September 23rd, 2004
Covenant Communications Inc.
To the people in charge at Covenant Communications -
My name is Kristin Looney, and I run a little game company called Looney Labs. We publish card games and board games, including a fun little card game called "Aquarius." I've enclosed a copy.
Have you ever seen this game before? The person who brought you the design for your game "Search, Ponder, and Play" most certainly has seen it - since your game is a direct copy of our game "Aquarius".
Although your team carefully changed all of our artwork, and rewrote the text of our rules to be the same rules just using different words - the intellectual property that is the design of the game and how it is played is without question the same game as "Aquarius" and should have been credited and paid for.
Maybe you just didn't understand that game design is a critical element of what makes up a good game? And that game design is supposed to be credited and paid for? This is standard procedure in the game publishing industry, as a book publisher, maybe you just didn't realize this? The name of the game designer is often displayed prominently on the packaging as a selling point of the game - for example seeing that a game was designed by Reiner knizia (a famous German game designer) is like seeing that a book was written by Ernest Hemingway. Just because the author of this game (my husband Andrew Looney) is not rich and famous does not mean that it ok to take his game design and use it without payment or credit.
If you had asked Andy if you could license the rights to his game, he probably would have said yes. We have an agreement like this with a large German game company for Andy's hit card game Fluxx which was published for the German market last year. And although you obviously should have asked first, we can easily remedy this bad situation by negotiating that contract now after the fact. I sincerely hope we will hear from you soon with an offer to pay us a back royalty for the first print run you have already been selling, and a promise for a game design credit on the box and rules of future print runs. How big was your first print run? How many copies have you sold so far? I see that it is already for sale in Mormon book stores across the country.
Can you please call us and let us know you are sorry and that you want to do the right thing and license the game design properly from us? I really would rather not have to go and get our lawyer involved with this...