By virtue of the madness of patent law and a product they once insinuated wildly in their catalog but never produced, Wizards of the Coast has patented constructible strategy games. The filing dates back to 2002 and, to be fair, is narrow enough to exclude anything that doesn’t involve losing or exchanging parts as a consequence of play events. That, um, does not include Pirates. This feels kinda uncool to me, but despite the felicitous timing of this announcement (just before the release of the Transformers CSG, for those keeping score), it may just be a result of the patent office’s rather plodding process. And like the infamous “tapping patent” on CCG mechanics, it may turn out that any lawsuits WotC might file to defend it end up not worth the lawyer bills. (Note to tabletop gaming companies with an eye toward suing each other: you can load your shotgun for hamsters, but that won’t make the pelts worth anything.)
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