Hacking Terminal Directive

Once I got the chance to pull out Terminal Directive and start playing it, I noticed that this was less like a campaign game and more like a legacy game.  I’m personally not a fan of legacy games because my preservation instincts are very strong; I don’t like destroying things or making permanent marks on things that can’t be replaced.  So, after our first game, I started strategizing how I might go about preserving the components of Terminal Directive while still making it fun to play.  Don’t worry, there are no story spoilers ahead, though I will be talking about the different kinds of components and how they interact.

There are three kinds of permanent modifications that occur in Terminal Directive: stickers that change the state of the play area (your PAD), stickers that change the text on cards, and accounting marks on the stickers.  The first two I feel like I was able to solve reasonably well, while the last one I’ve punted a bit to use pen and paper (though I’m still thinking on that one.)

Solving the PAD sticker problem was pretty easy to simply do with tokens.  In particular, I 3D printed some red and blue rectangles to host the stickers which fit nicely on the PADs.  There is still a need to track which stickers came from which story card and which slot they are supposed to rest in, so I’ve denoted that with small stickers on the back.  This allows for some replayability, with the caveat that there may be fewer surprises if you search through the stack of tokens and learn of alternative objectives, tasks, or ethos.

Card modifications were a bit trickier, as, ideally, they should still be shufflable, and the text should be correct on the card.  Since I sleeve all my cards, I decided to slice up a clear card sleeve and attach the sticker to that, and drop it into the appropriate sleeve.  This is thin enough that it shouldn’t be noticeable when shuffling/drawing, but achieves the goal that you can simply look at the card for the updated text rather than having to look it up (which is important if you are trying to bluff.)

The last thing is accounting marks on the stickers – tracking things like the number of games won/lost, number of tags scored, etc.  Ideally, you could track this directly, but for now I’m simply using pen and paper.  One thought that I had was to laminate the stickers and use dry erase markers, but I’m not totally sold on that as those marks have a tendency to get under the laminate if it’s not totally covering.  I may still play around with this though to see if I can’t get something that both looks good and is functional for marking directly on the stickers.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how it’s working so far.  I feel good that I’ve accomplished the goals of the changing gameplay, without permanently altering my game.

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