Legal Notices and Policies
A TRIPLICARD game is any game designed or adapted for use with a physical or virtual deck of TRIPLICARD playing cards - TRIPLICARDS - which differ from ordinary playing cards in having (1) three suits and three colors, (2) colors equal to and independent of suits, and (3) other unique visual and logical qualities detailed elsewhere. TRIPLICARDS were invented by Jon Freeman and taught to behave on your computer by Anne Westfall.
Free Fall Games (formerly Free Fall Associates) is a 20-year-old game company whose name is derived from the last names of its founders: Jon Freeman and Anne Westfall. Any game designed and developed by Free Fall Games - including every TRIPLICARD game - is a
Evolution: Those few of you with old computers and long memories may have noticed that the cards have changed names a couple of times. The first reference in print (in the Invasion Orion Battle Manual, back in 1979) used our original name: TRIAD. Although this always seemed a suitable and appealing term, trademark complications led us eventually to abandon it. On GameTV, therefore, our card games became known as THRALL games. Some people objected to the fantasy connotations, however, and to many others the name simply didn't mean anything. After a while, we realized we needed a name that was less suggestive and more descriptive - something, ideally, that connected playing cards with the number three. The term "TRIPLICARDS" fit the bill so well that we are not going to change it again.
Ownership: This site, as well as all material on it, was created by Jon Freeman: copyright © 2002 by Free Fall Games. Previously published portions of the text copyright © 1998-2000 by Free Fall Games (as Free Fall Associates). All TRIPLICARD games, written rules, and associated Help files are separately copyrighted by Free Fall Games.
Patent Note: No, it's not one of those notorious "software patents" (too often based on techniques that are simple, previously used, or obvious to everyone but the PTO), about which we have as many qualms as you. It's an ordinary patent, in a well-established, thoroughly documented field (cards and card games), that applies to the sorts of cards you can hold in your hand and to simulations thereof on computers, game machines, and other devices.
Meaning: In plain English, we own all the rights to the cards and games, in any form. We've spent an enormous amount of time (decades!) and effort working on them; the games are inexpensive and affordable, and you can try some for free. Duplicating and distributing our games without permission, plagiarizing, or otherwise ripping us off is therefore rude, illegal on many counts, counterproductive, unnecessary, and uncalled for, and could, as they say, result in civil liability or criminal penalty. Please don't do it!
The economics of the situation are as elementary as the ethics. We are not a large, rich, faceless corporation: there are only two of us (with faces, thank you); we're not independently wealthy; we have a mortgage to pay. We can only afford to keep making games if you - well, most of you - like our games enough to buy them. Simple as that.
Primary credit or blame rests overwhelmingly with just two people. Creating, improving, and eventually patenting TRIPLICARDS was essentially the work - indeed, obsession - of the same person - Jon Freeman - who designed all of the TRIPLICARD games. Developing computer versions of the games required only one other: Anne Westfall, who did all the programming.
However, as John Donne famously said, no man is an island - and neither are even the most independent game developers. The evolution of the cards and games benefited from the playtesting, feedback, advice, and - yes - criticism of a number of friends, relatives, and colleagues. Accordingly, we'd like to thank the following people:
Finally, thanks to George Barr - professional artist, friend, and all-around good guy - for taking a bunch of crudely scrawled index cards, some hazy descriptions of Nobles and Royals, and a set of blank playing cards, and producing a professional-looking prototype of the standard deck - the same "real" deck we've used ever since (almost 20 years!) to playtest and demonstrate new games. Although the card graphics have evolved considerably - largely as the result of the migration to computers - the sharp-eyed may still detect lingering signs of George's influence on the court cards, especially in the Master of Order.
Feedback: We welcome your comments. If you have a problem with one of our games, please let us know, and we'll try to fix it or explain it. (Try to be as specific as you can.) Conversely, if you are particularly pleased with something we've done, we'd be happy to hear about that (happier, in fact). Send a short email to contact@FreeFallGames.com. Tell your friends, too - but only about the good stuff. We are open to suggestions for improvement, provided you heed the warning below.
Game Ideas: We are not looking for new game ideas. We already have at least the outlines of close to 100 TRIPLICARD games, and since it's a lot easier to concoct new ones than to implement the games I've already designed, our list of prospective titles is growing faster than it's shrinking. Besides, of the four stages of game development - concept, design, development, implementation - the first, inventing the game, is (obviously) the most fun and (not so obviously) the least important.
Good ideas, of course, can come from anywhere, and in a perfect world, we wouldn't mind hearing yours. Unfortunately, in this world, there are crackpots, lawyers, and juries that can't be counted on to render an appropriate verdict: altogether, a horrifying combination. (I've been an expert witness in game copyright cases, and that's as close as I care to come to a courtroom.)
You may be a perfectly reasonable person, but someone out there would send us "Hearts with TRIPLICARDS" as a "game design" and then demand half the income from anything we produced along those lines. (It's an idea, not a design; neither novel nor valuable; and one that occurred to me a long time ago. From that same fairly obvious starting point, I've already designed at least three quite different games, including Heartless, which some people have played online.) I trust you see our problem.
Warning: For our own protection, all game concepts, designs, and suggestions that you submit to us and that pertain to TRIPLICARDS or TRIPLICARD games become the property of Free Fall Games, to be used (or not) as we please, without recompense. Please don't expect payment for any ideas or suggestions you give us. (We don't object to "sharing the wealth" where appropriate, but at present there's no wealth to share. Sorry.)
We do not publish anyone else's games. Do not submit unrelated games or anything resembling a game design: it will be returned or deleted.
We apologize for being so discouraging. Feedback can be quite helpful, and, with the major caveat just mentioned, we would appreciate your comments. If we implement one of your suggestions, we would be happy to add your name to our list of acknowledgments.
Although we are not fans of ratings and rating systems, we have labeled this site in accordance with ICRA standards. Since we want the site to welcome not just teens but also parents and, indeed, grandparents, we are excluding nudity, violence, and vulgarity. (In view of our subject matter - cards and card games - this is perhaps not a major sacrifice on our part.)
Some caution may still be needed, however. The language of this Web site - Standard American English coupled with a mutant vocabulary strain modified to fit a unique environment - may be unfamiliar: it omits the misspellings typical of computer games, the journalistic "conventions" of daily newspapers, the solecisms of contemporary speech (like using like as a conjunction, you know?), and the dreary obscenities of the unimaginative. The text does contain specialized terminology, idiosyncratic typography, big words, compound and complex sentences, proper grammar, sarcasm, puns, and other forms of humor that may elude some readers. Those who slept through English class may be exposed inadvertently to examples of correct usage, and anyone whose primary avocation is "hanging out" may require a dictionary or translator. Blame Jon Freeman, who is also responsible for the informal tone throughout.
We could assert that we "valued your privacy," blah blah blah, but that would be as silly as claiming that we cared about your taste in living-room furniture. We care about whether you like our games - especially if you like them enough to spend a little money on them. Unless we get to know you on a more personal level, we don't care how long you surf the Net, what sites you visit, what books you read, or what TV shows you watch. We're only interested in the game-playing (or game-buying) portion of your day.
If you actually buy some of our games, we'll learn a little bit about you - mostly a credit card number and an email address. Your biggest "risk" is the possibility that, if we ever get organized, we might send you an announcement when we release another set of games. (The likelihood of our producing more games is much higher than our chances of constructing an actual mailing list, however, so please keep checking this site for news.)
Any information we get from you will not be given to third parties, sold to spammers, or otherwise spread around the Web. Spammers, like roaches, should be squashed, not encouraged, and even legitimate vendors can get their own customers, thank you. We may not know much about marketing, but we at least know enough not to actively drive away the people who support us!
Product Information: For pictures and descriptions of TRIPLICARD playing cards, decks, or games, use the links below.
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