Wizards of the Coast are suing Cryptozoic: “Hex is a nearly identical game to Magic”

Hex: Shards of Fate is a really excellent CCG. That, at least, is not under dispute.

Blatant, willful, and malicious. That’s what Wizards of the Coast think of Cryptozoic’s work on the digital card game Hex. They believe the CCG developers have misappropriated enough particulars of Magic: The Gathering to fill several pages of a patent infringement suit.

“In short, Cryptozoic has produced a nearly identical copy of Magic,” wrote the publishers in their claim.

In March, Wizards contacted Cryptozoic to let them know their opinions on Hex – but despite “earnest negotiations”, the two companies reached an “impasse”.

Now, Wizards of the Coast are looking for a “permanent injunction” restricting Cryptozoic from continuing to appropriate their IP, as they see it. What’s more, they want the cash Cryptozoic have so far made via Hex, which they estimate exceeds $500,000.

The Wizards say Hex not only retains the “look and feel” of Magic, but many of its “mechanics, plot, actions and elements” – which in several cases feature the same names.

Wizards of the Coast say they recognise their own scoring system in Hex, “distinctive Magic playing pieces”, and even an “identical” sequence and flow in the way it is played.

The claim goes into granular detail about the similarities between the two games – placing specific cards side-by-side to demonstrate, and quoting fan podcasts in an attempt to show that players were “confused” about the relationship between the two games.

Wizards of the Coast say that Hex’s visual design is “misleading” enough to suggest a “false association” with Magic – and believe that Cryptozoic are “knowingly and intentionally” attempting to “trade off the goodwill that Wizards has developed”.

“Hex is a nearly identical game,” reads the suit. “Cryptozoic both had access to and had copied Magic.”

Our Jules called Hex a truly brilliant computer CCG – the second time it’s been called that on this site. That, at least, is not under dispute. Let’s hope we don’t lose it.