Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fantasy Flight Games and Stronghold Games Announce Resolution to the "Merchant of Venus" Board Game Publishing

There's been a resolution to the dispute over who has the rights to reprint the classic game Merchant of Venus (first reported back in October). From the press release issued by Stronghold Games:
Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) and Stronghold Games (SG) are pleased to have reached a favorable resolution regarding the publishing of a new edition of the classic "Merchant of Venus" board game.

In the Fall of 2011, both SG and FFG announced separate plans to re-publish the classic "Merchant of Venus" board game. Today, FFG and SG jointly announce that FFG will proceed to publish its new edition of "Merchant of Venus," while SG's version of the game will be cancelled. SG will act as a consultant on FFG's version of the game, bringing some of SG's creative vision to the final release.

"This was a difficult and confusing situation," said Christian T. Petersen, CEO of Fantasy Flight Games. "All parties involved clearly had the best intentions in mind for the game, and none sought to cause damage to the other company. After a period of discussion and discovery, I'm thrilled that all parties now have clarity on the situation. I want to express my gratitude to WOTC for their assistance in this matter, and especially to Stephen Buonocore, the President of Stronghold Games, who has been both professional and practical in untangling this issue."

"While this was an unfortunate situation for all parties, everyone is a winner in the end," said Stephen M. Buonocore, President of Stronghold Games. "Fantasy Flight Games and Stronghold Games have forged a great bond that will last long after this event. In the face of crisis, Christian Petersen was a true leader who worked tirelessly to resolve the matter, and I am very thankful to him for that. The WOTC team was also instrumental in getting this done smoothly, and they too should be lauded. And above all, gamers worldwide are the biggest winners, since they will have this great game back in print, published by a great company, Fantasy Flight Games."

FFG is planning to release its new version of "Merchant of Venus" in Fall 2012. The new edition will feature both the classic game design by Richard Hamblen, as well as an updated game inspired by the original, designed by FFG's Rob Kouba. Stronghold Games is in discussion with Richard Hamblen with regard to other game designs, both old and new ones, which they hope to publish in 2013.
I'm pleased that there has been a resolution to the dispute, although it does seem to me that FFG pretty much "won" (although SG did get "consultation rights" as a consolation prize, but who knows just what that will entail).

(Full disclosure: I've been friends with Stephen Buonocore, one of the managing directors of Stronghold Games, for many years, but I have no special knowledge of how this issue was resolved.)

3 comments:

shortymonster said...

As a big old Fantasy flight fan, I'm looking forward to seeing what they do here. They're consistently strong in what they do, and I always look forward to spending far too long punching out and sorting the myriad components.

No really, I do enjoy that.

I may need help.

Spawn of Endra said...

So does this mean that WoTC is considered to have legitimate control of the licensing rights to the original game, and not Mr. Hamblen?

Joseph Bloch said...

I believe that's correct, Endra. Certainly that's the implication of the decision.