Peter Langston & Thomas Phinney email discussion
Jan 15, 2011
[While Phinney was asking around to learn more about the origins of the board game, he got a quick lesson on the relationship with the mainframe game of the same name, from the creator of that game, Peter S. Langston]
PHINNEY: From what I’ve been reading online it seems you were the primary author/converter of the [mainframe] computer game “Empire” based on the Reed College homebrew board game. Do you know who created the original board game, or who might be able to tell me?
I ask because I have occasionally played a descendant of that board game, which I have been revising the rules for, and I was thinking of making them available online. But I don’t want to infringe on somebody’s copyright….
LANGSTON: First a caveat… Even though I borrowed the name “Empire” from the game at Reed, I didn’t actually use any of the Reed game in my Empire, since I’ve never played it and have only heard the most general descriptions of the game (mostly parts that would be difficult to computerize, like the players making up new rules by consensus).
So, I don’t really have as much connection with that game as you might think. Of course I am a Reedie and I had heard of Empire while I was at Reed and I did think it was a cool idea, but that’s about it, so I never worried about whether I was infringing on anything more than the name.
I’ll bet that there are 100 people who have had a hand in making/shaping that game, and there are probably 3 or 4 who were prime movers. You might get in touch with the Reed College Alumni Office….