Author: Nathan McNair

Posted on / by Nathan McNair / in Wasteland Express Delivery Service, Wasteland Wednesdays, Wasteland Wednesdays / 1

Wasteland Wednesday – All the Rest



Short update today.  Mostly odds and ends we haven’t shown you yet.  Character standees and the Not Welcome standees (these represent where you last sold goods, and where you are not welcome for a while because you were a jerk).    We also have the market price/Artifact price board.  Market price adjusts based on the demand from cities for various goods, so you’ll have food, water and weapon sculpts moving around the price wheel.  The artifacts are a constantly increasing price.  So as players buy artifacts, the price will only ever go up.  Also showing off the trailer, which Jason did a fantastic job of looking like a post-it note that someone took a sharpie to in order to make it “match” the dashboard.  Lots of fun little details in the game that really make the world feel very lived in.

Other than that, lots of cards in their final layout.

Next up is the rulebook.  Well, most of the rulebook 🙂  We’re gonna keep the campaign mode secret.  We’ve had 5 different rulebook editors plus the design team and Pandasaurus pour over the text of the rulebook and are finishing up the layout now.  Then it’s box back and we’re off to the races 🙂  We’re gonna keep pre-orders open for a little longer because there is no real reason not to at this point, to feel free and pre-order WEDS here:  PRE-ORDER WASTELAND EXPRESS TODAY!


Posted on / by Nathan McNair / in Wasteland Express Delivery Service, Wasteland Wednesdays, Wasteland Wednesdays

Wasteland Wednesday – All of the Raiders and Allys



Hey everyone!  This week we are showing off a gallery of a ton of Riccardo’s artwork.  This is most of the Raiders and Ally deck of cards, though not 100%.  I also wanted to give you a rough look at the card layout for the Raiders so you get an idea of how these guys are going to work in the context of the final product.


Oh, and a potato phone image of some custom dice!


Next up is the rest of the board and and the rulebook.  We’re gonna keep pre-orders open for a little longer because there is no real reason not to at this point, to feel free and pre-order WEDS here:  PRE-ORDER WASTELAND EXPRESS TODAY!


Posted on / by Nathan McNair / in Wasteland Express Delivery Service, Wasteland Wednesdays, Wasteland Wednesdays / 3

Wasteland Wednesday – The One with Mini Tooling Masters



Hey guys, it’s been a few weeks of much needed vacation for team Pandasaurus, and a long overdue Wasteland Wednesday that is coming at you one day late because we were hoping to get these boss miniature proofs in.  Obviously the colors are not the actual color and these dudes are made out of resin.  I also tried to take some good photos, but my lense is probably not exactly the right one for these dudes.

Next week, we’ll share the rest of Riccardo’s artwork, and after that the rulebook.  We’re gonna keep pre-orders open for a little longer because there is no real reason not to at this point, to feel free and pre-order WEDS here:  PRE-ORDER WASTELAND EXPRESS TODAY!


Posted on / by Nathan McNair / in Wasteland Express Delivery Service, Wasteland Wednesdays / 3

Wasteland Wednesday – The One about Pre-Order Bonuses

Wasteland Web Header


So, this is a day late, and it going to be much, much shorter than normal.

Today, I want to go over the Pre-Order Bonuses for Wasteland Express Delivery Service.   I’m not including any of the story bits in this description because those are a work in progress still.

At a high level,

Events take place at the start of a round and do something good or bad for players.  This is a deck that can be removed if you don’t like such things, but generally add a lot of thematic flavor to the game.

Allies are characters that you can hire to ride with you and bring certain skills along with them.

Faction Jobs are missions that you get at the three faction capitals.

Priority First Class Deliveries are the “game end” conditions.  Normally you have to complete 3 Priority First Class Deliveries to win a game (either the three publicly available ones, or by finding them in the Faction Jobs deck).

The Game Trays insert that comes with all copies of the game.
The Game Trays insert that comes with all copies of the game.


All players may immediately Transport  to any city

Aftershock – All players take one damage

The Summit – All three Capitals are closed – cannot pass thorough them or activate them in any way

Loaded to the Hilt – stack player count bombs on the depot, players may take one during the round

The Raid – 4 DEF Raider attacks players in turn order, player win = safe, player lose = damage, -$3

Three Faction Jobs

Archivist deck = smuggle any 3 goods to New Chernobyl, take a sleeper cab, any temp mod, and keep as rider – reroll one combat die

Republic deck = smuggle any 2 goods to The Rock, get a sleeper cab and keep Lucky Carl as a rider, when delivering roll an attack die add $1 per hit

Oracle deck = Any 2 goods to Attica, get a sleeper cab, temp escort, and keep creepy sad clown Bob, Bob is +6 ATT, discard after use (suicide bomber basically lol)

Meet Zed. He's an Ally. We'll talk about them more later. I've been rambling too much and felt y'all needed a cool image.
Meet Zed. He’s an Ally.

New Allies

Child of War = +3 damage, discard on use

The Zealot = Discard to not take damage

Scout = may reveal a 2nd raider card (replacing the first) in a battle

Priority First Class Delivery – The Fall

Single Goal Scenario (no other goals, first to complete the mission wins) – Have 75 $crap. Rules are there is no supply chits (can only gain goods by stealing from Raiders) and all raiders roll 2 combat and add hits to their revealed DEF.  All players begin with A gunner.


Posted on / by Nathan McNair / in Wasteland Express Delivery Service, Wasteland Wednesdays / 2

Wasteland Wednesday – The One about the Magic Circle and Player Interface    


So, this is going to be a rambly post about game philosophy and how we interact with the ‘play’ spaces and why we have steered Wasteland Expresses graphic design and components in certain directions.  If that sounds horribly boring, you can skip to the end and see a work in progress render of the amazing work that Game Trayz is doing for the mod shop for Wasteland Express.

Oh hey, you are still here.  You are way better than those people who skipped to the bottom to see awesome renders of Gametrayz.

So, I am going to go slightly off the rails to start, but I promise, this is headed somewhere.  Playing a board game (or any game) is at some level an exercise in playing pretend.  There is no universal reason that moving a hunk of pig flesh across a particular white line 100 yards away from another identical white line matters.  But, try telling that to the NFL or the millions of fans of American football.   There is absolutely no reason why pushing forward on a joy stick and pressing A should result in a set of pixels on a TV mimic a forward jump.  But, we all take that for granted as step 1 in 3d games (or pushing Right and pressing A should result in a righthand jump for those of us who were around for the good ole days).

This are two different but similar concepts at play.  One is the magic circle, and the other is intuitive interface design.

The Magic Circle

Let’s start by tackling the magic circle.  The magic circle is super simple.  It is a play space that humans regularly enter where we all agree to a set of rules that otherwise make no sense, but we imbue in those rules all the meaning of the world.   When we play an RPG we know the construct of the world, we know what kind of checks are possible and what sort of encounters we can expect to run into.  We know what upgrade paths exist and which don’t.  As much as we might want to at times, throwing our drink at the DM is now going to help our success with a skill check, because it’s not part of the rules of the game.

The player’s role in the magic circle is really simple:  You have to be willing to entertain the idea that the world that exists in the magic circle matters.  Do you care about your sports team?  Do you want to really get into World of Warcraft?  Did you cry with Aerith died (spoilers, and for the record I had something in my eye)?  This is all part of allowing yourself to be immersed in the play space that you are entering.  Board games are a form of magic circle.  It’s probably easiest to see the magic circle in a game like Pandemic Legacy because the world continues to live from game to game.  Rob Daviau is a super smart guy, and he created a board game world that really becomes you and your friends shared world from game to game.  You really care about that planet by the time you have made it through the year.


Our job is harder.  We have to create world that is immersive, engaging and something that you really want to know more about.

In Wasteland Express (ON TOPIC!), we have a world that we think is really compelling.  We have a band of pretty interesting main characters that each have their own motivations.  Zero might look like “character that drives an army truck and starts with better weapons and armor”, but in the storyline we’ve crafted she is a former leader of the New Republic Army whose entire squad was killed during a major battel between the Raiders and the New Republic Army.  It left Torque (the Raider leader) horribly wounded, the New Republic Army in pieces and Zero personally devastated and looking for answers.  As the New Republic Army retreated from trying to establish order in the Wasteland, Zero found her own goals no longer aligned with her faction, so she left.  She wanted to be out there fighting Raiders, and she found a place that she could accomplish her goals while making enough money to live.  The fallout from that battle also shaped the motivations of the New Republic Army and sent the Lord Grand Emperor Torque to extreme measures to make himself stronger.  That single encounter is what set the world of Wasteland Express spinning out of control, and is the starting point for our campaign mode.   You’ll run into other characters in the world both major and minor whose back-story was fleshed out by the battle between the New Republic Army and The Raiders.  It is going to have massive repercussions for the world of WEDS as you play through the campaign that will eventually touch all of the characters in the world, not just those that were part of the battle.

Bandit Also has a backstory. We're keeping that secret.
Zero will absolutely kick your ass.    Bandit Also has a backstory. We’re keeping that secret.

This is just a small taste of the world that we are building for WEDS, and it’s one that we like to think is pretty compelling.  Hopefully compelling enough that people want to keep coming back to the WEDS world for years to come for spin offs and expansions and sequels (we have big plans for this game).

But, all of that is sort of pointless if the game isn’t fun.  The good news is, the game is really fun.  It is also really pointless if we built this entire world for a game that turns into a Feld resource management game.  I mean, I love Feld games, but I don’t think anyone really wants to dive into a post-apocalyptic wasteland in order to move cubes around and score Victory Points.   So, the guys created a very immersive world.  You aren’t trying to score VPs.  You are trying to complete contracts for the Wasteland Express Delivery Service and missions for the factions.  There is a core Euro economy at the heart of the game, but the ways you play the game and the ways you win the game are increadibly thematic.  So, we have what we think is a really cool world and a really cool story and really immsive gameplay.  So, what could possibly go wrong?

Player Interface.

Remember 5 hours ago when you started reading this blog?  And I mentioned the thing about pushing forward and pressing A to jump forward?  That’s player interface.  Video Games are an easy analogy.  If you had to press Back Right the Left trigger and the Y button to jump you would have a whole lot of people not wanting to play your game no matter how awesome it is.  Because your player interface is bad, and it draws you out of whatever world you are creating to stare at your controller.

Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram was one of my favorite Dreamcast Games.   I was even one of the weird kids with a Sega Saturn and played the hell out of Virtual On there.  I saw a Virtual On arcade cabinet recently and pumped a ton of money into it.  Virtual On was not a big hit for a lot of reasons.  Not least of all is the fact that the controls are super hard to get down.  To turn right you have to push up on your left thumb stick and back on the right stick.   Once you get the controls down the game works pretty well, but the twin stick controls that were born out of the arcade cabinet did not lend itself to new players well.  You pretty much had to decide you wanted to play this game and then spend the next few weeks pounding nails into your leg to git gud (I think the kids still say this).  Fighting Games and Rocket League are pretty similar.  They are kind of intentionally obtuse games that exist primarily for Meta Gaming (or competitive gaming).  Immersion in the world of Rocket League is far less important than being good at Rocket League.  It’s Magic Circle is closer to that of the NFL team we talked about.  It’s not trying to create an immersive world; it’s trying to create a competitive meta-gaming world.  So, sort of hard to control trucks that can fly through the air in ways that still baffle me works really well for that game.

Things I cannot do.
Things I cannot do.

In the world of board games, this is why a Feld game or a game of Antiquity can look like this, because their goal is not immersion in a game world, but meta-gaming and efficiency engines:



Wasteland Express is not one of those games.  Balanced though it may be, the goal here is immersion.  I want you to make truck sounds, and start singing really bad pop-punk songs about being an arms dealer like my sisters-in-law were doing over the weekend while playing the game.

We cannot look like a Feld game.  We need your actions to be simple, streamlined and thematic.  It’s why we spent so much time on the player’s dashboard.  We wanted it to look like a control display on your truck.  We wanted it to be simple to follow and as thematic as possible without getting in the way of gameplay.  It’s the most important part of the player interface.

But, with a board game every component of the game is the player interface.  Your truck, the board, the cards, the characters, the miniatures, the dice.  All of it is your interface with the game.  Because Wasteland Express is at some level an idea out there.  The cardboard chits that you interact with are just the language the game speaks.  The game is something more ephemeral than the pieces on the board.  It’s a shared play space between you and your friends.  The rulebook and the components are just the physical representation of this metaphysical idea of the game “wasteland express” that exists.

If you’ll allow a former Philosophy major to go totally off the rails for a moment:  One of my favorite philosophers is a man called Ludwig Wittgenstein.  He was fired as a teacher for boxing kid’s ears, so he was also kind of a jerk.  But, he had a very important idea about language that until the 1950’s when Chomsky came along sort of ruled the world of linguistics.  The basic idea is that words are pictures.  Inadequate pictures that we use to try and describe the world around us.  The color blue for instance is not the word blue.  There is out there a thing that exists that we see that we call “blue”, but the word we use is not precise enough to fully and adequately describe what we are trying to describe with it, but we all understand what we are trying to describe when we use the word.  In epistemological terms he was attempting to come to terms with the fact that human language is trying to describe something out there, but the language is not the thing it is describing.

Look at this hipster
Look at this hipster

I think this same thing applies to all games.  The Legend of Zelda is not a TV screen in my living room and a controller in my hands.  Nor is it Miyamato and the team at Nintendo who created it.  It’s something that is in a way living and breathing, and the “rules” of the game are just a starting point for an interactive experience that is created when I play the game.  With board games it’s very similar.  The components sitting on the table are a crude interpretation of this shared play space that you and your friends are entering.  You are driving a truck across the desert, battling Raiders and creating a shared story each and every time you play Wasteland Express.

So our job is to make sure you are pulled out of that world as little as humanly possible.  It’s why your truck is an awesome miniature.  It’s why we just upgraded the player action chits to these awesome sculpted cogs.  It’s why we molded the goods cubes, and why they nest in the back of the player trucks.  It’s why we have Riccardo Burchielli creating amazing artwork, and why Josh Cappel and Jason Kingsley are making amazing graphic design for the game.  It’s why we are putting so much story and backstory into this world.  Not because things like this are awesome (they are!), but beacause they are the players gateway to this shared adventure that is Wasteland Express and we need to make sure that we are doing what we need to do to help you and your friends transport yourselves there for a couple of hours.

It’s also why we are working with Game Trayz to make custom inserts for this game.  Not because it’s handy to set the game up in 5 minutes, or because it looks cool in the box, or because it’s a good marketing check box.  These things are all true as well.  But because we want you to have as seemless an experience in the world of Wasteland Express as you can.   And sorting through 25 kinds of chits and taking 20 minutes to set up the game isn’t going to transport you there.

With all of that said, I present to you a first draft of the Mod Shop.  One of several custom inserts that will be part of Wasteland Express.  Not just to help you set the game up in less than 5 minutes (though, that is a goal for sure), but also to keep you in the world of the game.  Here are your truck upgrades, all in one place.  The store that sells them to you.  No rifling through the box or baggies or piles of chits looking for the part your truck needs.  It’s right where it should be, on the store shelf.


Note: everything is non-final here:

modshop3modshop4 modshop2 modshop1 modshop5



Posted on / by Nathan McNair / in Wasteland Express Delivery Service, Wasteland Wednesdays

Wasteland Wednesday – The How to Play Video


Hey guys, welcome to a really low quality potato camera shot how to play video of Wasteland Express Delivery Service.  Obviously I am not Rodney, so I jump around a bit in my thought process, but this should give you a good overview of how the gameplay of WEDS works.  Head below the fold for some more shots of final game components.  You can see some of the player vehicles, the Raider vehicles are going to be the guy with the empty truck bed, and the goods cubes will be actual molded bits that nest in the back of the Raider trucks.

You can also see the standees for Wasteland Express.  These will be used to mark the completion of the three end-game objectives.  There will also be a black and white version denoting that you aren’t wanted any longer to mark the last city you traded with as a reminder that you can’t deliver goods to that city until you’ve delivered somewhere else.

Don’t forget to check out the pre-order page for exclusive pre-order bonus missions!

We’ll be back next week to talk about Game Trayz.  Why we are partnering with them, why they are the best thing ever and why you are going to be really happy to have a Game Trayz insert in your copy of Wasteland Express.  For now, you can head to GameTrayz to check out their wares.

Read more

Posted on / by Nathan McNair / in Wasteland Express Delivery Service, Wasteland Wednesdays

Wasteland Wednesday – The One about Gen Con

Wasteland Web Header


Hey everyone, this is going to be a short Wasteland Wednesday for two exciting reasons.

  • I’m shooting a video tomorrow to go over gameplay for Wasteland Express. It’ll have non final components, but will be 10 minutes of how the game works.  Keep in mind, I am not Rodney.  I am awkward ginger, so don’t expect it to be that entertaining.
  • Gen Con was amazing, and I’m still really tired. Got to see tons of old friends, and finally meet a few people who I’ve somehow never run into before.  I also got my hands on a couple games I super wanted to play, so that’s exciting.

GenCon was a fantastic show for Pandasaurus Games.  We announced Machi Koro: Bright Lights, Big City.  We announced Word Porters by Hisashi Hayashi.  We announced Starfall from Scott Almes.  And we did a whole bunch of awesome stuff for Wasteland Express.


On Thursday night we held a small party with the designers and some press to play Wasteland Express Delivery Service and it went really well.  Everyone had a fantastic sign, and it was out first look at critical reviewers getting their hands on WEDS.  Friday night we had a special play session with my favorite video reviewers, and it likewise went really really well.  I don’t want to name names, because I don’t want to imply endorsements before anyone has had a chance to review final copies of the game, but the reactions left us very excited.

We had a great meeting with Panda GM (our printer) and Game Trayz to discuss the design and layout of the insert for Wasteland Express delivery service.  It’s going to be absolutely amazing.  Set up time should be down to under 5 minutes from opening a box to playing a game, which is important because the game itself hums along at a pretty fast clip, so we wanted to make sure you could play without spending 15 minutes sorting chits and cards to start the game.  If you don’t know what Game Trayz is, you will soon.  Noah and his team are insanely good at what they do, and if you own any games that he makes inserts for, you should already own them.  They are that slick.


We got some 3d printed minis in for the game as well.  I’ll show these in the video, but not in photos.  3d printing is super cool stuff, but for smaller detail on figures they are not very good.  So, they look not as good as the final product will, but it gave us a good chance to put them on the board, nest the goods in the back of the Raider truck and get a sense for how it will all be coming together once the game is done.

If you haven’t already taken a look at our pre-order page, now is a great time to do so.  We’ll be sharing more information about the game going forward over the next few weeks.  And keep your eyes peeled for our video next week.


Posted on / by Nathan McNair / in Wasteland Express Delivery Service, Wasteland Wednesdays / 2

Wasteland Wednesday – The one about pre-orders

Wasteland Web Header


Hey everyone, this is going to be a relatively short post as team Pandasaurus gets ready to board a plane to Gen Con.  We’ll have a copy of the game on display at Gen Con, and will be hosting a little party for members of the media tomorrow night and I suspect some impressions will get out on Twitter.  Friday we’ll be having a play session with my favorite review crew in the industry, and hopefully we’ll get some impressions out of that as well.  We’re trying to get as many big name industry folks as possible to play Wasteland because it’s super super fun.

Most importantly, we’ve begun to take pre-orders for Wasteland Express Delivery Service starting today and running through September 15th.  You can pre-order here!

You’ll of course get a copy of the game, but we also want to do some special stuff.  Namely a custom insert from Game Trayz and an exclusive early adopters promotional kit.

The early adopters promotional kit is being designed as we speak.  Or as I write.  However that works.  We are not 100% sure what will be included in it, because we are still working on the balance and playtest of what works and what doesn’t.  These aren’t going to be the typical promo cards that are kind of neat, but mostly break the game or act contrary to the spirit of the game.  They are going to be items you *really* want in the box and you won’t be able to get them outside of this pre-order campaign.


We know for sure there will be exclusive faction missions for the game that will change gameplay up in ways that the base game doesn’t.  There will be event cards.  These will be cards with an s on the end of them.  So while we don’t have a final count, somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-3 events and 6 faction missions (2 per faction) is the goal.  This would represent a 25% increase in events and a 12% increase in faction missions, so nothing to sneeze at.

One that we are working on (by working on, I mean I came up with the idea and now it’s on people with real talent to make it work) is to have the Raiders invade the capital of the three factions and require you to attack them before you can enter the city.   There will also be something in there that we have to keep a surprise in case it doesn’t work with the gameplay, but if it does will be super, super cool.   So, this is going to be a bit of a hand-waive right now because we don’t want to promise you exact missions and then it turns out that mission didn’t work out.

We’re meeting with Noah from Game Trayz at Gen Con to finalize everything, but we’re really excited to be including at no cost to you a custom insert for Wasteland Express.  This will include removable sections so you don’t have to create piles of different upgrade chits before every game, and you can just sit down and play without any real set-up time.


We are super-duper excited about this game, and hope that you’ll pre-order a copy over the next 6 weeks to get your exclusive items.  If you don’t mind telling your friends/gamer groups about this pre-order campaign, we would super appreciate it.

Next week we will be back with regular scheduled programming and talk about combat, post-Gen Con stuff and other cool how to play the game sort of information.


Posted on / by Nathan McNair / in Wasteland Express Delivery Service, Wasteland Wednesdays, Wasteland Wednesdays

Wasteland Express – The one about economies, cities and picking things up and delivering them.

Wasteland Web Header

Hey everyone!  Next week we will have some *very* big WEDS related news.  And the Wednesday after that we will have our pre-GEN CON kickoff for WEDS where we will talk more about what we are planning on having at the show.

But today, I want to talk about the economies of Wasteland Express Delivery Service and how they work.  WEDS is at its absolute core a pick-up and deliver game.  If you aren’t familiar with pick-up and deliver mechanics, they are probably most frequently associated with train games.  They involve moving your character pawn to one section of a map that has a good for sale.  You buy that good, and you move to another part of the map that has a demand for said good and you drop it off and sell it.  Generally, you should be selling for more than you are buying and thus you make money.

It’s something of a criminally under represented mechanic in games, especially because it is so tactile and fun.  Now, WEDS has a lot of other mechanics layered on this core economy.  There is an action point allowance system (which was covered in the movement blog post a few weeks back), there is a tableau building element (which we will cover next week!) where you get to upgrade your truck and customize it to suit your playstyle.  There is also a battle element and missions and objectives that have you doing things completely separate from any picking up and delivering in the game.

Wasteland Board

This is where I think WEDS really shines as a pick-up and deliver game.  Most pick-up and deliver games are squarely in the Euro-game realm.  Which means the winner is the player with the most VP at the end of the game.  Even in games where that isn’t the case the winner is the person with the most money at the end of the game.  WEDS is a curious game where the pick-up and deliver mechanic will not ever win you the game.  Well, that’s not completely fair.  There are a few end-game missions that involve delivering goods about the board so in that sense it could help you to win the game.  But generally speaking, the picking up and delivering is a means to money.  Which is a means to upgrading your truck.  Which is how you gear up to take on some of the really tough end-game missions to win the game.

I really like this as a system for games in general, and really like when games find a unique way to end.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, most of my collection of games end in VP counting.  Hell, a huge chunk of the games we have published end in VP counting.  But I am happy when a game doesn’t end in VP counting at the same time.  Especially a more thematic game that is trying to put you into the world in which you live.  Because nothing says Post Apocalypic game where the winner has the most prestige points at the end…..  (also, publishers everywhere just stop.  They are VPs.  Naming them Prestige Points or Fame Points or whatever you come up with does not in fact make them more thematic.  They are still Victory Points [checks all of our rulebooks real quick to see if we ever did this]).

So, how does one go about picking up and delivering in WEDS?  Well, let’s start by looking at a couple of cities.


Cities in WEDS have a couple of core functions.  1) You can drive through them and not stop.  2) You can stop at them and take an action.   Some cities let you buy upgrades for your truck, repair damage (Oh boy, we’re going to finally get to combat next week!).  Some let you take on missions for factions (the capitals of the three factions).  Some let you hire Riders for your truck (more on them at a future date).

The other thing that cities do is either produce goods (production cities) or want goods (demand cities).  You can see the production cities with the white square box on them, and the demand with the Red and Yellow rhombus thing that I’m sure someone in the comments will tell me what it is actual called.

Producing cities will produce a good and the price that they are selling it at currently.  You drive over to the city you want to buy from, pay the money ($crap in WEDS) you want and buy as much of that good as you can hold.


Ok, so I just used the words “as much of that good as you can hold”, and I’m going to be talking about your truck upgrades next week.  But, I am going to let you know something from next weeks post (welcome to the future).  Your truck has a limit to slots to put things.  One of those things you can buy is a hold.  A generic hold can hold 1 food or water.  A special hold can hold 1 weapon crate.

:now Elizabeth Berkley can stop holding her breath in the background:


So, now you know how you get goods and how you determine the price that you will pay.  You can also get goods by fighting Raiders.  We’ll get to the combat in the future, but when you successfully fight a Raider you get the goods they are carrying for free.  (MORAL AMBIGUITY!)  If you successfully Raid an Raider Enclave you get goods they have for free. (What, you are a post-apocalyptic truck driver, and besides they are jerks.  They had it coming).

Selling goods is also pretty simple.  You drive to the city that wants what you’ve got and you sell it to them.  If they have multiple goods in demand (some chits will show 2 goods) you have to sell them at least 1 of each good.  So if they want food and water, you have to sell them at least 1 food and 1 water.  You can sell them 2 food and 8 waters in some magically fairy land where you are a water czar.

They will pay you the market price for those goods.  Market Price is super duper simple.  The current price is the base value of the good (which will be printed on the market board) + the number of cities that have that good in demand.  The base value of food is 2 $crap.  If 4 cities are demanding food than the current market value of food is 6 $crap.


Once you have met the demand of the city you will remove the demand counter from that city and draw a new one, adjusting the market prices of the 3 goods accordingly.  It’s very possible for the market price to move a fair amount between turns.  If other players are all delivering the same good that you are planning on and they start meeting the demand, it’s possible to have the market drop out from under you on a good.  Which means you are now hauling something worth a lot less than you were planning on selling it for when you bought it.  This also means if you see someone loading up on a good it might be a good time for other players to deliver this good type and stick the other driver with a truck full of less valuable stuff.

So, now you have money.  That wasn’t so hard was it (well, other than the Rad zones and Raiders you had to dodge to get it there).   We’ve already established getting $crap doesn’t win you the game.  So, what do you do with the money and why the heck would you bother making $crap if it doesn’t win you the game?  Well, I’ll see you next week when we touch on truck upgrades.

Also, enjoy 3 pencils of some of Riccardo’s Hired Guns.  These are allies that you can hire to join you in your truck.  Meet Dead Eye, Armastice (the daughter of The Grand Lord Emperor Torque and sister to a couple of the Raiders you’ve already met) and Bonesaw.  These will be relevant for your interests next week 🙂


Posted on / by Nathan McNair / in Wasteland Express Delivery Service, Wasteland Wednesdays, Wasteland Wednesdays / 1

Wasteland Express Delivery Service – Graphic Design

Wasteland Web Header

Here is a secret that anyone who has ever playtested a game can tell you.  Games on white scraps of paper are not very fun.  I mean, they can be fun, and when they are fun you know a game is really actually great.  Because fighting over a super awesome Eurasian continent with Steam Punk inspired Mechs is super fun.  Fighting over White Hexagon #18 is less so.

When you are playing a game without art, you are generally fighting over the honor of White Hexagon #18.  Sometimes White Hexagon #18 will have a name or some text in it.  More likely some text that has been scrawled on top of and written over because whatever it used to say wasn’t balanced.

Wasteland with the design team
Still Fun, but I mean.  So white.  So much white.

Wasteland is such a game that is actually fun to play without art.  It’s a sign of a really good game.  Because even good games are usually moderately fun without art.  Design of player pieces and boards is much more about simplicity than it is about fun.  And when I say simplicity, I mean simplicity to create.  It takes really good graphic design to make the game easy to follow.  Turn order, reminders of what goes where, how to play, what the cost of going on a space, what the space gives you.  This is all graphic design.  This is what simplifies a game and makes it both fun and easier to play.

Before we get to the challenges of Wasteland Express specifically lets talk about a game that everyone is familiar with.  Carcassonne.  Carcassonne is a very very good game.  It’s also an evil mean despicable battle over fields and Castles if you are playing the game right.  Now imagine playing a version of Carcassonne where the castle walls were little squiggles, and the fields were just green solid colors.  Now you aren’t fighting over fields and castles, or long roads or Cloisters.  You are just fighting to follow rules of some colored piece and getting the most of that colored piece there.  Carcassonne is not a terribly thematic game, but it’s more thematic than a pure abstract would be.  It’s also pretty easy to memorize how you score the different sorts of pieces because they seem to have their own character and graphics that give it to them (ok, once Dragons and Tower and Catapults start showing up it gets a bit harder to remember everything…).

Enter Wasteland Express.

Wasteland Express has a fantastic mix of elements that really drive the game.  The Raider cards, the board, the Mod Shop, The Temp Mod Shop, The Marketplace and The player board.  The player board is where we are going to spend some time today.  We spoke about how player actions work two weeks ago.  Today we are going to show you all a work in progress version of Tweeks player board.

A prototype player board. This is what all board games would look like if designers were the artists. Just remember that the next time you see a board game artist.

See, the game as was had a relatively workable board.  You take cubes, you put them on the action you want to select (Drive, Sell, Buy, Combat, etc) If you drive twice in a row you move a bit faster than the time before that.  If you move into a spot where you can take another action following a drive action you can immediately move that action selection into one of the other slots (but lose your momentum).


Enter a graphic designer.  Here we have the dashboard of Tweeks Tractor Trailer.  Suddenly blank squares become buttons.  We have some hand-drawn arrows showing the movement of your action selection (and the one space where your cube can’t move to after movement hiding off on it’s own as a sad reminder of what you cant do).  This, is good graphic design. Obviously I am less than impartial here, but this makes you feel like you are in the game world.  You aren’t just moving cubes around blank white squares.  You are upgrading your truck via a busted old-world HUD.  You are using controls on your dashboard to take actions.  And it helps the gameplay by making it much easier to understand your action selection mechanics.

Now, lets look at some city tiles.  These are much more of the “well that looks cool” variety of graphic design.  They need to convey some information.  The name of the city can be important.  The faction they are aligned with can be really important information.  Some cities produce goods.  Some have demand for goods.  Some may have special actions you can take at them (such as going to the Mod Shop).  White squares with boring logos are not very fun.  Awesome birds eye views of burning cities made out of random old world junk with cool bullet holed up signs are very fun.

Same with the world tiles themselves.  No one ever said “man, I wish someone made a game about driving across white octogons and delivering cubes for money”.  Driving across a desolate hellscape after the world has come to an end to scratch out a living?  Sign me up.

Wasteland Board


Now, a slight side-step about Chrome vs. Thematic Design.  These are two VERY different beasts.  Reiner Knizia is a great designer, and one of my favorites.  Ra.  Battle Line.  Modern Art.  Lost Cities.  Sign me the hell up for all of the above.  These games have very nice art.  These games are not thematic.  These are basically abstract games that have been chromed up to make them look super cool.  But they are ultimately basically abstract games about bidding for sets or winning tricks.  Wasteland is a different beast here.  It has a Euro soul, but the gameplay is thematic.   You are driving across the Wasteland, picking up goods and delivering them.  You are completing missions for factions.  You are fighting Raiders and digging up artifacts.  This is a thematic game.  I say that only because I don’t want anyone to get the impression that graphic design makes a game thematic.  Games that are thematic are thematic all the way back when they are scribbles on a white sheet of paper.  Wasteland feels like you are a truck driver driving across the desert right now, even when that desert is a white field.  I imagine very much so that War of the Ring felt a lot like a Lord of the Rings game before they ever put any artwork to it.  Descent a PNP RPG well before there were minis.   Arkham Horror was probably deeply disturbing before FFG started making it pretty.  So, the point of this rambling entry is not to say that art = theme.   But I know Descent is a whole lot more fun with a pile of minis and those amazing dungeon tiles.

My hope as a publisher is we’ve done our part along with some very very talented artists in making an already great game more fun with the work we’ve contributed.

Oh, and have some Raider Art.  This is Carrion.  I’m expecting her to stir a bit of controversy, but we’re both totally 100% fine with her.  Without getting all SJWy on you, we feel that she is about as non-sexualized as an almost totally naked woman can be, and is definitely not drawn with the male gaze in mind.  Given that we were ok with Bean Man and his bolted on nipple clamps, we’re also totally fine with Carrion here.


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