Fallout comes to your tables with this Skirmish based combat focused board game, but does it have the potential to be S.P.E.C.I.A.L or not?
Platforms: PS4, Switch, Xbox, PC and Apple Arcade
Publisher/Developer: E-Line Media
Price: £15.49 on Steam
This product was provided for free.
What’s it about?
Fallout Wasteland Warfare sees the beloved Fallout series come to your tabletop once again as you build a crew from a wide range of factions, allies and iconic Fallout characters and set out on a narrative driven skirmish game full of highly detailed miniatures and that classic Fallout charm. Whilst the game can be played with up to 8 players, this Wasteland Warfare set will give you enough of a starting point for 2 players.
If you’ve played other miniature games like Runewars or even Warhammer, you’ll probably feel a little more comfortable with Fallout Wasteland Warfare as it plays much like those game with movement trackers, weapon stats, character stats and abilities and all that other good stuff.
Embark on a campaign with the 50 page campaign book that is wonderfully crafted in the classic Fallout style, or make up your own scenarios and see how creative you can get.
How do you play?
The rule book for Fallout Wasteland Warfare is pretty whopping at almost 60 pages, so I won’t go in to every little detail, but I will just give you a quick run through of what a typical round may consist of.
Each game is played over a number of rounds, during each round players take turns to ready and then use each of their minis once. Each player can decide which mini and how many are used each turn.
When you have an activate mini you can perform two actions with them, that can either be two different actions, or the same action twice, or any specific actions that your character might be able to do determined by their abilities or equipment.
The actions available to take are as follows:-
- Move – Moves the model
- Shoot – Attack a target at range
- Charge – A potentially longer Move into base-to-base contact with a target
- Close Combat – Attack a target which you’re in base-to-base contact with
- Use Expertise – Use of the your expertise skills – Search, Computers, Lockpick and Presence
- Prepare – Get ready to react to an opposing minis action
- Throw – Use a Throw weapon, i.e. a grenade
With some of these actions – shooting, expertise, melee or throwing the success is determined by a skill dice test. Each mini comes with a unit card that displays their S.P.E.C.I.A.L attributes with numbers and icons next to them. In order to succeed after applying all the various effects you’ll need to roll equal to or lower than the skill value you’re rolling against.
Each weapon that you use has an optimal range and a non optimal range indicated on the cards, depending on how far or close you are to the target will then determine what special dice you roll which are also indicated on the card under the range coloured bar. The additional dice allow you to do things like minus numbers from your skill check roll, or work better against armour etc…
There are a number of ways to win a game of Fallout Wasteland Warfare usually either killing all the enemies, or some special objective detailed in a scenario.
As you might expect there is quite a bit of planning in Fallout Wasteland Warfare, planning where you want to move, how to get the upper hand, or how to get close to that super mutant because you have an amazing melee weapon. You’ll be measuring a lot of distances for shooting, moving and throwing things, placing lots of tokens to display effects and other bits and bobs.
If that’s your thing i.e. you already enjoy these types of games, then there is a good chance you’ll enjoy it. If you’re less tactically minded, or maybe you’re just looking at the game because you like Fallout, I’m not sure whether the gameplay is engaging enough – especially for just the starter set, to really be worth the investment.
The problem I had was that there is a lot of information to take in, a load of tokens that you’re going to be constantly moving around, and so many different status effects or abilities to keep track of that it becomes a little overwhelming at times. Chuck in a hefty rule book that honestly does have a bit of unnecessary fluff to it, it becomes slightly frustrating to have to keep going back to it.
It’s not that the gameplay is bad, it’s more that I thought the elements around it and the sheer volume of them slows it all down for new players.
Look and Feel
I adored Fallout 3, I played it for 10’s upon 10’s upon 10’s of hours, there was so much charm and character throughout the whole game that I couldn’t help but love it. Thankfully there is a lot of that charm in Wasteland Warfare too from the mini’s and the well detailed unit cards, to the rule book that has that look of the comics you would find in the video game version. Plus the S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats are here and that’s always nice to see. The equipment cards are all wonderfully detailed with pip-boy art characters for each once. Even the tokens have a good amount of Fallout feel to them.
But, there is one area that is really lacking and that’s the ‘board’ or rather flimsy papery play mat. There is nothing imaginative about it, it’s muddy looking with barely any interesting features, it feels pretty poor quality and like it could quite easily tear. For me, what compounds the issue with this is the fact that all the promotional material shows amazingly detailed resin buildings and terrain.
I wasn’t expecting any actual buildings to be in the game, but a little more love and attention to the mat would be great. It’s a shame, because there is a lot of quality through-out the rest of the game.
Should you want to paint your mini’s there is a handy guide in the rule book that takes you through a step by step process with all the colours to use.
It’s pretty clear that Wasteland Warfare will benefit from spending a hefty sum on money on it, there are loads of add-ons, extra characters and scenery that you can buy separately and if that’s you’re thing then you will find lots to get stuck in to. But it ain’t cheap, and to me the base set feels a little lacking in that regard, beyond the mini’s there isn’t much else to really make you feel immersed once you’re playing.
+Captures a lot of the Fallout charm
+Nice detailed, good quality mini’s
+Tonnes of replayability
-Poor quality play mat
-Starter set is lacking
-Significant investment needed if you want a really good play area
-Lots to learn
As I’ve said I loved Fallout 3, and this game does a great job of making me feel like I’m coming back to the wasteland to survive at times, but it just falls short of making me feel fully immersed with a few key areas letting the game down.
But really I just think these types of games aren’t for me. I like my combat to be a little quicker, a little slicker – kind of like zombicide. This more tactical and slower approach just doesn’t quite do it for me, but that’s not to say that it won’t for someone else.