Terra Prime: A conversation deck, and educational tool

Terra Prime

Born of Conversation

Beauty in Knowledge, Knowledge made Beautiful

This deck was designed after finding how hard it was for complex conversations to be used for practical purposes.  While I believe conversation is an end unto itself, I also found how hard it was to retrace the wonderful thoughts shared in groups.  I also found how hard it was for students, family, and colleagues to have discussions equitably.  This system is designed not only to let people have a fair turn in conversations, but also to prevent unnecessary adversarial debates when thinking creatively and with a sense of discovery is possible.  

Each deck contains 28 cards and 2 instruction cards.  The front of each Blueprint Deck card contains a classical image consistent with the theme of that card.  It’s taken a year to distill all of the themes in the deck.  Each theme represents big questions that apply to almost any situation and challenges the user to think differently about a complex problem.  A website is launching with this campaign with a copy of our handbook, which describes strategies for using the deck, including games and ways to record a conversation.  

each card comes with an instruction template to describe how each card works, and also includes links to online resources more information and strategies to use the deck

Here’s a peek at the front image one of our Blueprint Deck cards:

Card 20 — The Multiverse

Why Kickstarter?

We are selling the Blueprint Deck to raise money for the Artisan Deck, which will recreate the deck using original art from local artists and additional ideas from home to express our contribution with the world. We believe the two-way street between home and world matters, and has the ability to change the way we have discussions and how we integrate knowledge when discussing the complexities of the world. To do that, we need to sell a minimum of 2500 decks.  But we don’t want this to be a one-off project. Terra Prime is a learning system, and one that we hope to build upon for years to come.


The funding goal for this Kickstarter will cover the expenses of the entire project. This covers the printing of the deck, and having it shipped here to Albuquerque, New Mexico. It also covers the cost of designing the cards, Kickstarter fees, payment processing fees, and a little bit extra for any miscellaneous costs that we may encounter along the way. If funding surpasses our minimum goal (2,500 decks), we will also allocate funding for a fully realized online app, and we will be able to produce more than 2,500 copies.  We want to work with artists in developing our companion deck with original art. Help us make that happen!

Together, we can make this happen! Thanks for stopping by and THANK YOU for your support!

From MJR Montoya (Founder of project)  From my hometown of Mora, New Mexico to Albuquerque to Oxford to New York to Santa Fe to Atlanta and 67 countries in between, I have poured those experiences into the Blueprint Deck, a conversation deck that pays tribute to ideas and themes from decades of learning centuries of human thought. I grew up collecting comics for comfort and I read books to defend my family and friends with my thoughts and my words.  My mother taught me that my mind and my creativity is the key to how to thrive and survive in this world.  This project is about beauty in survival and it is about living the hard task of sharing knowledge across all sorts of human boundaries. 

Manuel with his younger brother, Chico, proudly presenting our first book and comic collection. This project was decades in the making…

From Claire Stasiewicz, member of the Terra Prime Team

Terra Prime is an important project for me because the cards are a physical representation of many things I highly value. As an academic and educator, I’m constantly trying to find new ways to teach the complexities of the world in ways that are accessible to a diverse audience. Terra Prime is a beautiful aid for this goal, and includes many concepts I write about in my academic work (the black swan and first human power cards are two of my favorites!). My students and my research have both been improved by the Terra Prime concepts.

Claire after meeting in Seoul with the International Olympic Committee to argue for a pop up market for folk artists at the Winter Olympic Games 2018

From Rudy Montoya, member of the Terra Prime Team

I love Terra Prime because the intersections and possibilities are so vast. This deck can engage and impact so many people, subjects, and connections. It makes me indulge my creativity and challenge my critical thinking. I see this as an opportunity to do great works.

Rudy’s work as a makeup and effects artist, stage designer, and painter informs his love for Terra Prime, a project he joined to support his brother Manuel

From Bellal Hossain, member of the Terra Prime Team

I’m a proud Lobo who graduated from the University of New Mexico with a Masters in Information Assurance (Cyber Security). I’m passionate about alleviating global issues, particularly interested in solving poverty in marginalized communities; this deck is a way for us to learn about the depth of those problems so that we can share what we know to create the community needed to solve these issues.

Bellal working on a design-based book he helped write to inform the public on issues of global displacement. Bellal brings a great deal of skill in accounting and management to the project.

Help us make this project happen!  Your support is greatly appreciated.

Risks and challenges

The risks and challenges for this project are relatively low. The cards have already been created, the handbook is designed and ready to share, the deck is laid-out, and is ready to be sent to the printer. If the project hits our goals, we can initiate our project and start our campaign for an artisan deck. All of the work on the deck is complete. It just needs your help to be printed and shipped to us. The rewards for this Kickstarter will be arranged with you directly (including the facilitated sessions). Packaging and shipping of the finished decks will be handled directly by the Terra Prime team. Providing there’s no issues with the deck manufacturing/shipping, our goal is to have the deck in backers hands in August 2022 (international orders may take a little longer due to customs and overseas shipping). There is about a 10 week turnaround on production of the deck that includes shipping from overseas. If the project is fully funded, and after payment is received (usually about 2 weeks after a successful Kickstarter ends) we will send everything off for printing.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Environmental commitments

Visit our Environmental Resources Center to learn how Kickstarter encourages sustainable practices.

Long-lasting design

we selected a linen fiber that is common in playing card stock. We have chosen to work with a company that also uses environmentally friendly coatings that make the cards durable but relatively eco-friendly.

Reusability and recyclability

we are implementing a reuse program for decks, particularly for those used in strategic sessions. For anyone wishing to reuse the decks, we will recycle them by sharing them with local schools and community organizations for use.

Sustainable Distribution

all local deliveries over 1 deck will be delivered in person. We will also host a series of fulfillment parties that will allow people to congregate and learn more about their cards while also saving on packaging and distribution resources. Any residual revenue generated for shipping will be used to as a scholarship for youth interested in participating in future projects or to fund community work using the decks for local schools and community organizations.

Something else

If this project is successful, we will also be launching a line of products that allow you to digitally memorialize your conversations. We are also deeply invested in the representation of traditions and artistic forms from our home state, New Mexico. Our artisan deck will represent original artwork selected from artists invested in defending and representing artistic expressions and traditions that maintain a voice for art and craft from traditional forms.