GameZone relaunches HeroQuest 25th Anniversary crowdfunding campaign

By Polar_Bear
In Board Games
Dec 23rd, 2013
48 Comments
667 Views

GameZone once again launched a crowdfunding campaign for their HeroQuest 25th Anniversary edition. It’s up over on Lanzanos.

Source

From the campaign:

We present to you a new tribute game to the memorable HEROQUEST board game on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. In this new edition you will find new illustrations, new miniatures, new cards, a new board… All contents are new and fresh, to the highest possible standards as to pay a suitable tribute to the game that marked an era.

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  • captainparty

    Oddly, they make no mention of having the project pulled on another crowd funding website and rejected from another one for IP issues as they only have the rights to the name in Spain. They’ve also deleted the posts discussing those copyright issues from their website.

    • Why would that be odd? Why would they discuss these issues? They aren’t directly related to the project as they have the trademark for the game in Spain.

      • Mananarepublic

        Come on Zac… You know why it needs to be discussed. We are all decent, smart people here – no need to play games.

        • joshuar56

          No they don’t. And that’s why it should be brought up. So that people like you, who don’t know the facts, can be informed. They have a trademark for the NAME Heroquest, that’s it. People who back this are in serious risk of losing their money.

        • They don’t need to discuss the issues because most of the people online don’t even know the difference between copyright and trademark. Bringing the issue up simply opens them up to having to spend a lot of time and energy discussing things with people who don’t have a clue what they are actually talking about.

          I’d rather they just talked about the game and why people should give them money for the actual game and not just throwing money at a name.

      • steambucky

        They totally need to explain what has happened. There are obviously legal risks with this IP and they should be transparent. The fact they did not include what has gone on before makes me wary of the project.

        • This illustrates my point above.

          There is no legal risk. They have a trademark for the name in Spain. I suspect that they also have a trademark, now, for the Heroquest name in the US as it applies to board games.

          As long as they produce a game that doesn’t reproduce any of the copyright material from the original game then there is no IP issue.

          • odinsgrandson

            But what they’re doing is creating a board game and implying a connection to a property that they do not own.

            It looks like they’re now stating that they won’t be using the old rules set- which is a good thing.

            From the Kickstarter:

            “This version of Heroquest is a tribute to the original 1989 game to commemorate its 25th anniversary. All artwork, miniatures, rules and all other components are new and belong to Gamezone Miniatures.”

            That’s something that was glaringly missing from previous projects.

  • Darsc Zacal

    Lanzanos?!?

    Is that where all the failed kickstarters go to die?

  • Mikey

    Wow, just wow. Leave me out, lots of people seem willing to loose there money on this however.

  • Henrix

    There’s a bit in Spanish that isn’t in the English text.

    I’m lazy – this is just a google translate that I’ve tidied up a little.

    “There is a third risk we were not able to foresee: a sector of the hobby is opposed to this project. Although most is based on misinformation, it is real enough that some fans have chosen to actively stand against the project, even boycott. It is quite disheartening to see these views from our position, with accurate data and information in our hands. We are aware that their influence is great, but not enough to cripple the project. Moreover, we hope you will see what we do to change their minds and, ultimately, when the game is finally done, have them as more customers.”

    They also point out that it is a tribute to the game, and not just implying that it is the same game.
    Still implying that it is, though.

  • Darsc Zacal

    @Gamezone.

    You make nice minis and you’ve been around for a few years. As a result your name is known around the hobby and because of that I have a couple of suggestions for you.
    Lose the HeroQuest name. Rebrand the game under your own IP and take it back to Kickstarter for funding. I think you’ll do better with a newly named game on Kickstarter than you would with taking the HeroQuest name to crowdfunding sites that most gamers have never heard of or know even exists.

  • BaconSlayer

    If they are lucky, they might be funded before the lawyers get back from Christmas break.

    It’ll be a Christmas Miracle!

  • blkdymnd

    Why would they fear lawyers? They have the rights to the IP in Spain

    • joshuar56

      No… They don’t…

      • odinsgrandson

        They have the right to use the name in Spain. They’re claiming that they aren’t using anything else that is part of the original IP (including a new rules set).

        I don’t know how this will roll out in the end, though, since they’re still tying it to the old game (it is an ‘anniversary edition’ after all).

  • nsogre

    Which means that other than a couple EU countries, it would be illegal to ship or sell to most countries that have trade agreements with the US, and therefore foolish to back.

    • You are basing this on what exactly?

  • sniperjack

    That is the one point im not sure about.
    Sure they cann sell from spain and sent the packages from spain directly to the customers. But if it passes the border line, does it become illegal to receive it for me. In europe should be no problem because auf the Schengen contract. The custom controls should not look here on the deliverys. But this doesn’t count for overseas. I will wait till after the holydays what will happen.

  • Henrix

    I’m fairly certain that there is not illegal to import it t private customers, but there’ll be no retail – you’ll have to order it from Spain.

    But even though it is not registered there is prior use of the name.
    I suppose Milton Bradley’s use is too old – but there is a Spanish edition of the RPG HeroQuest.

    And I certainly don’t think they’re willing to lose that name.

    • I’m fairly certain that there is not illegal to import it t private customers, but there’ll be no retail – you’ll have to order it from Spain.

      This is my understanding as well. They have the rights to the name in Spain and they can produce it and sell it with that name in Spain.

      Shipping to individuals is okay. Attempting to sell it to retail outlets would raise legal issues in countries where someone had the trademark rights to the name for board games.

  • joshuar56

    Here is the thing, since a lot of people here still don’t know the truth. GZ does NOT have the rights, even in Spain, to reproduce Heroquest. They have the rights to the NAME Heroquest, in Spain. This means they can make a game, in Spain, with the name Heroquest. It does not mean they can copy Heroquest, or try and make a dirivitive of Heroquest (this includes any tributes, which is BS anyways). Which is what they are trying to do.

    If you pledge to this project, and it somehow isn’t canceled before the project ends. There is very big likelihood that your money will go to GZ’s lawyers, once they get the crap sued out of them.

    • PanzerKraken

      If they have the name Heroquest, then they can easily copy the original game. To copy a game is easy, it’s done constantly in the gaming world and all you need to do is change a few little mechanics and tada, you get away with it.

      It doesn’t mean they are free from legal challenges, anyone can sue anyone for anything just to annoy or try to stop something though.

    • Darsc Zacal

      Folks are accusing Gamezone of a number of things that they are not guilty of.
      So far the only issue brought up is that from Moon Design’s concern that their ownership of the US trademark of Heroquest is being infinged upon by Gamezone’s usage of it as the TM holder in Spain and their targeting of the US market.

      The truth is, there is no such thing as a blanket rights to game rules.
      I’d suggest people take a look at what the US Copyright office has to say.
      http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl108.html

      So long as Gamezone uses their own miniature designs, artwork, etc, they can recreate a HeroQuest game.

      I do think that using a video of the original Heroquest commercial on their kickstarter to promote the new game was likely overstepping a legal line.

      • joshuar56

        Claiming the game is a 25th anaversery edition of the original game, is all the legal ammunition GW and/or Habro would need to sue GZ out of existence. The commercial only adds fuel to the fire.

        • Darsc Zacal

          Gamezone owns the trademark to the HeroQuest name in Spain. That means they have the legal right to use it there.

          Moon Design owns the trademark to the HeroQuest name in the US. That means they have the legal right to use it there.

          GW has nothing to do with this. They own no HeroQuest trademarks.

          Hasbro only maintained the rights to the HeroQuest trademarks in certain countries, and failed to maintain them in some key markets. They’ve let the horse out of the barn a long time ago.

          • joshuar56

            You, like GZ it seems, are confusing the TM for the name with the rights to the IP. I’m not going to sit here and continue to try and explain it. If you want to lose your money, by all means back this project.

          • mathieu

            While I think the way GZ has handled the issue and communicated upon it is sketchy at best, and therefore have no intention of backing this project, I wouldn’t mind your explaining the difference between TM on a name and rights to an IP. Or pointing me to a link you deem decent in explaining that difference in reasonably layman’s terms.

          • joshuar56

            IP was probably the wrong term. What GZ is violating copyright laws. A trademark is just something that identifies a product or service. In this case GZ now has the name Heroquest trademarked in Spain. So they can name a game Heroquest, in Spain. What they don’t have is the copyrights for the actual game and it’s contents. So they can’t copy the games mechanics, names, etc. And any dirivitives of that game, like sequels, or in this case a 25th anaversery edition. GW and Hasbro still own the copyrights to the Heroquest game.

          • Dreissen

            Can you point me to the relevant laws/cases that demonstrate what it is you’re saying here? I have never heard of a copyright law that says game mechanics cannot be replicated.

            Remember, if you make positive claims, you must prove them, otherwise what you say can be regarded as false by default.

          • Game mechanics aren’t covered under copyright. Copyright only pertains to the exact text published and any photos or art in the rulebook.

          • IP was probably the wrong term.

            Not probably. It is. IP refers to the sum of laws and legal protections that people and corporations have access to to protect their work

            What GZ is violating copyright laws

            No, they aren’t. As long as they don’t use the original art, content or logos for the game then they aren’t breaching copyright

            A trademark is just something that identifies a product or service.

            A trademark is:

            “the name or other symbol used to identify the goods produced by a particular manufacturer or distributed by a particular dealer and to distinguish them from products associated with competing manufacturers or dealers.”

            so similar to what you are saying but there is a very important distinction that these are for competing products and serve to distinguish products.

            What they don’t have is the copyrights for the actual game and it’s contents.

            For the original game text and the original art for the game.

            So they can’t copy the games mechanics, names, etc.

            Actually they can. Short of a patent to protect a specific game mechanic, there is no legal protection for game mechanics.

            And any dirivitives of that game, like sequels, or in this case a 25th anaversery edition.

            Derivative works are actually covered and protected under the Berne convention

            Wikipedia has an interesting article

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivative_work

            GW and Hasbro still own the copyrights to the Heroquest game.

            Yes they do but this doesn’t mean what you think it means.

          • joshuar56

            Since you like linking Wikipedia so much, maybe you should check out what derivative work is and how it is covered under copyright law. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivative_work

          • fuzzyguy

            Eek, I meant to reply here with the comment I made down thread with the link to a post on boardgamegeek talking about IP law and gaming.

    • It does not mean they can copy Heroquest, or try and make a dirivitive of Heroquest (this includes any tributes, which is BS anyways).

      I think you need to do some legal research on the issue. You are actually quite incorrect.

  • fuzzyguy

    The following thread on Boardgamegeek does a decent job of explaining things. There are a lot of very opinionated folks in the world of gaming, especially in comment threads, who make claims that are wholly incorrect as to what is protected and what isn’t, especially if a certain miniature company in Nottingham is even just tangentially involved. Furthermore, there are many who don’t know, nor can tell the differences between trademark, copyright, and patents but feel pleased as punch to argue about what is infringed and where. Boardgames actually have relatively little in the way of intellectual protections in the USA.

    • joshuar56

      Considering that article is only about US laws, and Heroquest was developed by GW, and based in their wargamers fantasy universe, I would say UK laws are more relevant. Also, the WIPO copyright treaty signed in 1996, greatly expanded copyright protections.

      • fuzzyguy

        Like I said earlier, people get silly when the toy soldier company in Nottingham is only tangentially involved. GW has no dog in this hunt. Hasbro is the only holder of claims in the UK and Glorantha has them for the US. GW has no effective ownership, or rights to the property and hasn’t had any rights or claims of ownership for many years after having sold and or ceded those rights to Hasbro through a combination of neglect and negotiation following the purchase of Milton Bradley by Hasbro. What you say on the matter as to whose IP laws matter more is irrelevant as the case law for who would have jurisdiction has been largely untested.

    • joshuar56

      And in case anyone was wondering, Berne Convention, would basically enforce those copyrights in the US and any European country, including Spain.

      • And this isn’t a copyright issue at all so its not really relevant.

        • joshuar56

          By all means pledge your money, and watch it disappear once GZ gets slammed with a lawsuit.

  • nsogre

    This is why I said what I did and what backs it up. This is from the U.S. copyright office, explaining what certain patents and trademarks include. As I was talking about IP, this covers that statement.
    “A patent is an intellectual property right, granted by a country’s government as a territorial right for a limited period. Patent rights make it illegal for anyone except the owner or someone with the owner’s permission to make, use, import or sell the invention in the country where the patent was granted Patents protect the features and processes that make things work. This lets inventors profit from their inventions. Patents generally cover products or processes that contain ‘new’ functional or technical aspects.

    They are primary concerned with:
    how things work:
    how they are made:
    what they are made of:

    • There are incredibly few gaming patents, off the top of my head I can only name two: ‘Tapping’ from MTG, and Malifaux.

      • Haibane

        And ‘flooping’ (for example : “I ‘floop’ the pig”).

    • I am not sure why you are bringing this up since there is no patent involved in this issue.

  • nsogre

    As it has been posted on several other boards, I will not repost it here, but the trademark and patent is owned and registered by a US citizen. What I am saying only applies to US citizens and to citizens of other coutries that recognize reciprocated laws. The way the laws in the US are written, anyone trying to buy or sell, this includes direct buyers to the company, can by charged with piracy. Unless the licence agreement is reached, any game called Heroquest not from the registered owner cannot be brought into the US. I have no idea what the laws are in other countries, and only really looked into the laws here when this started blowing up. If they are now saying it is a tribute, and have changed the rules, the figures, and the artwork, it is not heroquest. Just call it something else. Sounds like its an all new game now anyway.

    • I will not repost it here, but the trademark and patent is owned and registered by a US citizen.

      You do understand the difference between patents, trademarks and copyright correct? And you also understand that trademarks are given for a distinct range of products and aren’t blanket protection for a name or mark?

      You also understand that copyright doesn’t cover the mechanics of a game?

      I really don’t think that you have a clue about the specifics of this issue and I would heartily suggest that you take some time to actually research the issues involved.

  • nsogre

    You might want to re-read whatever you think you know. A trademark patent is specifically designed to protect names and marks. Not a range of products. That is why, as an example, many companies that make dishwashers, but do not use each others company names or symbols. You have it exactly ass-backwards. I also never said that the mechanics of this game was copy-righted, although it can and has been done in the past and some companies, like WotC, have an open-ended user agreement that allows other designers to use the D20 system as an example. On top of that, the US company that holds the trademark was giving IP permission to use the heroquest world and expand on it. None of this was giving to the company currently trying to make money on the name and world they DO NOT have any rights to. You might think you have a clue, but you might want to actually do some research on the topic you are trying to discuss before running your mouth.