Wargaming Deep Thought: Who Copyrights The Tabletop?

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What is the term Chapterhouse Effect that’s been flying around lately, and have we already started seeing it?
First it was the splash release of the Tervigon, and Thunderwolves all conspicuously close to each other a few springs ago. Both models were kits that Chapterhouse (and others) had produced figures or upgrades for existing figures BEFORE Games Workshop did.

 

 Then Citadel Colors got a whole facelift right around this time, but maybe more notably every paint was renamed with a GW specific term. Retailers were only notified with a weeks time that they were “required” to purchase a new $3,000 plus rack of paints to that end due to what some sales reps were quoted as saying was a “strategic release”.

Then it was very vocal court case of GW vs Chapterhouse etc. last summer (2013) in Chicago, where many say GW may have won the battle but lost the war for the hearts and minds of the very gamers they consider thier customers. And who can forget the whole Space Marine attack, where GW seemed to go after everyone and everything and that had used that name in print.

Now we’re seeing new terms being coined like Astra Militarum for Imperial Guard, and Games Workshop has continued to omit certain codex units from the game (i.e the Doom of Malan’ tai,) that don’t currently have models. If this all a unique set of coincidences, OR a definitive plan on Games Workshop’s part? Which also seems to begs the question;

Can a third party company claim legal rights to a model of another company’s unit/concept, IF there was no model produced by them when the concept of that model was introduced in print?

And the more important followup:

Is all of this a prudent strategy every big company should follow, or an overreaction to a paper tiger?

 

 Furthermore is the ability to do this by an independent game company good or bad for the hobby in general? -MBG

In a time where 3d printing  and rapid-protyping is becoming more and more real, what do you think the future will hold for how table top wargaming products will get released?

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