This is going to be a strange Wasteland Wednesday, and only tangentially related to Wasteland Express. Except for the artwork at the end, that will be related to Wasteland Express!
I want to take a moment to talk about the importance of conventions in the industry. I think it’s sort of easy to think of conventions in 2016 as something that made sense in the past before the internet and instant information. We live in a world of paperless home offices for small companies (I work in one!), and because of the internet you can seamlessly work with people all over the world.
This is all true. Heck, we have designers in the MidWest. Molly and I have been in New York and Texas during this project. We have an artist in Italy. For some of our other games we have designer in Japan and artists in Europe. We’re about to start a game that is designed primarily in America with collaboration from a Japanese designer.
All that said, conventions are super important. I’m sitting in my house trying to figure out right now if I’m going to be able to make a flight to Madison, WI for ACD Game Days right now. It’s looking a bit dicey, and I’ll be pretty upset if it doesn’t happen. And that’s because face to face time with designers, artists, store owners, distributors and most importantly gamers matters.
ACD Game Day is an industry only event for store owners hosted by ACD, one of the largest game distributors (we also make it to GTS, Alliance and Southern Hobbies game days, in addition to GAMA in Las Vegas. Face to face time with store owners, asking them what is selling for them, what isn’t working anymore and what we can do to help FLGS is critical. We’ve changed a lot of policies based on conversations we’ve had at GAMA. We’re working through a demo copy program now, and we’ve started putting FLGS exclusive items in first print run copies to help support local game stores.
Then there are also the designer heavy events. These include things like UnPub, Tokyo Game Market, Gathering of Friends (for which I have never been invited.. L) and lots and lots of smaller local designer focused gatherings. These are super important for a number of reasons. Not least of which is finding new games to publish and building strong relationships with designers. I met Matt, Ben and Jon at UnPub in Baltimore a little over a year ago.. Since then we’ve worked with Matt and Ben on two designs (go buy BTTF now!). I’ve got three designs underway with Mr. Gilmour. And they aren’t the only great designers and artists we’ve met and established really critical relationships with at these cons. Hell, if we hadn’t booked a rental car and braved a blizzard to drive from Manhattan to Baltimore Wasteland Express wouldn’t be published by Pandasaurus, and I would be pretty bummed about that. I also would have missed out on some amazing dinners in Japan with Simon, Tak, Suganuma, Hayashi, Senjei and would have a whole lot less friends in the industry. Or run into Antoine Bauza at the Sumo Tournament and have him ask why I wasn’t in the ring competing (back on P90X I go :p)
Gaming Press like Tom Vasel, Eric Martin, SUSD, Geek and Sundry, a slew of podcasts and social media movers like @gamewirewarrior are usually at all of these events, but the industry heavy events are the best way to get in a room with them and share upcoming information and ask them how we can best get them news and games. It’s not that they aren’t at GenCon, it’s just that they are stupid busy at GenCon.
Then there are the conventions most of y’all are probably intimately aware of. We attend Origins and GenCon in an official capacity, and I try to attend BGG Con and a bunch of smaller local cons as a gamer. Jon was at GeekWay playing Wasteland with our artist. My Sister-in-law was there with her future husband (congrats Andrew and Margs!) who actually got engaged in Japan because they tagged along on our trip to Tokyo Game Market (conventions it seems are far more important than even I realized).
It’s actually kind of hard for me to find time during the week to play many games that aren’t our designs. When you have 6+ games under development at a time there is a lot of playing and tweaking underway and it’s hard to carve out 4-5 hours to just play games for fun. So, a lot of the time at these cons is when I try and sit down and just play someone else’s games and enjoy myself. It’s also useful market research to figure out what games are popular and what people are currently playing. The most important part of these conventions is meeting gamers like you and gamers that aren’t like you. r/boardgames and BGG are critical places to get information. I also hang out on neogaf.com way too much and get to talk to board gamers in the OT subforum (I’m nominally a moderator, and should do a better job of that). But at a convention is a great time to meet lots of people. Maybe people who love games but don’t love them so much that they want to spend their time online talking about them. Or people who casually like to play games with friends once every few months. And of course, it’s a great time to meet some of the fans that we do interact with regularly on social media. It’s critical for us to know what you like and don’t like about what we do just the way we need to take the pulse of store owners. First of all, because we are nice people who genuinely enjoy bringing smiles to people’s faces. But also because we are a business and you are the customer.
So, the point of all of this is to say, I really hope I get a flight to Madison tonight, so that I can get some much needed face time with as many people out there as we can. It’s not looking so great right now. One flight got pushed past the connection time in Detroit, and the only other flight from Austin to Madison tonight is looking a little close on the connection. Also, you might want to keep your eyes peeled at a couple of upcoming cons this year as I think the entire design team and us are descending upon Columbus and Indianapolis this Summer and that’s probably a very good time for us to share Wasteland Express face to face and not over the interwebs.
Without further ado. Welcome to your game board for Wasteland Express. The cities aren’t slotted in here just yet because we want to save some gameplay information on how cities, free cities, raider enclaves and mod shops work. So, look for those in June. The layout is going to be mostly randomized for your average game, but the narrative gameplay sessions will have specified board set ups for the scenarios as you work your way through them. You can click this image for a higher res version.
Oh what the heck, here are two cities. Good luck figuring out what all these symbols mean 🙂 Ignore the colored lines, those are safety area markers for printing and won’t ever actually appear on the printed game.