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Wasteland setup guide

Travellers Guide to Setting Up the Wasteland Survival Game

By following these videos you'll have your own Wasteland ready to thrill in no time.

Tackle one piece at a time and don't worry if not everything makes sense right away. On the night there's an easy-to-follow 'runsheet' to guide you through every last detail.

As always, we're here to help on email or Facebook messenger.
Let's do this!
Siren hash
Welcome to the Wasteland, traveller. 
You still smell... clean.
Time to get your hands dirty while I guide you through setting up the game.

What's in the Box?

The Wasteland Survival Game is 100% ready to print and play. All you have to do is hit play on this most dreadful of videos. Don't worry about trying to understand it all right away since we'll go into more details later.

Here's the main parts of the game:
3 Tribes
The Wasteland is home to 3 different tribes: Mystics, Warriors, and Shadow.

On the night, each of these will be run by a friend you've pre-arranged. Their mission is to amass 10 keys by recruiting members and working together on challenges.

Note: If you've got 12-15 players in your party, then just play with 2 tribes so the teams are larger.
3 tribal leaders
Character Cards
When players arrive, they'll start by choosing a character to play as. This selects their starting lives, starting cash, as well as giving them a mini-mission to complete.

The High Priest of the Order of Dead Gods will be the one welcoming each player as they arrive and helping them choose a character.
Character cards for Wasteland
These are challenges that players can attempt to complete. If they do, they visit Vigo's Chop Shop and collect the Bounty listed on the poster.
Wasteland contracts
Death Duels
When someone attacks another player a Death Duel is declared. The attacking player gets to choose which duel they'll do. 

Once complete, both players head to Vigo's where the winner will receive the bounty listed on the Death Duel and the other player will lose a life. (An easy way to track lives is to mark them off on your left wrist using a marker)
Death duels for Wasteland
Stylish game posters
These theming posters add an aggressive splash to your world. The Tribal banners also help make a home base for each Tribe.
Happy birthday Wasteland

Tribal Battles

Tribal Battles are tribe-vs-tribe challenges that happen every 30 minutes. Over the course of the 3-hour game, this means there are 5 Tribal Battles all up.

Each Tribe must enter the battle and pay $250. The winning tribe walks away with all the loot ($250 x 3 = $750) plus a key from Vigo's Chop Shop.
30 mins: Bomb speed grab
In this challenge, both players are trying to grab the 'bomb' when the music stops.
You can use anything for the bomb, like the cardboard inner tube from a roll of kitchen paper or even a plastic cup.

The winner of the first battle then faces the last remaining tribe.
Bomb speed grab
1 hour: Most Fearsome tribal war chant
5 challengers from each Tribe will need to unleash their most fearsome war chant.

Make sure to announce this challenge at the end of the previous Tribal Battle to give teams a chance to prepare.
Best war chant
1.5 hours: Fashion battle
If Zoolander was in the Wasteland they'd be dropping style in this all-out catwalk of death.

Each Tribe can bring forth 1-2 challengers to strut their stuff. The winner will be judged by Vigo based on how epic their costume is as well as how well they embody/act their character.
2 hours: Maddest Max
This is a battle between the Max's and Tribal Leaders. After all, their goal in the game is sweet, sweet revenge. Since Max's can't join a tribe it's also their chance to participate in a larger challenge.

Start this challenge with one of the Max's standing back to back with a tribal leader. They'll each have a Nerf gun with 1 bullet in it. Count out 5 steps and then pause to build some anticipation.....

Yell out FIRE!

Anyone hit by a bullet loses a life (including not-so-innocent bystanders).

Then, move onto the next Max and next Tribal Leader until all done.
Max character
2.5 hours: Tug of war
This one's a 3-vs-3 tug of war. Pretty simple stuff.

Grab a large bed sheet or an actual rope.

After this Tribal Battle, announce that the game will be ending in 30 minutes sharp. Time to get some killing done!
3 hours: Winners are declared
The game ends after 3 hours or when a Tribe amasses 10 keys - whichever comes first. The 3 hour limit prevents the game from dragging on.

Announce the game has finished and celebrate the winners by showering them in the blood of their enemies. Or you could pour a round of shots. Up to you.

If the vibe is right, there's an achievements poster you can fill out as a group. This is a great way to wrap up the evening while ending on a high. Make sure to shout out each achievement and let people shout back who they feel should earn it. Write their name on the poster as a way of immortalizing their moment. This way, any players who put heaps into the game get to be celebrated, even if their tribe didn't win.

Character Cards

There's a multitude of different characters that players can become in the Wasteland. These are made up of 6 base-characters that anyone can choose on arrival, as well as special one-off characters that have a role to play in the world.

Let's start with the most important - the Tribal Leaders:
Tribal Leaders
There are 3 Tribes in the Wasteland:

  • Warriors, run by the powerful Warlord
  • Shadow, run by the ominous Doom
  • Mystics, run by the alluring Empress

You'll want to select the leader of each tribe before the party, as they're the key that makes the whole game run. Choose those from your crew who are the most confident, competitive, and fits the vibe of the tribe

If you have enough space, make a home base for each faction and put up the Tribal banner to denote it as theirs.
Warlord tribal leaderDoom tribal leaderThe Empress
Base Game Characters
There are 6 base characters in the Wasteland. 1 of these is the optional Siren and is part of the R-Rated expansion. If you feel this character wouldn't fit your crew just don't print those cards.

Each player chooses their character upon arrival.
Heavy characterAngel of life characterWasteland berserker characterMax character
(This is the PG version of the Siren, but if this is too 'touchy-feely' for your group, then just leave it out).
Siren character for Wasteland
Vigo's Chop Shop
Vigo is the mostly-mad and always useful shopkeeper of the Wasteland. They give out players starting loot, and sell knives, guns, bullets, and lives. They also have the most amazing Lucky dip - It's really really good, or really really not good!

You might want to play the character of Vigo yourself since you'll know the most about the game world. Alternatively, choose a friend before the night and explain how the character works.

You'll set up a table/shop which will have all of Vigo's loot. Throughout the night players will come to the Chop Shop for:

  • Collecting starting loot and getting lives marked on their left wrist using a marker.
  • Buying weapons, lives, and keys
  • Collecting bounties from Contracts & Death Duels
  • Getting a life marked off when one is lost in a death duel
Vigos characterVigos chop shop
High Priest of the Order of Dead Gods
The first person that players will meet when they arrive will be the High Priest of the Order of Dead Gods. Ideally, you should set up a small shrine where the High Priest can look mystical.

There, players will be guided through choosing a character and a Wasteland name.

After this, players will want to visit Vigo's Chop Shop to get their starting loot and lives.

The Shrine can be a simple table near the front door, or you can go all out and make a meditation spot with flickering candles and gruesome 'offerings'.

All that's really required are the character cards, the Avatar explanation poster, and the Choose your name poster:
Angle of lifeChoose your avatarChoose your name poster
The High Priest is one of the most involved characters in the game,  so you should select someone to play as them before the day of the party. This is because there's a little to explain and you want to select someone that's charismatic and can think on their feet.

Optional game variant: Rise of the Dead God

As an optional extra, the High Priest can also play as the Dead God who will rise, create their own faction, and try to win the night.

They'll keep their true identity hidden until they have resurrected enough followers to take on the other tribes.

Here's how 'resurrection' will work:
Every time a player loses their last life they become a ghost. Ghosts can't talk with anyone except the High Priest. Somehow this mystical being seems to be able to not just talk to the dead, but also bring them back to life!

There's a catch though... in order to be resurrected, players must complete a challenge for the High Priest. For example:

  • Beat the High Priest in Jenga
  • Say the alphabet backwards
  • Make the High Priest a cocktail

But more importantly, the player must vow allegiance to the Dead God when they return. When the High Priest explains this to each dead player, it's up to them to decide how much they reveal (the High Priest essentially gets to decide whether or not to keep players in the dark). Here's a few examples of what the High Priest could say:

"When the Dead God rises, you must come to their side and champion their cause". This makes it sound like they're just being thematic, when in reality, players are getting their life back at the cost of betraying their tribe later on.


"The Dead God will rise in 30 minutes. I need you to head back to your Tribe and start offering to be the bank that holds people's money. When the Dead God rises, you'll defect from your tribe and join the Dead God's tribe and bring all the loot you've been storing." In this case, the High Priest is being very clear about what's going on.
High Priest of the order of dead godsThe dead god
Max, Broker of Death
This is a unique Max character, and they're extra vengeful!

The High Priest should keep this card hidden and give it to a player who chooses a Max card. It's an upgrade that gives the player huge amounts of loot which they'll use to seek revenge on one of the Tribal Leaders.
Max, broker of death
Siren: Optional R-Rated character
One of the characters is the seductive Siren. They'll steal your heart, your loot, and perhaps even your life while offering players a lapdance.

The character is totally optional so only print the cards out if you feel it fits your crew.

(Or, just use the PG version of the character card)

If you use the siren, remember to get a pile of 10 dice ready, since Vigo will need to give one to each Siren as part of their starting loot.
Siren game character
Don't worry, if your crew doesn't gel with R-rated fun, then you can run this PG version of the Siren instead:
Siren character for Wasteland


Contracts are challenges that players can attempt to complete for a reward. If they do, they visit Vigo's Chop Shop and collect the Bounty listed on the poster.

These are a great way for players to earn their first loot in order to buy weapons.

There's a variety of different contracts: so that everyone can find some they'll enjoy. For example, some are artistic, others are about doing a performance, or stealing from another player, or perhaps solving an escape room style puzzle. 
How to set up the contracts
There are 2 contract posters that should be stuck up side-by-side somewhere in a communal area.
Wasteland contractsMore contracts
There's also the optional R-Rated contracts if your crew's a little naughtly... If they're your vibe place these up next to the other contract posters.
R-rated contracts

Death Duels

When someone attacks another player a Death Duel is declared. The attacking player gets to choose which duel they'll do.

Once complete, both players head to Vigo's where the winner will receive the bounty listed on the Death Duel and the other player will have a life struck from their arm.
How to Set up Death Duels
Place all 3 Death Duel posters in a prominent place. The first one explains to players how they work.
Death duels for WastelandMore death duelsEven more death duels
Props for Death Duels
  • Get out Jenga, Connect 4, or some other easy to play party game you have in the cupboard. Place on a table somewhere so it's easy to find.
  • 2x Nerf guns for duels. Vigo will have many of these but keep two aside as loaner guns for duels.
  • 2x Blindfolds. These can just be large dishcloths or towels.
What happens when a player loses their last life?
Players with no lives become ghosts and cannot talk or play the game. 

However, they can speak with the High Priest of the Order of Dead Gods. Somehow this mystical being seems to be able to not just talk to the dead, but also bring them back to life. With a catch...

How to customize the game (optional)

You can edit everything in the game using the simple DIY PowerPoint editor. This lets you click-and-drag your way to making your own survival game.

Watch the video or follow these steps:
Install the fonts
To give Wasteland its dramatic look and feel you'll need to add some gritty fonts to your computer.

This is super easy. Just follow the video or these steps:
   1) Click into the Designers Kit folder
   2) Click into the Fonts folder
   3) Unzip each font by double-clicking it
   4) Install each font by double-clicking then 'Install Font'
Editing the game parts
Inside the Designers Kit folder, you'll find editable PowerPoint files for all the game elements. To change these, simply open the file and start clicking and dragging anything you'd like to change.

It's as easy as killing someone in the Wasteland!
Saving your edits for printing
Once you're happy with your DIY edits it's time to export the PowerPoint file as images. This will make printing significantly easier.

To to this, click on File -> Export -> And choose JPEG as the export type. You'll want to increase the export size to keep the quality up, so increase the dimensions to 2900 along the longest side. This is about as large as PowerPoint will export.
Export DIY edits

How to print

The easiest way to print the game is at your nearest office store. To do this, copy-paste the entire Print folder to a USB drive.

Then, take it to the store and ask them to print the kit on normal paper. There's not a lot of benefit to getting fancy luster/gloss paper - since the Wasteland game is very gritty you can't really tell the difference. Also, the fancy papers will literally *double* the cost of printing ?.

When you're at the print store ask them to:
   • Print the character cards as normal 4x6 photos. These are just the standard photo size and are usually about 10 cents each.
   • Print the game posters on large paper such as Ledger/A3. This should be about $1.5 per page. If you go larger paper, such as ANSI D or A2 this cost will jump to $5-$10 per poster.
   • Print any optional posters in large format as well.
   • Print the lucky dip pages on normal office paper (legal/A4) since these will get cut out.
How to save money on printing
The 2 big costs in printing are the paper size and paper type (such as gloss or luster paper).

If you choose a large paper size AND glossy paper you could end up spending $10-$20 per poster. That's a lot!

Instead, just ask them to print on normal paper and no larger than Ledger/A3. This is great if you're on a budget since you can print the entire survival game for less than $25.

However, if you'd like to go all out, and you have the budget, then printing on larger formats like ANSI D or A2 does look awesome. We've used this size for the posters in the example party. Even in this case, however, just go for standard paper. (As the posters have a 'gritty' pattern that doesn't work well with glossy paper)

Props to collect

There's a few props that empower the Wasteland kit that we couldn't fit into a printer. You'll have most of these around the house or at your friend's place.
Supplies for Vigo's Chop Shop
Vigo's Chop Shop is the source of all things deadly in the Wasteland. Stock it up with:

8 Nerf guns. The mini Nerf guns are great since players only need one shot.

Keep 2 of these guns set aside to loan to players doing one of the death duels. For these, you could use larger Nerf guns for dramatic effect.

You'll also want some bullets. Since players may bring their own as part of their costume it's good to mark each of Vigo's bullets using a permanent marker or spray paint. Otherwise it breaks the game balancing.

If you love theming your party then grab some spray cans and mod the guns with some rusty goodness.
Mini rusty Nerf gunLarge rusty nerf gun
Knives to stabby stab stab
The other way players can start a Death Duel is to stab a player with a fake knife. You can use or make these using props from around the house.

For example, we've used large popsicle sticks covered in spray paint to make ours. Or you can use plain old kitchen knives.

If you'd like something more 'real', here's some fun fake knives to get fancy.
Fake knives
Keys for players to collect
To win the game, each team is trying to amass 10 keys. These cost $500 each from Vigo and can be won by successfully winning a Tribal Battle. Good news is you can get a giant bag for $10.  

On the night, you'll want around 30 on-hand.
Keys for victory scoring
Poker chips for money
The entire Wasteland has been fun-tested and balanced to run on an economy. It's what helps players work out what to do and what's valuable in the world.

The easiest way to do this is with a poker set. You'll just need the 10, 50, 100 chips. If you can't borrow one from a friend they're only around $15.
Poker chips for the games currency
Tribal Challenge props
Tribal Challenges are tribe-vs-tribe battles to test their crews' metal. Two of such challenges will need some simple props from around the home:

  • Bomb Speed Grab: This challenge involves players both trying to grab the 'bomb' when the music stops. You can use anything for the bomb, like the cardboard inner tube from a roll of kitchen paper or even a plastic cup.
  • Tug of war: a large bed sheet will work great for this. If you want to go all out you can grab an actual rope as well.
Bomb speed grab
Markers & makeup for Tribal signs & tattoos
Two of the Contracts give players the chance to express their creative side while also making the Wasteland look even more epic. They're also very popular with more introverted/shy players by giving them space to participate in the Wasteland without needing to be overly social.

The first of these is a challenge to make a sign for your Tribe. To set this up make an Art Station with a bunch of markers and cardboard boxes cut up into squares.
Art contractLarge paint markers for sign creation
The second art Contract is body tattooing. Liquid eyeliner works best for this but you can use whatever markers and pens you have around the home.
Body tattoo contract
Jenga, Connect 4, or other party game
One of the Death Duels is to defeat a player in Jenga, Connect 4, or other game. You'll probably have one of these around the house, or you could borrow from a friend.
Optional: Dice for Sirens if playing R-Rated expansion
A dice is rolled each time a Siren gives someone a lap dance. It could be good for the receiver. It could be deadly. That's the fun! Collect about 6 dice. 1 for each Siren in your game. We used these big bouncy ones.
Dice for Sirens
(These linked props are sold on Amazon, and we get a small affiliate bonus for each purchase.)

Setting up your home

Setting up the survival game around your home is pretty fast. This means that there's plenty of scope for you to go all-out theming up your place with extra decorations.

But that's up to you. For now, let's just tackle the core game parts.
Shrine for the High Priest
Set up a table/station near the front entrance for the High Priest to welcome people, answer some questions, and help people choose their character.

At the station, you'll want to place the player cards, Avatar poster, and Choosing a name poster, and a few markers to write their name on their cards.

You can optionally have a pot for collecting offerings to the Dead God. While most players will think that this is a terrible idea, the High Priest can keep an eye on who makes an offering and perhaps help them out later in the night with a free resurrection.
Shrine of the high priest
3 Tribal areas
If your space is large enough, each tribe will want a home base. Place the tribal poster in each area.

If you'd like to make the bases more thematic, here are some optional ideas for theming each area:

  • Warriors: as rugged as you can make it! For example, choose an outdoor firepit or deck area, or if you only have indoor areas you could try the kitchen. Grab some spare firewood or 'junk' from the shed and pile it up in the area.

  • Mystics: sensual and elegant with a splash of grit thrown in. A living room with some mood lighting or a red velvet cloth stapled to the wall work well. If you're playing outside then carry a few couches out of the house and set up a few lamps.

  • Shadow: the darkest and most decayed area of your world. Use some chalk to draw arcane symbols on the ground or spray paint some signs about the forthcoming end times.
Vigo's Chop Shop
Set up a table that Vigo can stand behind. On the table you'll want:

  • A vault full of poker chips. This can be a simple box but look around your house for the most vault-like thing you have.
  • All of the keys.
  • Stash of Nerf guns and bullets.
  • Stash of knives.
  • Vigo's Chop Shop prices poster.
  • Markers to give/take people's lives.
  • Lucky dip: cut out the lucky dip notes and place them all in a container. 
  • Optional: dice to give out to Sirens if you're playing the R-Rated expansion
Vigos Lucky Dip
Themed background music (Spotify)
Parties need matching music like fine food needs matching wine. So, kick up the stereo and get this custom Wasteland music playlist going. Turn shuffle off and let it play in order so the vibe builds over the course of the night.

The last 5 songs make epic mood music for Tribal Battles and Death Duels, so we recommend switching to them during the fashion show, dance-offs, Bomb Speed grab etc... These higher energy tribal beats always boost the energy to 11!

P.s. tap the follow button and the list will appear in your playlists so you'll have it handy all night.
Special setup for Contracts & Duels 
Setting up Contracts and Death Duels is a simple matter of placing the posters in an open spot and you're 95% done. There are a few of these that require a few props around the house:

  • Place 2 bullets in a small box under your couch. One of the escape room puzzle contracts directs players to look there. First one gets the loot!
  • Place $300 in a red box somewhere in the game area. Make it fairly obvious. This is the goal for the other escape room style puzzle that reads 'Find Vigo's secret red stash of coins'.

If you're playing with the R-Rated contracts you'll also want:

  • Wax play candles. These are special candles for dripping wax on someone's body. It feels amazing! If this is too much preparation simply edit the game and change the wax play contract.
  • Some rope to tie someone up. Great alternatives are handcuffs.
Art Station
Set up a table/station with the following gear so players can enjoy the art-based contracts:

  • Cardboard boxes cut out as a base for signs. Cereal boxes cut into squares work well too since the inside is brown. Alternatively, you can use paper sheets but the cardboard is better for that 'End of the world is nigh' sign vibe.
  • Markers to make Tribal posters on the cardboard. The wider the tip the better. If you have an outdoor area you can go all out and grab spray cans but you'll need good ventilation and a splashback (but it would be dope).
  • Liquid eyeliner or markers for players to do body tattoos on each other.
Facebook event setup

Make a Facebook event

You can optionally make a Facebook event using this description and cover photo in the Facebook Event folder. Alternatively, if you prefer to organize events by sending out a message you can copy-paste the description and send it to each person individually.

You may want to update the start times to suit your event.

Lastly, feel free to change/embellish the story with your own flavor. The rest of the kit doesn't make any references to the game world, so you can let your creativity loose!
Copy-paste event description
Welcome to the apocalypse at the end of time. Was it climate change? Zombies? A virus? No one knows anymore but the fashion's lit.

The 3 warring factions have been fighting a water feud for as long as our Elders can remember. After all, it's the scarcest resource on this rock.

Rather than shed blood for the generations to come, the 3 Elders have bargained to let their best and bravest fight it out in one night of survival.


The winning faction at the end will hold the major water source in the Wasteland - the Spring of Life.


When you arrive you'll choose a character - a tough Heavy? Or a stealthy Angel of Light? Or the all-out Berserker? Then you'll be let loose in the Wasteland.

It's highly recommended you earn your place in one of the factions. So bring a skill, experience, offering, or take your chances with one of the initiation challenges they set.


Arrive by 7pm to get into character, collect your starting purse, browse the wares available in the Chop Shop, and perhaps start muscling your way into a faction to enhance your chances of survival.

The war for survival kicks off at 8pm and runs till 11pm. This is the most exhilarating part of the night so don't miss out. Think of being late as missing the first half of an escape room.

After the game finishes, we'll crank the music machine and party the night away.


  • Friends are welcome! So long as they're legit people who practice consent.
  • Some drinks to add to the communal stash.


There'll most definitely be a 'catwalk of the broken' on the night.

See the photo post below of the latest in wasteland fashion. Pink punk? Wretched wasteland warrior?

This is the kind of party you want to overdo it on, so go all out.

Pre-party Checklist

Run through the checklist to ensure that you have everything set up. Once you're all good, head over to the Run Sheet to see how the night will play out.

Wasteland party checklist:

  • Arranged 4 friends to play as the special characters in the game. Talk them through the overview of the game.
      ◦ 3 Tribal Leaders
      ◦ 1 High Priest
  • High Priest's Welcoming Shrine

  • Vigo's Chop Shop
      ◦ 30 keys
      ◦ Poker chips
      ◦ Nerf guns and bullets
      ◦ Fake knives
      ◦ Optional: Shot glasses and liquor, or nangs, for giving to players as an extra life
      ◦ Optional R-Rated expansion: Pile of dice for Sirens

  • Art Station
      ◦ Markers and cardboard for Tribal signs
      ◦ Markers for body tattoos

  • Contracts & Death Duels
      ◦ Jenga, Connect 4 or other party game
      ◦ Box of 2 bullets hidden under the couch
      ◦ $300 hidden in a red box somewhere in the game area

  • Background music. Follow the playlist on Spotify to save it to your phone.

  • Optional R-Rated Expansion
      ◦ Wax play candles
      ◦ Rope and something to do spanking with
Pre-game checklist
I'm here to help with any questions

Got a question?

Don't worry if you're feeling stuck - we're here to help.

Just shoot us an email or Facebook message.

And remember - on the night there's the easy-to-follow run sheet to guide you through every last detail.
Siren hash
How'd you go, traveller?
When you're ready to play just open the Wasteland run sheet.
I'll see you there.
Let's Play!
Copyright © 2023 Lock Paper Scissors Publishing.
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