With the huge growth in the 3D printing and CNC areas over the past few years, you are starting to see a lot of custom pieces for existing board games. For instance, Risk boards made of walnut or Settlers of Catan pieces made from various exotic hardwoods and a plethora of customized replacement pieces. In the vast majority of cases, the items being made are of vastly superior quality and in some cases were designed to replace boards or game pieces that are no longer in print.

So my question is, what legal ramifications are there when creating these items in the U.S.? Technically it's a copy of an existing game both in name and rough design, but the actual product is often very different.

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is asking for legal advice and would be better serviced on law stack exchange. Because there are so many different variables into what is being done it is impossibly broad to answer this question as each situation you want to know about can give different/conflicting answers.
    – Joe W
    Apr 18, 2016 at 23:07
  • And maybe you're better off getting a real lawyer than hoping for the right answer for free from random non-lawyers on the Internet.
    – chicks
    Apr 19, 2016 at 13:57
  • @JoeW While I can certainly see how moving this question to the law stack may increase the accuracy of my answer, but Board Games are somewhat unique in the sense that they straddle the line between functional item and published media. Most individuals who produce custom components are themselves board game enthusiasts, not large companies, or random arts & crafts shops. I am hoping for an answer from someone who as actually attempted this before. Also i can't help but notice that the related section includes several questions also legal in nature of none of them were flagged as "off topic"
    – BenW301
    Apr 20, 2016 at 0:32
  • @BenW301 Just because this site deals with board games does not mean we have any knowledge about the complex legal issues that are involved with your question.
    – Joe W
    Apr 20, 2016 at 0:36
  • @BenW301 The law site is about a lot of legal things in all kinds of different areas, all with their own details. I wouldn't assume that board games are too special for them.
    – Cascabel
    Apr 21, 2016 at 19:49

1 Answer 1


I am not a lawyer, but as long as you just create things for personal use, you're probably fine.

Even if you make pieces and sell them, it's probably ok. You can already buy meeples and assorted tokens online. Both shops are around for years already, so I guess it's fine.

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