The Great Heartland Hauling Co – Pick up and deliver
How did the idea for The Great Heartland Hauling Co. come about?
I had wanted to create a game for a while but I couldn’t come up with any original ideas. But one day, while working at my church, I was talking with a truck driver who told me about trying to find work and how sometimes you have to lose money hauling a load so you can set your self up in a better position to make money for the trip back. He lost money coming to us but would make money on his way back South after he picked up a load from another town in the area. His comments were the spark of inspiration I needed. I knew there was a game somewhere in his story. I went home and started manipulating some games bits and decks of cards until I had a working prototype. I tested with friends and family, took it to a game design contest where I got some great feedback, and started looking for publishers. Eventually, I landed with Dice Hate Me Games and the game is on [Kickstarter now].
What do you think sets The Great Heartland Hauling Co. apart from other games currently on the market?
I think the theme is familiar in the real world yet unique in the game space. When I started researching for the game, I only found a couple of games with trucking themes so I saw it as something that hadn’t been overdone. I also think it’s a lot of game in a little box. It’s easy to learn, portable, has a lot of replay-ability with the modular board made of cards, and plays in a reasonable 30-60 minutes. I think it works for a wide audience of people, too. My non-gaming family and friends seem to like it and my hardcore gamer friends have had fun with it, too. It also really works great as a two-player game which is important to me because it can be tough to find great games for couples to play and my main gaming partner is my wife.
What is the key to winning in the game?
I don’t think there is one key to winning. I like to say it’s an experience of balancing risk versus reward and making the most of what you’ve been dealt. A little bit of luck, tactical decision making, and some strategic planning are involved.
Were there any rules that you had difficulty in getting to work the way you hoped, or rules that did not function like you expected?
The biggest challenge for me was balancing the game by creating the card distribution and setting the prices and locations for the goods that are being transported around the Heartland. This is a hugely important part of any game design. It’s not always the most fun part but it’s something that has to be done. I just stuck it out and kept playing with the numbers until it felt right and then sought the feedback of others who are smarter than me. Sometimes you run into walls but if you don’t make mistakes along the way you miss the opportunity to learn something. I figure if you keep running into the same wall it’s time to sit down and reevaluate. You either have to keep at it or find another way around. If you stick it out you’ll get where you are going in the long run.