Saturday, June 27, 2015

Eminent Domain Origins: Terra Prime

Those following this blog may recall my first published game: Terra Prime. You may also recall the production issues that plagued the print run. Only 2,000 copies of Terra Prime were printed, and some of those were thrown away due to extremely poor alignment and die cutting, and potential for mold inside the box.

Needless to say, that was a disappointing start to my game design career. It was also a disappointing start to TMG's publishing career. Thankfully, Michael persevered, and TMG has grown into a well established, well known, and well loved board game publisher, and along the way I've grown as a designer and a developer as well.

But when it comes to Terra Prime, I've always wanted a sort of "do-over." The game is now almost 10 years old, but I played it again recently and I still think it's a solid, fun game. Over the years I have romanticized doing a re-print, updating the rules, using a high quality manufacturer, and including the expansion I already designed. Occasionally Michael has mentioned that it's not out of the question to do a reprint, but the priority is never high, and he's very concerned that the fact it's a reprint of a game that (automatically) didn't sell well will hurt it's chances in the marketplace. I've even toyed with the idea of kickstarting it myself so Michael and TMG wouldn't have to worry about that part of it.

Since Terra Prime was published in 2009, I (and TMG) have enjoyed a little more success with my next game, Eminent Domain. In 2010 we successfully kickstarterted that deck-learning game, raising over $48,000. Since then we've reprinted that game twice, successfully funded an expansion for over $100,000, and are currently funding a 2nd expansion as well as another game by Philip duBarry in the EmDo universe.

EmDo is a franchise that's done well for TMG, and Michael likes the idea of setting other games in that universe. Battlecruisers is the first, but may not be the last. Recently Michael mentioned the possibility of setting a Terra Prime reprint in the EmDo universe, and I think that would be a fine way to go.

I would absolutely love the opportunity to clean up the rules to Terra Prime, set it in the EmDo universe, and see it kickstarted and made into a reality. I imagine the title would be Eminent Domain Origins: Terra Prime, and the setting would be well in the past, before the players had carved out sections of the galaxy to rule over, they were all part of the same faction... vying to ascend to the Leadership of the Federation.

All the planets would get swapped out with Fertile, Metallic, Advanced, and Exotic planets. The resources too would be swapped out - no more Bluium, Greenium, Yellium, and Brownium - but instead Food, Water, Silicon, and Iron. The cartoony, retro sci-fi art (that wasn't too well received) would be replaced with the sleek EmDo art (that's gone over very well).

What do you think? Would you want to see Eminent Domain Origins: Terra Prime become a thing? Would you support such a kickstarter project? Let me know in the comments below!


Craig Maloney said...

Yes, please. I still hang on to my copy of Terra Prime (unpunched) in the hopes of one day converting it to a better format.

Scurra said...

Well it makes perfect sense to me. You've got an established "brand" now, and it doesn't seem at all unreasonable to reposition a game that is already in the right genre into the same universe, even if it requires a bit of juggling.
And it's never a bad thing to be able to revisit something and tune it a little with the benefit of hindsight and player comments.

Unknown said...

I like the idea. Pulling into the EmDo universe would help a lot on sales. Also it has been 10 years and many people would not recognize it with the updates.

Anonymous said...

I'm not at the stage where I'd buy a boardgame based on your shopping list, but I can see it from here...

That disclaimer out of the way, I'd definitely be interested in seeing such a beast, rethemed or otherwise.

I would also like to speak in defense of 'cartoonish' art -- part of the attraction to my copy of Glory To Rome is the artwork. It's not a huge part, but it's a positive, much like the over-the-top cartoon grotesque that is the Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards series.

Daniel Palmer said...

Sounds interesting. I'd be in for that KickStarter.

Seth Jaffee said...

@Craig - Thatnks for the comment! It warms my heart that there are TP fans out there :)

@Scurra - Exactly! I totally agree with you there, it's what I've been thinking all along. I'd love to give TP another chance.
In other news, how are things on your side of the pond? Got any board game designs brewing? Played All For One recently?

@Unknown - You're right. I was thinking that so few peolple have played it, many might not even recognize it as a re-release, but you're spot on that after so many years even people who DID play the game may not recognize it!

TMG started in 2009, and launched with 2 titles: Terra Prime and Homesteaders. Maybe I can talk Mike into doing a 10th Anniversary Edition of those 2 games for 2019... I know he wants to do a Deluxe Homesteaders (or, he used to)... or maybe we could talk Alex Rockwell into making an expansion for Homesteaders for that!

@Anonymous - I totally agree about Glory to Rome! I STRONGLY prefer the original art to the Black Box edition. Black Box looks to me like a prototype (and I've seen a LOT of prototypes!), what with the muted, similar colors on off-white cards. It looks like a printer friendly print-and-play to me.

@Daniel - Thanks for the support! Have you ever had a chance to play Tterra Prime?

AlexC said...

I love Terra Prime pretty much just as it is :) (I can see it'd be better with the nice translucent energy cubes it was meant to have though.) My first game that made it to a publisher drew some inspiration from Terra Prime. (Sadly the publisher in question self-destructed before Space Dogsbody could get out the door...) But even though I didn't particularly notice any gameplay problems at the time or during our plays since then, it'd be awesome to see a re-release with an expansion and with whatever tweaks your more experienced designer's eyes can see to do :)

Tom Gurganus said...

A Homesteaders expansion would be very welcome.

Anonymous said...

Loved the original, would buy a spin-off or expansion in a heart beat. :D