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Subject: Fallout The game I wasn’t expecting to love. rss

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Dan Spezzano
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After writing reviews for 20+ years I decided I had enough, so I haven’t written a review in over 2 years. Then along comes Fallout, a game I decided to pre-order simply because it was Fallout. I wasn’t expecting to like it, thinking it a Runebound re-skin. It arrived on Friday and I set it up and played a solo game. This wasn’t what I was expecting at all, this was fun. I wrangled my wife into a 2 player game Saturday, knowing it might not go well because it was “a long game” by her standards. To my surprised she liked it a lot and we finished our game. I then set it up yesterday and played a solo game again of the first scenario. Three plays in 3 days, that is something I haven’t done since, well I can’t recall when.

To summarize before I dig in. If you’ve played Runebound, The Witcher or even the old Warcraft adventure game you will likely enjoy Fallout. A careful reader will notice I didn’t say “liked” those 3 games and I did in fact mean play. My theory if you played one of those you’re looking for a good game in that mold. Well Fallout has streamlined the game play and combat to the point where there is little downtime. Once players figured out what is going on and how to play, the game moves along at a good clip.

The Bits
It wouldn’t be an FFG game if there weren’t some kind of card board or plastic we were putting together. In this case it is the player board. Where you track your health, XP and Radiation level. You also have slots for your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. letters you acquire during the game. The board has slots for a few traits you can pick up like well rested and addicted. Finally outside the player board are spots for cards which represent the gear you pick up and also your agenda (Victory Points).

There are 5 character choices for players each represented by a plastic figure and a small player card. The figures are nice sculpts in my opinion and the character cards I either some special starting equipment or ability. For example the Vault Dweller starts with some special armor while the Super Mutant gains XP every time his rad level increases. Other than this card and the figure there are no differences in the characters.

The game comes with a lot of cards, most of which represent the encounters and quests you can take on. Others for gear and loots and of course perks. Lots of card board is included as well, my wife thought the bottle caps which every good Fallout player knows are money were a nice touch. Finally the hex map tiles are nice as well, they aren’t too busy making the iconography easy to read.

One would do well to separate the bits and then read the setup before doing anything else. The cards are numbered and are meant to be organized this way (with some minor exceptions) so those who unpack and shuffle right away will be cursing themselves later. I found it easier to break the cards into 3 stacks; 1-50 51-100 and 100+.

Game play
The objective of the game is to gain the set influence to end the game and then hopefully win. A 1 player game needs 11 influence, 2 player 10 and so on. You acquire influence from Agenda cards, you start the game with one and can acquire more from quests / encounters up to a hand limit of 4. Each card counts as a point but it also has, you guessed it an agenda. This agenda is kept secret and can gain you more points.

For example one card will give you an extra point if only 1 tile remains unexplored or 2 extra points if all are explored. There are also agenda cards that are called loyalty cards, these must be revealed to take effect and support one of the factions (more on that in a second) and they give you points for how far ahead that factions is then the other, you can’t have loyalty to both factions. Important Note: The way the cards distribute getting the required influence is tough as there are more loyalty agenda cards then not. We are unclear if you can play multiple loyalty cards to the same faction or not.


On the scenario card are two factions, represent by either a shield or star icon and accompanying chits. The card also has a faction track representing the factions goals. As you do certain things you will cause the factions chits to move on the track, making them more powerful. If any faction gets to the last space on this track the game also ends so it is possible for no player to acquire the influence needed to move. Also each faction has an enemy listed on the card and represent on the board as chits. Loyalty to a faction means they can’t attack you and you can’t attack them. If I had to nitpick one thing thus far it is remembering to look at the faction enemies on the card when once of their chits comes into play on the board. You get so used to looking at enemy chits on the board that contain everything, glancing over at the card can be forgotten. The last thing to note about the scenario card is it sets up the map, any conditions or enemies and any starting quests in play.

Game play is simple, starting with the first player each player takes 2 actions (most can be taken twice). After all players have taken an action enemies activate and then you repeat. Players have the following actions; Explore, Move, Fight, Encounter, Quest or Camp.

Explore: Allows you to flip an unrevealed tile you’re adjacent to. Tiles are comprised of spaces with clear borders so you can easily tell if you’re adjacent or not.

Move: Allows you to move 2 spaces and you can split your move. So I could move, explore and move. The tiles have 2 special types of terrain each marked with clear color borders. Red terrain cost 2 movement points to enter and green terrain increases you rad level by a point each time you enter it.

Encounter (Once per turn only): These occur when you’re on either a wasteland space or a settlement space, clearly marked on the board by their icons. Each space has an encounter deck, in a multiplayer game a player reads the encounter and choices. You pick a choice and then more often than not have to perform a test (more later) or fight something. Settlement encounters are the only time you can shop that I am aware of at this point. Encounter spaces have a number next to them, like Settlement 3. These numbers come into play when getting loot, shopping etc.

Quest: Many of the quest cards require you to go to a spot on the map and perform a quest action to solve them. Quest stage new quests, advance the story, give loot and often add encounters.

Fight: When you are in a hex with an enemy or adjacent with a ranged weapon you can start a fight. It should be noted most enemies you can move right through their space without fighting, some have an aggressive trait which triggers a fight. Fighting is simple and fast but I just going to cover the basics. Each enemy has vulnerable areas and a level on their card. For example an enemy might have be level 1 and be vulnerable in the body and head. You roll the 3 VAT dice trying to get those vulnerable areas on an enemy. In our case we need 1 hit. You can then generate any rerolls usually from equipment and then you take hits from the enemy first. Each die can has dots on them this is what the enemy does to you. Then you apply your hit and either kill it or not. I’m not detailing enemy abilities here or how weapons ties to your Special track but it doesn’t complicate the process. Most fights take a minute or less.

As you explore the wasteland you gain XP from killing monster and completing quest / encounters. As you do the latter new quest are staged and encounters added to the decks. Replayability might come into question here. Having played the starting scenario 3 times I found the game branched in different directions each time I played. I’m sure if I played every day for 3-4 weeks I would know everything on the cards but thus far it hasn’t been an issue.

Let me explain tests, you might have a quest / encounter that says; A. L. 3. To perform a test you roll all 3 VAT dice and remember those dots that represented enemy hits in a fight, well in a test they represent success. So in my test above I need 3 dots on the dice. The letter represent rerolls, in this case if I have either the letters A or I filled in on my board I get one reroll for each letter.

The XP you acquire is tracked and once you hit the end of the board you draw two face down SPECIAL tiles and then choose one to add to your board. If by some chance you already have the letter you drew you can talk a perk card for that letter instead. The XP peg goes back to the beginning of the track of course. Perk Cards are typically one use items that help in some way.

Finally we have traits, with the exception of well rested most of these have no gameplay effects other than affecting choices during encounters. Well rested allows you a reroll and then you lose the token representing the trait.

Summary
As I mentioned I wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did and usually I’m not much of a solo gamer. Fallout however I’ve played solo twice already. It just plays so quickly solo and more importantly tells a story. A multiplayer game is going to take a while however, I would expect 2-3 hours depending upon how quick your players are. If you’re not an adventure game fan I don’t know if Fallout will change your mind but it is the most streamlined game of this type I’ve ever played. As for the game getting stale, Fallout is the first game where I can see expansion being useful and maybe different. This game take place in the Boston area, Fallout 4 I believe.

A Vegas expansion could simple be new tiles, new encounter and story cards and some new characters. I don’t see a need for rule changes or new rules to bog this game down. A new are and story would be all players needed.

To wrap this up I would suggest at least trying this game if you have any interest. It won’t be quick, you will chuck dice and you might have a good time doing so.
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Chris Garlic-13 Aniballi
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Thanks, Dan. Got my copy a couple days ago, hoping to give it a shot soon. It'll probably be solo. The long playtime is my biggest concern.
 
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Ben Bosmans
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The problem is that I already have too many fantasy based games really.

It is a good review, thanks for that.

The problem is that I already have the old World of Warcraft boardgame and yep there are excellent solo rules for it. I also play the Witcher on a regular basis, I discovered the excellent Unbreakable Bonds SOLO expansion for Runebound3 ...

So add Descent2 App play, the new SW IA App play, the MoM2 App play, Eldritch Horror, ARkham Horror LCG ... and my Fantasy based gaming is pretty much covered... without even referring to the Warhammer Quest LCG, Run Fight or Die, Dungeonquest revised, and a few dozen more ...

FFG sure makes it hard to choose... .

I guess Fallout is a great addition in the range, but there are only so many hours in a day ...
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Aaron White
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I could not believe how smooth this was solo. Turn after turn just flew by and I had a great time.
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dspezzano wrote:
This game take place in the Boston area, Fallout 4 I believe.

A Vegas expansion could simple be new tiles, new encounter and story cards and some new characters. I don’t see a need for rule changes or new rules to bog this game down. A new are and story would be all players needed.


(1) It is a Fantasy Flight game. I can promise you it will have expansions. laugh

(2) There are 4 scenarios in the base game that represent 4 different locations in the Fallout world. The Commonwealth and Far Harbor are from Fallout 4, and The Capitol Wasteland and The Pitt which are both from Fallout 3. I wouldn't necessarily hold my breath for New Vegas, though, since that game was not developed/published by Bethesda, there may be licensing restrictions.
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Doug Dinneen
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dspezzano wrote:
Encounter (Once per turn only)

Technically, you can use the Encounter action twice, but you can only Encounter the space once. So if an Encounter moved you to another space with an Encounter icon, you could Encounter that new one.

dspezzano wrote:
This game take place in the Boston area, Fallout 4 I believe.

A Vegas expansion could simple be new tiles, new encounter and story cards and some new characters. I don’t see a need for rule changes or new rules to bog this game down. A new are and story would be all players needed.


New Vegas is Obsidian, so I doubt that will happen (but PLEASE prove me wrong)!

At the very least we have three more Scenarios from Fallout 3 and 4. Broken Steel has you joining the Brotherhood and stopping the Enclave; it also deals with the water supply in the Capital Wasteland (lots of sidequests related to that). Point Lookout involves a state park that wasn't hit by the bombs but has all sorts of inhabitants to encounter. Then there is Automatron, involving tons of robots and a mystery on who is behind it.

Out of the others, Operation Anchorage and NukaWorld would require some new tiles to make them work.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Mothership Zeta is already a questline in the boardgame though!
 
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Dan Spezzano
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dumbdiety wrote:
dspezzano wrote:
Encounter (Once per turn only)

Technically, you can use the Encounter action twice, but you can only Encounter the space once. So if an Encounter moved you to another space with an Encounter icon, you could Encounter that new one.


Ah I didn't have that happen to me but good to know, thanks.

 
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Dan Spezzano
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hockeyjedi wrote:

(2) There are 4 scenarios in the base game that represent 4 different locations in the Fallout world. The Commonwealth and Far Harbor are from Fallout 4, and The Capitol Wasteland and The Pitt which are both from Fallout 3. I wouldn't necessarily hold my breath for New Vegas, though, since that game was not developed/published by Bethesda, there may be licensing restrictions.


Good to know, I'm embarrassed to admit the last Fallout I finished was Fallout 2. I'm more an isometric top down CRPG player than 1st / 3rd person.

My point was I hope expansions just add new areas, scenarios cards and tiles. I don't see any need for rules changes as it plays great IMO.

I guess the only thing missing according to my wife is the ability to attack me the other player.
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Dan Spezzano
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TheSolarGarlic wrote:
Thanks, Dan. Got my copy a couple days ago, hoping to give it a shot soon. It'll probably be solo. The long playtime is my biggest concern.


My first solo game took 2+ hours because I was learning the systems. The game with my wife took 3 hours, because she was learning the systems. My second solo play took 90 minutes.

I really think if you get 1 play in with a group the next session will go so much faster.
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dspezzano wrote:
TheSolarGarlic wrote:
Thanks, Dan. Got my copy a couple days ago, hoping to give it a shot soon. It'll probably be solo. The long playtime is my biggest concern.


My first solo game took 2+ hours because I was learning the systems. The game with my wife took 3 hours, because she was learning the systems. My second solo play took 90 minutes.

I really think if you get 1 play in with a group the next session will go so much faster.


I played a 2p game last night and we finished setup, pack up and a full game in 2 hours. This includes me making dinner during the game. I could see crushing a 2p game in 60 once all the rules are understood. We bumbled with the XP interpretation a bit.
 
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dumbdiety wrote:

New Vegas is Obsidian, so I doubt that will happen (but PLEASE prove me wrong)!


I can't prove you wrong, but in speculation, doesn't Bethesda still own the rights to New Vegas? They just contracted with a different studio for production?

At any rate, I do like the idea of a New Vegas expansion, but it would require new tiles and new encounters. Maybe a successor to Fallout? Perhaps if they did a second game they could do it based in New Vegas and include Areas from Fallout 1 and 2 as appropriate.
 
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dspezzano wrote:

I guess the only thing missing according to my wife is the ability to attack me the other player.


The first thing my wife usually asks when I bring home a new game or get one out for her to learn is, "Am I playing against you?/Can I attack you?" etc.

She loves player conflict more than I thought possible!
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WisdomForWizards wrote:
dumbdiety wrote:

New Vegas is Obsidian, so I doubt that will happen (but PLEASE prove me wrong)!


I can't prove you wrong, but in speculation, doesn't Bethesda still own the rights to New Vegas? They just contracted with a different studio for production?

At any rate, I do like the idea of a New Vegas expansion, but it would require new tiles and new encounters. Maybe a successor to Fallout? Perhaps if they did a second game they could do it based in New Vegas and include Areas from Fallout 1 and 2 as appropriate.


New Vegas was a work made for hire by Obsidian.
Bethesda owns Fallout and can do whatever it wants with whatever it chooses.
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WisdomForWizards wrote:
dspezzano wrote:

I guess the only thing missing according to my wife is the ability to attack me the other player.


The first thing my wife usually asks when I bring home a new game or get one out for her to learn is, "Am I playing against you?/Can I attack you?" etc.

She loves player conflict more than I thought possible!


Sounds so much like my gf. There is nothing better than an ultra competitive woman!
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Ben_Bos wrote:
The problem is that I already have too many fantasy based games really.

It is a good review, thanks for that.

The problem is that I already have the old World of Warcraft boardgame and yep there are excellent solo rules for it. I also play the Witcher on a regular basis, I discovered the excellent Unbreakable Bonds SOLO expansion for Runebound3 ...

So add Descent2 App play, the new SW IA App play, the MoM2 App play, Eldritch Horror, ARkham Horror LCG ... and my Fantasy based gaming is pretty much covered... without even referring to the Warhammer Quest LCG, Run Fight or Die, Dungeonquest revised, and a few dozen more ...

FFG sure makes it hard to choose... .

I guess Fallout is a great addition in the range, but there are only so many hours in a day ...
Uhhhhh... what? Fallout is post-apocalyptic sci-fi about the world after nuclear war; there is nary an elf or wizard to be found. The only thing you could conceivably call fantasy about it is that some people and animals had the kinds of reaction to radiation exposure that schlocky old-school sci-fi imagined back before we understood it just gives you cancer.
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The Gas wrote:
Ben_Bos wrote:
The problem is that I already have too many fantasy based games really.

It is a good review, thanks for that.

The problem is that I already have the old World of Warcraft boardgame and yep there are excellent solo rules for it. I also play the Witcher on a regular basis, I discovered the excellent Unbreakable Bonds SOLO expansion for Runebound3 ...

So add Descent2 App play, the new SW IA App play, the MoM2 App play, Eldritch Horror, ARkham Horror LCG ... and my Fantasy based gaming is pretty much covered... without even referring to the Warhammer Quest LCG, Run Fight or Die, Dungeonquest revised, and a few dozen more ...

FFG sure makes it hard to choose... :).

I guess Fallout is a great addition in the range, but there are only so many hours in a day ...
Uhhhhh... what? Fallout is post-apocalyptic sci-fi about the world after nuclear war; there is nary an elf or wizard to be found. The only thing you could conceivably call fantasy about it is that some people and animals had the kinds of reaction to radiation exposure that schlocky old-school sci-fi imagined back before we understood it just gives you cancer.


fantasy: the faculty or activity of imagining things, especially things that are impossible or improbable.

He's just using the higher level meaning of 'fantasy', which is both perfectly acceptable as well as being technically correct.
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WhiteRider27 wrote:
The Gas wrote:
Ben_Bos wrote:
The problem is that I already have too many fantasy based games really.

It is a good review, thanks for that.

The problem is that I already have the old World of Warcraft boardgame and yep there are excellent solo rules for it. I also play the Witcher on a regular basis, I discovered the excellent Unbreakable Bonds SOLO expansion for Runebound3 ...

So add Descent2 App play, the new SW IA App play, the MoM2 App play, Eldritch Horror, ARkham Horror LCG ... and my Fantasy based gaming is pretty much covered... without even referring to the Warhammer Quest LCG, Run Fight or Die, Dungeonquest revised, and a few dozen more ...

FFG sure makes it hard to choose... .

I guess Fallout is a great addition in the range, but there are only so many hours in a day ...
Uhhhhh... what? Fallout is post-apocalyptic sci-fi about the world after nuclear war; there is nary an elf or wizard to be found. The only thing you could conceivably call fantasy about it is that some people and animals had the kinds of reaction to radiation exposure that schlocky old-school sci-fi imagined back before we understood it just gives you cancer.


fantasy: the faculty or activity of imagining things, especially things that are impossible or improbable.

He's just using the higher level meaning of 'fantasy', which is both perfectly acceptable as well as being technically correct.


The concept of Nuclear War with survivors scrounging around and people splittling into factions vying for dominance is hardly "impossible" or "improbable." Or, haven't you been watching the news?
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Ben_Bos wrote:


I guess Fallout is a great addition in the range, but there are only so many hours in a day ...


That's why we have bookshelves.
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DancingFool wrote:
WhiteRider27 wrote:
The Gas wrote:
Ben_Bos wrote:
The problem is that I already have too many fantasy based games really.

It is a good review, thanks for that.

The problem is that I already have the old World of Warcraft boardgame and yep there are excellent solo rules for it. I also play the Witcher on a regular basis, I discovered the excellent Unbreakable Bonds SOLO expansion for Runebound3 ...

So add Descent2 App play, the new SW IA App play, the MoM2 App play, Eldritch Horror, ARkham Horror LCG ... and my Fantasy based gaming is pretty much covered... without even referring to the Warhammer Quest LCG, Run Fight or Die, Dungeonquest revised, and a few dozen more ...

FFG sure makes it hard to choose... :).

I guess Fallout is a great addition in the range, but there are only so many hours in a day ...
Uhhhhh... what? Fallout is post-apocalyptic sci-fi about the world after nuclear war; there is nary an elf or wizard to be found. The only thing you could conceivably call fantasy about it is that some people and animals had the kinds of reaction to radiation exposure that schlocky old-school sci-fi imagined back before we understood it just gives you cancer.


fantasy: the faculty or activity of imagining things, especially things that are impossible or improbable.

He's just using the higher level meaning of 'fantasy', which is both perfectly acceptable as well as being technically correct.


The concept of Nuclear War with survivors scrounging around and people splittling into factions vying for dominance is hardly "impossible" or "improbable." Or, haven't you been watching the news?


You're splitting hairs. Sentient talking ghouls, super mutants, tech that has no real hard science basis, all these things are fantastical in nature. Just because something is 'sciencey' doesn't mean it's also not fantasy.
 
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WhiteRider27 wrote:
DancingFool wrote:
WhiteRider27 wrote:
The Gas wrote:
Ben_Bos wrote:
The problem is that I already have too many fantasy based games really.

It is a good review, thanks for that.

The problem is that I already have the old World of Warcraft boardgame and yep there are excellent solo rules for it. I also play the Witcher on a regular basis, I discovered the excellent Unbreakable Bonds SOLO expansion for Runebound3 ...

So add Descent2 App play, the new SW IA App play, the MoM2 App play, Eldritch Horror, ARkham Horror LCG ... and my Fantasy based gaming is pretty much covered... without even referring to the Warhammer Quest LCG, Run Fight or Die, Dungeonquest revised, and a few dozen more ...

FFG sure makes it hard to choose... .

I guess Fallout is a great addition in the range, but there are only so many hours in a day ...
Uhhhhh... what? Fallout is post-apocalyptic sci-fi about the world after nuclear war; there is nary an elf or wizard to be found. The only thing you could conceivably call fantasy about it is that some people and animals had the kinds of reaction to radiation exposure that schlocky old-school sci-fi imagined back before we understood it just gives you cancer.


fantasy: the faculty or activity of imagining things, especially things that are impossible or improbable.

He's just using the higher level meaning of 'fantasy', which is both perfectly acceptable as well as being technically correct.


The concept of Nuclear War with survivors scrounging around and people splittling into factions vying for dominance is hardly "impossible" or "improbable." Or, haven't you been watching the news?


You're splitting hairs. Sentient talking ghouls, super mutants, tech that has no real hard science basis, all these things are fantastical in nature. Just because something is 'sciencey' doesn't mean it's also not fantasy.


I would argue that you’re splitting hairs. I was speaking generally in terms of theme. You’re getting too specific. Of course ghouls and super mutants are fantastical, but when you get too specific, then all fiction can be considered “fantasy.” If you get specific about details the TV show “Friends” is fantasy because everything about that show is improbable and impossible.

Generally speaking, the theme of nuclear war is not fantasy.
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Good review! I also bought this purely because it's Fallout and was surprised by how good of a game it is and how well it captures its source material.
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Guillaume Pages
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Sounds like a go-to game for the folks at the 1 player guild.
 
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guigtexas wrote:
Sounds like a go-to game for the folks at the 1 player guild.


View Fallout Details on SGOYT Aggregator
 
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You are correct. It is NOYB that is splitting hairs.
 
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WhiteRider27 wrote:


He's just using the higher level meaning of 'fantasy', which is both perfectly acceptable as well as being technically correct.


The BEST kind of correct!
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