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I'm in the the very early stages of coming up with a game with some coworkers. I remembered how well the Heroscape tiles locked together. However, I'm not able to find any information regarding intellectual property protections on the tile design. Would I be able to make similar and compatible tiles without issue?

A Heroscape landscape is pictured below.

enter image description here

  • Hi, and welcome to Board & Card Games SE! Check out our tour to see how we work here. Whether you can use heroscape tiles, and what other tiles exist, are two very different questions, and people should focus on asking only one question per question here. – doppelgreener Jul 12 '18 at 11:37
  • While making compatible tiles probably won't be viable without a license, there are many ways you can make interlocking hexes... – aslum Aug 6 '18 at 19:16
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Many games have a playfield made up of hexagons. Some games also contain interlocking tiles/sheets that are made up of hexagons (e.g. Clans of Caledonia, Wombat Rescue).

I'm not aware of any that use plastic sheets, other than Heroscape. Nor am I aware of any that use an interlocking mechanism like Heroscape used. But it's interesting to note that the size of Heroscape's hexes is a very common size -- I have not checked this for my answer but I remember them being almost exactly the same size as Memoir 44 terrain tiles?

I'm not a lawyer, and frankly this is definitely the kind of thing I'd suggest a lawyer for, but in terms of prior-art I'd say:

  • Cardboard hexes/hex sheets are completely safe
  • Plastic hexes/hex sheets are probably safe
  • Plastic hexes/hex sheets the same size/shape as Heroscapes, with the same hex size, and the exact same interlocking mechanism is a no-no.

So you'll be able to design and produce your game using similar tiles with no legal issues. And you'd need to consult a lawyer about producing "Heroscape-compatible" tiles.

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If interlocking hexes are what you are inquiring about, Heroscape patented that idea when it introduced them. As US Patent law has a default term of 20 years, even if not extended via patent term adjustment, and Heroscape was introduced in 2004, their patent has not yet expired, and Hasbro is definitely still occasionally making use of it (such as in their MtG: Arena of the Planeswalkers product line), so I would not expect them to allow a patent infringement to go unchallenged.

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