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Made in us
Nasty Nob


Just tossing this out here because I know a number of us have similar miniature games in development.

Would there be any business advantage in a kind of cross game open license agreement for all these smaller games? For example, there's well over a dozen games that qualify as scifi 28-32mm skirmish games out there without even counting the biggest and most popular ones.

Such a deal might include the ability to stat up other miniature lines for your game, and vice versa, being able to use logos and such for cross promotion, within limits. CB with Infinity have a system where people can license their IP to an extent.

Individually, there's absolutely no way to compete with the biggest games, so would banding together in this way outweigh the downsides of losing some identity? There is already generic scifi rules, but part of the reason why you make your own is to tailor the game to the setting in a more concrete way.

Is this at all feasible?

Made in gr
Thermo-Optical Spekter


There is no real value in cross game licencing agreements, there is value in cross promotion like KDM does with other creators and there is value to licence your IP to others for making products for your IP you are not going to make yourself like what CB does with terrain and markers, in all you must strive to keep complete ownership and control of your IP.

Generic game rules are logical because the rules are not covered by IP and there is no point in protecting them.

In general you make your money from your IP and you must really protect it well.
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut

SoCal, USA!

Nobody would do this. Generic rules don't need licensing. Licensors would want the "best" stats. It's a disaster in the making.

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Made in us
Nasty Nob


While all here have valid points, I don't think it's the last word on this.

Instead, I do see companies partnering up with very specific deals that protect themselves and their IP, instead of a wider/open group. More of a joint game development between two smaller companies of equal size looking to get a large piece of the market.

One thing designers have to face is that the market is small, filled with competition, and this fracturing helps no one.

Generic rules can work, but also can lose things in their generic nature. Miniature sales still drive profits for most.

There's a narrow opportunity to benefit from this though, but it'd take work.

Made in gr
Thermo-Optical Spekter


(Almost) anything can work if you put enouph effort to it, the question is if it worth it.

Game rules are not covered by copyright and cannot be trademarked, so co development is mostly a cost cutting, time saving measure, though I find it difficult to see two games of the same scale and scope share the exact same set of rules.

Yes, a generic set of rules can be developed and adapted to more specific IPs ala D20 (though I never observed how that really worked) but most of the work will be done to adapt a generic set of rules to work with your IP making development of a generic set of rules not that great investment.

I have to point out that D20 worked while the myriad of generic wargame rules did not is because, first and foremost D20 system was well known, established and worked ok, and second and equally important, whatever adaption D20 was made for it had the same scope, something wargame rules do not have even on the same "category" of scale.

Co developing an IP on the other hand is extremely risky, too many cocks in one kitchen is one risk, wanting to shove in models that a company has is another risk, that will make the IP wide and unfocused, but the biggest risk is companies splitting up and who has what? and it is a really good risk.

Though pooling IP resources from several companies in assets and models in one universe and selling it sounds tempting and a good idea, it has several layers of problems.

The bast way to do it is to acquire the companies and make them work for you but defeats the purpose of "co development", the coordination the companies need to go to co develop an IP is tremendous, it needs to have the same scale, same sculpting quality, same sales plan, same direction and a really well done contract to handle fallouts.

Now one could develop a rule system with IP to use another companies figures especially if that company does not have an IP for their models (generic models or models to be used for another companies IP) but this has several issues of its own and models usage may or may not fall in IP and trademark laws, I have not really researched it.
Made in us
Infiltrating Prowler

Portland, OR

There can be benefits, it is just a matter of making it beneficial to each group. I'm not entirely sure it would be called a "cross game license agreement", probably more of a partnership but that is semantics.

In reality, people do this all the time, at least in terms of 'appropriating' other miniatures to use with an existing rule system. This happens when we proxy. It also happens as a way to build and focus on areas, giving access to a larger base. For example, people take Gloomhaven which has heroes miniatures but not monsters, people have already started to swap out tokens for 'other game miniatures'.

In terms of one company focusing on rules, another focusing on miniatures, it can be a win/win. One can make general rules or even rules that focus on utilizing X Miniatures. The issue though becomes if X Miniatures goes out of business, or decides they want to make their own game now... would they consider the other a hindrance.

One area it could be beneficial is allowing access to a larger field of miniatures, than a normal smaller or beginner company could. For example let's say Company A has scifi game with 6 factions, they've only been working on 2 actively. Company B doesn't have rules, but has miniatures that could fit in scale, look and work as sort of proxy.

There are other ways to do it, that was just the only example that came to mind.
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut

The game rules can't be copyrighted, but the brand name is sure IP that you can claim. If your rules are a recognizable IP then there's value in licensing the rules because it allows an unknown company to say "part of the OpenWargaming Systemâ„¢" and claim some of the brand recognition of your IP. It's like how WOTC used the D20 license. Why publish under the license even though you could make your own game with very similar rules? Because saying "part of the D20 system" on the cover of your book tells potential customers that it's essentially the same system as the D&D rules they're already familiar with and makes them more likely to be interested. But if you don't work under the license you can't borrow that brand recognition without getting sued for trademark infringement.

The problem with this in the context of the OP is that you have to be successful and well known before you can make a license. A new company like the OP is speculating about has zero brand recognition and there's zero incentive to buy into the license system. If you want to do something like this you first have to establish yourself and gain some critical mass behind your effort, something that is very difficult to do in an oversaturated market like the current wargame industry.

There is no such thing as a hobby without politics. "Leave politics at the door" is itself a political statement, an endorsement of the status quo and an attempt to silence dissenting voices. 
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