Wasteland Express Delivery Service: WITNESS ME.
PUBLISHER: Pandasaurus Games
DESIGNERS: Jonathan Gilmour, Ben Pinchback, Matt Riddle
PLAYERS: 2 - 5
TIME: 90 - 120 min
The Bottom Line
In Wasteland Express Delivery Service, players will take on the role of post-apocalyptic delivery drivers, charged with completing contracts by delivering goods throughout a barren landscape.
In The Box
Two Words: Game. Trayz. Without them this game would be nigh impossible to set up in a timely manner and frankly, it wouldn’t see as much table time as it has. This box has more components than I thought possible and as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” so the image left should suffice.
Wasteland Express Delivery Service is chock full of components, eye-catching art and graphic design, solid Pick-Up and Deliver mechanics and tight, immersive game play but does it deliver the goods? Or is it another package lost in a mediocre mail service? Let’s find out!
If you’re familiar with how to play Wasteland Express Delivery Service, you can skip to my Final Thoughts! However, if you would like to know more, continue reading!
4th Wall Break: You should continue reading regardless. Don’t hurt my feelings. I spent a lot of time working on this masterpiece. Seriously; keep going.
How To Play
Welcome to the Wasteland! Try not to die. Or do…I don’t care.
Beginning of the Round
4th Wall Break: The rulebook for Wasteland Express Delivery Service is fantastic. This How to Play uses sections from the rulebook.
Wasteland Express Delivery Service is played in a series of rounds. At the beginning of each round, the start player reveals the top card of the events deck and the event is resolved and discarded.
Each player takes 5 turns per round and starts a round with 5 action markers. Each player will assign their action markers to specific sections of their dashboard in order to carry out the corresponding actions. The end of a round occurs once all players have taken all their actions. At that point, all players reset their action markers the event deck is passed clockwise to the new starting player and a new round begins.
One of the most important parts of the game is how you interact with your player board. There are 6 available actions to choose from:
- Move Your Truck
- Attack Raiders
- Purchase Cargo
- Deliver Cargo
- Activate an Outpost
- Bonus Action
MOVE YOUR TRUCK
The terrain octagons are divided into zones and some terrain is easy to cross, and while others are not. The more difficult the terrain, the more zones it has. When you take a move action, assign an action marker to the leftmost available slot in the move section of your dashboard. The number in that slot indicates the maximum number of spaces you’re allowed to move during this action.
4th Wall Break: The more move actions that you take in a row, the more momentum your truck has and the farther you can move your truck with each subsequent move action. Be careful though, as soon as you take an action other than move, you lose all of your momentum!
Taking a Second Action Immediately
After finishing your move action, but before the next player’s turn begins, you may choose to immediately slide that action marker to any other section of your dashboard, except for the Bonus action, and take the corresponding action, if you’re able. This is the only way to take 2 actions in the same turn.
If you move into zones with raiders or radiation, you will need to roll the corresponding rad or raider die. When you have completed your movement, if there is a raider icon in your current zone, move the corresponding raider truck from its current terrain into any adjacent terrain orthogonally. Raiders cannot move diagonally.
ATTACK RaIDERS and combat
You can attack raider enclaves and raider trucks. While at a raider enclave or in the same terrain octagon as a raider truck, you can assign an action marker to combat to attack. Resolve normal combat.
Reveal the top raider card from either the raider enclave deck or raider truck deck, based on which raider type you are attacking. The number on the revealed card is the raiders’ defense value for this combat. Roll 2 combat dice plus any additional dice granted by your truck mods. (Each die can roll either 1 hit, 2 hits, 3 hits, or a miss.)
Total the number of hits rolled on all dice and add any bonus hits from your truck mods. If the result is greater than or equal to the defense value of the raiders, then you are successful in combat.
- Success: Move the action marker from combat to pillage. If you attacked an enclave, take the cargo shown on the raider card. If you attacked a truck, take cargo from the back of the truck but only if you have storage capacity.
- Fail: Your truck takes 1 damage.
After the combat has been fully resolved, discard the raider card. If you pillaged a raider truck, refill that truck with the cargo shown on the raider card before you discard it
4th Wall Break: In the base game, you may not attack outposts or other players’ trucks. There’s a variant that adds this though.
You can be ambushed by raiders in the wasteland, usually on another player’s turn, if a raider truck is moved into the same terrain as your truck. If you are ambushed, reveal the top card from the raider truck deck. The number on that card is the raiders’ defense value for this combat. Roll 2 combat dice plus any additional dice granted by your truck mods.
Total the number of hits rolled on all dice and add any bonus hits from your truck mods. If the total is greater than or equal to the defense value of the raiders, then you are successful in combat.
- Success: You have fended off the raider ambush! Nothing else happens.
- Fail: Your truck takes 1 damage.
After the combat has been fully resolved, discard the raider card.
While at an outpost with a supply counter, you may purchase any quantity of the cargo type corresponding to the supply counter, at the price listed on the supply counter. You cannot buy more than you can store in your truck. When you are done purchasing cargo, discard the supply counter, face up, and replace it with a supply counter from the face-down stack.
Some outposts need food, water, and/or weapons and will pay the market price for the cargo when you deliver them. While at an outpost with a demand counter, you may deliver any quantity of the cargo type corresponding to the demand counter, at the market price. If the outpost has a double demand counter, you must deliver at least 1 cargo of each type indicated. To deliver cargo, move the cargo from your dashboard to the reserve. For each cargo removed, take payment in $crap, according to the market price. Finally, place your “not welcome” standee at the outpost. When you are done delivering cargo, discard the demand counter, face up, and replace it with a demand counter from the face-down stack. Adjust the market prices accordingly.
4th Wall Break: Your “Not Welcome’ standee is a visual representation that shows where you last visited. This means that you must visit another outpost before you can re-activate the one with your current “Not Welcome” standee.
ACTIVATE AN OUTPOST
While at an outpost, you may choose to take advantage of the outpost’s unique action. Outposts may allow you to repair your truck, take on new faction jobs, hire allies, or purchase upgrades.
4th Wall Break: In order to complete certain faction jobs, like Smuggling Runs, require you to take the Outpost Action.
Some actions related to the completion of contracts can only be taken by assigning an action marker to the bonus section on your dashboard. Completing a bonus action takes your entire turn.
Permanent Truck Mods
Permanent truck mods are placed in slots on your dashboard and remain there throughout the game. They allow you to mitigate dice rolls, protect yourself from damage, store more goods, and upgrade your truck to complete certain contracts.
Temp Truck Mods
Temp truck mods are placed in slots on your dashboard but are discarded after a single use and returned to the reserve. These can allow you to earn bonus scrap, teleport to any hex on the board (because, Aliens) or arm your truck with missiles.
Priority first-class contracts are the primary objective in Wasteland Express Delivery Service. When you complete a contract (either public or private), move 1 of your 3 character standees from your dashboard onto that contract. This will allow you and the other players to see which contracts you have completed, and how many. Some contracts have multiple steps. For these, use your 10 progress markers to track your progress toward completion.
4th Wall Break: Multiple players can complete the same public contract, but a private, faction contract can only be completed by the player who drew it.
To take on a faction job, you have to take an outpost action when you are at the capital of 1 of the wasteland factions. When you do, draw 3 cards from the corresponding faction job deck and choose 1 to keep, returning the others, face down, to the bottom of that deck. Keep your incomplete faction job cards in your hand, hidden from all other players. You may have a maximum of 5 incomplete or in-progress faction jobs at a time. If you take a sixth faction job, you must discard any 1 faction job to the bottom of its deck.
Completing Faction Jobs
To complete a faction job, you simply need to fulfill whatever requirement are listed on the card — usually, delivering cargo to an outpost. When you have completed a faction job, place the card face up near your dashboard and take the listed reward. Making a delivery for a faction job requires you to take an outpost action, not a deliver action. Unlike normal deliveries, faction job deliveries do not require the outpost to have a matching demand counter, and making the delivery does not fulfill demand for that outpost or cause any adjustment in the market price of cargo. Do not move your “not welcome” standee when making a delivery for a faction job.
Allies are mercenaries, former convicts, and Black Market muscle who will join your crew and provide you with bonuses that are active as long as they are on your truck.
To hire an ally, pay $3 to the reserve when you are at the Rock. When you do, draw 2 cards from the allies deck and keep 1, returning the other, face down, to the bottom of the deck. Unless you buy the sleeper cab mod, your truck can only hold 1 ally. Each ally has an ability that provides a bonus of some kind. Some make your deliveries more valuable or your Mod Shop purchases cheaper, others assist you in moving around the wasteland, and others aid you in combat. Oftentimes a hired hand can be the difference between victory or defeat!
How to Win
The first player to complete 3 separate contracts will win the game.
Rich in theme and offering players fun and immersive gameplay, Wasteland Express Delivery Service mashes together a hybrid "race" and "pick-up and delivery" design into a game dripping with theme. It's a hybrid Euro and Amerithrash game that will appeal to many sects of the hobby. The added variants in the rulebook add variety to the core game and will allow players to experience the game in different ways. I’m impressed with the level of detail and component quality included in the game. While the game can offer low levels of randomness, it's nothing that can't be overcome with a variety of mods. Overall, Wasteland Express Delivery Service is one of the best Pick-up and Delivery games ever released (in my opinion of course) and will easily cement itself as an essential game for hobby enthusiasts for years to come.
You will like this game if: you enjoy pick-up and delivery mixed with the tension of “racing,” fluctuating markets and economies, Apocalyptic themes, and feeling like you’re racing through the desert world of Mad Max and Borderlands.
- Immersive theme and mechanics deliver an experience unlike any other pick-up and delivery.
- Outfitting your truck with Mods is both thematic and fun. Weapon mods help mitigate dice rolls and can decrease overall randomness.
- Incredible component quality and storage trays.
- Top notch graphic design and vibrant art. It’s the perfect blend of Mad Max and Borderlands.
- Modular set-up creates variety and adds re-playability.
- Included variants add diversity and can add Player v Player confrontation to your experience! My favorites are:
- Ben’s Brutal Competition Variant (Adds PvP)
- Uwe and Stefan's "Perfect Information-Palooza" Variant (Removes Variable Player Powers)
- Nathan’s “I Hate Event Decks” Variant (Removes random events)
- The Big Dig first class priority contract is awful. I’ve taken it out of the game entirely because I feel that it’s mechanically contradictory to the gameplay. It requires the most expensive mod to complete and has a 33.33% (repeating of course) chance of success, and will take you 2 turns at a minimum to dig. A small bump in an otherwise extremely solid game. Use at your own risk!
- Without GameTrayz, Wasteland Express Delivery Service would take a LONG time to set-up, tear-down and store. Even with the Trayz, it can be time consuming.
- Some may find the art grotesque and too mature for some audiences.
I give Wasteland Express Delivery Service 4 Raiders out of 5 and it receives the Board Game Spotlight Seal of Approval.
A quick note on my rating scale:
5: This game is nearly perfect in every way and the Positives far outweigh any Negatives.
4: This game is outstanding and the Positives outweigh the Negatives.
3: This game is fun but feels average and the Positives and Negatives are nearly equal.
2: This game falls below average and the Negatives outweigh the Positives.
1: This game is bad and the Negatives far outweigh any Positives.
A copy of the game was provided by FunAgain Games. The painted Miniatures are courtesy of artist Nathan Biangel.