Closing Time

This will likely be the last post on this site… assuming you’re reading it at all, since it might be going down entirely in the immediate future. But, while I’m here, a few things to say at the far-earlier-than-expected end of this project.

When I announced the other day that Hasbro had requested I take the site and the cards down, I got a lot of feedback, here and elsewhere. A lot of people had some questions and suggestions and I hope I can respond to some of them before I go:

“I hate you Hasbro,” “Hasbro sucks” and any other similar statement: Okay, please don’t be mad at Hasbro about this. I’m the guy who made Shards of Equestria, and while I’m obviously upset the project is dying in its infancy I understand why this is happening. I considered SoE a piece of fan art, and at its best a parody of a legitimate MTG set. Hasbro thought differently and decided they had to defend their trademarks. This isn’t an act of malice on their part; it’s what trademark holders have to do. If anything, the legal people from Hasbro have been pretty nice about it, when they could have, you know, sued me for actual money or had my site deleted instantly.

“Get a license from Hasbro!” Well, yes. It would be nice if this could happen. It won’t. I wish I had a nicer way to respond to that, but it’s woefully unrealistic. Obviously Wizards of the Coast feels that the set is problematic to what they want to do with Magic: The Gathering so they don’t want it around.

“So why not make a different game? Or use original art?” I know that many people are making their own Pony-related games and projects with original characters. I support them and hope you support them too. But… that’s not the project I personally wanted to do. The reason I made SoE was because a bunch of my friends who played Magic and watched MLP thought a MLP Magic set would be fun. We think it is/was, so I made it. That was really the extent of the inspiration here. I wanted to have Pony Magic. Removing either the Pony or Magic part of that is kind of, well, pointless.

Finally, I want to address this one, because it’s the most common comment I got:

“Why would Hasbro do this? It made me want to buy their products!:” I am incredibly touched by the people who said things like this. You can see many comments on this Equestria Daily thread from people who have expressed similar sentiment–both saying that a Pony Magic set got them to try MTG for real, and just asking why Hasbro would be against a thing that promotes their own products.

Well as I mentioned before, that’s just not my call to make. I don’t have the right to tell Hasbro how they manage their product, even if I think they’re making the wrong decision. They get to make the rules about their property and I have to follow them. Look, I myself am fascinated at the idea that Hasbro was upset with me creating something that made more people want to buy their actual product. But that’s just how it works sometimes.

I hope Hasbro saw the feedback about the cards. I hope they’re reading this post. I say that only because I hope they know that I did this entirely out of love for both of their products and the hope that it could encourage people to get into either (or both) of them. And that hope still stands. This wasn’t about money or exploiting their property. It never was. I just wanted Shards of Equestria to be real.  If Hasbro ever actually realized how popular a set like this would be, even as a joke, and that they could get something out of it, then they can have it. Seriously, open letter to Hasbro right here and now: I will mail you a DVD with every master file and the entire freaking website on it right now if you asked me.

But that all said, Shards of Equestria was, in fact, real. And for that, I just want to thank all of you. Thank you to my friends who helped me test it, to the random strangers all over the internet who sent comments and feedback, to the guys who said they brought it to Cons to show more people, to Sethisto and his team for the much-needed promotional support, and to every single one of you who gave a silly little Pony magic parody a chance and ended up having fun with it. Thank you.

Shards of Equestria
2012-2012

Welp.

Hasbro has finally responded to my pleas for clarification on what parts of Shards of Equestria they object to. I was holding hope for a miracle, but I got the answer we all pretty much expected: they have a problem with all of it.

The full letter from the lawyers will be posted after the jump but obviously it’s time to make the announcement I was fearing I’d have to make for the last month. Due to legal requests from Hasbro that I have neither the right nor resources to fight, Shards of Equestria is finished.

The link to the Download page has already been removed. I was assuming that offering printable images was the main concern but clearly Hasbro (and mainly Wizards of the Coast) thinks using the actual game mechanics and their card images is the bigger issue. I remain adamant that these cards fell under parody. Hasbro disagrees. I have no ability to fight them on this.

Some people have asked if the project can proceed with wholly original assets. I believe a project like that can, but that wasn’t the project I wanted to do. I don’t have a personal interest in making a set of Pony Magic cards that I have been told can have neither Ponies or Magic in them. There are a host of other fan-made games that are getting off the ground, and I wish them all the best of luck.

I don’t know how much longer the site will stay up but while it stays up I just want to say one more time, thank you, everyone. Thank you for your feedback, your thoughts and your enjoyment of the game, albeit for the very short period it was available.  Regardless of the project being shut down, I still started this with the mindset of of making a custom set that I could play with my friends, and that still exists. There’s a printed-out set of five decks that my friends will still be able to take out and play whenever we want a little break from our normal Magic sessions, and that’s something no lawyer can take from me. Friendship remains Magic.

Continue reading

Resolving Friendship Problems

Based on a bunch of comments and emails about certain cards, we’ve gone ahead and created a Rulings Page regarding card text. The goal of the page is to settle arguments of the mechanics of more complex cards.

The page will be updated as more disputes are brought to light… hopefully this will lead to less arguments. Arguments that are prone to occur in casual card gaming with magical pony friends. Yep.

FIMTG (at) ShardsOfEquestria (dotty!) com or the comments below are the places to ask about rulings. Please, if at all possible, try to avoid creating hypothetical questions for a game of “stress the card designer” and instead stick to actual scenarios that have happened when playing with cards.  It keeps me from the crazy. Thanks!

And We’ll Have the Best Night Ever

Still waiting to hear about the impending legal doom, but just wanted to check in and say hello and thank you to everyone I met at Dragon*Con. I was very honored to meet a handful of people who had heard of Shards of Equestria, and both the people who knew of it and the people I started telling about it were all amazed and excited that the project existed. It might not in a few days, but for that weekend, it was a very validating experience.

Because I felt a large public card hunt would be a bit much in terms of promo, I took a safer route and instead handed out card art to folks running around Dragon*Con in awesome Pony costumes. Special shout-outs to the trio dressed at the Cutie Mark Crusaders, the two Flim-Flam Brothers, and one girl who looked so gorgeous as Chrysalis I’m still enamored with her.  Also a big hi to Andy Price, who was so amazingly friendly and receptive when I talked with him about the cards. Price’s MLP comic isn’t coming out until later in the year and for now I don’t think he has any idea how (deservedly) famous he’s about to become.

As I recently just said in an emphatic email to a large corporate legal department, the most inspiring thing about MLP for me has been how much it creatively motivates people. My only regret with SoE is that I wasn’t able to sit and play with more of you guys. For those who did, and for those who loved the cards, or even just the idea of it, thank you. Thank you so very much.

And yes, I gave Tara Strong her own Twilight Sparkle card.

Dragon*Con

I’m heading to Dragon*Con in a few hours, so this will likely be my last post until next week, when I will hopefully have an update on whether or not this site can even stay up.

For obvious reasons, I regrettably have to announce that the aforementioned card hunt at Dragon*Con is not going to happen. Until I hear from Hasbro’s lawyers about whether or not physical distribution of the cards is one of their legal problems with Shards of Equestria, scattering printouts of the cards all around Atlanta is truly not a wise move on my part. I plan to work with Hasbro however I can to find out what parts of my work can survive, so I have no desire to antagonize them.

That said: here’s where I am right now about this. Shards of Equestria… exists. On my end, I made a bunch of JPEGs and a lot of you did things with them. Many of those things were amazing, as per this comment I got the other day out of the Everfree Northwest con:

Continue reading

Alleged Trademark Infringement is Magic: Where Things Stand

Thank you to everyone who wrote and commented about yesterday’s post. This was supposed to be a post about how I was printing cards and bringing them to Dragon*Con and hoping to get people together to play it, but I guess instead I’m here to explain what I can about the Cease and Desist order. Again, I don’t feel it would be a smart move to reprint the legal letter but I will try to go over some things and answer a few of the common questions I’ve been asked, to let you know where this project now stands.

Continue reading

Or maybe not.

It is with an incredible regret, especially only hours after my previous post, to report that I have just received a Cease and Desist letter from Hasbro.

For legal reasons, I cannot discuss it or its contents, but for now I can just say that they have reached out to me in a polite and professional manner and I am replying in kind, in order to determine as quickly as possible what specifics are at issue.

It is my hope that at this time the site is not going to disappear completely so I can provide updates and information.

Naturally, the news I was going to give about things related to promoting the set and printing the cards are on indefinite hold. My apologies to everyone. More information as I get it.

Update, 8/29/12: I have responded to the legal representative for Hasbro, who has now responded and indicated they they are forwarding my responses to their client.  I expect to hear something sometime next week. Until then I will likely have no new updates. Thanks for your patience with this, everyone.

 

SoE at Dragon*Con Pt. 1 – The FREE CARD CON HUNT!

When I posted a pic of a card back the other day, I got a few questions. One of them was “what’s on the front?” Well obviously it’s a SoE card but I suppose you want a little more than that. So how about this.

See these guys? They all have that special card back that says “Free Art Promo Card.” Because that’s what they are. Free. As in, who wants one?Well all you have to do is be at Dragon*Con this weekend in Atlanta, Georgia.

For folks who aren’t Atlanta natives, the city has had for the last year or so an amazing little thing going on using Twitter. It’s called “Free Art Friday Atlanta” and it’s just what it sounds like–on Fridays, artists run all over the city, hiding free pieces of art, then tweeting hints and pictures about it. Then you can have the art.

Well here’s my art. Forty or so Shards of Equestria cards. Whether or not you play, they’re an awesome little piece to have in your possession and hopefully it’ll start a conversation about the game and get more people to look into it.

So how do you know where and when cards are available? It’s simple. Just be at Dragon*Con and be following @FIMTG on Twitter (just like the back of the cards say!) You’ll see tweets all day (perhaps all weekend) about where cards have been hidden.

I picked a handful of cards that I felt had the best art, so if you’re dying to have a particular one, here’s a few of the potential free cards you’ll be able to find:

  • Each of the CMCs
  • All three Planeswalkers
  • Daring Do
  • Princess Luna
  • DJ Pon-3
  • “The Stare”
  • Derpy
  • Crackle

You’ll also have a chance to grab one of… okay, one of five of the Mane 6. There’s a Twilight Sparkle card, but you’re not getting it. I’m gonna try giving that to Tara Strong.

See you at Dragon*Con, even if you don’t see me! Happy hunting and Fun Times at Dragon*Con… PART TWO… coming soon!

 

An Update on Printing

Based on some repeat experiences, I want to give a heads-up to anyone out there trying to get their cards professionally printed:

A few readers have noted in the comments that they’ve had success with the site PrinterStudio.com.  And I agree–the samples I’ve seen are amazing and they by far have the best rates I’ve seen for card printing.

Unfortunately, they also have been canceling orders left and right, including my own.  Because of this, I would personally recommend not using them at this point. It’s very disappointing, but the company is based out of Korea and my attempts to have a multinational discussion with them about how parody and fair use law works in the U.S. proved quite fruitless.Consider this a heads-up before you waste two hours trying to assemble a deck on their site like I did.

That said: I accepted from the beginning that many printers would have an issue with printing anything that used licensed characters such as this. I can’t begrudge any printer from not wanting to do something they think isn’t authorized, much as I disagree with them. I am hopeful that other printers are more lenient and understanding of both the intent of SoE as a non-for-profit fan parody, as well as Hasbro’s continuing and incredible support and leniency with their property’s fan base. Seriously, thanks Hasbro.

As always, I encourage all of you to find and share in the comments the best ways you’ve printed the cards and found ways to play with them, but once again they must be legal and non-for-profit.

Also: what happened to all you guys making online versions? People keep asking me and I don’t have the answers :P