The Games Journal | A Magazine About Boardgames

Letters - July, 2002

Mark Thompson: Although I'm enjoying Ron Hale-Evans's series on game systems, the latest installment was flawed by his gratuitous slam at Kadon Enterprises:

Kadon is a company with high ideals, even if the ideals are somewhat self-contradictory. For example, the Flying Colors rulebook states that the author, Stephan Sniderman, hopes his games will help people become "more humane,  more thoughtful, less violent, less greedy" (emphasis mine). To that end, I  challenge him to upload his rules to the Web in such a way that they are not only free as in free beer (gratis) but free as in free speech (libre), for example, by placing them under the GNU Free Documentation License. As will become apparent, doing so would be a service to the gaming community, and, if Sniderman is correct, to the whole world. (To those who would claim that I myself am being greedy, I can only say I forked over the 50 dead presidents for my own copyrighted copy. I'd just like to see Kadon live its ideals.)

Oh, come on! If someone devotes his time and effort to manufacturing a game, it's not greed for him to use such protection as copyrights can give him (which isn't much) to try to earn enough to keep the project going—or even to earn a living. Is Ron Hale-Evans under the impression that Kate Jones et al. are getting filthy rich selling high-quality abstract games? They aren't, although I think they deserve to.

Kadon is starting to produce less-expensive versions of some of their products, but I hope and trust they will not put themselves out of business by declaring all their copyrighted games to be public domain. That would hardly be "a service to the gaming community;" Kadon's business as usual is "a service to the gaming community."

Andrew Swan: Thanks for a great article on going first in "Euro" games. Much enjoyed.

However, you omitted one of the funniest mechanisms of all - in Family Business, the person who goes first (a distinct disadvantage) is the one who asks, "So, who goes first?".... much silent tension at the start of the game as everyone waits for a newbie
to fall into the inevitable trap...

Chris Sjoholm: In Neolithibum, the "dirtiest" player goes first.

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