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D&D miniatures maker Gale Force Nine sues RPG publisher Wizards of the Coast

Disputes over licensing and distribution have led to back and forth litigation.
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Image: Wizards of the Coast

Gale Force Nine, maker of D&D minis and accessories for games including World of Tanks and the Doctor Who board game, has sued Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering publisher Wizards of the Coast in Washington state after months of licensing disputes between the two companies. The suit seeks $950,000 in addition to related costs and previously owed amounts.

According to a November 17th filing, GF9 accuses Wizards of being in breach of both contract and “implied duty of good faith and fair dealing”, alongside a few injunctions. ICv2 further reports that licence renewal talks had soured back in May. GF9 alleges that Wizards wanted to end an agreement between them one year earlier than planned and ceased negotiations after GF9 pushed back. That licence apparently gives GF9 translation and distribution rights to Dungeons & Dragons products in a number of international markets.

GF9 said Wizards ceased any further approval of products in those markets following the licence disagreements.

This month, GF9 began filing what would become a series of back and forth legal notices by claiming Wizards’ refusal to approve those products for market a breach of their existing contract, which extends until December 31st 2021. In response, Wizards pointed to the alleged misconduct of two companies GF9 subcontracted for translating products - Black Book Éditions handled French and TRPG Club in Korean.

The licence at the heart of the dispute contains two related contracts: one created in 2017 giving GF9 distribution and translation rights for Dungeons & Dragons products and related materials in international markets, and a second from 2008 securing distribution and manufacturing of those products.

This is the second suit Wizards of the Coast has faced regarding a previous licence. Longtime Dragonlance authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman sued the publisher earlier this year after ongoing work on a new trilogy of D&D books was allegedly cancelled.

Dicebreaker reached out to both Gale Force Nine and Wizards of the Coast for comment but did not receive a reply by time of publication.