Monday, 27 January 2014

A game designer's perspective on HERO QUEST 25th Anniversary Edition

Gamezone Miniatures, a Spanish company, are crowdfunding a new edition of the classic Hero Quest boardgame, as related previously. Gamezone have repeatedly said they have the legal rights to do so, and have been in consultation with Hasbro about it.

However, game designer Mike Selinker, a veteran of both Hasbro and Paizo, pours cold water on these claims in an interview with Gaming Trend and a discussion board on Board Game Geeks. In both cases, he points out that Gamezone may indeed have the Spanish trademark for the game, but this does not automatically allow them to re-release the game without Hasbro's permission. The fact that they are doing so, and that Hasbro has not yet stopped them, hints at another possibility: that their Hero Quest game will have substantially different rules to the original game and will merely be using the same name and the same generic fantasy archetypes.

If so, this will be disheartening to the majority of backers, who no doubt committed funds on the basis that this would be a simple remake of the original game, rules and all. Selinker's conclusion is that the end product will be either infringing of Hasbro's copyright (if Hasbro don't stamp on it first) or will be de facto fraudulent (the game they deliver will not be the game backers were expecting), with neither alternative appealing.

It looks like this controversy will run and run, at least for a while.

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