Well, I always knew this was a possibility.
What Pumpkin Studios updated their policy regarding commissions and derivative works. They no longer accept or respond to outside solicitations for licensing. It would’ve been nice to hear about this from something other than a forum post about a form response from an out-of-date e-mail address, but that’s water under the bridge.
So where does that leave SBURB: The Board Game? Allow me to make one thing clear: the board game already exists. I may not have a license to mass produce and distribute it for profit, but that doesn’t mean the project is shutting down. It just means that I have to find… creative alternatives for sharing the game with everyone.
So here’s the options I’m looking at:
- Distribute SBURB: The Board Game as a print-to-play project. This would involve releasing .pdf files containing all 240-ish cards, the 24” x 24” board, and cutouts for all the tokens. Print-to-play is the easiest option for me, but the end user (that’s you guys) is stuck figuring out how to print them all out. The game requires a lot of shuffling and drawing, so the cards should be printed on quality stock. That, plus the requirements for the board mean that printing this sucker in playable condition will either be costly or messy. Plus, that means Kinko’s or HP will likely be pocketing the money for all of this, and that’s not fair to either me or Andrew Hussie, even if it’s technically legal.
- Adapt SBURB: The Board Game into an online video game. I’ve been considering doing this anyway because online friendships are at the core of what Homestuck is about, but since mucking around in code would slow down the project I’ve been focusing on the paper prototypes. There’s already precedent for fan-made Homestuck video games being allowed to exist, so this is probably legally my safest option. However, this would also require me to learn how to code an online multiplayer game (or find someone else who’s willing to do that for me as pro bono work).
- Rebrand the project as Housetrapped or something. I could file off the serial numbers and try to proceed with the board game project as something “inspired by Homestuck” rather than “representative of Homestuck”. I’d have to remove all the branded elements (iconography, terminology, etc.), and that is not a trivial task, but it can be done. This is the option that I’m least comfortable with, since the whole point of undertaking this project was to create the best board game adaptation of Homestuck possible. It would allow me to recoup the costs of development though, plus if I had enough support for that plan, I could also find a way to produce a high-quality copy for everyone to purchase.
- Tote my personal copy of the game around to conventions. I’ll likely be doing this anyway. Bit of an anti-climax if this is all I can do, but whatever works.
What do you guys think? There’s a brand-new comments section on this blog to help me keep track of the discussion - if you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know in there. :)