Discount Dive: Wasteland Express Delivery Service Board Game Review

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Wasteland Express Delivery Service Board Game Review
Wasteland Express Delivery Service Board Game Review
Wasteland Express Delivery Service Board Game Review
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Today, we will be playing Wasteland Express Delivery Service...

* opens Box *

Correction. Today, we will be punching out Wasteland Express Delivery Service.

Welcome to Discount Dive, where I review games that I have found discounted and “on the cut.” This episode is a bit different. I have games like Firefly: The Game and Black Fleet in my collection and wasn't actively searching for another Pick up and Deliver. However, when I stumbled across Wasteland Express Delivery Service for a mere $35.00, I didn't hesitate to pick it up. The price I paid has no bearing on the rating I am giving it, but since it was key to it ending up in my collection, I would be negligent if I didn't mention it.

While the punching and organizing is a one-time multi-hour chore, you need to put together the modular board with every play. If I lose whatever currency geek cred is paid in because I don't want to spend a good twenty minutes of my game night playtime setting it up, so be it. The quality of the modular board is good, I have no issues with pieces moving or easily becoming dislodged when set up on a proper game mat. I just would have preferred a traditional game board or an A/B double sided board for variety. I would be willing to swap the possibly of a player memorizing the optimal paths to various areas to save those precious game night minutes for actually playing the game.

Once you do have everything punched, you'll really appreciate the included Game Trayz insert. To say it is nice would be a severe understatement but to say that it is required is “The Truth.” I don't want to even imagine the chaos if all of the various chits and bits had to be separated into baggies and lined up for each game. Hats off to Game Trayz, you are the real hero here.

I went into the game expecting Mad Max references, but ended up with Smokey and the Bandit (Now I'm required to hum “East bound and down” every time I head to the right side of the board). Since everyone is driving big rigs here, I guess it is more Rubber Duck than Ayatollah of Rock n' rolla. (Edit: Okay, to be fair, the enemy Grand Lord Emperor Torque is totally from Road Warrior). The starting asymmetrical powers are good in a “I want all of those” way. The selection of female drivers is limited to one choice, which I found disappointing (And how does a Foxy Brown clone fit into this?). Interestingly, some players tend to gravitate more toward the rigs than the actual characters, so, maybe it is a non-issue.

You won't find a simple “Have the most money” win condition, instead you will be racing to be the first to complete the three “priority first class contracts.” Three community goals are revealed at the beginning of the game but there is a nice twist that you are not tied specifically to these goals, you can “back door” other first class contracts by using faction quests that are only available to the player who drew them. This isn't a short game time-wise but the pacing means it never drags. You always feel like you are making progress, loading up on resources and weapons, getting that proper ratio of might versus freight on your rig. Even during a couple of three hour learning games, it was a refreshing “Where did the time go?” situation. One thing that really stands out is that when you add more players, you don't add a ton of extra time to the session. Decisions are simple enough that you don't have a mass of Concentration Constipation moments, so a four player game is only moderately longer than a two player game, instead of doubling the game time as other games can.

You never directly attack other players, interactions are mostly limited to flipping them the bird as you cruise by or using said middle finger to direct a hostile clan toward their location. Combat with the various NPC clans is a double edged sword, they can ambush you or you can turn the tables and attack them and steal a resource. Combat is resolved quickly with a single roll of a fistful of dice with any rig modifiers added in.

Players take turns placing their action markers on their individual dashboards. You use the dashboards to Move, Attack, Purchase, Deliver, Activate and take a bonus action. With the exception of some slight initial confusion regarding the difference between a Activate and Deliver/Purchase, it's all extremely intuitive. The majority of actions you take will be movement and I love the momentum aspect. You'll be ripping through the upper gears of your rig and putting it up on 9 of it's 18 wheels because each moment you take without interrupting it with a non-movement action allows you to go faster and farther.

I do have a few small niggles with the game. The standees are a bit large and can block board and card text when they are placed. There is an included scenario based campaign mode but I guess I was hoping for more of a “Legacy” Scenario. Going back to your default truck and equipment after each scenario just felt counter intuitive. And, whoops, looks like (redacted), the character I played though the first 7 missions of the campaign, isn't available to play in the final showdown. Not cool, bro.

Plenty of variants are included in the rule book. I personally think the Event Cards are cool, especially since they affect all players equally. Sometimes, you'll have to shift gears (har, har) from delivering to combat after the bottom falls out of the market on traded goods because of a card that is drawn for that round. But, if you aren't fond of the events, they tell you how to play without them. Another variant adds player vs. player combat for those looking for more player “interaction.”

Wasteland Express Delivery Service hits on all cylinders. It balances depth and smoothness skillfully, the art style is eye catching (Is “bleak and bright” a thing?) and it's table presence is undeniable. It crashes game night like the semis it portrays: This reviewer saw it all real clear, it never hit the brakes and it was shifting gears.

Wasteland Express Delivery Service Board Game Review Wade MonnigSubscrive to Wade Monnig Follow Wade Monnig Message Wade Monnig

Board Game Reviewer

In west Saint Louis born and raised
Playing video games is where I spent most of my days
Strafing, Dashing, Adventuring and Looting
Writing reviews between all the Shooting
When a couple of guys reminded me what was so good
About playing games with cardboard and Wood,
Collecting Victory Points and those Miniatures with Flair
It’s not as easy as you think to rhyme with Bel Air.

Wade is the former editor in chief for Silicon Magazine and former senior editor for Gamearefun.com. He currently enjoys his games in the non-video variety, where the odds of a 14 year old questioning the legitimacy of your bloodline is drastically reduced.

“I’ll stop playing as Black when they invent a darker color.”

(he/him)

Articles by Wade

Editor review

1 reviews

Board Game Reviews 
 
4.0
Wasteland Express Delivery Service hits on all cylinders. It balances depth and smoothness skillfully, the art style is eye catching (Is “bleak and bright” a thing?) and it's table presence is undeniable. It crashes game night like the semis it portrays: This reviewer saw it all real clear, it never hit the brakes and it was shifting gears.

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hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #294571 27 Mar 2019 08:46
Thanks for the review. I'd love to try this one some time.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #294574 27 Mar 2019 09:18
I really like this one. It doesn’t really do anything you haven’t seen before, but it’s probably the best modern pick up and deliver game out there. The amount of bits (necessary to give you the great truck customization aspect to the game) should make it unplayable, but that insert really does save the day. I do wish that enemies got stronger as the game goes on because once your truck is all supped up, there’s never really a chance that anything or anyone is going to stand in your way and the game becomes purely about who can most efficiently complete their goals. On one hand, yeah, that’s pick up and deliver for you and it overcoming the difficulty curve makes the truck building part satisfying, but there’s a danger in trucking across the wasteland in the first half that’s missing in the second. Still, a terrific game that I greatly enjoy, and as time goes on I’m starting to favor it over my beloved Firefly. Looking forward to the expansion.
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #294576 27 Mar 2019 09:21
I really like this game. We played it a bunch when we first got it. We need to pull it out and play it again.

I really love how they control the action selection with the player dashboard. I think it is pretty innovative. In most games of this sort you have a list of what actions types you can perform, and how many you can perform, and if you can do the same action twice, and what is a free action. With the player dashboard you can easily track what you can and can't do by moving your tokens along a branching track. Once you get used to it, it quickly becomes intuitive and you can keep your head in the game not in the rule book.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #294582 27 Mar 2019 10:01
Yeah I'm a fan as well. It's my favorite kind of direct and frill-less pick up and deliver. It's much simpler than something like Merchants & Marauders or Xia, and we can bang out a game in 70ish minutes at 3 player if everyone's on it.

The weapon options are fun and it gives me a bit of a Car Wars-y feel. I'm looking forward to the expansion that's been in development for awhile.
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #294603 27 Mar 2019 12:43
@charlest

What do you know about the expansion. As much as I love the game, I kind of felt like something was missing and couldn't put my finger on it.


ETA: I just read Josh's post, and now am thinking that maybe what he said that in the latter part of the game there is "never really a chance that anything or anyone is going to stand in your way and the game becomes purely about who can most efficiently complete their goals. " might be the thing that I haven't been able to put my finger on.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #294604 27 Mar 2019 12:51
I just know there's going to be some kind of actual campaign, and I know it's currently sitting with Jon Gilmour to further develop it (or at least it was a few months ago when I talked to Matt Riddle).

I think that void at the end wouldn't feel that way if there was player conflict. The optional rules for PvP fighting though isn't very satisfying and extends the game unfortunately.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #294606 27 Mar 2019 13:09

charlest wrote: I just know there's going to be some kind of actual campaign, and I know it's currently sitting with Jon Gilmour to further develop it (or at least it was a few months ago when I talked to Matt Riddle).

I think that void at the end wouldn't feel that way if there was player conflict. The optional rules for PvP fighting though isn't very satisfying and extends the game unfortunately.


Hope it’s more than just a campaign. I have no interest in campaigns.
DWTripp's Avatar
DWTripp replied the topic: #294610 27 Mar 2019 14:09
Good review, mirrors my view of the game closely. Like you I got a copy deeply discounted - I think it was an Amazon Gold Deal sale or something.

The look of the game and miniatures when set up and being played really adds to the overall enjoyment my group gets out of it.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #294617 27 Mar 2019 14:37

Josh Look wrote: I do wish that enemies got stronger as the game goes on because once your truck is all supped up, there’s never really a chance that anything or anyone is going to stand in your way and the game becomes purely about who can most efficiently complete their goals.


Breaker 19 for Pandasaurus games, you got your ears on? Imagine Sequel/Revenge/Vendetta cards that are swapped into the deck whenever a clan/driver is initially defeated. Stronger, Faster and definitely pissed. Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls....dying time is here.
Legomancer's Avatar
Legomancer replied the topic: #294865 02 Apr 2019 08:58
I've been wanting to try this for ages, but I already have Xia, MoV, and access to Merchants and Marauders, so I'm not sure another PUAD game needs to clog up my shelves.