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Re: Re: (TFT) Appropriate use of copyrighted material

Jean McGuire writes, in part:

  Writing a computer game based on TFT -- probably a Bad 
  Thing.... Since there are many other, and better, ways 
  to handle character stats and actions in a computer game, 
  there's no defense at all for that one.

You may be under a misapprehension as to how sophisticated the handling of
such things is in computer games.

Take Diablo, for example, which is pretty much state of the art as far as
computer fantasy combat games are concerned.  Diablo uses hit points a la D&D,
and even uses a square grid for movement - both more primitive than TFT
attribute and movement handling.

The 'strengths' of computer games lie not in complex rules, but in the
presentation.  Most people don't notice the simplistic underlying rules of
Diablo because the interface and graphics are so snazzy.

Sure, computers can do more accurate simulation than board games.  But I know
from personal experience that more accurate simulation turns off more buyers
than it turns on.

  Remember that part from the Copyright Office about game 
  rules explicitly NOT being covered by copyright
  -- only the actual text that describes them....

  The really hairy part comes in when you start mentioning 
  TFT itself, which absolutely does get into the hairy 
  trademark stuff.

Trademark protection is really where you'd have a problem with unauthorized
computer versions of board games.

Unlike copyrights and patents, though, trademarks can pass into the public
domain if not used and defended.  And there, TFT is an interesting case.  It's
been out of print for years; Howard Thompson doesn't seem to have been
defending it at all.

Any of the legal eagles out there like to comment on how strong TFT's
trademark protection probably is at this point?

Warren Dew
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