Company Sued For Making 'Magic Clone' Says It's Being Bullied

Company Sued For Making 'Magic Clone' Says They're Being Bullied

Less than a week after Wizards of the Coast announced that it was suing Hex Entertainment and Cryptozoic Entertainment for cloning the company's popular card gameMagic: The Gathering, the two companies have come back with a statement in defence of their game Hex: Shards of Fate.

Here's the full statement written by Cryptozoic president and COO Cory Jones and posted on the game's website, emphasis mine:

To our family of HEX supporters…

I have been chasing a dream for the last three years, a dream to produce an innovative trading card game: a game that combines the strategy of a TCG with the community and progression of an MMO. Something amazing and new, something you would love. We presented that dream to you, our community, and you responded with such mind-blowing support to help us launch HEX.

Sadly, the potential of that innovation has driven WOTC to file a meritless lawsuit in an attempt to kill a competitor before it delivers on that promise. HEX has a chance to give gamers a better and completely different experience from a digital-only TCG than a paper TCG can. Sometimes being small and independent makes you seem like an easy target to the bullies, and that's not an easy place to be, but rest assured we are ready to defend the dream.

Yes, WOTC, and its even larger parent, Hasbro, are much bigger than Hex Entertainment. But the size of their bank accounts doesn't make them right, and we will fight to deliver the game that you supported throughout this journey. We will not allow this frivolous legal action to damage our ability to deliver a quality game experience to you.

I appreciate the outpouring of support on our forums and I can understand the need to speculate on the specifics of the case. Clearly, I cannot address these posts in detail, but rest assured we have retained legal counsel that is very experienced in these types of matters and I feel 100% confident in a positive outcome for HEX. I will say that it's important for the HEX community to remember we are all part of the same tribe. We are all gamers, so even if someone isn't into HEX, please treat them with kindness and respect. We must all stick together as a tribe; gamers have it hard enough as it is without tearing each other down.

I will not allow the dream we shared as a community to be crushed. You believed in me, made the Kickstarter an amazing success, and stuck by us as we slogged through the alpha client. It is unfortunate that this hurdle has been thrust upon us. But, we will prevail; we have come too far to let the dream die now.

Lastly, I must ask that you respect the obligations of the HEX team members during this time and direct all questions or comments to myself and legal at [email protected] We will read all inquires but remember that because of the nature of this situation we may not be able to respond at this time. But, we will continue to keep all of you, our fans and support, apprised of the developments as we have strived to do so from the very beginning.

Thank you,

Cory Jones and HEX team


    MTG's cornerstone is the colour pie. Objective observation tells me that Hex's use of five mechanical colours - white, blue, black, red, and green - is too similar to MTG. Regardless of game play and rules differences, the Hex cards appear to be designed by using MTG's colour philosophy.

      But if that is the case then what about all those click action games ala Diablo using basically the exact same colour loot system for items as each other, Grey, White, green, blue, purple, gold? Is that really enough to claim infringement or copying etc? I personally do not think so but will have to wait and see when it comes down to the courts.

      Last edited 21/05/14 9:00 am

        The color coding mechanics for loot aren't exactly integral to an RPG's identity or gameplay (given its basically colored text that appears when you hover over an item at the end of the day) so it's a poor comparison to make given this is in reference to two trading card game IP's where MTG do have their iconic color coded factions vs an upcoming game that uses a similar system.

        That said I don't support MTG's claims since HEX's mechanics seem different enough from Magic's to not warrant a lawsuit.

        I believe what pupp3tmast3r said is correct. The colour coding mechanics are in no way integral to Diablo's identity - they are simply colour which quickly tell the player how rare something is. MTG's use of their colour pie is integral to their product.

          Yes, but don't forget this will be decided by a judge, who's never played a TCG in his life.

      I totally agree but being able to defend the application of the colour pie to Hex will be difficult. It will be interesting to see if any members of WOTC"s mtg R&D submit any testimony as part of the case.

        I imagine Mark Rosewater will be able to articulate the importance to MTG's colour pie in relation to game design. Maybe it's as simple as Hex changing their Sapphire gem mechanics into Blood gem mechanics. While this change wouldn't be intuitive for the player to grok, it could possibly turn Hex's identity away from MTG's, thus sidestepping copyright infringement.

      But the color concepts of Magic aren't in any way unique. They are, if anything, cliches of fantasy. The four elements plus light and dark. They didn't pioneer that in any way, it was around before M:TG and used in endless other games since.

        I will argue that they are indeed unique. Here is someone experienced in the matter to back up my humble opinion:

        White -
        Blue -
        Black -
        Red -
        Green -
        Artifact -
        Why the pie is important:


        "I believe the color pie is the heart of the game. I think it’s at the core of what makes Magic tick."

        "I believe the color pie is at the core of the game. And the color pie is an example of a case where flavor trumps function. It’s actually a bit more severe than that. In the color pie, flavor dictates function. Flavor tells function what it can and cannot do. This is one of the most important roles of the color pie. It clarifies each color’s philosophy and then extends them to the game by bending mechanics around it. One of the reasons that the colors are so rich in Magic is that they extend to every aspect of the game. "

        "I’m very passionate about the color pie. I believe Magic owes much of its uniqueness to it."

        - Mark Rosewater, head designer for Magic: The Gathering.

    Huh, they don't actually say they will be challenging the claims. That full statement could be made in the context of changing the game mechanics.

    I'm not well versed in the legal technicalities, but I backed Hex and I've played the alpha and it's mechanically very similar to Magic. The 'colour pie' mentioned above is only one component and probably not that important to Wizards' suit, all the other mechanics are basically the same as well. Hex does add features to the formula, but they're added on top of what is really a wholesale copy of the Magic game system.

    Last edited 21/05/14 11:35 am

      As I began reading your comment I expected the first sentence to end with "but let's say you and I go toe-to-toe on bird law and see who comes out the victor?", rofl

    The question is, what sort of cloning has (allegedly) occurred? Look at the different types of intellectual property:
    - Trademarks: Nope.
    - Patents: MTG was first published in 1993. Any patents will have expired. Any mechanics described in patents can be used freely by other "inventors." Their patents will probably work against them, not for them.
    - Copyright: Use of colours is the same as are some gameplay elements, I haven't really played either game much, but copyright is about the *expression* of an idea rather than the idea itself. I don't think the games are similar *enough* to carry a copyright violation claim, especially when several of MTG's key differences are covered by now-expired patents.

    I'm guessing that Hex will win this. However, IANAL so... you can never be sure what a jury will decide.

      I haven't played MTG in year but with my mates uni they thought HEX was an offshoot game designed by the guys MTG at first. I think that is pretty indicative that they're more similar than a cursory glance.

      Patents are valid for a minimum of 20 years from their filing date, not their date of first publication (that applies to copyright, not patents). Wizards of the Coast still has a number of active patents for MTG, including one that covers the core game mechanics (5,662,332, filed October 17, 1995).

      This is really worth a read:

      Apparently the earliest patents don't expire until June 22nd of this year (yes, 1 month).

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