This question What is the duration of copyright on a board game map? is marked as off-topic.

Also has this one How long does the copyright for a game last, after it is out of print?

Also this question What aspects of a game are not protected under copyright? has received comments suggesting it's off-topic.

My question

Why are those supposed to be "off-topic" if here in the help center it states that "designing board games" is on-topic?

It specifically says Board and Card Games [...] is for expert Q&A from people who like [...] designing board games [...].

IMHO, protection of the design is inherently part the design process itself; as while in the process of design, depending on the protection you may get, you may decide to set the implementations of your ideas in some or some other way.

My point of view of why this would enlarge the community

During the last 2 years I've designing a board game, and I'm focusing a lot on creation of the rules as well as thinking of implementation details.

But in the process of "design", I may choose to implement some ideas in ways A, B or C. I think this community about "board games" mainly focuses on "rules of board games" and that's great. But IMHO it should not be only "as an amateur" that we can participate here, but also if we "want to be pros" or if there are "already pros" around, the same way StackOverflow is not only for "free coding" but also "coders that do that professionally".

As a board-game player I love this site.

BUT as a board-game creator I would also have this "boardgames" site as my "main entry point to the domain of knwledge about board-games" the same way "stackoverflow" is for the domain of programming or "superuser" is for the system administrators.

Wouldn't this tarnish this community?

I don't think so. StackOverflow is enourmously big. There, it is only allowed to talk about programming. But the fact that there are questions about "Java" does not affect a coder that is exclusively interested in "PHP".

And that is great! That's why tags are so powerful. They can leave alltogether without either conflicing by the "mere" existence of the other. Does a PHP programmer mind that questions about java exist? No. The only thing he needs is that PHP get well indexed in google so when he seeks for something he gets it. Simply StackOverflow is all about programming.

So in this comunity, I feel that the "connecting line" is all about "expert Q&A about board games" and "design of board games" is specifically welcome. Should not bother anybody that those "legal questions" that are intimately related to the process of the design, are welcome here in this site.


I'd like that the community finally clears-out this gray-area: Is "protection of a game" a sub-process that is part of the main process of "designing board games"?

IMHO, yes, it is.

But maybe I'm not seeing reasons other users might have to ban this out beyond "I'm not interested in that so I don't want others to talk about that".

If so is agreed, in the https://boardgames.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic I suggest to clarify maybe by saying something like:

Board and Card Games Stack Exchange is for expert Q&A from people who like playing, discussing the strategy of, and getting rules clarifications of board games, designing board games (and any related process involved in that design, either amateur or professional) or modifying the rules of existing board games.

(Of course this text may be improved)

Alternatively, instead of modifying the on-liner description, maybe this needs clarification on the body of the help center.

What about adding a heading the same level than "How do we define Board Games?" and "What are some examples of boardgames that are on topic here?" saying the following?

Designing board games

The process about designing board-games is complex and multidisciplinar, ranging from the most abstract concepts like creating the rules of the game, to the most tangible aspects of it like how to physically implement certain markers or counters, to the distribution of it (how do you design your game so it gets actually played on the physical table of a player living in your antipodas).

It is on-topic any question that any "game designer" needs to solve, ranging from designing an amateur game for the family to designing a game that is to be industrialized and sold world-wide.

This explicitly includes questions about (and is not limited to):

  • Designing the ruleset of the game (the abstract definition of its essence).
  • Testing the game and balancing the gameplay (methods for fine-tuning, iteration on the definition, finding testers, etc.).
  • Implementation of the concepts physical objects (boards, counters, etc.).
  • Manufacturing (materials, durability, user experience, etc.).
  • Legal issues (restrictions of the rules or content in certain countries, protection of the intellectual property, etc.)
  • Commercialization and sales (channels to distribute board-games, wholesalers, retailers, economic conditions, etc).
  • Logistics (design of the game should consider if you manufacture in one country and sell in another one, or where can you locally make it).

All this is on-topic provided that 2 restrictions are met:

  1. Must be board-game related, so all the restrictions on the previous paragraphs apply (playable by physical humans around a physical table, etc).
  2. Must show a specific question about you have already investigated (you must have done your homework before asking, as in all other StackExchange sites) and which answer is not opinion-based but facts-based or data-based and contrastable by any other user as "the correct answer".

Potential tags

Maybe tags like game design and its sub-topics like distribution, manufacturing, legal, or even thier sub-sub-topics like intellectual property would help to classify questions for indexers like google.


2 Answers 2


The problem with the questions that you linked is that they are questions about legal issue and the law in general. With questions of that nature the answers will vary based on a lot of factors.

  • What countries the game is copyrighted in.
  • Where the game is manufactured, and is it still being produced in small quantities
  • What countries the game is sold in
  • What country the person who is asking is in
  • How the person asking intends to use the content
  • What content in general they are asking about
  • General issues dealing with complicated legal issues at the local and international

In general unless you are in the legal profession it can be very easy to give some very bad advice which is why in general questions that involve legal advice are off topic on stack exchange sites. There is one site that does target the legal advice area and questions like those might be on topic there.


If you're dealing with "copyright" issues, the appropriate site is Law SE https://law.stackexchange.com/

You're no longer dealing with "games." You are dealing with LAW as it applies to games.

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