I'd had an idea for a build-your-own-monster card game (a sort of meta-origin for "where did all those owlbears and eagle-headed serpents come from?"), but unfortunately it looks like my initial idea (transparent cards with body parts painted on them so that you can stack them to create a full monster) *probably* falls under an existing patent for transparent cards.
Has anyone here ever tried to negotiate with another company to legally use their patent? I'm imagining that the process falls somewhere between "byzantine" and "eldritch tome," but I figured I'd ask in case someone here has done so and might be able to offer insight.
Now, on the assumption that I *won't* actually be able to do this, does anyone have a good idea of a way to have, for example, a card that represents a head, a card that represents a torso, a card that represents legs, a card that represents arms, and a card that represents wings or a tail, which all assemble to create a viable piece of art representing a weird creature?
I don't know about negotiations for patents, but I do have an idea about the design options you have.
So, if the core mechanic is putting parts together, you could use cardboard chits to slap things together. Maybe a Hex for a body, a square for the head, a domino-style one for the legs and squares for the hands. Basicly, make the body part compartmentalized. As long as certain parts match up, the beast is made.
Along those lines, you could also just use hex cards (or chits) to mix and match things. 6 sides make for interesting variations and possibilities.
If there are only 3 parts to a monster, you could use a large card to be the "placeholder" for the monster, and put smaller cards or bits on top of it. Almost like a "blank board" that you fill in.
If you want to do a legacy/more permanent version, you could use stickers on a card. You'd have to have a game that plays with created monsters, though.
Just some thoughts. Hope they help in some way.
-Aaron from A'n'SR
Thanks for the reply!
I sort of like the tiles-and-hexes idea and I'll keep it in mind in case things change, but (at least right now) the mechanics require that the body parts and purchasing resources both be identically-sized cards. I'm doing my best to keep this game small and simple (Ideally, no larger than two poker-sized decks together and made entirely of cards) to keep costs down and make the whole thing simpler to design and manufacture.
...of course, then I borked that right up by going with the transparent-stacking-cards idea, so who knows? Maybe I'm just overcomplicating in the name of simplicity.
Currently there are 5 parts to the creature: head, arms, legs, torso, and backpiece (wings, tails, shells, extra insectile limbs, & the like).
Maybe you can do it Kodama style where the cars overlap each other, but have clear connectiong spots. Like, the body card takes up the full card with a kneck on it, and maybe some shoulders or something. Then you have a head card that has the head on it and a cetrain color background, and wing cards with just wings on it, etc. The rule is, you cannot overlap a bodypart (other than the body) with another card.
Again... an idea. Seriously, look at Kodama and see how they make trees. It is a neat little puzzle game that uses cards to build something.
I am not sure a 'transparent card' mechanic is something that would fall under patent or copyright, but if you are worried about 'stealing' the idea then there is another option.
You could use a die-cut card that is missing the 'transparent' part to show the card below. So starting with a blank manniquin card you could overlay a new head, body, legs, arms and back accessory. The cards may have to be stacked in a certain order to show the full figure, as suspending things like the mask/head piece would be difficult without obscuring the cards below. Every variation of each body part would have to fit within the same dimensions for that part, otherwise certain combinations might overlap when others wouldn't, or parts don't line up and create a disjointed image.