Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Saturday 14 October 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Wasteland Express Delivery Service

Game: Wasteland Express Delivery Service

Publisher: Pandasaurus Games

Designer: Jonathan Gilmour, Ben Pinchback, Matt Riddle

Year: 2017

Wasteland Express Delivery Service was on my most anticipated list for Gen Con 2017, and it was one of the first games on that list I was able to play. When I added it to the list, it was mainly for aesthetic reasons, given that I knew very little about the gameplay. Even the theme meant nothing to when I made the list, however since then I have watched Mad Max Fury Road and the post apocalyptic landscape makes sense and does seem to make an interesting setting for a board game as well as inspiring some fantastic artwork and characters for this game.

In Wasteland Express Delivery Service you have survived the apocalypse and are running the last delivery service, trading in weapons, food and water around the last remaining settlements. Each player plays as a delivery driver, customising their vehicle to be the best at getting people what they want whilst making the most money and completing priority first class contracts.

The game setup for two players, although we've also played with three. Additional players does seem to slow down the game though and two works really well.
Wasteland Express Delivery Service is a medium weight pick up and delivery game. The board is made up of octagons, and in between each octagon sits a square location. At each location you can do different things, such as buy modifications for your vehicle, purchase cargo, deliver cargo, pick up more contracts or encounter raiders who you need to fight and pillage for cargo. The game has a fantastic player board on which you build up your truck and plan out your 5 actions per turn. The key action is movement which gets you around the board. If you move with cosecutive actions then you'll build momentum, but alternatively, after a move action you can purchase, deliver, combat or do an outpost action. The board limits the number of times you can do each in one round.

A player board which indicates your character, their truck and their special ability, as well as your action allocation and your modified truck.
Throughout the game you need to strike the right balance between having a truck with enough space for cargo and buying and delivering the right amount of cargo to generate an income. You might also choose to customise your truck to be great in combat and pillage, rather than purchase, your goods from raider trucks or raider enclaves.

What really makes Wasteland Express Delivery Service a satisfying game for me to play is the different contracts. Each game starts with one standard priority first class contract, and two random priority first class contracts, plus each player gets to pick one of three other contracts dealt at the start of the game. This immediately gives you the opportunity to identify the beginnings of a strategy, either by starting to work towards one contract, or ideally identifying some synergies between a couple of contracts ans working towards those at the same time to maximise efficiency. Without these goals you'd just be looking at trying to buy and sell in the most effective way based on board layout and manipulating market price, and although the market system is really interesting, this wouldn't make a great game for me.

So, the original reason I wanted to try this game was because of production quality and there's no doubt that the game is well produced, with its custom insert from GameTrayz, its pretty detailed minis, even including moulded goods tokens and its fantastic artwork, full of character. Even the humour in the rulebook makes me smile. Luckily, for me, the gameplay definitely lives up to the promise of the box. I think Wasteland Express has made me realise that I really enjoy pick up and deliver mechanics and here it is blended really well with action allocation, a cool marketplace mechanism,  variable player powers, vehicle customisation and only a small mount of negative player interaction. Wasteland Express is fast becoming a favourite game for me, and is typically only taking us 1 hour to play with two players, meaning it gets to the table quite frequently. I hope this is the start of some great games from Pandasaurus Games. Our copy of Wasteland Express is on the way with our Dinosaur Island Kickstarter pledge and Coaster Park is one of my most anticipated games for Essen 2017. Wasteland Express Delivery Service is an 8.5/10 for the Yellow Meeple.

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