Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Death Mesa: Available Online Today

Death Mesa BANG! Expansion Available

EDIT (8/8/2011): Death Mesa is no longer available for purchase online. You may, however, download 18" x 12" files and make your own personal copy of Death Mesa. You are only authorized to make 1 personal copy, and you cannot sell your copy to another person. I have provided a tutorial teaching how to use these 18" x 12" files with an online printing service to make yourself a high quality of Death Mesa. It is easy and should take little time and effort on your part.


The much anticipated POD version of Death Mesa is now available online! You can order your print of Death Mesa today. The cost at the moment is $8.99 + shipping. For an explanation of the cost structure or the shipping costs, see below. But in terms of good news, I have been able to significantly drop the price on international shipping. Also, I didn't want to make you pay $3.00+ for a printed version of the guidebook, so you will have to grab the Death Mesa Guidebook online. I will work on a simpler black and white player aid/quick reference that you can easily print off and have during games. The guidebook is not quite practical to store around with you, or pass around with other players.

About Death Mesa. BANG! is an excellent western-themed card game. However, many BANG! fans have lamented the element of player elimination. After all, it can be pretty boring waiting around 15-45 minutes for a game to end. Death Mesa creates a solution to this problem by having eliminated players remain in the game as ghosts, which are able to impact the game's outcome, help their team mates, and even succeed in their roles. Ghosts have no life points, no distance constraints, cannot die, and also draw from a specialized deck of cards called the Dead Men's Deck. Cards from this deck allow the ghosts to possess the living, bequeath items from their will, inspire or weaken others, reveal information on cards in player's hands, warn of impending doom, and so forth. Ghosts however, can spoil each other's plans. With a strong thematic background, Death Mesa should add to the fun of BANG! and draw new fans to it who could not stand the player elimination.

Death Mesa's Cost Structure. As I have repeatedly expressed in my posts, I am making no money off of Death Mesa. I have simply wanted to make it easier for BANG! fans to enjoy a high quality version of this unofficial expansion. My solution was to find a POD (Printer on Demand) that would allow people to order a print of Death Mesa online. That way neither the player nor myself would have to go to Kinko's to print off the free cardsheets (or use an inkjet printer at home). This could take a lot of time, the ink from a home printer is much more likely to smear, and the cardsheets from are not that cheap. Thus, the costs for Death Mesa are simply the POD's costs of processing and production. Let me provide some proof of this for the $8.99 fee for Death Mesa. First, the POD sets the following price for one printing of a 54-card deck: $6.75. See the image below.

Death Mesa Cost Structure Shot 1

Then, for items placed in the Publisher's Warehouse, they also have costs for processing and packaging. They communicate this on their website, and say it will cost around $2.00. See the image below.

Death Mesa Cost Structure Shot 2

So a flat $2.00 processing fee would make it $8.75. However, the site just said they would probably ask that amount. For this order, they asked for $0.24 more. In my e-mail correspondence, I was told (as is captured in this image):

Death Mesa Cost Structure Shot 3

This should explain as best as possible why the cost of Death Mesa is at $8.99 and how I am not making money off of this expansion. On the other hand, it has cost me a lot of personal time and money to make it available to others.

Shipping Costs. When I originally explored using a POD to make copies of Death Mesa for BANG! fans, I was shocked by the international shipping costs. There is a large group of BANG! fans in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and I wanted to make the expansion available to them. I was quite disappointed when I saw shipping costs for PODs ranging from $40-$110 (€27,16-€74,69) to ship to European countries. However, I have worked with the POD to significantly drop the shipping costs. In the United States, shipping is $6.50. As far as I can tell, all international shipping (including Canada) is $15.50 (€10,57). This is far better than the prices I was getting initially. I will try to see if I can cut international shipping costs more, but that may not be possible.

One Death Mesa fan (Stefan) from Finland has already ordered a copy and this was his response:
Martin you are amazing. Everything worked fine. I just ordered a Deck with shipping costs. 24USD total with Paypal. Great work. I am looking forward to get the deck soon. Juhu!
One good way to save costs on local or international shipping is to order multiple copies for a group of people. It costs the same amount to ship 7 decks as it takes to ship 1! After 7, the shipping to Slovakia went up from $15.50 to $25.50 (€17.40). After that, the shipping costs from 8 to 32 decks were the same at this price ($25.50). I can't imagine anyone ordering over that, so I will stop the stats there. In terms of ordering multiple decks for a group, it will be easiest for friends living in the same area that do not have to ship again once they get the package. Reshipping might be worthwhile anyway, so I will leave that up to you.

For the Future. Now that Death Mesa can be ordered online, I want to get out translations of Death Mesa into other languages. The most pressing would be Spanish and Czech translations, although German and Portuguese are important too. While I have had offers from people to translate the expansion in the past, little came of these offers. I will be making some slight tweeks to the Death Mesa rules this coming week, and after that I will release a text file for people to download. This file will include both card names, descriptions, and the guidebook's info. If any people are interested in translating, I ask them to download that file and then e-mail me their translation. That way multiple languages will be able to order Death Mesa online.


  1. Are the cards the same size as regular Bang! cards? I know it doesn't matter, since the ghost deck doesn't interact with the regular deck, but it looks more professional, and I'd like to buy a deck that blends in with the 'real' Bang! cards.

  2. The cards are not the same size as the regular deck. They are the same size as a regular American poker deck. This was done to shave the costs, as trying to get them to cut to the same size as the "real" BANG! cards is $40/hour. I decided that this was not worth it. For Robbers' Roost, this cutting will be necessary to incorporate the new cards into the regular deck. Thus, those production costs will be added in. I am going to have to find away to do a groupon or front the cash somehow so that nobody gets stuck with $40 fee. I want it split at least the least 5 ways, so that it doesn't add more than $8 to the costs.

  3. If you know of a POD that can do this cheaper, let me know.

  4. Just got them in the mail, the quality is worthy of the cost. Can't wait to try it out!

  5. I am glad that the cards turned out so high quality. I was quite pleased with the prototype, and I am happy that my tweeks have made a difference. Make sure to download the new Guidebook and player aids.

  6. Hey, I'm wondering if there is a possibility of getting faster shipping for the next time around, I order my death mesa on Friday and I thought 10 business days was way too long for shipping, I mean most places I get shipping from like 2- 3 days so I thought it was crap that it's gettin here in 10 days, so any way you can get the shipping changed to be faster?

  7. I pointed out earlier that the first orders would take a little time longer to complete. This was because the POD was insuring that the darkness/lightness of the cards was correct, unlike the prototype deck that I ordered. If the next batch of orders takes long, then I will talk with the POD and try to have a better estimated shipping date. Thanks for your comments, Blake.

  8. thanks for telling me that, i hope you can get the shipping fixed for whenever you have other releases it would be much apriciated

  9. it says in the guidebook that brawl's work on ghosts. do their death mesa cards get brawled or their burried goods or both?

  10. also can ghosts play more than spook a turn if they happen to have two in their hand?

  11. Hey Blake, let me post some quick answers here:
    (1) The player who played Brawl decides to discard a card from the player's hand (the Dead Men's Deck cards) or from his buried goods. Either or, but not both. It is like that player deciding to discard a card from a living player's hand or from in play in front of him.
    (2) Yes. There is no Spook! limit. Thus, a Renegade could similarly play a Spook!, and then discard 2 other cards to play another Spook! But the chances of more than 1 happening are extremely low given the negation rules and constraints when there is only 1 dead player/team.

  12. Hi!
    I'd like to know when robber's roost will be printed because i'd like to buy death mesa and robber's roost at the same time.

  13. Robbers' Roost was going to be released in June, but then my computer with a good chunk of the design files was stolen. I hadn't backed up since March, so it should take some time to redesign and restore files. I don't expect it to be out until August.

  14. I can't seem to purchase death mesa, the link is not working correctly is there another place to purchase the high quality set of death mesa and the upcoming robbers roost? Ty :)

  15. As I posted in my last post, DM had to be taken down from the publishers' warehouse due to some issues with the BANG! right holders. A clear set up of how to get a high quality set of Death Mesa will be squared away this upcoming week.