I've played Dominion on isotropic, and I saw the existing question about online versions of board gamesexisting question about online versions of board games, but not all of the games listed there appear to be official. The FAQ for isotropic says "I don't have permission to use RGG's art." To me this implies two things:
- The art for Dominion is legally protected (since he says so directly)
- The game mechanics are not (since the site continues to exist)
Is this typical? Or is Rio Grande Games just choosing to look the other way? Do publishers or creators have more control is such matters? What component of games (art, mechanics, terminology, other) are protected legally? If programmers want to make free versions of games, should they be concerned about infringing on any trademarks, copyrights, or other legal protections?
I know this is actually several questions, but they're all so tightly knit that I didn't feel that they'd benefit from being separated.