques, it is a pretty crappy way of determining truth and correctness.
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clearclaw wrote:
Lawnjob wrote:
His story makes the most sense, and his behavior has been open and dignified.


We must be reading different posts.

Quote:
Mr. Bohrer has conducted himself like a petty child. ("Age of Scheme", "thanks to the trademark office for vindicating me," etc.)


It is easy to confuse our opinions with our emotional reactions to the people involved. In particular it is easy to side with the person we like or emotionally resonate with more simply because we like them for whatever reason. However like most subjective techniques, it is a pretty crappy way of determining truth and correctness.


Our emotional reactions are a good barometer for whether or not someone is lying to us, and whether or not someone is, in our opinion, a charlatan.

Colloquially, this is called "going with our gut". This is something everybody does. Even you, Mr. Lawrence.

I would love to hear what objective techniques you are privy to that help you determine that this edition of Age of Steam is not a bootleg and, in fact, stolen property.
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clearclaw wrote:
Lawnjob wrote:
His story makes the most sense, and his behavior has been open and dignified.


We must be reading different posts.


Somehow, despite your professed neutrality elsewhere, your benefit of the doubt (or whatever you want to call it, matters you've suggested are clear-cut often aren't) always comes down on one side of this matter, and it's not Martin Wallace's.

Anyone paying careful attention - see my profile - could work out I'm not neutral. But I just deleted a posting in this thread, probably before anyone saw it, as I then got to Martin's post and it obsoleted mine. (I wasn't making claims, I was just pointing out that claims made were generally speculative. Now Martin has posted they are known to be contested.) Prior to Martin's post, very few people actually knew what all parties in question (as distinct from others) even claimed, let alone whose claims held water. Now I think the claims are clear. I don't think anyone (small numbers of people associated with the parties excepted) can know which claims are true. They may be able to form a "balance of probabilities" judgement, but I'm not convinced of that being successful either.
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J C Lawrence
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Lawnjob wrote:
Our emotional reactions are a good barometer for whether or not someone is lying to us, and whether or not someone is, in our opinion, a charlatan.


There have been multiple formal studies of this area. In practice it isn't particularly reliable and is even more unreliable in the absence of physical/body-language cues.

Quote:
Colloquially, this is called "going with our gut". This is something everybody does. Even you, Mr. Lawrence.


Aye. I've also learned to actively distrust my gut.

Quote:
I would love to hear what objective techniques you are privy to that help you determine that this edition of Age of Steam is not a bootleg and, in fact, stolen property.


BTW: That's the wrong assumption. Starting with the assumption that it is stolen is inescapably prejudicial.

I have remarkably little objective data and what little there is is rendered irrelevant by the fact that Martin's and John's relationship appears to have been very informal and based on mutual assistance rather than contract. Instead I have a morass of conflicting and porous statements from not only the two principles, but also various people directly associated with them. Most of them are contradictory, many are self-contradictory and more than a few (like the above from Martin and other statements by John) have barn-door sized holes in them. The authors are also usually strongly coloured if not actively biased on one side or the other. The only conclusion I think can be drawn with certainty at this time is that determining the actual truth is no longer possible. Who is in the right? I'm pretty sure that can't be determined and am quite confident it doesn't actually matter.

FWVLIW way back when I wrote a small article for a London rag on certain seedy aspects of a particular trade in London. I sold the article to a small east London publisher. I was young, I was careless, I didn't bother to check the contract with my friend who worked professionally as a writer and as a result I sold all my rights without limitation for imprint or market for less than a hundred quid. It wasn't a great article, a hack job actually, but it was good enough to sell to several more British mags plus a handful in Europe and the USA. I never saw a penny from any of that -- I was out of the picture given that I had no more rights to the work. Oh, all the reprints still had my name (pseudonym) on them, but I was never asked, never paid, never even informed that XYZ magazine was going to run my piece. At a rough guess they made several thousand quid from my article.

Now you want my little irrelevant and emotively-prejudicial bit of gut-manipulation? You remember when Martin wrote a while ago that Ted Alspach gave him a royalty cheque for his Age of Steam maps? Back when Ted and I were talking about publishing my maps I stipulated two things: 1) that both John/Winsome and Martin be credited on the map and rules and that 2) money was to go to both John and Martin for the maps. After some discussion Ted thought that this was a fine idea and agreed to it as part of our publication arrangement. I can't promise that Ted wasn't already doing something similar, but my recollection is having to convince Ted to go that route (not that it was hard). I was recently glad to read Martin confirm that Ted had given him money for the maps he sold. But lets get back to my manipulating your perceptions! Whatever my reasons for those requirements, I'm clearly a standup moral and wonderfully generous guy whose games and business y'all should seek out, right? Bollocks! None of that above can be verified, none of it is objective, and none of it actually matters. Oh, Ted could come in and confirm that we had those conversations and I made those requirements etc, but that's just another subjective/biased/viewpoint-limited statement riddled with conflicts of interest. What I wrote happens to be true (or so I say) but even that doesn't matter either.

It is so terribly easy and so horribly self-deceptive to decide things by how we feel about the people involved.
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J C Lawrence
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Dearlove wrote:
Somehow, despite your professed neutrality elsewhere, your benefit of the doubt (or whatever you want to call it, matters you've suggested are clear-cut often aren't) always comes down on one side of this matter, and it's not Martin Wallace's.


True. I've seen no need to argue that side -- it is doing quite well for itself.

Quote:
Prior to Martin's post, very few people actually knew what all parties in question (as distinct from others) even claimed, let alone whose claims held water.


I don't think we know that even yet. Oh, we know a few more claims but I doubt we've seen anything like the whole set.

Quote:
They may be able to form a "balance of probabilities" judgement, but I'm not convinced of that being successful either.


Aye. There's an old parable about an idiot and a fool getting into business together (or if there isn't, there should be). I'm not about to call either John or Martin idiots and fools, both are clearly quite smart and capable people, but you wouldn't know it from this fracas.
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Ya know, I came awful close to ordering AoS today, then I remembered that game called "Age of Schemes". Gotta say, I'm putting my money where my mouth is and not giving my money to anyone involved in that. Now I need to go find someone that wants to trade for Roll Through the Ages so FRED doesn't get my money. Sad days.
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clearclaw wrote:
It is easy to confuse our opinions with our emotional reactions to the people involved. In particular it is easy to side with the person we like or emotionally resonate with more simply because we like them for whatever reason. However like most subjective techniques, it is a pretty crappy way of determining truth and correctness.

I think you've been guilty of this exact complaint for a long time, your dubious protestations of neutrality notwithstanding.
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Great Maker.

I was worried that this issue had already died down. Glad to see it still kicking and screaming.
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Lawnjob wrote:

There may be shades of gray on the truth of this issue, as there will be for bystanders witnessing any disagreement between two or more parties.


It doesn't sound like there is *any* shade of grey on the artwork issue. The FRED reprint looks like it's a direct copy of the cover of the Warfrog edition. Now I suppose there is always a chance that FRED did actually acquire the rights to the artwork from the artist, but somehow I doubt it.
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