A busload of 5000 settlers is due on Kaimas-2, and your corporation’s gone there ahead of time to prepare the way. But your lander’s crashed, killing most of the people on board. You’re left with a skeleton crew of survivors to make a go of it. Interpid Games approached me to produce a How to Play video of their game, Lander, but Cheryl and i couldn’t resist shooting an unboxing first.

(click to view transcript)

Ryan: Hi! it’s Ryan… Cheryl: and Cheryl Ryan: from Nights Around a Table, and we’re going to unbox a game today called Lander. The intrepid Games people have commissioned us to do a How to Play video to support their Kickstarter campaign. This is not a final game this is a Kickstarter preview game. So what the people at interpid Games have told me is that this is a – i believe they called it a 98% finished thing. And you say “Well, what’s their plan? What are they doing? That’s unusual for Kickstarter.” So what their plan is is interesting: they’ve got a… a unique marketing plan. They put this sort of, like, pre-copy into production and ran off a bunch of them, and the idea is they’ve taken it to a bunch of different board game cafes all around the world, i think? North America? i don’t know where it’s limited to, but i’m gonna leave a link for you in the bottom to check it out. So the idea is to have faith in them and to back the project, you can go to one of these board game cafes and play Lander, and if you like it, back the project, and then you’ll receive it down the line. You’ll receive a different version that is 2% changed. They have a running list of the errata and the changes that they’re making to the game based on playtests and things, so… so that’s what’s going on with this. Even though it looks super duper final, it’s not entirely all the way there. Cheryl: Interesting. Ryan: It IS interesting. And you… you like sci-fi, don’t you? Cheryl: i do very much! Ryan: You’re a big sci-fi fan. What’s the last sci-fi thing you indulged in? Cheryl: Uh… The 100. Ryan: The 100. She watches The 100 like a maniac. Cheryl: Well, it helps when you’re folding laundry (laughs) Ryan: There’s like… there’s like… nothing helps or you’re folding laundry. Cheryl: It does! (laughs) It really does! Ryan: There’s like a hundred episodes of each season of The 100. Cheryl: No there aren’t. Ryan: There aren’t? Cheryl: There really aren’t. Ryan: Man, it feels like it. Do you rewatch them? Cheryl: No, i don’t. There’s six seasons. (laughs) Ryan: Ok. Holy cow. So, as usual, i’ll hand the craft knife to you to unbox this one. Cheryl: (nervous sound) Ryan: Hmmm! Nerve-wracking. Cheryl: It’s so nerve-wracking. Ryan: It’s fine. i just… it’s nerve-wracking because you can’t you can’t redo it. You can’t undo the shot. i don’t have a shrink wrap machine, so once it’s open, its open. Ok – yeah. There’s a corner. That’s good. Ha! Cheryl: Ha! Ryan: Hrm! Oh – (indiscriminate scatting) So, before they actually commissioned me to do the video, they sent me the rulebook to learn more about the game. So i’ve read – usually with unboxings, i know nothing. Listen. Listen. (box opens) Like a whooshy kind of thing, but… Box Fart-O-Meter? Zero. Cheryl: Zero. Ryan: Okay, so they sent me the instruction booklet. i’ve read through a good chunk of the instruction booklet, which is right here. Thickish! This whole thing is bigger than i expected it to be, to tell you the truth. When i read the instruction booklet, i didn’t anticipate this, and it has a very… what… what game does this remind you of? Cheryl: Alien Frontiers? Ryan: It does, eh? Alien Frontiers, because it’s sci-fi. Sort of the art, maybe. Cheryl: Yyyyeah, i dunno? Ryan: For me, it’s… it’s more the layout and the graphic design of the of the book. Reminds me a lot of… Together: Race for the Galaxy. Ryan: Yeah. Cheryl: Yes. Ryan: So i don’t know if that was deliberate? Cheryl: When you flipped the page, yeah. Ryan: Right, yeah. Cheryl: Totally. Ryan: So that’s what it is. So i usually like to just spin through and tell people how many pages the instruction booklet is. It’s uh… 46 pages! So it’s not an in insubstant… and unsubstantial game AT ALL. There’s… there’s jazz going on with this. Cheryl: Beefy. Ryan: Yeah, yeah yeah. And it’s to the point where it’s almost like what they did with Trickerion, where i think they split it up into section, and i’ve actually been commissioned to do a How to Play not on the whole shebang, but on a piece of it. So they say, like, if you want a really long game, you do this, if you want sort of a shorter game, you do this, if you want to take out mechanics, do this and this and this. So actually, the back half of that is a reference manual, and then the front half is like a How to Play. So the reference manual is probably, like, a deep dive on what each card does, and… yeah. It’s got a neat story, too. i was surprised at that, because usually board game stories: who cares, right? It doesn’t matter. But with this one, i think the shtick is that… i think, and if i get it wrong, forgive… but i think that you’re on a spaceship, and it has landed, and something went wrong. You’re on a mission to colonize a planet, and something went wrong, and it… crashed, and so you’re out of your sleep pods, but everybody else is still in cryostasis. And part of what you’re doing as you’re building up the colony is you’re waking up different specialists from cryostasis to help you build out the colony. Kind of cool. And i don’t know if i’m confusing this with something else that i read or watched, but i think that the people who sent you down might be bad. So you might have, like, a malevolent mothership that you’ve hailed from. i don’t know. Maybe i just made that up? Here’s a sticker sheet! Cheryl: Yes. Ryan: Do you know what that does? Cheryl: No. Ryan. No. K – good. i’m not the only one! Off it goes, off the table. So you can tell that the quality of some of these components is very pre-production, right? i can see this being a lot glossier. Touch it. You’ll see what i mean. You know what i mean? Cheryl: Right. Ryan: Yeah. So once they print that, that’ll be a little bit nicer. What even is it? Cheryl: It’s like… more… instructions? Or a player guide? Ryan: Oh – it’s a setup booklet. That’s a little setup bookl… “For beginners.” See? “20 minutes per player.” So they have different… Cheryl: Intermediate… Ryan: Ahh – yeah. Cherl: Okay. Ryan: So, yeah. They have a couple of… i don’t know if they have – i don’t see an advanced one yet – but they have a couple of modes that you can play it in. Here is what a player board looks like. So the crew that you wake up go along here, and you can choose to make one of them the leader, and that crew member gets certain abilities. Ah – there’s the… that’s the Planned Arrival setup booklet. What they’re calling “Planned Arrival” i think is the whole shebang – the full game. Cheryl: Oh. Ryan: i think? Cheryl: The other ones say “Early Arrival”… Ryan: “Early Arrival, “Planned Arrival”… Cheryl: “Basic Sim…” Ryan: And “Basic Simulation.” So, yeah. Planned Arrival is the big one, because 20… it’s 30 minutes a player for Early, and 50 for Planned. Cheryl: 50 minutes a PLAYER? Ryan: 50 minutes a player! Cheryl: Whoa! Ryan: It ain’t nothing! Cheryl: It IS Trickerion style! Ryan: Yeah! It looks… it looks like it’s gonna be kind of beefy. And it looks like they’ve taken a cue from maybe things like Terraforming Mars, which we haven’t played, but it’s on the way: each player plays what looks like a corporation. Westcot & Benton, Trans X Fusion, Aspire, you know? Cheryl: That’s hilarious. Ryan: Yeah, i like that. It’s fun. And here are just – you know – player guides for the order of operations for the differet… Cheryl: Right. Ryan: i feel like i’m touching every… you can touch a thing. Cheryl: Gasp! i can touch a thing?? Ryan: What is that? A giant sticker? Cheryl: It looks like a giant sticker. Ryan: Okay. Cheryl: Or something. Ryan: Okay, cool. Cheryl: Gasp – here we go! Ryan: Everything fits nicely in that tray, though. That’s good. Cheryl: Do i get to just toss it? Ryan: Yeah, that just goes straight in the garbage. Cheryl: No! Come on. Look! Ryan: Look! Cheryl: Sticker for this! Ryan: Ah! It goes right in the middle. Cool. i think that is the hub for everything else that branches off. Now pull one of those guys out, and you’ll see. Cheryl: Oh. Ryan: It’s kind of like a… Cheryl: Oh! Ryan: Yeah. Cheryl: Ahh! Too many pieces! Ryan: So they just kind of, like, puzzle-piece in there. And these are the sections of the colony as you’re building them, and then you ask “Well, what’s up with whole…” Cheryl: Oh! They go THAT way. Ryan: Oh, they fit nicely! You ask “What’s up with the little round and retctang… or triangle recesses,” right? Cheryl: I was about to. Ryan: Well, we hadda dig into into the bag to find out, so… they’re all in the different player colors, so you’re building your pieces of the colony that your corporation owns, and they’re gonna fit right in there. Cheryl: Oh, in the corners. Ryan: Yeah, in the corners, exactly. And there are rules around… Cheryl: What goes in the middle? Ryan: Uhh… well, we gotta dig further and find out more, uh… or i wonder if that sticker sheet that i just threw…? Yeah. The sticker sheet that i threw off the table has the circles that go in there, right? Cheryl: A-ha. Ryan: So they’re all marked different terrain types, and there were rules about when you can claim a piece of terrain and when you can’t, and there’s adjacency rules, and and rules rules rules. Look: more rules. Rules of negotiation… If you were to estimate how many cards were in this deck, what would your guess be? Cheryl: Oh, it’s hard. Ryan: It is! Estimation: not our… even a… Not our strength as a couple, i wouldn’t say. We go to those – you know – those carnival things… Cheryl: HUNDRED AND FIFTY. Ryan: Hundred and fif… you know those carnival games, if you guess weight… you jerk! You wrecked it! You wrecked… running… running gag ruined for all time! i was GOING to say we go to the carnival at the Guess Your Weight thing and we guess 8,000 pounds and we lose… Cheryl: Right… Ryan: But that doesn’t make sense, because YOU don’t guess in the carnival game. The barker does. Whatever. Cheryl: So… so you’ve ruined your OWN joke, because it… didn’t work. Ryan: But YOU ruined… my… joke. Cheryl: (laughing cruelly) Ryan: Ay yi yi. Uh… it’s another Getting Started guide. Cheryl: Huh! Ryan: This is, like, big on the Getting Started guides. But i think this is the Getting Started How-to-Put-Stickers-on-Things Guide, not the actual… “Rules of Negotiation,” “Gear Setup”… There’s a lot going on. Here: you have some cards, and i’ll have other cards. So you get these ones… i’m giving you too many. We gotta make it equal. Here’s half. Cheryl: Ooh – PURPLE cards. Ryan: i like purple cards. Cheryl: i like them too. Ryan: If you find anything interesting, let me know. Cheryl: “Acid rain!” Ryan: Acid rain! Cheryl: “Dust storm!” Ryan: Acid rain. Do you remember in 1988, when we were kids, and the way they talked about acid rain, you thought that any moment you’d leave the house… Cheryl: Yes. Ryan: …and your flesh was gonna melt off your bones? Cheryl: Yes. Ryan: And then how often do they talk about acid rain now? Cheryl: Like, never. Ryan: Never talk about acid rain. i’m not saying it’s not a thing and it doesn’t happen. It’s just… it seemed like i was gonna have to spend most of my adult life… Cheryl: Like it was imminent… Ryan: …battling acid rain! Cheryl: Yeah. Ryan: But… Cheryl: For real. Ryan: It’s not really a thing. At least where we are. No – i’m sorry if whatever country you’re watching from is beset by hazard rate on the daily and we look like big jerks about it. Cheryl: Yeah. Ryan: It’s kinda like that comedian – it might have been John Mulaney – he was saying “I thought quicksand was gonna be a bigger deal when i was an adult.” Every cartoon you watched…. Cheryl: In every kids’ show… Ryan: someone was drowning in quicksand. Cheryl: Right? Ryan: These are just events that… i shouldn’t say “JUST events that happen to the planet,” but they are things that happen in the planet… Cheryl: Oooh! Ryan: Whattya got? Cheryl: “Command center hit. Kill one member of your crew.” Ryan: Oh yeah! i should have mentioned that! So you can actually… Cheryl: You KILL your people? Ryan: You mmmmurder crew members! Yeah! And it’s all, like… Cheryl: Ouch! Ryan: …in the name of… well, like, you’re in a dire situation. You’re on a… Cheryl: Too many mouths to feed kinda thing? Ryan: Kinda thing, yeah! So it reminds me a little bit of, like, if that book The Martian? They made a movie with Matt Damon? Cheryl: Right. Ryan: If that was a board game, but it was not just one guy – it was a bunch of people. i think that’s kind of… Cheryl: Right. Ryan: …the idea. You gotta make tough calls, man, when you’re…. Cheryl: Interesting. Ryan: …on an alien planet. Yeah. Here: crack that one open. These are two more bags of player triangle pieces in player colors. This looks like a start player marker… Cheryl: Whyyy won’t this open? Ryan: i like this trend of putting sort of, like, clay poker-y chip kind of things… in games. That’s nice and heavy. So that’s – i’m pretty sure that’s what that is. Having trouble? Cheryl: Alright. i’m gonna… i’m gonna knife it. It makes it harder! Ryan: i know! There we go! Ha! (both laughing) Get that trash out of here! Cheryl: Yep! Uhhh… crew card! Ryan: These are the people! Cheryl: Yeah! Ryan: These are the crew that you can wake up…. Cheryl: “Science”! Ryan: Oh! That’s interesting: that’s an interesting… Are some illustrated and some are photographic? Or are they all…? i can’t tell. It’s almost like they took photos and overpainted some of them… Cheryl: Yes. Ryan: Yeah, i wonder if it’s people they know? i know that there’s this one series of games – i forget what it’s called – but it’s… or there’s one board game publisher, and a lot of the artwork that contains people is all photographed people and they look like the publisher’s buddies, but when i mention… Cheryl: Maybe i shouldn’t put them in piles, but… yeah. Ryan: When i mentioned that, people are like “Oh no, no – those are… those are hired actors,” and i was like, “Really? Why are you only hiring actors from the ages of 25 to 27 who look like they’re in the same chemistry class at school?” You know? Some look photographic… Yeah, interesting. Very, very interesting. Cheryl: Very weird. Yeah – this looks like a dude’s head is on there… anyway. Ryan: He’s Canadian. That’s why he looks like that. Cheryl: Ah. W-what? Ryan: Let’s get the… (both laugh) … get the crew out of here. We’re making a huge mess over here. Cheryl: Yaah. Ryan: Hmm! And then what’s left? They HAVE paid a lot of attention, you notice, to the inserts, and how everything packs up… Cheryl: Ooh! Ryan: Oh yeah yeah yeah, okay. “So what’s the deal,” you ask, “What’s the deal with the egg timer?” Because it says in the instruction booklet that you might get into, like, analysis paralysis kind of stuff, so the egg timer… Cheryl: Can i use this on YOU?? Ryan: Oh. Cheryl: (excited giggle) Ryan: Yes. i guess so. It’s in the rulebook. Cheryl: I’m sorry. Ryan: Why would you want to? Cheryl: Cuz sometimes your turns are too long! They just are. They really are. Ryan: Pot. Kettle. Black. Ladies n’ gentlemen. Cheryl: Excuse ME. I don’t think so. Ryan: Cards! Cheryl: Ask our friends. Ryan: (laughs) Mission cards. Holy cow! That – now, that’s a substantial deck right there. That IS about 50,000 cards. Wowee. Cheryl: Not 17 million? Ryan: You got the…. you got the… i… it’s a range. It ranges between those two… Cheryl: Where… how did you find the thing so quick? Ryan: i didn’t! i’m just, like, a wizard! Cheryl: Okay! Race! I’m using a knife! Damn it! No! It’s not working! Ryan: Engage teeth! Cheryl: Ack! Teeth? Ryan: Bleh! Chemicals! Bah! Nuh! Factory-fresh… poison! Pluh! Body… changing… Glllh! Cheryl: No. Ryan: No. Whoo!It does have that… (sniffing) fresh off the belt smell. More cards and things that happened. Oh, yes: “Steal Item.” It’s a bit of a jerk game. So you get to be a bit evil – there’s… there’s… ah. How do i say it diplomatically? There’s a high level of player interaction in this game. Cheryl: Oh. Ryan: Can you handle it? Cheryl: I dunno. Ryan: But yeah: special mission cards. Very cool. Cheryl: You can be kind of a jerk sometimes in games like that. Ryan: It’s true. i like being a jerk in jerk games. Cheryl: Yeah. Ryan: Cuz that’s the name of the game. Cheryl: IS it though? Ryan: It is. Cheryl: I dunno. Ryan: Did you find anything interesting in your deck that’s worth mentioning? Cheryl: Iiiii… logistics missions… research missions… construction missions… Ryan: “Block action.” So i’ve got some of the jerk cards in here. “Counter action.” Take that. Cheryl: These are, like, all things you can do or add, i guess, to your ship? Or your… Ryan: Colony? Cheryl: Colony? Yeah. Ryan: “Steal activities.” Mm-hmm! Stealing! (delighted humming) Cheryl: Evil. Ryan: More cards! Mission cards, activity cards… Cheryl: I get two! Ryan: (laughing) i don’t know if we need to open to ALL of these, because we don’t know what they do. i guess we can show what some of them look like. Cheryl: Race! Race! Race! Ryaqn: Yeah, but you have to open both… Cheryl: Ha! Ryan: You have to open both of yours, because you took two. Ha ha ha! Cheryl: What?? No! That’s not the way it… Ryan: Ha ha! Winner! Cheryl: You’re the lamest. Ryan: “Extra storage. “2 food.” “Extra slot.” “Operations.” “Engineering.” “Food”! Look what the food looks like. It looks like that police officer snail from Everdell: Pearlbrook. Charyl: Like a snail jerrycan. Ryan: Yeah. Cheryl: Oh! It says “Watering can.” Ryan: Oh, okay. (laughs) i thought i was like… where does that spout go if you’re gonna ingest that food? Cheryl: READ, Ryan. Ryan: i know. Cheryl: Just read! Ryan: i like pictures! Both: Mmeh! Ryan: That’s cool. Like a big mech. That’s awesome. Cheryl: These are more, like, construction cards with lots of text and… research… Ryan: That we don’t understand. Cheryl: “Logitistics”… yeah. Ryan: i’m getting a distinct… Cheryl: No idea. Ryan: …Terraforming Mars vibe from this game, for sure. Cheryl: Ooh! Ryan: Ooh! Whattyou got? Oh! Those are cool, like the ones that i just opened. Cheryl: Yeah! Science. Ryan: Science! (laughs) What do you think of the artwork? Cheryl: It’s good! It’s… Ryan: Yeah! i could look at that. Cheryl: Yeah. Ryan: Yeah. Definitely. The crew was the only thing i was just kinda like “Hmm.” Cheryl: The crew’s still fine. It’s just… Ryan: They’re fine. They’re not th… they don’t look BAD. Cheryl: No. Ryan: It’s just a stylistic decision that was kind of mystifying at first. Cheryl: (Why is this so hard?) I hope you speed up these bits. Ryan: Mmm. Cheryl: Cuz this is ridiculous. Resource card, resource card, resource card, resource card, resource card, resource card… Oh. Is there stuff on the back? No. They’re all just resource cards. You: same thing? Cheryl: Mine too! Ryan: What’s the back of yours look like? Cheryl: Gasp – green! Ryan: Yours is a green resource card. Mine is a gray resource card, and they all look the same on the front. i trust… i trust that that’s how they’re supposed to look. And the very last thing in the box… i do like all these inserts. They are much appreciated. i’m gonna have to watch the video back to figure out how to put everything back. i have a feeling – we don’t need to open this. This is gonna be resource card, resource card… Cheryl: Resource card… Ryan: …but they’re gonna be blue. Cheryl: Yes. Ryan: Oh – of course! You flip those over… you flip them over to the resource card side and shuffle them all together, and it’s one of those three colours. Derpa herp! Cheryl: Oh! Ryan: Okay, that makes sense. Cheryl: Well, i mean… Ryan: Great. And then the rest of these are more colony triangles. Cheryl: Yes. Ryan: Shazam! And that is the sum total of what you get in the Lander box. Much bigger box than i expected. Way more stuff than i expected. 50 minutes a player. It’s a doozy! Cheryl: Yeah! Ryan: So… we’re gonna have to play it, because we’ve got to make a How to Play video about it and show everybody what’s what on one of the three modes, and we will do that, so watch out for the How to Play. Thank you very much for watching this one if you were interested in what’s in the box, and like i said, the link is gonna be below. If you want to play this game before you back it on Kickstarter, follow the link, go to their site, and they’ll list all the different board game cafes, i assume, that you can go and… and try Lander in. Thanks so much for watching! You have to keep looking. 15 more seconds. Don’t move, or else you’ll wreck the shot. Did you move? We’ll you have to do the whole thing again if you moved. [Laughter] Did you just watch that whole thing? Oh – hey! To 100% this video, click the badge to subscribe, and then click the bell to get notifications when i’ve got new stuff. [Music – Board Game Boogie by Ryan Henson Creighton]

Look for Lander on Kickstarter in March of 2020

If you’re near one of the board game cafe locations that Interpid Games seeded with copies of the game, you can play Lander right now. Otherwise, hang out until the game launches on Kickstarter in March 2020!