Kickstarter/etc to buy rights to the game from NECA?

Pirates with Ben – About Pirates CSG Pirates CSG Forums Pirates CSG Kickstarter/etc to buy rights to the game from NECA?

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  • #3526
    Ben
    Keymaster

    Wizkids (owned by NECA) still seems to have the rights to make Pirates CSG.  How stupid would it be for someone like me to start a Kickstarter or other crowdfunding page to pool money in order to buy the rights away from NECA?

    Do you think they would quickly get it shut down?  Would I be up for potential jail time if I was the one behind it?

    I know this is just a silly idea, and I don’t think we would be able to sway NECA at all.  Just hiring a lawyer to talk to them about selling the license to the game (assuming that’s even a thing) could cost multiple thousands.

    Just felt like posting this for once.  Once in a while I get bored posting to IG/Youtube/fleets/etc, and want to suddenly get more serious and force the issue a bit.  I did send a link to the James Ernest podcast to both of their FB accounts, but no real response from either as of now.

    #3527
    Jeremiah
    Participant

    I’ve never used Kickstarter but I don’t know what would be illegal about attempting to buy it from them. I guess the big issue I see would be that it would make you the owner of the license not some other corporation. (not that you personally are the issue just that once the ball is in your court where do we go from there? Would kickstarter also include money to buy the capital necessary to produce more pirates? How does supporting buying the license further help the return of pirates? I know if means we have the potential to make new ones but I think you would want to sell a broader package than just the license purchasing.)

    I would almost see a kickstarter for raising funds to start a new and separate pirates csg company being more likely than just buying the license. That way people who support the Kickstart would/could become shareholders in the new company. Then with the purchase of the license and a small set up for printing you could revive the game and just sell via online purchases or whatnot to people and of course those who helped support the company.

    I’ll give this more thought but this is my initial impression.

    #3529
    Ben
    Keymaster

    I guess the big issue I see would be that it would make you the owner of the license not some other corporation.

    Indeed, I would likely set up some kind of corporation to get past legal loopholes and whatnot.  It is confusing and I’d have to do a lot of research – even if funds were somehow raised to convince them to sell the license, where does it get “placed” legally?

    not that you personally are the issue just that once the ball is in your court where do we go from there?

    I certainly like the idea of making money on Pirates after all I’ve done, but honestly I also like the idea of somehow making it public domain so anyone can make anything and nobody gets sued for it.  XD

    Would kickstarter also include money to buy the capital necessary to produce more pirates?

    That’s where it seems like a community this small would have trouble.  Who knows what NECA would even want for the license to make Pirates CSG stuff – it seems like $10,000+ or in the tens of thousands would be a bare minimum given the prior success of the product and what could be done with it long term.  It would be devastating to somehow raise a huge amount only for them to not fork it over for nearly any amount for whatever reason(s).  I would imagine that producing enough sets/cards to turn a small profit would cost far more than the license.

    How does supporting buying the license further help the return of pirates?

    I mean if the license were in the hands of the community or public domain, myself and/or others certainly would have a Kickstarter by now to make the game again.

    I know if means we have the potential to make new ones but I think you would want to sell a broader package than just the license purchasing.

    Great point, I just wanted to throw the idea out there.  The legal stuff is the first hurdle, I wasn’t thinking much past that because even buying the license would seem to be an enormous sum.

    I would almost see a kickstarter for raising funds to start a new and separate pirates csg company being more likely than just buying the license. That way people who support the Kickstart would/could become shareholders in the new company. Then with the purchase of the license and a small set up for printing you could revive the game and just sell via online purchases or whatnot to people and of course those who helped support the company.

    That makes sense.

    I hate to admit it, but I’m not that hopeful about this, at least not in the short term.  I can hardly get the community to post on forums or answer messages, let alone raise thousands of dollars.  I just want to force the issue a bit and get people’s opinions on what is even remotely possible from a starting point.

    #3530
    Robert
    Participant

    I don’t think the community is big enough. We need to bring in more people. Even if NECA gave you the license for free, the amount of money required to produce a reasonable number of packs would probably be pretty high.

     

    There is however, a lot of people who have nostalgia for this game, and there is not a CSG on the market currently. I feel like the fact that there is no other CSG on the market is the key to bringing this or a similar game back.

    #3531
    Ben
    Keymaster

    There is however, a lot of people who have nostalgia for this game, and there is not a CSG on the market currently. I feel like the fact that there is no other CSG on the market is the key to bringing this or a similar game back.

    I didn’t know that, but I feel like the nostalgia factor would be at least as big a factor as the CSG thing.

    #3532
    Robert
    Participant

    This is entirely anecdotal, but after posting a picture of my pirates collection to my Snapchat story, I received atleast 3-4 messages expresssing nostalgia for the game.

    keep in mind I only have 30~ or so friends and none of the people who messaged me play any sort of tabletop games at present.

     

     

    #3533
    Ben
    Keymaster

    This is entirely anecdotal, but after posting a picture of my pirates collection to my Snapchat story, I received atleast 3-4 messages expresssing nostalgia for the game.

    keep in mind I only have 30~ or so friends and none of the people who messaged me play any sort of tabletop games at present.

    Exactly; that’s great to hear!!  Hopefully you could get them back into the game!  Although in my experience, a lot of people seem to have moved on permanently and don’t like hearing that it’s now out of print.

    #3542
    Mechavelli
    Participant

    I think the idea to create a new Pirates company and have investors be shareholders is a good idea, at least for marketing your pitch to people who might want to donate money to you. It would be an extremely expensive venture, especially considering how Wizkids went under in part because the Pirates packs were so expensive to produce for the value they were sold for.

    You’ll need to have a solid business plan worked out and an airtight case done before you go up to anybody with donation requests, much less the title-holder company. I don’t know if it can be done, but I would look into it if there’s no possibility of a comeback happening and you feel invested enough.

    #3556
    Ben
    Keymaster

    I think the idea to create a new Pirates company and have investors be shareholders is a good idea, at least for marketing your pitch to people who might want to donate money to you. It would be an extremely expensive venture, especially considering how Wizkids went under in part because the Pirates packs were so expensive to produce for the value they were sold for.

    You’ll need to have a solid business plan worked out and an airtight case done before you go up to anybody with donation requests, much less the title-holder company. I don’t know if it can be done, but I would look into it if there’s no possibility of a comeback happening and you feel invested enough.

    Makes a lot of sense, thanks for the feedback.

    #4232
    clm1977
    Participant

    What about a way to DIY ships, I imagine some paper printed out and glued to a nice cardstock could make some nice sturdy ships. In fact cardstock would just not randomly break like the styrene… you could not however store it in a cup of water 😉

    Imagine new “expansions” of the game instead of packs you buy but a picture pack you download and print out. A bit of DIY to build them, and play. The older ships could be the collectible part of the game with perhaps some of the created sold to less handy players?

    If you didn’t have the card stock you could glue/laminate several sheets of poster board together to thicken it up enough.

    I could imagine proxy ships could be made in this fashion as well if you don’t want to punch a rare ship.

     

    Chris

    #4233
    clm1977
    Participant

    I think I will take some cards down to the local print store tomorrow and print out a test ship or two

    Chris

    #4234
    Ed
    Participant

    I can’t wait to hear how it goes I have made several ships now out of 3 differant materials.

    #4235
    Ben
    Keymaster

    Is cardstock sturdy enough?

    Imagine new “expansions” of the game instead of packs you buy but a picture pack you download and print out. A bit of DIY to build them, and play.

    Indeed, Woelf and others have discussed things like that in the past, especially with stickers.

    The older ships could be the collectible part of the game with perhaps some of the created sold to less handy players?

    What do you mean by that last part?

    I have made several ships now out of 3 differant materials.

    Which materials? (sorry if you have already said in a previous thread)

    #4236
    clm1977
    Participant

    Cardstock is plenty sturdy at these sizes with the advantage that it doesn’t just break off a tab immediately.  You need the dense stuff and not the more light cardboard I would assume. A creative person might even be able to modify building styles to take into account of the fact you can bend card stock more.

    As for the collectible statement, there will be little need to trade when you can print and make your own any time you want. The older stuff will hold up the collectible nature of the game as the original styrene will be harder to get and more expensive 🙂

    I wonder what materials Ben has tried myself. I wonder if the durable plastic from something like a sterilite tote with graphics glues on or a decal might take a bit more abuse then styrene.

    But as to the topic of this thread, there would likely not need to buy any rights to come up with a simple fan art diy style that you could make many ships in a afternoon with basic materials.

     

    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by clm1977.
    #4238
    Ben
    Keymaster

    Indeed, the thinner cardstock seems like it would be flimsy and unable to fit together tight enough for ships to stay constructed.

    I wonder what materials Ben has tried myself. I wonder if the durable plastic from something like a sterilite tote with graphics glues on or a decal might take a bit more abuse then styrene.

    I was asking the question to Ed; I haven’t tried building my own ships out of alternate materials.  That kind of plastic would be durable but the scale of the ships would probably change since it’s thick and chunkier.  I’m fine with the durability of the ships so I have no problem with styrene.

    But as to the topic of this thread, there would likely not need to buy any rights to come up with a simple fan art diy style that you could make many ships in a afternoon with basic materials.

    True; it probably gets more problematic when you try to make a profit off of it or announce a community-driven set as “official”.

    #4241
    Mechavelli
    Participant

    A fan version should be easy enough to start, given that imagery and trademarked elements don’t find their way into this version. A 3D printed version could work but would remove the building aspect and would need to be painted and sanded, so buildable cardboard makes the most sense. If you ask for donations instead of selling the cardboard, you might be able to evade some legal trouble.

    #4243
    Ben
    Keymaster

    A fan version should be easy enough to start, given that imagery and trademarked elements don’t find their way into this version.

    Hmmm… this is starting to remind me more and more of the previous attempt at a fan-made set that got bogged down with the legal troubles and actually coming up with funds to make anything.  I think it could be hard for the community to reach a consensus on what to make “official”, though the community has changed a bit over time.

    A 3D printed version could work but would remove the building aspect and would need to be painted and sanded, so buildable cardboard makes the most sense.

    One thing I’ve wondered about is 3D printing that could make cards just like the ones we have, with cuts to make the pieces punchable.  Or, have the printer make each of the pieces of a ship so it can still be constructible.

    If you ask for donations instead of selling the cardboard, you might be able to evade some legal trouble.

    Interesting idea; anyone else have thoughts/knowledge on this?

    #4252
    Ed
    Participant

    I have used cardstock, plastic and cardboard all successfully but I like plastic and cardstock the most. the 5 mast ship in my profile image is cardstock.

    #4254
    Ben
    Keymaster

    I have used cardstock, plastic and cardboard all successfully but I like plastic and cardstock the most. the 5 mast ship in my profile image is cardstock.

    What kind of plastic?  Do you know the thickness of it? (or where you got it from) Do you know the thickness of the cardstock?  Does the cardstock ship fit together better or worse than the Wizkids styrene ships? (in terms of mast/slot looseness)

    #4256
    Ed
    Participant

    I used old gift cards so millimeters thick and I used old business cards for the cardstock it was even thinner. The holes I sliced by razor so it was a really snug fit but if I messed up it was loose.

    #4258
    Ben
    Keymaster

    I used old gift cards so millimeters thick and I used old business cards for the cardstock it was even thinner. The holes I sliced by razor so it was a really snug fit but if I messed up it was loose.

    OK interesting, thank you for the specifics!  Did you cut the gift card plastic with a utility knife or some other blade?  It does make sense to use materials like that, I personally would just prefer a less crude solution if I could use the time to play with my existing ships instead.

    #4259
    Matt
    Participant

    IMO the only way to do this would be to get an agreement/contract with NECA ahead of time to purchase the rights. Only then would you start a KS to raise the funds. If you just randomly started a KS to purchase something you have no idea if they even want to sell, I can’t imagine anyone backing it.

    And for it to succeed (or for me to support it), as others have said, you’d need to have a clear business plan, manufacturing plan, etc. laid out in the KS. And as with any KS, in order to be successful, you don’t just want to randomly start a KS and then try to promote it. You need to figure out how many backers you need ahead of time, and then create a dedicated, enthusiastic community of a size some multiple larger than the number of backers you need (knowing that only a certain percent of your community will actually back).

    So if you’re serious, start at step 1 and see if they’re even interested in selling, and for how much. If they’re not, you’re dooming yourself to wasted energy.

    Or, design a completely different game (well, a pirate ship game, possibly constructible – you’d have to look into the patents) with a different name, rules, etc. but that could still be, in some way, compatible with the original cards. Game mechanics can’t really be trademarked (only actual text and things like symbols can be – see the “tap” terminology and tap symbol from M:TG) so with slight variations you could design your own pirates miniatures game and KS that.

    There are a lot of good game design groups on FB and elsewhere that have troves of lessons about making/publishing a game on KS, if you get to that point.

    #4260
    Ben
    Keymaster

    IMO the only way to do this would be to get an agreement/contract with NECA ahead of time to purchase the rights. Only then would you start a KS to raise the funds. If you just randomly started a KS to purchase something you have no idea if they even want to sell, I can’t imagine anyone backing it.

    So if you’re serious, start at step 1 and see if they’re even interested in selling, and for how much. If they’re not, you’re dooming yourself to wasted energy.

    Makes sense, thanks for the feedback.  I’ve messaged NECA a few times on Facebook in the past and (along with more recent canned responses) got the now-infamous (to me at least) “we don’t have the license to Pirates” response that spawned the wild goose chase in 2017.  I just messaged them again now telling them about the podcast with Mike Selinker and how he would like to work on the game again if it came back and he was asked.

    There are a lot of good game design groups on FB and elsewhere that have troves of lessons about making/publishing a game on KS, if you get to that point.

    Thanks for the tips!  I’d much prefer to simply relaunch Pirates, between having no prior game design experience and not really wanting to just copy Pirates as much as possible while dodging legal stuff.

    #4303
    clm1977
    Participant

    A little finicky and I need to invest in a self healing cutting matt but… cardboard clone

    I am thinking of using a bamboo skewer on a future for the masts one although the mast tabs into it fine. I just think a skewer would look more like a mast and but almost unbreakable 🙂

    The fore deck and upper deck are not cardboard. but the hull and main deck are… and all the slice marks in the top of my beat up desk 🙂

    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by clm1977.
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