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I was thinking of creating a custom player board for Eclipse as a gift for a friend of mine.

Looking it up online I found an image of something quite similar to what I wanted:

Fanmade Star Trek board for Eclipse

I have three questions.

  1. Where would I find original graphics to modify?
  2. How can I produce good quality boards?
  3. Is this legal?

Note: This is not the exact board I want to make. I will not use a Star Trek theme; I am planning to use another theme that is not trademarked.

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1. Where would I find original graphics to modify?

You could use a scanner. Many home and office printers can act as a scanner, so it should be pretty easy to get access to one. 300dpi is sufficient, but avoid anything lower.

In this particular case, you could derive from this.

2. How can I produce good quality boards?

Depends on what material you want it printed. If you just want some thick paper, talk to your local print shop.

3. Is this legal?

The original board does get some Copyright protections.

This doesn't mean what you're doing is illegal. Fair use allows the use of works protected by Copyright. In the US, judges consider the following four factors to determine if a copyrighted work is allowed under by fair use:

  • The purpose and character of your use,
  • The nature of the copyrighted work,
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market.

Your custom boards are not a replacement for the game, so the tests lean in your favour.

And if you're doing this for yourself and maybe a few friends, there's really no issue.

Using Picard's picture is more questionable. But even if it's technically infringing, it's not really a problem unless you start producing many and/or selling them.

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The developers have posted official goodies on this boardgamegeek page. I don't see a scoring track file, but there is a compact technology board in pdf format and other files you could take graphics from.

I'm not familiar with techniques on how to make a high-quality product, but I'm sure it will involve a decent colour printer, some heavy cardboard backing, glue, and probably a nice roller to smooth it out. ;-)

If it's for your own personal use and not for resale, I think you're in the clear using the developer-supplied pdf files above, but I am not a lawyer.

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