Custom Rule Book



  • My friends and I dislike using 2 books to find a rule when we play A&A 1940 Global, mostly because we never play 1940 Europe or 1940 Pacific alone which is how the rule references were designed. We also want an easy lookup for all the rule clarifications that have been made throughout the FAQ forum, because we sometimes hear “I read it in the FAQ” and someone will challenge by saying “oh ya?… show me where” which becomes a whole other problem.

    So I was thinking about customizing our own rule book, something with more graphics and in depth explainations for select situations. This book would imalgamate both Europe and Pacific into one resource and will be designed with the Global player in mind. Obviously I would need to use most of and more likely all of the writen material in the WOTC rule books that came with the games, and my worry is… could this be considered copy write infringment?

    Like all my customizations, I never ask for money or profit in anyway other than seeing the joy of others using my custom materials. I see this custom rule book idea the same as my custom map where I use existing materials and modify them in a way that enhances our gaming experience, and I than share them with the community for zero in return. Does anyone think I will have copy write trouble, I wish to understand this risk better before undertaking such a massive project?


  • Official Answers

    It’s definitely OK to do it for your own use.  When you start sharing you enter a grey area.  However, since the information is publically available on Wizards’ website, you should be OK as long as you’re not profiting from it.



  • @Krieghund:

    It’s definitely OK to do it for your own use.  When you start sharing you enter a grey area.  However, since the information is publically available on Wizards’ website, you should be OK as long as you’re not profiting from it.

    Thanks for that Krieghund, I might share it and enter a gray area, but I would never profit from it and join the dark side. I don’t take my indesign class until September anyways, and I would never attempt this kind of customization without knowledge of the indesign program. So it’s just a pipe dream at this point in time.



  • You are better of asking the publishers of the game directly and getting written confirmation that they are OK with it.

    Copy pasting the rules in a different format is still copywrite infringement. They might not care because it is freely available to download from their site but they can still chose to be a royal pain.



  • @ShadowHAwk:

    You are better of asking the publishers of the game directly and getting written confirmation that they are OK with it.

    Copy pasting the rules in a different format is still copywrite infringement. They might not care because it is freely available to download from their site but they can still chose to be a royal pain.

    Understood.


  • 2018 2017 2016

    Yeah YG you should ask first.
    I like your idea and would also love to see a total global rulebook.
    BUT, It would become a pain when you accidently put your name under it.
    Even though you didn’t ask for money.

    I wish you the very best for this project!

    AeV



  • @aequitas:

    Yeah YG you should ask first.
    I like your idea and would also love to see a total global rulebook.
    BUT, It would become a pain when you accidently put your name under it.
    Even though you didn’t ask for money.

    I wish you the very best for this project!

    AeV

    Thanks, and I would definitely avoid putting my name anywhere on it. I’m considering separate pages for the clarifications and graphics I add, rather than mixing them together with the original content. As for asking for permission, I think I would rather ask for forgivness… as Krieghund said, I should be ok.



  • @Young:

    @aequitas:

    Yeah YG you should ask first.
    I like your idea and would also love to see a total global rulebook.
    BUT, It would become a pain when you accidently put your name under it.
    Even though you didn’t ask for money.

    I wish you the very best for this project!

    AeV

    Thanks, and I would definitely avoid putting my name anywhere on it. I’m considering separate pages for the clarifications and graphics I add, rather than mixing them together with the original content. As for asking for permission, I think I would rather ask for forgivness… as Krieghund said, I should be ok.

    Are you really going to try your luck with copywright laws in the US? You know people got fined several 1000 dollars for sharing 1 song ( which most likely can be viewed on youtube or will be on the radio ). Just send them an email better to get a straight answer from them iso from their lawfirm.



  • @ShadowHAwk:

    @Young:

    @aequitas:

    Yeah YG you should ask first.
    I like your idea and would also love to see a total global rulebook.
    BUT, It would become a pain when you accidently put your name under it.
    Even though you didn’t ask for money.

    I wish you the very best for this project!

    AeV

    Thanks, and I would definitely avoid putting my name anywhere on it. I’m considering separate pages for the clarifications and graphics I add, rather than mixing them together with the original content. As for asking for permission, I think I would rather ask for forgivness… as Krieghund said, I should be ok.

    Are you really going to try your luck with copywright laws in the US? You know people got fined several 1000 dollars for sharing 1 song ( which most likely can be viewed on youtube or will be on the radio ). Just send them an email better to get a straight answer from them iso from their lawfirm.

    Maybe you’re right.


  • 2017 2016 2015

    Thought you already “Got a Answer” from Krieghound. They’re probably cheering you on so they don’t have to do it.
    GO YG! GO!

    Seriously Dude, there are a lot of smart people on here, unfortuately I’m not one, but if the wizards of the coast come after you for this, I’ll hopefully be the first to donate to your defense fund.

    I like the ask for forgiveness. You know what’s up! 🙂



  • Honestly I think you are being a bit over paranoid. The worst case scenario is probably they send you a scary cease and desist letter, you take it down, and that’s that. Or they send the website a DMCA request, the website takes it down, and that’s that.

    The most likely scenario is that they don’t care at all.

    Probably the best thing you can do to prevent them caring is to avoid using any of their artwork from the rule books. That seems to be where companies get touchy.

    Other than that, just restating all the rules and adding in all the stuff from the FAQ, etc, it is very unlikely that they will care.
    I am not a lawyer, but from my limited understanding of the law, collections of facts are not copyrightable. If you are just stating all of the rules of the game and not ‘stealing’ their custom artwork, you are probably fine.



  • Those are all great points guys, there seems to be a difference of opinion when it comes to this stuff, however, Krieghund did say that I should be ok… and his name is on the rulebook itself. I think my first step will be to create it for my own A&A group (and maybe anyone willing to help pay for my defense 😉), then I will decide later if I will share it or not (after I do some research).

    Cheers.


  • Official Answers

    Let me be clear:

    The view I expressed above is my own personal opinion.  I was in no way speaking for Wizards of the Coast.



  • @Krieghund:

    Let me be clear:

    The view I expressed above is my own personal opinion.  I was in no way speaking for Wizards of the Coast.

    Understood 100%


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    It would probably be inadvisable to create and distribute a composite document that incorporates material copied from an official A&A rulebook because these rulebooks bear a copyright notice.  If you created such a composite document strictly for your own use, then by definition nobody would know that you had done so – but if you were to distribute this composite document to others, this could be problematic from a legal point of view.  The fact that WotC has posted downloadable copies of its A&A rulebooks on the Avalon Hill section of its website may imply that they’re free to distribute their own copyrighted material in any way they want, but this doesn’t imply that you can do the same thing with someone else’s copyrighted material.

    That being said, your idea of blending official A&A rules with your own house rules doesn’t require you to distribute a composite document at all.  Because the A&A rulebooks are available online for free from the Avalon Hill section of the WotC website, you don’t have to reproduce any of this material yourself; all you have to do is to produce a document that breaks your house rules down into sections and to provide a guide which says things like “On page so-and-so of such-and-such a rulebook, replace the section titled “[whatever]” with the following house rule:…”  Users would then be free to use your house rules document alongside the official rulebook, or if they want they could combine the two documents themselves in whatever way they want (either as an electronic file or as a pasted-together composite printout).



  • @CWO:

    It would probably be inadvisable to create and distribute a composite document that incorporates material copied from an official A&A rulebook because these rulebooks bear a copyright notice.�  If you created such a composite document strictly for your own use, then by definition nobody would know that you had done so – but if you were to distribute this composite document to others, this could be problematic from a legal point of view.�  The fact that WotC has posted downloadable copies of its A&A rulebooks on the Avalon Hill section of its website may imply that they’re free to distribute their own copyrighted material in any way they want, but this doesn’t imply that you can do the same thing with someone else’s copyrighted material.

    That being said, your idea of blending official A&A rules with your own house rules doesn’t require you to distribute a composite document at all.�  Because the A&A rulebooks are available online for free from the Avalon Hill section of the WotC website, you don’t have to reproduce any of this material yourself; all you have to do is to produce a document that breaks your house rules down into sections and to provide a guide which says things like "On page so-and-so of such-and-such a rulebook, replace the section titled “[whatever]” with the following house rule:…"�  Users would then be free to use your house rules document alongside the official rulebook, or if they want they could combine the two documents themselves in whatever way they want (either as an electronic file or as a pasted-together composite printout).

    Thanks for that CWO Marc, I really appreciate the break down. The issue is not that I want to merge my house rules with the oob rule book, the problem is that my players are quoting rule clarifications made in the FAQ as official rules that can’t easily be referenced. I understand what you’re suggesting as a solution, but this customization idea is giving me a headache already and I don’t think I’m gonna go forward. One of the major problems I find with axis & allies is that it’s a complexed game that gets presented as a simple one. All you need to do is look at youtube videos of people playing the game all wrong, or rifle through the FAQ pages on this site to see that players are not getting everything they need to know from the rule book. This is not a slam against Krieghund, but rather the way Larry has always wanted A&A to appeal to everyone, as seen by the size and layout of all his rule books. The truth is, A&A 1940 Global demands and deserves a larger rule book explaining not only the universal principles of the game, but how they effect every nation, situation, and unit differently.



  • @Young:

    My friends and I dislike using 2 books to find a rule when we play A&A 1940 Global, mostly because we never play 1940 Europe or 1940 Pacific alone which is how the rule references were designed. We also want an easy lookup for all the rule clarifications that have been made throughout the FAQ forum, because we sometimes hear “I read it in the FAQ” and someone will challenge by saying “oh ya?… show me where” which becomes a whole other problem.

    So I was thinking about customizing our own rule book, something with more graphics and in depth explainations for select situations. This book would imalgamate both Europe and Pacific into one resource and will be designed with the Global player in mind. Obviously I would need to use most of and more likely all of the writen material in the WOTC rule books that came with the games, and my worry is… could this be considered copy write infringment?

    Like all my customizations, I never ask for money or profit in anyway other than seeing the joy of others using my custom materials. I see this custom rule book idea the same as my custom map where I use existing materials and modify them in a way that enhances our gaming experience, and I than share them with the community for zero in return. Does anyone think I will have copy write trouble, I wish to understand this risk better before undertaking such a massive project?

    YG: You already offer a high-Rez digital copy of the game board. That’s just as much of a potential infringement as a rule book.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Young:

    The issue is not that I want to merge my house rules with the oob rule book, the problem is that my players are quoting rule clarifications made in the FAQ as official rules that can’t easily be referenced.

    Ah, I see – I hadn’t grasped correctly what you were planning, but now I understand what you have in mind.  In essence, I think you’re aiming for an expanded rulebook which blends together several elements:

    • Parts of the Europe 1940 and Pacific 1940 rulebooks (downloadable from the Avalon Hill site)
    • Information obtained from the official game FAQs / errata (downloadable from the Avalon Hill site)
    • Possibly also interpretational information obtained from other sources (such as Krieghund’s posts on this forum)

    The basic situation is still, I think, the one I mentioned in my earlier post.  If you were to put together this expanded rulebook by pasting together these various documents (either physically electronically or in the form of printouts) strictly for your own use, in principle nobody would know about it.  On the other hand, distributing copies to others (either printed or electronic) sounds legally problematic and inadvisable.



  • I’ve decided to make my custom rule book for my gaming group exclusively, so I won’t be sharing it when I’m done. Thanks to everyone for their input.


  • '13

    I don’t want to get into a legal debate and I am not an attorney, but I do have experience in this area related to the legalities of intellectual property. YG, what you propose to do in creating a single document containing rules and other supplementary information for distribution is not infringement of any copyright because of a principle called “fair use”. Most people don’t realize that no copyrighted work is protected just because it is copyrighted.

    Basically, fair use allows a copyrighted work to be copied in whole or part as long as it is creatively enhanced with original material, or “transformed”.  By creating a single document, a bible of G40 if you will, including house rules and other info like Cow’s playbooks, you are transforming the original rules into a new work that you can copyright yourself. The four criteria that govern fair use are listed below along with how your document can meet them (i.e. is not infringement under fair use):

    • purpose: don’t profit by exploiting the copyrighted material

    • nature: the work you are copying is factual (less protected)

    • amount copied: copying all the rules is “reasonable and necessary in light of its intended use” but only copy what you need and not stuff like the cover page or any artwork or formatting

    • market: current rules are free so no financial impact to copyright owner

    Of course, you have to acknowledge the original copyright. Other than that, I see no reason why you cannot freely distribute the document you described. Would it hurt to ask for permission? No. Is it required to avoid legal entanglements? NO.

    I had taken a looong break from G40 since I’m working on my PhD (Computer Science). This summer, I’m doing research so can schedule my time any way I want. I have time to play a few games with my group so went looking for the latest rules. Like you, I was frustrated by not being able to get all the latest info on the game in one document! I urge you to reconsider and publish your document once it is done. I would be glad to help out in any way I can.

    cb4


  • '13

    Speaking of frustration :x  YG, you had a link to a youtube video describing your house rules and new turn structure which I now can’t find! Can you please repost the link here?

    Thx,
    cb4



  • @cb4:

    I don’t want to get into a legal debate and I am not an attorney, but I do have experience in this area related to the legalities of intellectual property. YG, what you propose to do in creating a single document containing rules and other supplementary information for distribution is not infringement of any copyright because of a principle called “fair use”. Most people don’t realize that no copyrighted work is protected just because it is copyrighted.

    Basically, fair use allows a copyrighted work to be copied in whole or part as long as it is creatively enhanced with original material, or “transformed”.  By creating a single document, a bible of G40 if you will, including house rules and other info like Cow’s playbooks, you are transforming the original rules into a new work that you can copyright yourself. The four criteria that govern fair use are listed below along with how your document can meet them (i.e. is not infringement under fair use):

    • purpose: don’t profit by exploiting the copyrighted material

    • nature: the work you are copying is factual (less protected)

    • amount copied: copying all the rules is “reasonable and necessary in light of its intended use” but only copy what you need and not stuff like the cover page or any artwork or formatting

    • market: current rules are free so no financial impact to copyright owner

    Of course, you have to acknowledge the original copyright. Other than that, I see no reason why you cannot freely distribute the document you described. Would it hurt to ask for permission? No. Is it required to avoid legal entanglements? NO.

    I had taken a looong break from G40 since I’m working on my PhD (Computer Science). This summer, I’m doing research so can schedule my time any way I want. I have time to play a few games with my group so went looking for the latest rules. Like you, I was frustrated by not being able to get all the latest info on the game in one document! I urge you to reconsider and publish your document once it is done. I would be glad to help out in any way I can.

    cb4

    CB4,

    Thank you very much for your words of encouragement, after reading your post I researched a little about what you said… and it looks like I might be able to do this.

    • If I 100% proceed NOT FOR PROFIT (absolutely no problem at all).
    • If I cite all copyright material (easy pleaseee).
    • If the purpose is educational (I found out this helps)
    • If I ask those who download it to sign an affidavit saying that they own copies of 1940 (learned that from A&A.org member Ithaut).
    • and if they also sign something saying that they will not profit.

    Obviously, I only skimmed the web, but what I found out about “fair use”, and “shared use” has really encouraged me to move forward with customizing a “Global Bible” as you put it, and share it with my fellow A&A enthusiasts. I feel now that there is nothing to fear because my intentions are genuine and I know now that there are copyright areas that allow genuine people like myself who wish to modify materials provided on the web and share them without financial gain.

    My only fear now is producing something viable and worthy… but I’m gonna try.



  • …oh, and here’s that vid you asked for (but maybe you were looking for a different one? let me know).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nwre-atUsK4


  • '13

    Really glad to hear it, YG 😄  My offer to help still stands.

    And, yes, that was the video.

    cb4


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Young:

    Thank you very much for your words of encouragement, after reading your post I researched a little about what you said… and it looks like I might be able to do this.

    Internet forums are not necessarily the best place to get legal advice, especially when that advice starts with a phrase along the lines of “I’m not a lawyer, but….”

    I’m not a lawyer either – so what I’m about to say has no legal standing – but it’s always been my understanding that the concept of “fair use” refers to to a situation where you’re duplicating copyrighted material for your own personal use, not for redistribution to third parties.

    Have you considered consulting a real lawyer about your project?  Preferably one with expertise in intellectual property rights?


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