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.

WEDScities1

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.

:INSERT ZACK MORRIS TIME FREEZE:

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:

WEDScities2

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.

WEDScities1

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 🙂

Riders

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