Wasteland Wednesday – The one about player actions and videos from Origins!

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Hey guys,

I’m getting ready to hop in a car to San Antonio so this is going to be a shorter Wasteland Wednesday.  Well, shorter for me and longer for you because we have a couple videos of the guys sitting down with BGG and Dice Tower at Origins talking about the game.

I also wanted to take a moment to share with you the action selection mechanism of the game and talk to you a bit about what you will be doing on your turn in Wasteland.  So, I think it’s reasonably clear what a player is trying to accomplish in Wasteland Express, but a quick refresher.

At the beginning of the game, 3 shared goal cards will come out.  These can be random or as part of the campaign mode will be a set part of the story progression.   When a player completes the objective on one of these cards they will place a standee with their character art on the card to signify that they have finished that mission.  Once all 3 of your standees are on an objective card the game ends and the person who completed all 3 wins.   These missions will totally and completely change the way you play the game however.

As a sample of three of my favorite missions in the game:

  • The Oracle – Each character will be given their own unique vision from the Oracle who will send them on a hidden set of 3 sub-quests (deliveries, donations of money, etc) across the map. So in this case no one knows what you are trying to accomplish and will have a harder time slowing you down as you achieve your goals.  Lots of deliveries will require you to add on a bunch of storage and probably a trailer to store more goods to complete her questline.
  • The Grand Lord Emperor Torque – This big bad hangs out in a Raider Enclave (and so much more in the campaign mode) and you have to go kill him. He takes a lot of damage.  More damage than you will normally be capable of doing in the game.  This means you will probably have to load your truck up with a bunch of guns, one time use missiles and a few gunners/allies to help you deal with this guy.
  • The irradiated artifact. This mission requires you to purchase a special cargo hold for storing irradiated goods.  You then have to drive your truck into a Raider enclave, attack the Raiders living there.  Steal the artifact and drive it across the map.  Driving it across the map is not going to prove very easy however as a Raider war party will be chasing you and attacking you every time you move into a new Octagon.  Speed, defense and maybe some offensive firepower are the names of the game.

These are just a small sample of some of the missions that you’ll be going on.  There are missions that require you to procure a ton of money, and missions that require you to donate a ton of goods without accepting payment to outposts in need, objectives that require you to destroy all of the Raider enclaves and all sorts of really cool and interesting different mission types.  If you’ve played an open world game or RPG in the last 30 years a lot of the sorts of missions you can go on will probably feel familiar enough.

There are also going to me objective cards within the various faction decks that you can acquire, so it’s not just the three public goals that can win you the game, you can also complete some of these individual objectives to win.  And of course, the campaign mode is going to really screw with the ways you win the game and change stuff up a good deal.  With a random set up of the missions every game it will ensure no two games will ever play the same, and will force you to really change up your strategy from game to game, and even within a single game as you embark on missions from the three factions.

So, now that the high level what you are doing is out of the way, let’s get to the how.

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.

Here is a prototype of a player truck board (we are saving the real deal back for a few weeks because it looks awesome and we have to keep y’all coming back for something, right? :p)

Each player will have 5 action points to spend on a round.  A player turn is super simple.  You will take an action marker and move it from your unused pool onto an action you want to take.  For example, if you select “drive” you will move up to 3 spaces (well, the player power here is to start at a movement of 4, but imagine a movement of 3) and leave your action marker on the “movement” space and play will move to the next player.  When it comes back around to your turn and you choose to drive again you will be able to move 4 spaces.   This is what we call the momentum based movement engine.  Which is a fancy way of saying the longer you move in a row, the faster you will move across the map.  If you ever do something other than “movement” all of your movement actions will slide over into the “Pass” spot and any future movement will be back to 3 spaces. (again, imagination time since this truck starts at 4 movement).

If you end your movement space in an area that allows you to take a different action (say a city tile or tile with a Raider truck) you can slide your movement action into the appropriate spot.  So for example if you want to attack a Raider (again, to be explained later because we have to keep you coming back for more) you would slide that movement action into the Combat space.  If you successfully perform an attack that action marker would move into the “Pillaged” space.  You would take whatever goods the Raider is carrying into your cargo hold (if you have room) and play would move to the next player.  So, if you plan your moves smartly you can get a 2 for 1 action for almost anything except “Bonus Action” which are the only thing you can do on your turn (more on those later…  we can’t give away all the goods today…)  So, buying goods, selling goods, using the outpost bonus when you are in a city (say it with me now..  more on all that later) can be a “free” action at the end of your movement if you are efficient in your movement.

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. We’ll talk about them more later. I’ve been rambling too much and felt y’all needed a cool image.

Now..   the last thing you might notice.  There are a certain number of spaces for a lot of these actions.  That’s because you can only do certain actions once a round.  So, you can buy goods once.  You can sell goods twice.  You can attack as much as you want, but you can only pillage (steal goods after a successful attack) once.  You can take an outpost bonus once.  Once everyone has taken all 5 of their actions the round ends (Exciting things happen at a round end..  again, to be shared later) play passes clockwise and you return all of your action tokens to the unused spot.  This means your momentum resets on movement, but you can once again take all those actions.

The end result of this is a super simple action point system.  So, unlike Tikal (I love Tikal, no one yell at me) you don’t have to count to remember how many Action Points you used because the markers take care of that.  Movement is not random, and there is the ability to minmax (This is why the guys call it EuroThrash) your action selection and careful planning are needed..  but it’s really straightforward turn.  You do one thing on your turn.  Move into an outpost and sell goods.  Move and stop to keep momentum going.  Move into a space with a Raider Truck and attack.  Short, fast turns.  Very little downtime, and as the turns go on more limited choices to make.  So your choices really matter.  If you take an outpost bonus early in a round you might come to regret it if you realize you actually wanted to drive to the Library and ask the head Archivist for a mission.

Oh god, this was supposed to be short.

Well, till next time kids.  Oh, and enjoy these videos of Matt and Ben talking at the screen in a lot more detail about the game (pull forward to the 3h, 5 minute and 40 second mark of the Dice Tower Vid)


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