Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] Welt der Türme

  • FromSam Zitin <sammyz@xxxxxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 1 Dec 2009 11:58:14 -0500
I know he's still recovering from an international trip but I'd particularly like to hear from Andy Looney on this matter.  As both a game designer (who leaves many of his rule sets freely available and open source so to speak) and also as someone who has dealt with the patent office in regards to game rules (and was granted one of those rare "method" patents as far as I know).

Personally, I'd say that an Icehouse based "conversion" of the original rules set would be a derivative fair use work and would be not only legal but ethical.  I know lots of people who modify a deck of playing cards to play Lost Cities or similar games.  With regards to Welt Der turme, it's very hard for me to justify having to pay for an expensive wooden set just to get the rules when it can easily be played with other pieces.

If it follows the trend of many games on BGG these days the rules will be posted by the designer anyway, it seems to be the best way to drum up interest for a new game recently.

2009/12/1 Aaron Dalton <aaron@xxxxxxxxxx>
David Artman wrote:
> 2009/11/28 Doug Orleans <dougorleans@xxxxxxxxx>
>> BoardGameNews.com recently mentioned a new abstract strategy game
>> called Welt der Türme (World of the Towers):
>> http://www.boardgamenews.com/index.php/boardgamenews/comments/intellego_holzspiele_releases_welt_der_tuerme/
> Yes, that would be easy to play with Icehouse, like Oshi:
> http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/23935
> I like the idea of doing it with a white Knight (small) on Yellow 'mids and
> a black Knight on blue. It also looks like there's a "side hole" between the
> fourth and fifth ranks, which I'd bet is the goal spot for the knights.
> But here's the rub: Assuming someone gets the full rules to it (and Oshi,
> for that matter), is it ethical to reproduce them for use with Icehouse
> 'mids and a chessboard? (Assuming the rules aren't released with a CC
> License or into public domain.) It's one thing to translate ancient games
> like Snakes and Ladders or make variations on games like Chess--they've been
> public domain for centuries. It's another thing to impact a custom game
> maker's sales by circumventing the need for their product, even if Icehouse
> Game System provides both the three scales and the stackability necessary to
> play (hmmm... makes one wonder if it wasn't developed or playtested using
> Icehouse 'mids, come to think of it...). Thoughts?

People make homemade sets all the time.


My understanding is you cannot copyright the actual content of the game
rules (in North America anyway:
http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl108.html).  You can copyright the actual
printed representation of the rules (illegal to photocopy and distribute
 the published rulebook) or to exactly duplicate card and board art
(Bohnanza and Carcassonne), but once the rules themselves are released,
there is nothing stopping anybody from adapting whatever resources they
have to play the game.

The game here in question can be played on a regular chess board, and
stacking pieces are certainly not new.  I see no issue whatsoever.  That
said, if one is concerned about encouraging and supporting a game
designer/publisher, it is certainly in your power to still purchase a
retail copy of the game.  I wouldn't make a homemade copy of Cannon, for
example, at least not without buying one from David first.


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