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A card game with trade, exploration and combat in Marc Miller's classic RPG setting, The Third Imperium.
A card game with trade, exploration and combat in Marc Miller's classic RPG setting, The Third Imperium.
775 backers pledged $56,676 to help bring this project to life.


Posted by Horizon Games (Creator)

tl;dr:  Although there are some annoying delays, production is beginning.

Unfortunately, we've had to reduce the number of card sleeve designs.  We'll be condensing all the designs into just three.  Backers will be compensated with extra promo cards, but we can also work on an individual basis with backers who wish to change their order.


We just received the sample sheets from the factory.  They all look good, so we've approved them for full line production, which should start sometime next week.

We've posted some sample cards before, so you might be wondering why we needed to sample again.  Basically, the earlier samples were one-off prints, where the goal was more to test the physical appearance of the individual cards.  

These samples are uncut sheets, meant to test the production process itself, to make sure once we push the "go button" to make everything, it'll all fit right.  Here are some pictures:

please note, the pictures may look a little dull/fuzzy, but that's our photography skills.  In person, the cards are sharp and vibrant.

Card Sheet Sample
Card Sheet Sample


Card Sheet Sample 2
Card Sheet Sample 2


Card Sheet Close Up
Card Sheet Close Up


Insert Sample
Insert Sample


Insert Sample 2
Insert Sample 2

Once production is complete, packaging commences.  We're not a large scale industrial client, so we don't have custom dies that can automate packaging.  Our tuck boxes have to be packed by hand, and our boxed sets have to be compiled by hand.  All of that takes more time than if it were done by machine, but that's just how it is.


Now, for some bad news.  Because of the process used to print images on the plastic sleeves, set up costs for the eight designs we had planned are just not feasible. 

We've done everything we can to lower the setup costs, but at the end of the day, the copper plates used for each design are a fixed price that can't be avoided.

Consequently, we have been forced to change our plan for card sleeves.  We had originally offered eight designs.  The four ships (Scout, Beowulf, Empress, Sub Merch), the blue card back, the red card back, the Imperial Sunburst, and Norah Wells.

Regrettably, we have been obligated to reduce those to just three designs:

Imperial Sunburst

Traveller Card Back (blue)

Traveller Card Back (red)

On the up side, these designs are by far the most common (which is why we picked them), so only a relatively small number of backers are impacted. Of course, we don't want to impact anyone, but if necessary, we want to minimize disruption.

Backers who ordered the other designs will receive instead one of the three above.  We will also be compensating them with additional promo cards.  These are promo cards we had made to give out as event prizes for demos or tournaments, and for other special occasions.

Just to be clear, if you ordered sleeves of one of the deleted designs, you will receive one of the other packs instead.  You won't "lose out."  Even so, I know perhaps you may prefer to order fewer (or none at all).  We can work with backers on an individual basis to resolve concerns, so feel free to contact us.

Please note, this is only in relation to card sleeves.  All other products are unchanged.


We're also providing at this time the finished rulebook for download.

Please be aware, the book is actually square in shape (which you'll see if you ordered a Starter Set or Collector's Edition), so if you try to print it on standard 8.5" x 11" paper, it will look a bit off.


Finally, you may be wondering about the title of this update.  It's inspired by Raymond Scott's song Powerhouse, which is the sound I imagine factories make when they produce stuff.

AcesofDeath7, Perry Tatman, and 13 more people like this update.


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    1. David Spangler on

      I went back and looked again and could see the differences you mentioned. Totally overlooked the circular and hexagonal shapes around the ships--good example of the eye seeing what it expects. Thanks for the clarification!

    2. Horizon Games 2-time creator on

      I think he was referring to the card itself, which gives me the opportunity to mention something I meant to include.

      Although the icons on the card are not identical, it's entirely possible that they could have been. A card can have multiple abilities with identical costs. There's even an example of that later in the rulebook, with the crew card George Zamepiimaakha. He has two abilities to gain skills, each of which has a cost of 1.

      So while Tactical Display does have two abilities, one requiring a trained token and the other an expert, it is possible that it could have had two abilities, each having identical costs.

    3. Ric Van Dyke

      I think the problem that @David Spangler pointed out isn't the card actually that has an issue, rather the text in the description. There the icons look different, beyond the hex and circle, the one with the circle I suspect is wrong, the ship looks a bit off.

    4. Ric Van Dyke

      Coolness. I suspected there would be an icon key on other places, just reading the rules I at first had a bit trouble with the "ready" and "exert" icons in particular on page 5. After see which was which on page 44 it made total sense, the icon is the card moving from one position to the other, duh! I still think a line like "Note: All icons are defined on page 44" on page 4 of the rules would be great, this is after all where the rules are defining "important Terms", and the icons are pretty important! :-)

    5. Horizon Games 2-time creator on

      We will actually also make the icon key available as a separate download. You'll be sick of all our icon keys!

    6. Horizon Games 2-time creator on

      The majority of the icons are introduced by term (image). For instance, on the very first page, both Ship (ship icon) and Victory Points (VP icon) occur.

      There are some instances where this isn't true. Generally speaking we didn't do it where it interrupted the flow, where the area was a summary, and where the definition was coming in the next page or two (for instance, the card slots quick introduction on page 3 doesn't have the same introductions because they get it at least twice, on page 6 and 12).

      But it is true that we rely far more on repetition and continually introducing the same theme rather than on a simple icon list (which we do provide). Because of the sheer number of icons, it may take a few games to really get them down, but we're hoping that simple picture matching will help carry people through that process.

    7. Ric Van Dyke

      Since most of the icons are not defined when they are first used in the rules, I think it would be helpful to have a statement on one of the first pages that all the icons are identified on page 44. I had to scroll thru the entire document assuming they must be defined at some point. Really looks good, can’t wait to get it and on the table! Thanks much!

    8. Robert Murphey on

      This reminds me a lot of the stories from Barry Nakazono and company when they were building licensed games out of their Phoenix Command and Living Steel rules. It seems decades of progress haven't made getting a physical game out the door any easier. Thanks for persevering and thanks for the glimpses of the final parts - reading through the rulebook is very interesting =)

    9. Horizon Games 2-time creator on

      The two icons on the card are not identical, but they're close. Each has a little space ship icon, but one is bound by a silver hexagon, the other by a gold circle. This is how we differentiate the two levels of skills possessed by crew, trained and expert.

    10. David Spangler on

      Thanks for the update.

      On Page 4 of the rules, under Costs, the example card used, "Tactical Display", under Resource Costs, the two icons shown on the card are identical as far as I can tell (with page greatly magnified) whereas the Example Description in italics shows two different icons, which I assume is correct, making the card illustration wrong. This could be confusing. An error on the card, perhaps?

    11. Perry Tatman on

      Great update, understand regarding delay and sleeves. Happy with extra promos :-)

    12. Steve Burchett on

      OMG, thanks for the Powerhouse reference-- it is used quite a lot in Looney Toons and I never knew what it was! :-D