Questions over GameZone license for HeroQuest

By Polar_Bear
In Board Games
Nov 28th, 2013
77 Comments
572 Views

HeroQuest has been doing rather well over on Kickstarter for Gamezone.
Though questions have arisen about whether or not they have the license to print the game.
An anonymous source close to TGN has said that, as of yet, Gamezone does not, in fact, have the license.
At time of posting, Gamezone has not replied to an e-mail from us asking about the matter.

I know TGN doesn’t generally do such news posts, but I wanted to pass this one along, as my source is rather reliable on such matters. Gamezone recently posted up a long video answering a lot of questions about the game, but this question in-particular has been somewhat deflected or not directly answered on several occasions.

Stay tuned for further developments.

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  • Daniel36

    Not having the means to back Kickstarters has saved my wallet. This was the first KS I was mildly interested in backing, but now a couple of days into the KS, there are still no real pictures of miniatures I could find, and this news isn’t exactly very comforting either.

    Still, Gamezone is a well known company, isn’t it? I’ve seen plenty of stuff from them already…

    Hopefully GW notices how quickly people back this and start a Warhammer Quest KS.
    (Yeah… lol)

    • Rorkror

      Hi, you can see some WIP in the video, orcs, goblins, spirits, zombies, warlock, and some of the heroes. You can also see the furniture in it. So don’t know why you say they aren’t showing.

      Cheers.

      • captainparty

        you can’t now because the KS has been suspended. But yeah, a few quick renders of generic fantasy monsters isn’t really good enough

        • Rorkror

          THe video is in Youtube.

          • Daniel36

            But a WiP 3D rendering isn’t exactly the same as an actual miniature. The furniture looks fine, but where are the actual miniatures of the heroes and enemies? That’s what I mean.

            Hey, I am all for this project succeeding, don’t get me wrong, but you have to admit that the way this Kickstarter is currently going isn’t exactly very comforting.

  • Haibane

    Half a million Canadian Dollars – but how many Bison Dollars is that? O__o

    I’d love for GW to do a Warhammer Quest KS just to see all of the angry comments about how they don’t need a KS 😀

  • daburton63

    Interesting to hear this. Why does the cynic in me say that the souce is someone at Cmon who is slobbering over the chance at trying to get the license.

    • daburton63

      Oh and doing a bit of looking round the internet, it appears the IP license for Heroquest is null and void in Canada as Hasbro didn’t bother to renew the license. I’m guessing that’s where the wording “After that came weeks of studying the legal aspects of the matter and getting in touch with people who could allow us to face this project” comes into play.”.

  • ape2020

    From their KS FAQ they state they have the rights to it in Spain and to sell it “online” worldwide from their own website.

    Now they also seem to indicate they don’t have the wholesale right to sell it outside of Spain. This would mean no selling to local shops or distributors outside of Spain. Seems to me this is exactly what CMON’s “source” is saying.

    I’ll likely put in a $1 to see how this goes before really plunging in.

  • 4tonmantis

    This isn’t news, this is hearsay and there is a very apparent conflict of interest. Source or no, there is a very clear distinction between fact, speculation, and opinion. I read everything on their page and it seems to me that they did their legal leg-work and came to the conclusion that they in fact were able to pursue this. Whether that means they acquired the license or the franchise went into public domain (doesn’t make sense) or what have you.. they have very clearly addressed this in their KS and this seems like a mean-spirited bit of rumor-mongering to scare people off of this property. Bad form TGN.. bad form indeed.

    • captainparty

      Well, as the KS has now been suspended, I think its more than hearsay. Looks like they didn’t do the legal legwork at all, they got the license for Spain and are now trying to sell it world wide.

      • Ghool

        They don’t have a license for anything.
        They purchased a renewal on the trademark ‘HeroQuest’ in Spain.
        Aside from that, they have done nothing else.

  • Argate

    Does not the license? Ridiculous, IMO they don’t asnwer only because the question is a bit silly.

  • I too find it rather disappointing to see TGN post these these rumours with no official backup. Is this Tabletop Gaming Gossip or News?

    • odinsgrandson

      I saw that the Kickstarter is currently down, then came here to see if there was any word on the matter.

      I my opinion, that’s TGN doing what it should.

      They’ve mentioned being in contact with Hasbro, which to me meant that however they got the rights, Hasbro already knew about it and wasn’t going to interfere.

      However, they also said that Games Workshop only had the rights to the miniatures and little else in the old Heroquest box set. They said that they weren’t going to use any of the GW owned parts of Heroquest (they’re making new minis, and replacing the one race that GW owns).

      Of course, they claimed that they had the rights in Spain, but were Kickstarting in Canada and shipping world wide. I don’t know how well they can actually claim to be doing this in Spain, and I could see Hasbro going after them for that. Or Games Workshop- even if they don’t own the rights.

      I hope that it is Hasbro, and that they cut a deal with them to produce Heroquest legally. If they do, that could be terrific for everyone.

  • Henrix

    I do believe they have the licence to produce the game in Spain. Now that they have said it plainly in the video interview, and not just used evasive language – which is all they did before that I could find.

    But they situation is confusing. Utterly so.

    Hasbro (by way of Milton Bradley) and not GW, has the licence, worldwide.
    But they do not have the right to the name in the US. (That belongs to to Greg Stafford, who used it since way before GW/Milton Bradley.)

    And now Gamezone, a Spanish company, has got the rights to it.
    In Spain. Not the rest of the world.

    And they’re holding a kickstarter. Through some Canadian proxy, because European countries cannot use Kickstarter (some legal stuff, I assume).

    And they intend, very openly, to sell it to the whole world.

    And use evasive language – there’s no reason to worry, we have checked and nobody can stop this as we have covered our asses with lawyers.

    Are you confused yet?

    But I do believe they have the rights in Spain. And that it’s perfectly legal for them to sell directly to anywhere in the world. But, then, IANAL.

  • blkdymnd

    And the KSis officially on hold for IP dispute

    Guess when it’s too good to be true….

  • blkdymnd

    I would love for Hasbro/GW to take notice though, that this generated a potential $500k in just two days. Seriously people, let’s get a legal reboot!

  • I think this is a really nasty and unfair attempt to spread distrust and fear on the people that have backed this project (and the people that potentially could back it).

    GameZone doesn’t need a license, they own the trademark in Spain, as they have stated yet many times:

    http://www.oepm.es/en/signos_distintivos/detalle.html?ref=M%203040965

    http://www.empresia.es/signo/heroquest/oepm/M-3040965/

    So, as they have the trademark, they can sell HeroQuest in Spain utterly legally (distributors, retailers and end customers). It happens that those ‘end customers’ can be from anywhere in the world, ’cause the global market, online commerce and etc…
    So that the only things that are illegals for GZ are to sell to distributors and/or retailer OUT of Spain.

    With this Kickstarter, the people that is backing it not only are not distributors or retailers, but they are not customers strictly speaking but ‘investors’. And these backers are ‘investing’ on HeroQuest by GameZone, which happens to being based in Spain and happens to own the HQ trademark in Spain… So, What’s the confusion?

    Let me illustrate it with a brutal example: In the EU countries, child work and those kind of exploitation is illegal and forbidden. However there are EU companies that have facilities and factories in countries where they use children and extreme hard conditions on their workers, to make the goods that they will sell after on the same EU countries, where the EU citizens will buy those things and nobody will question if purchasing those things is legal or not (moral side of this is other subject, of course). And this is so true that perhaps more than one person that reads this is wearing one of such goods…

    So i think it would be a responsible move on TGN part to rectify this wrong and ill-affected news, and post a right one with the HQ kickstarter. It’s curious that TGN, owned by CMON is apparently so concerned by a KS that possibly will reach a record take and is not theirs…

    • captainparty

      Crowd funding is a new issue, and the idea of the market is pretty new, so its not that clear if they can do what they’re doing right now, which is selling to people around the world with only a license to sell it in Spain.

      Its also curious that a lot of people who dont have English as a first language are popping up to defend GameZone

      • Mephis

        It’s also curious that a lot of pleople who don’t have Spanish as a first language speaks about Gamezone and what they have, or not, without any information about that, nor listening to the interview done to Dionisio (from Gamezone) which is in youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RQkJpla3PU&feature=share.
        I am one of those who has not English as a first language, so I will try to translate as accurate as possible to me the part Dionisio speaks about the IP:

        “The legal issue is very simple, so simple that people looks for more that it is; Heroquest belongs to Hasbro, around the world, except for US and Spain, in Spain it is controlled by us, in US it is controlled by Greg Stafford, who licensed it to Moon Designs, in the rest of the world it is controlled by Hasbro, when we obtained the license, we obtained it from Hasbro, it is an official license, we own the TradeMark in Spain, we cannot buy the TM in other countries because it belongs to Hasbro; that is, Can we produce (menufacture) Heroquest? Completely, Can we sell the products in stores and directly online? Completely, Can we sell it online around the world? Completely, exactly the same as any other online purchase, Can we put our game phisically at stores in France, Italy or US? NO, unless we obtain a license to do it, a license with (from?) Hasbro or Moon Design (depends on the country), pending licenses, pending as we were negotiating that point even before this proyect was leaked…”

        He continues speaking about the reasons of the negotiations, but I think this is enough to calm down all those comments about if he was vague with the answers (I think he answer in absolute terms) or if they have or not any licenses.
        To that point, my opinion, only mine, is that Moon Designs has used it to press Gamezone about the royalties, may I be wrong about that? of course, let’s time to say.

        • Henrix

          Except that it isn’t that clear cut.

          I listened to the rambling bad quality video, my spanish is good enough.

          But, apart from everything else, the financing isn’t in Spain, but the US, they are boasting about selling it to the whole world, including the US.

          Why didn’t they bother to talk to the people owning the rights in advance?
          Why go the hostile and mysterious way?

          Why avoiding straight talk but say in so many places that there is no legal way this can be stopped.

          • Mephis

            “It isn’t that clear cut”? I am doing tests and when I click on the link this redirects me to the 0:36:50 of the video, I’m very sorry, i did not know that, thats the point where I stopped to transcribe and translate, they begins that point at 0:33:44; I’m very sorried as I did not know that issue, here is a new link:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RQkJpla3PU&feature=share

            The quality of the video is not as good as it could me better, but clear enough to understan clearly the absolute answers he did, not vague or evasive as TGN affirm.

            That’s true that the financiation is not in Spain, and i don’t understand that point, so no answer to that, simply a clarification, they are not looking financiation from US either, as you claim, is from Canada.

            About selling it to the whole world, yes, of course, as any web store around the world, including lot’s of them from US that sell games in Spain whit license, not illegally, as you, as a web store, are selling FROM your country, and I, as buyer am buying that product FROM the country the store is, in this case, the store will be in Spain and all customers of the whole world who are interested in the product can buy it from that online store, as they are not distributing the game through any other country.
            Clarification about that, Kickstarter is NOT a store, neither you are BUYING anything, more about that in terms and conditions from kickstarter.

            About the people owning the rights, are you from Hasbro international or Moon Design? Neither Hasbro nor Moon Design have stated that Gamezone were not in conversation with them, what is more, Gamezone (one of those involved in the negociations) has stated that they are in conversations whit both of them about distribute their product to the US stores, as well as other countries, since before the proyect was leaked, as I translated more or less accurate in my previous post.

            “Hostile and Mysterious way” and “avoiding straight talk” saying “there is no legal way this can be stopped”, about that, I have nothing to say as I have not read nor listen any official state whiting those terms, could you, please, link some of that “many places” please, not doubt on you, I just want to know what really happened, not gossips or rumours as this News used.

            Again, sorry for my English, and, anyone knows if I could edit my posts to correct some typos?

  • wormwoode

    Glad this is being brought up here. Whether you “believe” they have legal standing or not, the question is still an important one to the many of us who would like to see a proper reboot of the game. Some very clearly worded facts are in order. I’d love to read more about this here as it develops. If it sounds this sketchy, it probably is. Here’s hoping they can clear things up.

  • estrus

    Heroquest 25th Anniversary is the subject of an intellectual property dispute and is currently unavailable.

    No need to check the servers — the rest of Kickstarter is doing just fine.

    If you are interested in this project, please check back later. Thanks for your patience.

  • Unless the TGN staff has something concrete that they can post this is just rumour-mongering and give that CMoN owns TGN it is a fairly significant conflict of interest.

    You do not report rumours avout competitors unless you have facts.

    Rggardless of what is going on with the IP currently there is jo story here and this should be removed

    • blkdymnd

      The source said the IP was in question. The KS just suspended for IP dispute. Sounds pretty spot on to me. I see no conflict if interest, since CMON has nothing to do with the KS, the company the KS was started by, the original product in question, the continent that the company resides in, or the country that the bank resides that the company is using.

      • CMoN is quite clearly in competition with Gamezone in this area. And even if you want to dispute that, there is the apparent conflict of interest of having a CMoN owned website posting this sort of material.

        Since there were no details of what they were told we can’t judge the veracity of the story and we certainly can’t try to make out own conclusions since there is nothing in this story that even approaches a fact or even a statement.

        News sites need to be held to higher standards that a forum or Facebook group. This item should have been held until there was confirmation or some publishable fact.

        • captainparty

          They were told something by a source they trusted and printed it, thats exactly how news it reported. You can check the facts for yourself, just not on the kickstarter page as its been suspended, following an IP complaint.

          • blkdymnd

            Exactly, every news organization in the world use sources to develop stories and try to put them to print before the next guy. This is actually, and I am highly critical of CMON’s normal business practices, what they are here for. For news.

          • But it wasn’t news when it was published and that is the problem. Rushing to be the “first post!” isn’t an excuse for not doing your work

          • 4tonmantis

            When you write something about someone and it has a possibility of being false, you set your self up for a libel suit. You’re talking about something that’s completely a separate form of journalism. A lot of news agencies are running the “breaking news” stuff in the form of editorials to skirt around the legal side of it and the traditional journalistic approach is to get a story, then fact-check the story.. THEN run with it. TGN is NOT competing with Fox news or CNN or any of the other news agencies.. in fact, BoLS is probably the only real competition and they’re too busy patting themselves on the back to run news stories.

            TL-DR : Libel bad, Fact-checking good. It doesn’t matter that the story ended up being true.. it was presented to us as being based on something someone heard from a guy… aka a rumor.

    • odinsgrandson

      Gamezone is not a competitor to Coolmini. They are partners. Coolmini produces Gamezone miniatures in the US.

      • Not something I was aware of.

  • Henrix

    You might as well pull this rumour and put up an item about the KS being on hold as there’s an IP dispute.

  • rastamann

    This is ridiculous and I find it odd that it took 500 grand for it to be disputed as a questionable ownership of IP – if it had raised the 50k they’d proposed initially I doubt there’d have been an issue at all.

    The news itself provides only hearsay speculation and, on that basis alone, should never have been put up. This has put a dent on my faith in TTGN, and I’d prefer this kind of post not show up again.

    For all I know, the fact that this was reported as news was what sprang the IP dispute which led to the Kickstarter being suspended and that would make TTGN a player and driver of events instead of what it was supposed to be.

    • Henrix

      The IP discussion has been going on in various forums for some time, since before the kick started.

      That it takes a couple of days for KS Central to notice that there’s a dispute doesn’t sound unreasonable.

  • captainparty

    I’m glad the Kickstarter is being stalled while this is investigated, I’d hate to have this happen in 12 months time when thousands of members of the community have given their money over only to be told that they’re not allowed to be sold a copy.

    Honestly its all looking quite scammy right now.

  • ape2020

    Gotta a figure with more backers comes more questions and if they are not getting clear answers more backers will demand clear answers and sooner or later will draw the attentions of more powerful interest.

  • joshuar56

    I brought the issue up about Hero Quest day one, and of course was told “not to worry” and that I was “trolling the project”. Any reasonable person could see it was a legitimate concern. The fact that this project got over 500k with such a big question up in the air, goes to show you just how unreasonable and careless with their money some kickstarter backers are…

    How GZ thought they could get away with this, when another company had the US rights is beyond mind boggleing. I told all my friend when this launched that this would be happening. At this point I’m not sure why the US company would even settle, given how fast this project launched. They should just run their own KS.

  • sniperjack
  • Mikey

    Can’t believe the crap that TGN is taking for this? They posted a new item that turned out to be true, an now some people are trying to blame them for the problems Gamezone is having? Really? I really, really wanted to back this KS for HeroQuest, but just didn’t feel comfortable with the way the question on IP had been answered. I have been holding back to see what would come of this. I still hope this can happen, one of the best games ever. I still wonder if MB and GW can/will get involved in this somehow…

  • surprize

    There is no conspiracy theory here, but I would rather this sort of “story” wasn’t on TGN. OK, on this occasion it has been proved right (and so now I would expect a proper news story reporting the facts that the KS is suspended), but there are plenty of rumour forums for this sort of thing and I’d rather there wasn’t a precedent set for TGN reporting rumours on what is going on with this or that kickstarter.

    News feed is already clogged up with KS rubbish if we are going to start to see rumours about kickstarter updates we may as well forget the whole thing. The one company in the world that still designs a miniature, casts it and releases it in a shop will have the news of their new model drowned in kickstarter based speculation (however well informed)

  • Wasn’t the Hero Quest registered trademark owned by Issaries, Inc. about a decade ago after GW chose not to renew?

    • Henrix

      Yep, Issaries was the company owned by Greg Stafford. Greg has retired and Moon Design now publishes HeroQuest.

      (Heroquest was a long awaited companion to RuneQuest – advertised in the first edition RQ in ’78 – that only ever floated around in various playtest versions, as Greg never was satisfied with it.)

      • I have not talked to Greg Stafford in a long time, but I remember him mentioning that he secured the registration and trademark of the HeroQuest name and it’s use as a game and miniatures. Trademarks have nothing to do with GWs right to patent protection, completely different legal problem just so some of the readers understand. I was not aware Moon Design had taken over Gregs properties, but glad that his RuneQuest series lives on. I actually played RuneQuest RPG way back in the day and GW’s HeroQuest too.

  • Cross

    Hats off to TTGN for this post. Reposting companies’ press releases is a great service. But, actually chasing information that people want to know, thats what journalism is all about, isn’t it?

    I hope to see more pro-active posts like this in the future!

    • Henrix

      I agree wholeheartedly. Press releases are great – but far from all.

      • odinsgrandson

        To be fair, most news papers are reprinting things that various companies’ PR departments send them. I’m glad we’re seeing both kinds of journalism.

        And as I have stated before, Gamezone is a company that works with Coolmini (CMON produces their miniatures for the US market- this is generally how metal miniatures are produced overseas because shipping metal becomes expensive).

        So, I think this post represents responsible journalism. I’d have preferred someone go on the official record, but sometimes you have to live with anonymous sources.

        If this turns around to Gamezone’s favor, I would expect a CMON endorsement (like what they did with Kingdom Death) sometime during the month.

  • daburton63

    Again, call me a cynic, but who wants to take bets that IF the kickstarter isn’t restarted with Gamezone in charge, that we’ll see one from Cmon within a year for the same game? Sadly ever since Cmon became involved with TGN I’ve taken anything reported here with a grain of salt. And in a catch 22, with this r”report”, I now am even more weary of ever dealing with anything Cmon related.

    • Henrix

      Moon Design started their action long before this news.

      They are not, in the least, affiliated with CMoN.

  • Mananarepublic

    CMON sells GZ models so I am sure they don’t want to tarnish the rep of that company… Would be like a convenient store saying their sodas are crap.. https://www.coolminiornot.com/shop/gamezone-miniatures

    I might remember it wrong but didn’t they also take over this site (buy it) when the server costs and time became too must for the original creator of this site?

    Regardless, IP has been a growing issue in this industry and I was just waiting for something like this to happen… With the seed money kickstarters are generating right now this industry was bound to attract risk takers… If TGN’s post actually made KS sort this out then I am really happy for all the current backers – would have hated for this to happen later! Game zone makes wonderful miniatures and if this game happens in any shape or form I hope they are involved..

    I love the idea of a 25th anniversary edition because I remember the original with a lot of fondness! Would be a perfect introduction into the hobby for a whole new generation…. I always thought the rules were horribly over simplified.. (Yuck I am so old that I played it when it came out…)

    Don’t blame TGN for this and respect the IP laws!

    Happy turkey day! 🙂

  • Rorkror

    I think TTG should publish the oficial statment:

    Please bear with us. Gamezone and Moon Design are in a meeting negotiating a settlement for both parts at this time.

    Moon Design believes that their interests in the HEROQUEST brand within the USA will be infringed upon. Although we are not distributing or selling our product in US territory. As a precaution Moon Design presented a C/D on the 27th of Nov. Our talks are coming to a point where the negotiation will benefit all those involved, which finally would let us offer our product in stores in the USA sometime next year.
    The Moon Design C/D was suspended, but on the table, as another element in the negotiation. Here at Gamezone it is our hopeful understand that its activation is possibly by error as both parties where coming to an agreement. Said agreement would finally end beneficially for Fans in the USA by opening the physical distribution to stores in that country. This brief pause of activity is as harmful to the interests of Moon Design as it is to Gamezone Miniatures.

    We are as surprised as the Heroquest community, we didn’t expect that on Thanksgiving, of all days, to be wrapped up in this mess, that is so disagreeable for everyone involved. On a day such as this it is extremely complicated to get in touch with Moon Design. We are working diligently on a solution so we can continue with the project from where it is at the moment and reinforce it for the future.

    Thank you. Dionisio

  • n815e

    A Spanish company claiming rights, creates a Kickstarter in Canadian dollars and posts about U.S. Thanksgiving?

    Yeah, it’s legit…

  • Levi

    You guys in Gamezone Miniatures might think positively toward gamers but honestly you ran a bad KS, IMO, very jerry one. Just take a review what you guys did before and in this KS.

    No dedicated quality media platform officially created. The official website? No kidding but to me that is nothing except no more than 10 concept pictures. The facebook page? Please thats not dedicated for HQ25 and I dont know if it is ran by GZM.
    Insufficient homework for KS. How couldnt you know the proving procedure of KS? Same mistake righ after SoB? I believe many HQ fans clicked F5 to death like I did on 18:00 Spanish local time that day.
    Unbelievably inconvinient KS setup. Many fans have already pointed out: CAD dollar to pledge, Euro to calculate shipping fee, paied by USD, WTF?
    Paid Strech goals and 30K gap. Well I am greedy so I think the SGs were Bullshit.
    Communinactions. You did not keep the promise about daily update. Some fans said “video interview is not enough to you?”; no it was not, it was not KS update you promised what so ever. If you guys dont know what KS update about, try to search Journey: Wrath of Demons @Marrow Production.

    HOWEVER,

    I still back HQ25, for it, not for GMZ. Cuz I have been ready to be screwed up or take the risk for getting HQ again.

    • Rorkror

      I am not frome GZ or related just another wargame media 😉

    • Rorkror

      Pointing out in the video you get a really nice glimps of what there is in teh Kickstarter, every monster, and the first 4 heroes, also the furniture.

      • Levi

        Rorkror you did great job for Journey Wrath of Demons, I enjoyed your long long long video 😛

        I love HQ25 regardless how poorly GZM managed their KS. To me, they did very poor. You know what I am saying compare to Journey.

  • mathieu

    I wish TGN/CMoN had been that keen on protecting gamers against less than honest kickstarter projects when their own WoK campaign was up and they repeatedly refused to address concerns raised about the (seemingly?) falsely advertised quality of their plastic miniatures.

    • Mananarepublic

      Hey M, check out A1’s YouTube channel for an example of the plastic for WoK. Looks less fragile than pp or similar…

  • wormwoode

    Thanks, TGN. I check in with this site for the “heads-up” on the upcoming products, events and sales going on in the gaming world. It’s a service I greatly appreciate. This particular posting is an excellent example of what I’m here for. Tabletop gaming news. I get the impression that the posts here that are attempting to be critical of TGN’s affiliations and brief foray into a more “journalistic” report are having a bit of a knee-jerk internet typical reaction.

    I don’t have the time or the will to scour every hyper-insular game forum to get the sort of concise information and links I consistently find here. This particular topic is of great interest to me and, again, I am grateful for the information. The legal issues surrounding this game are infamously complicated, and the whole “Spanish Publishing Only” gimmick seemed too transparent a ruse to be viable. I, for one, am glad I was able to get the heads-up here, as trying to parse out the busted English of the kickstarter itself for any hard info was trying, at best.

    Seriously, thanks again.

  • skullking

    This is a really dirty tactic TGN/CMON. When you guys purchased this site, you promised to continue running it as the neutral source for tabletop news which it had been for many years prior. Since then I have seen little things like this blatant mud slinging towards gamezone, and the refusal to post items by mierce miniatures pop up from time to time, and it’s just childish. I realize you make a large amount of money off of kickstarter revenues, but stop trying to sabotage what other kickstarters you can, with the power you wield through this site. If there is a legal conflict revolving around this, or any other property, it is not your responsibility to expose it. Had this not been an successful kickstarter, or a larger company running it (such as reaper), I’m sure this article wouldn’t even exist.

    • KelRiever

      Please, the Mierce Miniatures news was out without TGN, and it was a well known, news worthy issue.

  • It looks more like Moon Designs wants there piece of the pie even though they have done nothing worth mentioning with the rights they have to HQ. at any time Moon Designs could have done a KS for HQ in the US and no issues would have come up. Instead a small company with the ability to do great miniatures and the rights to the game in Spain are being raked over the coals.

    So the bad guys in this whole thing are Moon Designs their greed and shortsightedness to want to get in on the quick buck without doing any work.

    • tuco

      Any work except for legally obtaining the rights to HeroQuest you mean.

    • Cross

      Yup, those moon design guys just want to pay for a trademark in one country, reproduce someone elses game design, without giving them credit, and then distibute it worldwide. All so they can get a quick buck without building their own customer base or even coming up with an original idea, very sad.

      No, hang on!, moon design are the guys who’ve been using that name for years for an rpg system, and still have it on sale! That makes their concern about someone selling into their country using their own Trademark pretty reasonable actually. I must have been thinking of some other company.

      • odinsgrandson

        The odd thing about all of this is that Moon Design’s game isn’t the one we all thought they might be infringing on.

      • Moon Design was, until recently, licensing the trademark to use and that trademark only applied to game books and not board games.

        I have no idea what the new trademark applies to.

  • Henrix

    Here’s the official statement from Moon Design:

    Hello all,

    We want to give some background on the
    dispute surrounding Gamezone’s
    Kickstarter campaign to launch a
    remake of the hybrid board
    game/roleplaying game originally
    published by Milton Bradley called
    “Heroquest”.

    Last week, Moon Design petitioned
    Kickstarter to remove the crowdfunding
    campaign for Gamezone’s “Heroquest”
    game. “Heroquest” is the registered US
    trademark of Moon Design and is the
    name of our “Heroquest” roleplaying
    game and assorted products. To allow a
    game using the same name to be
    promoted in the United States through
    Kickstarter without a license would be
    an unacceptable dilution of our brand
    and create market confusion to our
    detriment.

    The trademark “Heroquest” is
    registered by Francis Greg Stafford
    with the United States Patent and
    Trademark Office (Registration Number
    4082281) for use in game book manuals.
    Moon Design Publications LLC has the
    exclusive license for use of that
    trademark. For some time now we have
    been working on creating a board game
    called “Heroquest” pertaining to the
    mythology of Glorantha and an updated
    version of our Heroquest roleplaying
    game.

    The project by Gamezone, a Spanish
    game company, proposes to remake a
    role-playing/board game originally
    produced by Milton Bradley and Games
    Workshop in 1989. The project calls
    their game “Heroquest” which is
    identical to our registered mark and
    easily confused with it.

    Gamezone initially asked us for use of
    the Heroquest trademark on July 31,
    2013. The next day we asked them if they could provide us with a copy of
    any written agreement with Hasbro to
    produce a 25th Anniversary Edition of
    Hasbro’s board game. Gamezone did not
    provide us with any written
    confirmation (and as of this date
    still has not done so). On August 26,
    2013, we informed Gamezone by email
    that we must decline their request.

    Despite being explicitly refused
    permission to use our trademark,
    Gamezone went ahead and launched this
    Kickstarter. As a New York State
    corporation, Kickstarter is subject to
    US trademark laws and the use of our
    trademark in the campaign was a
    violation of those laws.We told
    Gamezone that they needed to
    immediately get a licensing agreement
    from us (which, among other things,
    would require that they pay us for the
    rights to the name since it would mean
    foregoing our opportunity to release
    our game using our trademark and to
    compensate us for that lost revenue).

    Gamezone did not get back to us within
    the period we set, and rather than
    have this end up in litigation (which
    could also bring in other parties with
    IP at stake), we asked Kickstarter to
    suspend the campaign. We then spoke to
    Gamezone informing them that we had
    certain non-negotiable demands for any
    license agreement, among them a
    statement that Gamezone has explicit
    permission from Hasbro to make this
    game based on their IP. Gamezone has
    assured us that they can get such
    permission, but until we see
    confirmation, we cannot responsibly
    license our trademark to be used in
    this Kickstarter campaign.

    We sympathize with the fans of the
    Milton Bradley game who
    enthusiastically supported this
    project. We strongly support
    Kickstarter and the revitalization of
    old games with a loyal following.
    However, such activities must be done
    with the consent of the trademark
    holder and of any other legal owners
    of the property.

    Regards, Rick Meints Moon Design
    Publications

    And this is a response from Hasbro, when inquired about it (also pinched from BGG):

    Hi *,

    Thank you for contacting Hasbro
    regarding Hero Quest.

    I’m pleased to reply and advise that
    Hero Quest is a Hasbro property.
    Please be assured the link you
    provided will be shared with the
    appropriate department.

    Again, I’d like to thank you for
    taking the time to reach out to us.

    I hope you have a fun day!

    Kind regards, Stephanie

    In short; Hasbro seems unaware of this ‘HeroQuest 25th Anniversary Edition’.

    Moon Design was asked, and then ignored. They told GZ they could not allow it, in particular without seeing an agreement with Hasbro.
    Which means that even their talk about there being no legal problems was false.

    What they have is the right to the name in Spain (where it was not registered before).

    • Well Moon Design has their side of the story and I don’t know that we should take it as gospel 🙂

      I would be interested in seeing the trademark filing that they made since the original only extended to game books and not board games.

      Moon Design mention a board game that they want to do but I am not sure that you can claim a trademark for books and then try to extend that protection to cover a project that you want to do.

      Hasbro seems to be the real issue and it seems as if Moon Design wants to avoid litigation because they don’t want to have Hasbro come into court and claim the trademark themselves or just muddy the water with their claims/prior art

  • Cross

    You can look up the filing online without much trouble. ‘Paper Goods’ is the category of trademark, which seems to cover any paper or cardboard products. So unless a board game has no cards or board…. or box?, its covered. But as someone stated above, TM registration isn’t necessary to protect a trademark.

    Moon Design have volunteered info on this story, GZ have been avoiding questions like champs. Hasbro has even said that they don’t know anything about this version of heroquest when replying to emails. Never had any dealings with Moon, but I know which of the two companies I’d trust.

    • Dahak

      Not totally true.

      Gamezone have given an interview in Spanish since.

      http://www.jugamostodos.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4592&Itemid=47

      Cause if a certain spanish IP lawyer on BGG is to be believed the critical question translates as follows:


      Q: There is no doubt that you have the TM Heroquest to publish games and toys in Spain. That allows you to publish your own games under that name, but, do you have rights or license to copy the original game?
      A: If we have copied the original exactly, let’s say, if we have just made a re-printing of the original, we might have asked for Hasbro’s authorization. This is not what we’re doing, we are doing a commemorative edition. All the art, figures and components are different. This was explained in our KS.

      I’m rather sure there are issues with producing a commemorative version of something without talking to the rights owners.

      • Bewulf

        I’m rather sure there are issues with producing a commemorative version of something without talking to the rights owners.

        Probably less than you think, at least legal ones when games are concerned.
        Game mechanics themselves are not protected by copyright (similar to how recipes are not protected), only the specific wording of the rules and any art work (including figures) are protected.

        So if you were to completely rewrite the rules and redo the art to avoid copyright infringement (which GZ intended to do) and stay clear of any trademark issues (which GZ did not) then there is nothing to legally stop you.

        • Dahak

          Once you’ve completely rewritten the game, and changed the name it isn’t really a commemorative edition any more.

          And that rewrite has to be complete since the phrasing used in the original is copywritten even if the rules mechanism aren’t. It isn’t just a matter of game rules are never copyright since the expression of those rules are subject to copyright.

          A commemorative edition by it’s very nature is derivative of the original product.

          • Bewulf

            Once you’ve completely rewritten the game, and changed the name it isn’t really a commemorative edition any more.

            Debateable. For me a game is mostly defined by its mechanics. If the mechanics all stay exactly the same does it really matter that the rules are worded differently or the name might be different?

            And that rewrite has to be complete since the phrasing used in the original is copywritten even if the rules mechanism aren’t. It isn’t just a matter of game rules are never copyright since the expression of those rules are subject to copyright.

            You might want to reread my post, because that is what I said. 🙂

            A commemorative edition by it’s very nature is derivative of the original product.

            Surely, but not for copyright purposes, where “dervative” means “containing significant copyright-protected parts of an original”.

  • There used to be a time where I loved to come to TGN because I knew the news were fresh, the stories great and very well investigated/correlated. You got the feeling that you got a glimpse of the “behind” of the industry. The discussions were sometimes heated but heavily moderated, so that things rarely went out of hands.
    You did not need to agree all the time with the way Zac enforced his standards, but at least he had some (good ones). There were a lot of active commentators and contributors.

    Now most of the news are days old, there are no interesting features to speak of, apart from some game reviews, and the comments are dominated by the usual 3 muppets who choke any (desire for) serious discussion. Or it gets hijacked by those 2 people with serious personality issues.

    It is somehow sad to see that some commentators are doing the job the OT should have done. (I am still thankful that they do it, although DakkaDakka has more info on the topic).

    • 4tonmantis

      I feel your pain on the change of hands and since I’m a fairly regular poster, I apologize for either being a muppet or having a personality disorder or both.. whichever I fall into.