Royalty on free board game companion app?


I am currently creating a board game which will use a top-down, in-engine screenshot of a 3d environment to print as game board graphic (which players can move their physical miniatures around on). If I’m not mistaken, this qualifies as “linear media” which does not require royalty payments, correct?

My other question was that if we were to sell this board game and created a separate, publicly available, free-to-download companion app which is a mobile exploration of the game board’s 3d environment that is required to play the game, do we need to pay royalties through the board game we created?


You are correct that the usage you describe in respect of the game board graphic is linear media. No royalty payments are due for purely linear media.

With respect to your second question, could you please clarify how the companion app will be monetized?

The companion app will not be monetized. It is free to everyone and there are no in-app purchases. If a person doesn’t own our board game, then the app is useless. But if a person owns our board game, the app is vital in their game since it tells them important details as they play the game.

I was just curious since the board game will cost money, and the companion app is needed in order to play the game. But since the companion app is separate and free to everyone, I was just wondering if that meant we are actually not required to pay royalties on it.

How do the board and the app interact?

The idea is that it will follow a lot like a game called Mansions of Madness by Fantasy Flight Games. The app might say where to place tokens on the board or where an enemy might appear, and it provides narration for events and ambient music.

When a player enters a new room, the app will show the room on the screen. For example, it may tell the players to place a Treasure Chest token in an area of the room. So a player will take the physical Treasure Chest token and place it at the corresponding location on the physical board. Then, when a player moves his miniature to the Treasure Chest, he will use an action to search the chest. The player will then click the digital icon on the app, and it will animate and the camera will move to the chest and it will open, revealing what item card the player can then draw through a voice over narration and animated card image.

Based on your description, Epic would consider the two products (app and board game) to be essentially bundled together into one overall product. As such, the board game sales revenue would not be exempt from a royalty under the EULA.

Thanks for the response!

Just to clarify, if we were to release the app for free just as before, but included all of the functions the app provided in the physical rulebook that comes with the board game (meaning the game was no longer dependent on the app) would it then be exempt from royalties?


The relevant question is whether the board and the app interact with each other.

Gotcha. Thanks!