News Collider: Heroquest Cancelled Due to IP Dispute

board game news heroquest IP dispute 
Update 3: The curtain has finally fallen on the Heroquest 25th Anniversary Kickstarter. When we originally reported the news I used the word cancelled, instead of suspended as was factually correct. Now in a statement to it's backers and publicly on their website, Gamezone have informed the world that they will be cancelling the project.

But this isn't the end. Gamezone never stopped working on the development of the project and are planning to restart a crowd funding campaign on an, as yet unknown, platform. When the latest project goes live any news will be posted on

Update 2:  Gamezone have hit back with an open statement showing that they do have the rights to the Heroquest name in Spain.

In addition, Gamezone have made public Moon Design's demands:

"Moon Design are asking for two things: An official letter from Hasbro in which it states that they, Hasbro, will neither act against our HQ25th nor Moon Design P. They, Moon Design P., have also demanded a considerable sum and percentages from the Kickstarter project."
At the moment this is turning into a copyright minefield and both sides are basically calling in Hasbro to decide the outcome. Gamezone have suggested moving the project to a European crowd funding platform but know they won't raise as much funds as the project would on Kickstarter.

Update: Rick Meints has taken to and given a thorough statement of Moon Design's position on the dispute and the history of proceedings. Not only does this statement add more gravitas to what we already know but it has brought out a couple of extra bits of information that is making this story all the more interesting. First off is that Moon design where working on their own dungeon crawling board game called Heroquest:
For some time now we have been working on creating a board game called “Heroquest” pertaining to the mythology of Glorantha
Secondly Moon Design and Gamezone had been in discussions about the use of the trademark way back in July of this year (the first the rest of the world heard about this was September). One of Moon Design's requests was to see proof that Gamezone did in fact have the use of the 'Heroquest' trademark in Spain:
we asked them if they could provide us with a copy of any written agreement with Hasbro to produce a 25th Anniversary Edition of Hasbro’s board game. Gamezone did not provide us with any written confirmation
Its all more interesting information that adds to the story but some things are still not clear. Do Gamezone own any rights at all to the 'Heroquest' name or is Spanish copyright law such that they don't need to at this point?

Original Story: The Heroquest Kickstarter started very strong. Gamezone miniatures from Spain where looking to bring back a special 25th anniversary edition of the favourite game from many of our childhoods. Fans of the game had already pledged over half a million Canadian Dollars when the, some would say, inevitable happened; the project has been shut down due to an intellectual property dispute.

Of course the internet immediately blamed Games Workshop, seeing as they have a bit of a track record of making spurious copyright infringement claims and are notorious for defending their trademarks. But the cease and desist order to take down the Heroquest Kickstarter didn’t come from Games Workshop or Hasbro (who took over the rights from Milton Bradley). No the claim came from Moon Design, creators of the role playing game HeroQuest.

board game news heroquest IP dispute
If you try and access the project this is what will meet you.

Gamezone Miniatures made an announcement stating:

“Moon Design believes that their interests in the HEROQUEST brand within the USA will be infringed upon.  Although we are not distributing or selling our product in US territory. As a precaution Moon Design presented a C/D on the 27th of Nov. Our talks are coming to a point where the negotiation will benefit all those involved, which finally would let us offer our product in stores in the USA sometime next year.”
Rick Meints from Moon Design, went to Google+ to explain their situation.
“ We at Moon Design, the current holders of the US Trademark for Heroquest, are aware of the Kickstarter and are in discussions with the owners of Gamezone about their project.”

It would appear that the name Heroquest is owned by different people depending on the location. Gamezone acquired the rights to the name in Spain in order to start the project. Hasbro currently own the name in the United Kingdom and Moon Design claim they have ownership of the name in the USA. The issue in Moon Design’s eyes is that they own the US rights and Kickstarter is a US platform so therefore there is an IP infringement.

heroquest rpg cover
And this is what its all about.

So what does the all mean for the 25th anniversary edition of the Heroquest board game? There is no denying that the property is a big draw; the Kickstarter reached its funding goal on the first day and after only four days had raised over $540,000. Kicktraq was predicting a final value of over $4 million, which would have made it the biggest tabletop Kickstarter ever and put it in the top 5 biggest project in Kickstarter’s history.

heroquest kicktraq
Kicktraq's predictions, that's a lot of money!

We’re not lawyers over here at Polyhedron Collider so we can’t judge on the validity of Moon Design’s claim but let us assume that Moon Design’s claim is legitimate. This means future all depends on if Gamezone and Moon Design can come to an agreement. If a deal can be struck then the project can be re-instated, if  not then the project will be cancelled and Gamzeone will either have to find another platform to raise the funds or simply sell the game in Spain as the original news suggested.

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  1. Brief point, as a fan of Glorantha, the setting owned now by Moon Design, where "Heroquesting" is a core concept, I am absolutely certain whatever board game was designed, it wouldn't be a Dungeon Crawl. "Heroquesting" in the setting refers to travelling into the realms of Myth and Legend to interact with the gods in their stories, in order to get some advantage or benefit back in the real world. Dungeon Crawling, that ain't! :-)

    1. Thanks Psychman, that looks like a really good concept from a board game.
      I'm not very familiar with Glorantha what with not playing many RPGs at the moment and presumably The Glorantha Heroquest game isn't available to buy in the UK because of copyright

    2. The Gloranthan heroquest boardgame does not yet exist, it is a planned product by Moon Design, apparently in development. What Moon Design do have is a Roleplaying game, also called HeroQuest, which has been in existence for the last 10 years, since they acquired/reacquired the Trademark "HeroQuest" from Milton Bradley Games. The RPG is still available in the UK and around the world, including supplements detailing how to play it in the setting of Glorantha. They hold all necessary copyrights to this material, either directly, or since the transfer of Creative Control from its creator Greg Stafford, in August. This material is of course, completely unconnected to the board game designed by Richard Baker and released by Milton Bradley and Games Workshop.

    3. You're right Psychman, it appears that the HeroQuest RPG is widely available over here. It looks like the creators did their homework, which increasingly is looking like something Gamezone haven't done.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. You make a decent point Ben, with only 4 points of data you can't really trust what Kicktraq is predicting and that $4.5m is going to be nothing more than an estimate. Either way Gamezone where on their way to raising a lot of money.

  3. GZ has launched this project again!

    1. Well the problems don't appear to have turned too many people away as its already 145% funded. So who is going to fund it? Basic level is around £54 + postage and is a bit too much for a curiosity pledge for me.