It’s been a while since a Wasteland Wednesday, primarily because there has been a lot going on in Pandasaurus Land that you’ll all be hearing about very soon. And secondarily because Wasteland hit a point of nitty gritty detail work that was not as sexy to show as some of the earlier artwork that had been finished.
So, today we have the final! Rulebook (sans the story mode so you don’t all going spoiling yourselves before the game is out), and we have final production dice and miniatures. Those will be at the bottom of this post, if you don’t want to keep reading, but I suggest you do!
Today I want to talk about production design on a game. Most of the time when you get a game back from a designer or design team there are lots of paths you can choose. Some of these seem rather obvious like: Do I include wood in the game? Does it need miniatures? Should that player board be punchboard or cardstock? Should we put flavor text on the cards or not? Should all the cards have unique artwork? Does the art on the board need to look like a map or like a birds eye view of the world? Does the player board need art on it or just boxes to make your action selection on?
We wound up answering in the most complex (and expensive) way we could on all of these questions. We also added a few more like: should we include custom gametrayz that will fit all of the pieces, not just as a storage method but as an integrated part of the gameplay experience? Should we model all of the goods cubes? Should we have them nest in the back of player trucks? Should we hire a super talented famous comic book artist to illustrate the game? Should we chuck the cardboard action selection and turn them into amazing 3d modeled cogs?
This has led Wasteland Express to be the most overproduced game I have ever been involved with. Overproduced does not mean we made the wrong decision. We just made the expensive decision that added a lot of complexity (and time) to the production process. The production budget (art, 3d modeling, etc) is probably equal to every other game that we have put out combined. I know for a fact that it is higher than lots of very big games from publishers that all of you love because this industry has super friendly people who have told me our budget is way North of theirs. This might mean that I am a big dummy and should not have spent as much or put as much into this game as we did.
But I also know one very important thing: This game is really special. I’ve had an inkling ever since I first saw the prototype and got the elevator pitch. I knew it for a fact the first time I ever played it. I doubly knew it was true when my brother in law asked if he could play it again after his first playtest of the game. I believe this is one of the best board games I have ever played, and I knew that if we nurtured it just right we could have a game that is something extra special for players. Jon, Matt and Ben trusted us to handle a world and a game that could be one of the best of the year, and we wanted to do it justice.
Now that we have gone gold and I look at what we have put together, I am confident that we accomplished what we set out to. From the insane amount of effort put into the story. To the number of eyeballs we put on the rulebook (and the number of tiny revisions before everyone was happy with it). To the work that Noah is still doing on getting the Tray inserts just right. I am really, really proud to put our logo on the front of the box of this game, and I think you will all be extremely happy with the results.
So, that leads us to where are we now? The miniatures and dice are fully and completely ready to ship. The printed components are being finalized now. Once the white-core PPC copy (a white game that punches out with no artwork) is to Noah at Gametrayz (www.gametrayz.com) he will finalize the tray design and those will be injection molded and added to the game.
So, when you get your Wasteland box early next year you are going to notice something strange. The lid of an already very large box (Descent size for reference) is not going to close. The cardboard punch will rest above the box bottom and be shrink wrapped shut. Once you have punched all of the components and slotted them into the Trayz where they go the lid will shut exactly as designed and you’ll have a snugly packed box of plastic tray inserts. You’ll also never have to separate any components to play the game or messy up the table with piles of cardboard since the trayz will be used during gameplay to keep everything tidy on the table.
Your next Wasteland Wednesday will be a way off. Probably when we have a production copy or a cool update on the trayz. But for now, the game has gone gold and I couldn’t be happier. 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!