TL;DR: There was no Card Game. It was only a concept for a Card Game that existed as paper, marker, and two JPGS. I was asking for permission. It was never intended to be sold for profit, it was intended as FREE swag to be handed out at Fanfest. A plan that was originally given to me by two (now) former CCP employees. In thirty plus years of my professional career I have never once sold anything for which I didn't have permission. And I wasn't going to start now. My reputation is much more important than CCP or Eve.
Read on if you'd like the details:
One of the most frustrating things about the Eve community is that it changes, evolves, and moves all the time. New people come around and veterans leave. While this is natural, it is also extremely frustrating for a journal writer like myself. I end up having to repeat myself over and over again, explaining my own history and my history with Eve. Simply because some people don't know about it, or forgot, or whatever. I know it can be annoying to my long-term readers, I apologize for it, but it really can't be helped.
Last Friday I was served by CCP legal with a Cease and Desist order to stop developing a Card Game or else face Federal Court. The letter was bogus because there was NO Card Game. I had written multiple emails, and several LinkedIn mails, to try and discover who at CCP I could talk to about bringing it as swag to Fanfest. I hadn't heard from anyone. I had to write multiple people because my contact at CCP left the company over the Summer. And my other contact was openly antagonistic towards me, having blacklisted me for speaking out about the Eve Store on Crossing Zebras earlier this year.
Because the card game I was thinking about developing, and which I had written emails to various CCP employees regarding, was always intended to be Swag. Swag. Handed out at Fanfest this coming April. At the last Fanfest I printed 400 postcards that had Eve IP on them and handed them out to both CCP employees and attendees. Over the Summer I printed 50 posters of my Sisters of Eve illustration and handed them out at Steel City Eve. The year before, same thing. Fanfest in 2015, same thing. And you can name any other Eve event of the past nine years and I probably created something with Eve IP on it as well. I recently designed t-shirts for Eve Dublin, as an example. None of those had resulted in CnD orders from legal.
To be clear - there was NO Card Game. It was only ever an idea, a concept, that existed as 95 hand-printed cards and two jpgs. It would NEVER have been printed without express written permission from CCP. Never. (Just to be clear, that is NEVER) The plan was to write someone for permission to get that process started while the game was being play-tested. That plan was exactly two weeks old when the email from CCP legal arrived. No one at CCP had returned an email or gotten in touch with me. Even though they have my phone number. Trust me, they've called me before. And Skyped. And Slacked. And Twittered. There are a million ways to contact me if you want.
I would also like to set the record straight that two employees of CCP are the ones that suggested this tactic in the first place. So this entire thing was a CCP idea. A few years back when I first suggested an Eve themed card game called "Blood of the Empires", which was back-burnered due to the upcoming Fountain War Kickstarter, that I should print up some test decks to bring to Fanfest. Which is a great idea! Drum up support, get people playing it, and see if it might be viable. Sounded good.
That's it. That is all there is to it. I can tell you that given what happened on Monday I would have cancelled plans for the Card Game regardless of this silly Cease and Desist letter. So the entire thing was a supreme waste of time. For them. For me it was a great learning experience and I had a blast play-testing the game last weekend down in Maryland with some of my Alliance friends.
I have other ideas for other card games and I may or may not do them some day. I also have books that need written, a couple of screenplays to finish, several comic book concepts, etc, etc. Ideas are not a problem, the problem is finding time to complete them.
It is obvious that someone on that side has a special purpose when it comes to me lately. I was blacklisted after Fanfest because of my justified criticism of the Store over on Crossing Zebras. Which is fine. I totally accept the fact that me speaking out about things I believe strongly in will have consequences. I'm cool with it. I also understand that such actions mean it is working. If it wasn't working who would care what I say? No one.
I'm not going to stop banging drums and expressing my opinions. I'm also not going to stop being super awesome and helping the community that I love. Not going to happen. And if sometimes that means pushing boundaries and causing trouble, then so be it.
I've been doing this for nine years here in the Eve community. But honestly, I've been doing that my entire life. The most amazing and wonderful moments in my career came about because I did what I thought was the right thing despite what other people told me to do. People who "know best" will always tell you to stop causing trouble, stop rocking the boat, quit being such a pain in the ass. And you know what, screw 'em.
I stood on a stage at Fanfest in 2015 and supported the idea that Eve was opening up to all of us. It was a dream I worked my ass off on for years leading up to that. It wasn't easy and I got two CnDs for my trouble leading up to that moment. It took two years of hard work to finally get to the point that CCP worked with me on the poster series. You might not remember that, but I do. I didn't do that for me, I did it for all of us. Especially the creatives among us. Heck, it was then that I set up the #Creatives channel on Tweetfleet Slack, which is still up and running today. I was happy to be the first, but I was extremely hopeful that I wouldn't be the last. For whatever reason CCP has decided to backslide since then and turn their back on that idea. I can't explain why they felt the need to cancel our agreement and yet continue to sell our posters for almost two years. I can't explain it. But I know it is wrong. And it is dumb. And it is bad business.
Even so, I can't help but remain hopeful. I'd love to work with them again and create something awesome. More importantly I'd just like to see more great projects happen, with me or without me. Either way works.
For further reading I suggest the following:
The Blood of the Empires Card Game (In which I talk about the FF strategy suggested by CCP)
The Eve Store Article on Crossing Zebras
My Eve Posters Go On Sale!
Fanfest 2015 - My presentation, roundtable and autograph session
More notes from Fanfest, Dinner with Seagull, lunch with Torfi, etc.
A Cease and Desist from 2013
Another one from 2015 for Drifter Wars
Eve Pirate Trading Cards (No Cease and Desist)
The Archives are deep and I could link articles all day, I highly recommend them. I've had nine years of adventures in Eve and I'm looking forward to the years to come. Who knows where all of this will lead?