The matter of CoG spinoffs/prequels/what-have-you

Knowing that HMS Foraker is getting a release, that suddenly opens up an entirely different type of game from before: continuations, whether direct or indirect, of established CoG properties, such as Broadsides.

That actually is incredibly exciting to me for a number of reasons: what if we get to explore the Affairs of the Court series from Sahara’s perspective, or flip the power dynamics entirely and be a Sovereign? What if we get to see the Choice of the Vampire series in a different historical period, or as a mortal trying their best to navigate a world where they’ve found out vampires exist, and they know you know about them?

Obviously it wouldn’t work for every game or author (I’m not sure how Max Gladstone would feel about people messing with his baby, for instance) but it’s something interesting to think about at least.

The authors ultimately own the Copyright for their works, so this is an extremely rare thing. I believe Wang was mostly using Foraker as an experiment, but given that he has a lot of experience with CoG, they probably invited him to make it official. I don’t think we’ll be seeing anything else like that happen soon, if at all.

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Obviously you’d need a green light from the copyright owner but if that’s all good then I don’t see any issue

However, I think most writers would want the possibility of continuing their own stories in their preferred methods so things like sequels or prequels are unlikely to get approval.
If anything at all, a spin-off which takes place in the same universe but has little to do with the original story would be most likely to get the thumbs up. Eg: Foraker

Then again, nothing is guaranteed so I think you’d be better off just taking some pointers from games you like and rebrand them with some added originality

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Right, the main reason Foraker worked at all was because

  1. Broadsides is an in-house game made by one of the core employees of CoG (of which there are definitely not a lot, with the original four and their sequels and Jason’s hopefully-released-sometime-this-decade Fief game being the only ones I can think of).
  2. It worked because Paul is a long-time, trusted author who has three main-label games under his belt.
  3. It worked because Heather gave him special permission, and it was done under a contract basis.

Obviously some rando isn’t going to be able to pull off the same thing. But the fact that it’s capable of happening in the first place makes me excited by the possibilities.

I see the point here. An indirect continuation is the most likely product of any possible transformative or derivative works, which is why things like changing the geography/timeline involved would definitely be necessary.

Obviously, this is just me entertaining an idea I think is pretty neat. I’m definitely not high-minded enough that I think I could do justice to some of the classics I’ve been reading since I was sixteen any more than the original authors.

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To be entirely honest, Foraker was intended as fanfiction from the get-go. I wasn’t necessarily expecting approval for a Hosted Games release, let alone official sanction and inclusion into Broadsides “canon”. To me, Foraker was a testbed for new mechanics and an errant whim first and second, so anything beyond that was a bonus rather than intent.

If anything, it’s probably the fact that I have what might be considered a “working relationship” with Jason (via the work I’ve done for CoG and Hosted Games) and Heather (via her contributions as a major source of feedback for Burden of Command), which made them more favourably inclined towards anything I wrote. That being said, nobody gave me special permission to write this. Official sanction only came down the line after I’d already announced it as a work in progress.

All this seems to imply to me that while you’d need to meet a lot of requirements and jump through a lot of hoops to get official approval for a spinoff, there’s nothing stopping you from writing fanfiction (although you’d probably have to distribute it non-commercially via Dashingdon or something, which was my original plan for Foraker). It won’t necessarily be “canon”, but it would still be perfectly respectable.