Monday, March 7, 2011

There's no coroner to pronounce it, but it seems to me Up Front is well and truly "dead>"

This update from MMP seems to make it certain that there will never be a reprint of Up Front.

I don't know what the legal issues are about the ownership of the game that are causing the problem and it doesn't seem that we'll ever find out because those that know will not or cannot talk about it. But it seems clear that whatever they are, they are intractable, and therefore I see little prospect that they'll ever be solved. It seems unlikely that it involves someone saying "no" and most instead I suspect that they just can't figure out who can say "yes."

Given that MMP apparently sunk considerable resources into the project the fact that they're calling it off now is a major blow. It truly is a pity, because Up Front is a fine game and ground-breaking one. Being a card game means that it's especially subject to wear and tear. I'm glad I bought an extra set of cards back when Avalon Hill was still around because I was concerned about that.

Avalon Hill was a small company and there were a number of instances over the years when they got into some legal disputes over game rights and they never seemed to come out on the winning end even when they seemed to be in the right. I can't help but wonder if they simply couldn't afford the kind of legal help they needed. Intellectual property law is notoriously complicated and I think that Hasbro probably inherited a mess when they bough AH. They've seemed more than willing to license wargames to MMP and let the rights to other games revert to designers in other cases as is demonstrated by the fairly long list of former AH games that have reappeared elsewhere. I don't think Up Front is some especially valuable property from the standpoint of Hasbro. so it's probable that the rights in question are simply too scrambled to untangle.

1 comment:

  1. Indeed, this is very disappointing