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WizKids Sues Wizards of the Coast over Game Patent 104

An anonymous reader writes "WizKids Games (makers of the HeroClix games) is suing Wizards of the Coast (makers of Magic: the Gathering), seeking judgment that their Pirates game does not infringe on a recently granted patent. From the article: '[T]he suit claims that WOTC contacted WizKids via a letter in May 2004 concerning the filing of the patent, and that WOTC asserted that WizKids Pirates game fell squarely within many of the proposed claims of the pending patent application. WOTC warned that when the patent [was] issued, WOTC would have the right to sue WizKids for an injunction and damages. WOTC threatened that it would take legal action against WizKids if or when a patent was allowed if WizKids did not cease and desist selling its Pirates game.' The suit asks the judge to declare that the Pirates game does not infringe and seek to stop Wizards of the Coast from pursuing any legal action. The patent in question is for a 'Constructible Strategy Game,' where players build models from punch-out cards sold in booster packs. The Pirates game seems to fit the patent description perfectly."
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WizKids Sues Wizards of the Coast over Game Patent

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  • Ok, I'm no buff about the games or companies mentioned, or on the patent system, but if the Pirates game was around before the application was submitted, would that not count as prior art and void the chance of a patent? Especially since WOTC sent a letter to WizKids about it...? Just saying is all
    • by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:17AM (#19395197) Homepage Journal
      It wasn't. Wizkids released the Pirate game in July of 2004, [] while WOTC filed their patent application in October 2003. []
      • That's a release date. There's a lot of things that can lead up to that. So it's still possible that in some form or other, the Pirate game existed before the patent, even if it wasn't on the shelves yet.
        • Even if WizKids was working on the idea before it was patented, it wouldn't help them much. If 2 companies independently develop an idea whoever patents it (or gets it to market) first wins. That's just the way patents work in the United States, so the courts won't be swamped with "I invented that in secret!" lawsuits. (In some countries, it's worse: Whoever patents first wins, even if somebody else can prove they invented the idea.)

          At the very least, WizKids would have to show that they (or anybody besi
      • by Khyber ( 864651 )
        FILED patent != GRANTED patent.

        When was the patent actually GRANTED?
        • Actually, the law was changed in 1995 so that the owner of a patent can enforce the patent for 20 years starting from the earliest claimed filing date of the application. The issue date is completely irrelevant.
      • by ubrgeek ( 679399 )
        I don't have Flash installed, so I can't see how the game really works, but would Steve Jackson's old Car Wars (and Ogre and whatever) games count as prior art? As I recall, there were cars and whatnot that were a key component of the game (so much so that you couldn't play without them)...
        • by wmshub ( 25291 )
          The patent covers things that are physically assembled from parts. In Car wars, etc., you could design your playing pieces on paper, but the little counter on the board didn't change when you added a different component, so it wouldn't work as prior art.

          Even though Car Wars doesn't work as prior art, the patent is still a dumb patent. Basically, once you have car wars (or any of a large number of earlier design-your-piece games), you just say "Wouldn't it be cool if instead of just writing down 'add a machi
          • by lgw ( 121541 )
            The claim is somewhat more complex: you can't add the MG to your car unless you have the collectable MG card. This is a different business model entirely from Car Wars: basically it's combining the Car Wars-style design-your-own game mechanic with the CCG "you have to buy dozens of booster packs to get anything useful" business model. I can't think of an older game with this combination (some minatures rules came close, but if the patent is narrow enough to only cover a CCG that would be OK).
            • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
              What I'm thinking of this is "standard tabletops with the figures sold in random boxes". That you assemble them from paper is IMO a detail that doesn't really change much. Imagine e.g. Warhammer* had its miniatures packed in boxes with no clue as to what is inside (think Kinder Surprise) and no stand-in token rule (i.e. you can't just use a coin if you don't have the miniature, AFAIK most tabletops have a rule permitting such tokens). Whether you save money by making those miniatures out of paper or whateve
              • by lgw ( 121541 )
                I think the "novelty" in this case is that you construct the minature from seperately collected parts, but as I understand it that's all the patent covers. The sad thing is they never actually shipped a game with this mechanism, but their still using it to keep anyone else from doing so.

                WotC licensed their patent for CCGs to just about anyone--I'm not sure why they're being so restrictive in this case, maybe it's a Hasbro thing.
            • What about Game Of Life where if you pick the card you add a child or wife to your car. Or Monopoly that once you have the set you can put houses on plots. Or Buckaroo where there are components on the horse?

              Apologies I haven't been to read the relevant materials and am just inferring from the thread.

              • by lgw ( 121541 )
                The patent covers the case where the add-ons are actually punched out from the collected card. Game-mechanic-wise you only get to use the add-ons from the cards you have collected, unlike Life or Monopoly where the add-ons come with the base game and are available to anyone who fufullis the game requriements.
    • True enough but being the figurative 600 pound Gorilla of the gaming industry (or possibly Great White Shark, because of all the random bits in its stomach) WotC can pretty much just run out the clock (or bank) on any other "traditional gaming" company in it's way.
      Yeay Capitalism where might makes right
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kebes ( 861706 )
      Just thinking out loud here... but it seems to me that the patent system seems to forget the "fundamental point", which is that patents are supposed to do some good for society at large. The patent system has (theoretically) requirements about "prior art" and "obviousness." But to me, even this is not enough. Patents should also be judged based on whether they have "value added" (as compared to not giving out the patent).

      In many ways, the original purpose of patents was to prevent trade secrets. So the
    • by k_187 ( 61692 )
      The US is a first to invent system. Therefore, if I come up with something at point x in time and you come up with the same something and obtain the patent at point x+1. My creation is still prior art invalidating your patent. In other words, the time of application has nothing to do with prior art. Also, as another poster as pointed out, WotC's application was before WizKids'.
      • Time of application does factor into this.

        True, the United States has a "first to invent" patent rule, but the government's definition of "invent" is bit tricky. The court precedents say an invention isn't really "invented" until the inventor either files a patent, practices the invention (that is, makes or sells something that uses the invention), or publishes a detailed description of it.

        To oversimplfy that a bit: It's not legally an invention until the public knows about it. Inventing something in secr
  • I remember when WOTC was satisfied to just make good games. Now it seems like all they do is try to keep anyone else from making games.

    And, call me weird, but I seem to recall all sorts of "constructable strategy games" when I was a kid. Most of them required assembly of pieces. There should be scads of prior art...
    • by SQLGuru ( 980662 )
      Mousetrap. You constructed the trap. The strategy was to not get caught. Prior art?

      • Mousetrap. You constructed the trap. The strategy was to not get caught. Prior art?
        Mousetrap didn't have booster sets, did it? That's part of the patent.
        • What about a Meccano set? I had one when I was a kid that belonged to my dad when he was a kid. And we bought more "sets" to add to it. I remember getting a special set to make a clock out of. (It wasn't much of a clock.)
    • Re:Sad (Score:4, Informative)

      by Applekid ( 993327 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:38AM (#19395457)
      I remember when WOTC was satisfied to just make good games. Now it seems like all they do is try to keep anyone else from making games.

      You have Hasbro to thank for that, of which Wizards is a wholly owned subsidiary. While generally considered a big payday for a company and/or salvation from bankruptcy (I don't recall how they were doing financially in 1999, other than the Wizards store nearby was open for like a whole 3 months before closing), it's a little like selling it's soul to the corporate giants.
    • "I remember when WOTC was satisfied to just make good games. Now it seems like all they do is try to keep anyone else from making games"

      Say what now? .. when was WOTC satisfied with just making good games? Oh right.. up until they realized they have a gold mine in MTG.. so we'll call it '95-'96.

      I lost faith in WOTC as a well-mannered company when they released the 15915th expansion for MTG.. at that point it became painfully obvious they were in it for the bucks.. whcih is fine.. it's the goal of a company.
  • Another (Score:3, Interesting)

    by teflaime ( 738532 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:18AM (#19395209)
    bad patent. Big surprise there. There have been games based on punch out models for decades.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by geekoid ( 135745 )
      Bad patent? It is a perfectly good patent. There is nothing wrong with it.
    • This gives me an idea for a game: Patent! Build up a corporation, design products to build up cash. Be the first to patent common knowledge and screw the competition in the ensuing legal battles, forcing them to hand over portions of THEIR cash, or drop products entirely! But be careful, if your patent is too common and ridiculous, you'll lose the legal battle and be forced to hand a portion of YOUR cash to your opponent.

      Comes complete with punch-out models (patent pending).

  • by BillGatesLoveChild ( 1046184 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:24AM (#19395277) Journal
    Too bad WOTC (you may know them as Hasbro) don't choose to focus on their core competency. You know: "making games", instead of these lame ass lawyer tricks.

    "No Sir, It's a $25 fine for reversing over a patent troll in a supermarket car park. Just mail it in. "
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Phanatic1a ( 413374 )
      Too bad WOTC (you may know them as Hasbro) don't choose to focus on their core competency. You know: "making games", instead of these lame ass lawyer tricks.

      TSR's downfall coincided tightly with their choosing to focus on lameass lawyer tricks instead of making games.

      And with publishing ridiculous amounts of totally crap paperback novels.
      • by asninn ( 1071320 )
        No, TSR's downfall started in 1974 when D&D was released for the first time.

        (Boy, is that going to make me unpopular... but it needs to be said. Most of (A)D&D is unimaginative crap; not all of it, certainly, but enough to turn me off.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:33AM (#19395391)
    If you read the comments of the article you'll see someone posted a timeline.I suspect there's a little more involved here than a patent dispute.

    2002 - Wizards designs, but never releases, a game called "Punchbots"

    2002 - Wizards files a patent application on constructible strategy games based on Punchbots

    Fall 2003 - WOTC R&D Design Lead Mike Selinker leaves Wizards of the Coast and begins designign a new game for WizKids

    March 2004 (GTS '04) - WizKids announces it is publishing a revolutionary new Mike Selinker game called "Pirates of the Spanish Main", the first in a "new" category called "constructible strategy games"

    May 2004 - Wizards of the Coast sends a cease & desist letter to WizKids warning them not to publish POTSM

    July 2004 - WizKids publishes POTSM
  • Insane Patents (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Murrdox ( 601048 )
    Why even FILE patents like this? I'm increasingly disgusted that everything creative has to be patented so that someone can make money off of it. Whatever happened to sharing a great idea, and making new and better things with it?

    If I filed a patent for a "Rulebook about roleplaying games. This rulebook would contain all rules necessary to play said game. Additional rulebook supplements would also be referenced" and made sure no one else could make any RPGs besides MINE, what the heck would the RPG m
    • Re:Insane Patents (Score:4, Insightful)

      by geekoid ( 135745 ) <> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:47AM (#19395579) Homepage Journal
      Except rule books do exist, have existed forever. So no, you could not patent that; however, pumch-out contruction pieces decribed in the patent have not. AFAIK. They're certianly simple, but not obvious. I distinction that is often lost on slashdot.

      Actually answer:
      Because it is their idea and they have the privledge to control it until the patent expires.
      All patent cases are more complex then they seem on slashdot, but if they were told about the pending patent, and sent description of the patent, and still violated it, then they get whats coming to them.
      • by WNight ( 23683 ) *
        Punch-out construction pieces have indeed existed well beyond patent lifetimes, as puzzles, mazes, etc. For them to be actual game pieces and come in booster packs. Well, that certainly is patent-worthy...

        The problem is that people ask the wrong question to judge obviousness. We ask "Is Z obvious to you?", but "Given the goal of X and constraint Y, what would you do?" is the question we should ask. If something is obvious enough that anyone skilled in the industry can come up with Z and make it work, what e
        • Barbie doll cutout books. You cut out the doll from the cardboard cover, then cut out the clothes on the inside pages and folded them over the cardboard doll cutouts.
      • by IgLou ( 732042 )
        Oh really? If a set of rules were out on the internet for playing a game with your hockey cards (and we played them back in they day 30 years ago) does that make your hockey cards a collectible card game? Go ahead and argue that there are no rules packaged with the cards but the reality is that the same can be said for a booster pack. The idea was nothing original they're bloody trading cards! Is the game original!? NO! It's just the style of play and the mechanics was original. You can protect your
      • It's kinda funny, actually, since many people accuse WizKids of just being some legal hocus pocus to keep FASA's IP away from their creditors when they folded. Their entire existence is kinda based on the idea of "1) Former employee of another company brings us IP 2) ??? 3) PROFIT!". That's not to say they don't do some interesting things from time to time... But since they axed Mage Knight I've been pretty much finished with the company. This latest bit really doesn't come as any surprise.
    • by Jack9 ( 11421 )
      It's because they have successfully defended their patents regarding CCGs and the concept of "tapping" for years. If you can claim complete ownership of those ideas, you're not afraid to attack anything you can get a patent for. WotC is just another example of how the US patent system is broken.
      • It's because they have successfully defended their patents regarding CCGs and the concept of "tapping" for years.

        They don't own the concept of tapping. Many card games feature rotation of a card by 90 degrees to indicate some effect --- you just can't call it tapping.
    • by kebes ( 861706 )

      I'm increasingly disgusted that everything creative has to be patented so that someone can make money off of it. Whatever happened to sharing a great idea, and making new and better things with it?

      Even that is a false dichotomy. It's not a matter of "patent and make money" versus "release for the good of the world." Rather it should be "patent and make money" or "don't patent and make money" or "release for free for the good of the world" and so on. The current mindset in business is that the only way to

    • by dougmc ( 70836 )

      Why even FILE patents like this?

      I realize that this was a rhetorical question, but I can give you a real answer.

      At the very least, you file for patents like this to make sure that you beat anybody else who files for patents like this. It's called a defensive patent [], and even if you never intend to use it against anybody else, it prevents somebody else from patenting the same thing later and then trying to attack you with it.

      Now, obviously the patent in the story isn't being used defensively, but do be aware that they do exist.

  • quit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by theTrueMikeBrown ( 1109161 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:41AM (#19395509) Homepage
    I remember back when Wizards made engaging games that didn't cost too much. Now-a-days a booster pack of 15 cards cost $5.00. Perhaps this frivolous lawsuit is because the company's sales are declining. If so, they aught to consider lowering prices instead of shenanigans like this. I quit playing because of insanity such as this.
    • Even when the boosters were only about $3 each, they started sticking it to people when they decided to make even more sets a year than they did before.

      For the longest time, the only reason I kept playing at all was because I was winning local tournaments and that was keeping me in new cards. Otherwise, it would have been nearly impossible to compete with people who were literally spending hundreds of dollars a month on cards.
    • by _Hiro_ ( 151911 )
      M:TG boosters are up to $5 for a 15-pack? WTF?

      When I started, the most sought-after expansion (that was still within reason) was The Dark... Out of print and rapidly running out of sealed boxes, they were a premium at $5 per pack! Fallen Empires (Which friends of mine joked were worth more as toilet paper than as actual cards) was everywhere at $0.75 - $1.50 a pack. (I had one guy selling me Fallen Empires at buy-one for $1, get two free.)

      You can't tell me that in 10 years the price of ink and cardboard
      • Fallen Empires caught a lof of flack where I was too, but there were actually quite a few decent cards in it. Several of them were involved in my tournament wins there.

        The storage lands were handy, Hymn to Tourach was great, Goblin Grenade came to be dreaded when I used it, Mindstab Thrull was fun (can you tell I often played discard/deck depletion decks?), Soul Exchange was just plain nasty...

        It was a really under-rated set. The problem is that most people just didn't get how to put together a decent str
        • Fallen empires made some decks seriously sick, but it was specifically targeted to enable the creation of certain kinds of decks -- like the merfolk denial deck. The Seasinger was a punishing card.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by MBGMorden ( 803437 )
        I was in the same boat. Back when I started (I was in high school so we're talking 9-10+ years ago) the latest and greatest expansion was "Homelands". I remember those being around $2.50 per pack, and indeed, Fallen Empires were anywhere from $0.75 to $1.50. I bought LOADS of those cards. Not all of them really sucked too bad. :).

        Problem is, I live(d) in a rural area. There were only 4-5 of us that played, and our parents became convinced that the game was "satanic" and we were all forced to quit playi
        • by _Hiro_ ( 151911 )
          Wow... if "Homelands" was 10 years ago, I quit almost 8 years ago...

          *checks release dates* I started right when 4th Ed came out, pre-Ice Age... So Early Spring of 1995 was when I was getting Fallen Empires at 3 for $1, and Dark at $5 per pack.
    • No need to quit entirely if you have a couple of friends who enjoy playing. I use Magic Suitcase ( to create random booster packs. We then print these out using the 'print proxy' option. You can find the pictures if you search around google a bit.
  • by Dogtanian ( 588974 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @09:45AM (#19395555) Homepage
    ...I always wondered what happened to them after their 80s TV show finished.
  • The embryo WotC were nearly put out of business by (the then relatively huge) Palladium suing them over trademark infringement. I guess WotC (well, Hasbro) have since decided that kicking the shit out of little companies is fun, so long as you're the one wearing the boots
  • I had punch out toy cars and planes when I was 6. How the hell do you patent playing a board game with them? Jesus.
  • WotC could make a CCG similar to Magic: the Gathering out of this: Your cards would be patents and lawyers and politicians and your "life" would be money. The battlefield would be the courts and fights would be lawsuits. Whoever makes the other guy go "broke" first wins. I'm filing a patent right now!
  • by gtmaneki ( 992991 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:32AM (#19397325) Journal
    I'm getting tired of seeing most of the posters on /. assume all patents are like software patents, and therefore an evil that must be eradicated. Because /. is tech-oriented, most of the patent disputes on here are over software patents, but non-software patents can be a totally different story.

    Now slow down and look at the patent, which was linked to in the summary. Yes, there's some legalese, but that's because patents are both technical and legal documents. There are 15 claims, which are the heart of the matter. The claims cover a game using punched-out pieces that are assembled to make models for the game, weapon accessories, and a "random-value generator." The model that is assembled can be a vehicle or robot, and the models use the accessories to inflict damage to each other. Finally, the pieces are distributed in categories of common, uncommon, and rare. This is one of the better-written patents I've read, and it narrowly covers a definite physical invention.

    Earlier posters have mentioned a couple more interesting facts: First, this patent was filed in 2003, while the pirate game was released in 2004. Second, Mike Selinker, the creator of WizKids' pirates game, worked for WotC when they were designing the game mentioned in WotC's US Patent 7,201,374, and later left to work for WizKids.

    I'm not saying that Hasbro/WotC's patent can't be invalid. WizKids may be right. But this patent shouldn't be automatically dismissed.

    • by Jare ( 790431 )

      "it narrowly covers a definite physical invention"

      The physical part has prior art dating decades; the "usage" part is obvious. Yet another stupid "X + Y" patent. And yet another example why patents today PREVENT rather than HELP innovation: WotC decided not to use the concept in a commercial product, and is now trying to stop someone else from doing it. Result if they get their way? You don't have a "constructible punch out blahblah game."
      • Please name for me some games that fit the claims in the patent. This game should fit the following:

        * Competitive play -- your punch-out toy versus my punch-out toy
        * Punch-out toy is vehicle or robot
        * Punch-out toy can be customized with accessories that help it in its battles
        * There is/are some random element(s) -- dice, cards, flip a coin, pop-o-matic bubble, etc.
        * There are definite, codified rules -- not something where we build models on our own and decide to battle them
        * The model kits and/or accesso
        • by Jare ( 790431 )
          I'm saying it is an "X+Y" patent. A trivial combination of existing well-known features or procedures. Whether a game already existed with that combination of features is irrelevant. Make the game, publish it, and sue the copycats for plagiarism. Patents should not be and were never meant to be the place for this kind of dispute.
          • Isn't just about everything obvious in hindsight? Sure, having pitched battles with punch-out toys has been done for a while. Sure, CCGs have been done for a while. But I'm not sure anyone ever came up with a feasible way to combine them until recently.

            The interesting parts here (and probably the ones deemed sufficiently innovative for a patent) come in with having some codified rules, the inclusion of random chance, and the rarity of different accessories.

            I'll be interested to see how this plays out in
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Herkum01 ( 592704 )

          your punch-out toy versus my punch-out toy

          Warhammer 40K plastic models. You were give pieces that could be put together not just for different poses but different weapons.

          Punch-out toy is vehicle or robot
          Punch-out toy can be customized with accessories that help it in its battles

          40K models also had different kits for putting together stuff like dreadnoughts and there were a ton of vehicles too.

          There are definite, codified rules -- not something where we build models on our own and decide to ba

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by gtmaneki ( 992991 )
        And while I'm at it, I should also take you up on the "patents prevent innovation" rant. The way I see it, this patent could be circumvented by doing some of the following:

        * Don't use robots or vehicles
        * Ditch the whole collectible aspect
        * Ditch the random aspect

        For example, I am reading patent literature and come upon this one. I think, "A game from punch-out models! That's a good idea!" To avoid WotC's patent, my game:

        * Is non-collectible. There are no rare or common pieces. You buy a base set, and
        • Another example -- WotC has a patent on collectible card games. That didn't stop everyone and his brother from making CCGs. Was innovation really stifled?

          Let's turn that around. Was innovation really promoted? Or did burdensome patent regulation impose an overall cost on game developers while reducing consumer choice?

          The way I see it, this patent could be circumvented by doing some of the following . . .

          If the minor changes you suggest are sufficient to avoid infringing the patent, then we have a

          • Remember that WotC originally was a small gaming company.

            They developed the CCG, which isn't as simple as just running some card blanks through a printer. And the demand for this radically new kind of game -- based off WotC's idea -- was so great that there were tons of different CCGs. Magic, Pokemon, Battletech, Dr. Who, Monty Python, Babylon 5, Rifts, and Illuminati, to name only a few of scores.

            Did the patent work? In theory, licensing the patent allowed WotC (at that time, a small company, remember)
            • by Raenex ( 947668 )

              Would WotC have put Magic out there without a patent?

              Yes. From Death to the Minotaur []:

              "Wizards first showed off Magic in the summer of 1993 at the Origins game convention in Dallas. [..] It was a disaster. [..] A year later, Wizards hired me. In the months in between, Magic had hit the gaming hobby like an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease [..] Wizards also experienced explosive growth. I joined the company in May 1994, when there were about 50 employees -- already up massively from a year earlier, when only a handful of people worked at the company. By the

    • by WNight ( 23683 ) *
      Physical invention? Snap-together models? What new physical invention is there? New snap edges? Better bracing design?

      Oh, no. Just little cut-outs. The whole real patent is about a business model. Wow, some things are more common than others and they're distributed in booster sets.

      Did these people totally miss baseball cards and the rest of human history where people have done every single thing mentioned therein?

      Note, patents aren't supposed to cover things you just haven't thought of yet, but things that
      • Good question. But patents don't just have to have a new design; it is also allowable to patent an existing design for a new application.

        I see it a lot in chemistry -- A chemical formulation has been used extensively in field A (lots of prior art). I spend time and money to determine that the same formulation is extremely useful in field B, but no one has ever thought of using it there before. I can then apply for a patent using the existing formulation in field B. There's still technical advancement in
    • Until our European Overlords consume us, The United States is still a first to invent rather than first to file country. WizKids is now obligated to either invalidate WotC patent, or show they were first to invent. And under current patent law interpretation by the courts, first to invent may only preclude WotC from actions against them, not invalidate the patent itself as AFAIK WizKids did not similarly file a patent on their take of the invention.

      Side note. TSR fell to WotC because TSR was sued over the
      • Thanks! Good point about first-to-file vs first-to-invent. This is going to be an interesting case.

        Interesting aside about TSR. I thought they went under because they stagnated -- not much of a rules update, and all the supplements and books were just rehashes. Kinda like Magic and all the expansions. :) I wonder how all this fits in with the Palladium vs. WotC lawsuit mentioned earlier? (Does Palladium even publish any non-Rifts books anymore?)
    • by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
      so the patent is not having to glue them together and paint them like warhammer?

      get the corporate dick out of your mouth and think about how stupid everything you wrote really is.
      • Wow -- I'll have to remember this debating tactic. "Sucking corporate dick" sure beats "QED" as punctuation for a logical argument.

        To answer your question (which was a good one, despite the fact you asked it like a jackass): According to the patent, it looks like the difference between Warhammer and the WotC/WizKids games is that Warhammer isn't packaged randomly like CCGs. Go back and read the claims.

        Not to mention that, unlike Warhammer, the WotC and WizKids games don't need a tape measure and a strong b
  • If the area of dispute is the chase card aspect wouldnt the thousands of non-sport card sets for the past 40 years be valid prior art. Many had puzzles on the back that you had to have all of the cards to complete, and several were normally short-printed. I remember a card set I had as a kid that had punch out pieces sort of like paper dolls where you had to build a model of someone...i remember being ticked off that I could never find the one piece I needed to finish it.
  • From the patent's claim [] (the thing that needs review as much as the date of the filing, which has priority to a provisional filed in Oct. 2002):

    1. A method of playing a game by first and second players, the method comprising:
    providing at least first and second toy bases for use by respective first and second players, wherein each toy base comprises multiple components, wherein the multiple components of each toy base are formed as generally-planar pieces, wherein the generally-planar pieces are manually p

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus