Renegade Studios Sends C&D To Stop Small Creator Using The Word 'Renegade'


Every few years in the TTRPG industry, this happens--a company attempts to prevent others from using certain words in their product names. Normally, that's a trademark issue and perfectly understandable: you can't call your game 'Dungeons & Dragons' for obvious reasons. But sometimes companies call in the lawyers to stop usage of common words or terms which are not trademarks in themselves. Games Workshop and 'space marine' hit mainstream news about 10 years ago, Lone Wolf issued C&Ds over the term 'army builder' in 2010, and now Renegade Game Studios--which makes a number of licensed TTRPGs such as Transformers, GI Joe, and Vampire: The Masquerade--has apparently laid claim to the word 'renegade'. This often results in the Streisand Effect and has the opposite result to that intended.

The Polyhedral Knights had a recent Kickstarter for a game called 'Renegade City' which is billed as a tabletop RPG where you play criminals, and uses dominoes rather than dice. According to Cannibal Halfling Gaming, a couple of days ago The Polyhedral Knights received a letter from Renegade Game Studios' lawyers demanding that they remove the word 'Renegade' from the title of the game.

“Unfortunately, your use of the term “Renegade” in the title of your new game creates the likelihood that consumers might be confused between our client’s games and your game, or believe that the two are connected or affiliated. The likelihood of confusion is particularly acute because you are using the “Renegade” element on the identical types of products that are sold by Renegade, and you are both selling to the same types of consumers in the same market channels. As such, Renegade must ask that you agree to rename your game to remove the “Renegade” element. As such, Renegade must ask that you agree to rename your game to remove the “Renegade” element.”

Renegade Game Studios has allegedly threatened to issue a trademark complaint to Kickstarter (although the campaign is over, so it's a little late for that!) unless The Polyhedral Knights complies by June 23rd.

Mickey Barfield, the creator of Renegade City, spoke to Cannibal Halfling Gaming a couple of days ago:

“It really caught me off guard and frankly upset me. I am blown away at how they can think that my game title “Renegade City” will take away from them in any shape or fashion. Our Kickstarter is about to end in 9 hours [3:08 PM EDT] and we just now get this? I’m still pretty hurt over this. It seems like if they are willing to go after me over something like this, then what is stopping another company like Wizards of the Coast from going after some other company cause the word Wizard is used in a title of a book or game? It’s crazy.”

The news first broke on Twitter when Sprinting Owl Designs reported that "a designer I've previously worked with (The Polyhedral Knights) reports that he just got cease and desisted by Renegade Game Studios (Hunter 5e, GI Joe) for having the word 'renegade' in his game's title."

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Dire Bare

I've purchased everything released for Essence20, Vampire 5E, and Hunter 5E. I'm glad this is resolved but I won't be buying anything from Renegade Game Studios ever again. I can't stand bullies or overly litigious corpos. I've let my whole gaming crew know and I've tossed the products mentioned above on the bottom shelf to collect dust while I cool off. I'm not getting rid of them, RGS already has my money, and heck, it's not the book's fault.
How we each react to Renegade's actions is fair . . . but I'm in the "wait and see" camp.

Renegade does put out some great products, and they did resolve things with Polyhedral Knights (Renegade City). I'm not rushing out to purchase anything from Renegade, but if they don't continue with this kind of poor behavior, I might in the future.

Renegade isn't a person, never to be forgiven, but an organization made of . . . well, I don't know how many, but multiple folks. Some of whom probably thought that C&D wasn't the brightest idea.

I was in my FLGS last weekend and saw they had a copy of "The Time is Now", a hardcover adventure for their Transformers RPG. I got super excited and almost picked it up . . . and then remembered Renegade's actions this month, and lost my enthusiasm.

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