I suppose this particular Kickstarter had it coming. The Heroquest 25th Anniversary Kickstarterhas been suspended due to an IP dispute. The Kickstarter-project-page just shows a blank.
Heroquest 25th Anniversary is the subject of an intellectual property dispute and is currently unavailable.
#1 – Heroquest IP troubles
A lot of people had high hopes for this Kickstarter, and it certainly hit all the right nostalgia buttons, making some 300.000 Canadian Dollars on the first day alone.
However,when the Kickstarter went live, the FAQ included an odd statement that the company behind the relaunch – Gamezone Miniatures – held the rights for the Heroquest brand only in Spain. An odd proposition at the best of times. It is now at least being disputed.
Whether Games Workshop or Hasbro (now the owners of Milton Bradly Company, or MB Games) fired the shots isn’t really clear (to me at least). A company called Moon Design apparently did!
Moon Design Acquires Glorantha Rights
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN – The legendary game world of Glorantha has been transferred to Moon Design Publications. This world has spawned outstanding games for 40 years and is one of the best-known and best-loved places for games and gamers. The roleplaying games of RuneQuest, with over 50 outstanding supplements, and HeroQuest, as well as boardgames and a computer game, have entertained and challenged gamers for a generation. As of August 12th, 2013 Greg Stafford has transferred ownership, creative control and all related intellectual properties to Moon Design Publications.
#2 – Thoughts
To me, there has rarely been a more obvious example on the power of brand-names in miniature wargaming. There is (I believe) no way in hell an “unbranded” dungeon-crawling miniatures game, no matter how good, would’ve made 300.000 Dollars on day one as Heroquest did.
The nostalgia-pull, obviously, was very powerful.
On the other hand, the fragile construct was clearly easy to shoot down, even if Gameszone were to come out on top in the end. The brand/company, at least in this combination, is arguably tarnished from this point forward.
Did Gamezone deserve to have their Heroquest Kickstarter shot down (as far as “suspended” will likely mean it’s over)?
Leave a comment and let me know what you think!
Official GameZone Miniatures Update:
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
Official Update from Moon Design
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.
We want to comunicate our decision of stoping the campaign were you had pledged: ‘Heroquest 25th Anniversary’
The urge to publish the project by the authors today sunday 8 at 1 am has precipitated it’s publication without being able, the team of verkami, to spend the right time to review the project.
After carefully studying the campaign, we believe that the content of the project could be misleading to our users.
Your pledges will be cancelled so no charges will be made in your card or PayPal account.
We thank you for your trust, and we want to apologize for any inconvenience our handling of the project might have caused.