Originally published at: https://gamingtrend.com/feature/reviews/fallout-wasteland-warfare-starter-set-rpg/
Fallout Wasteland Warfare: Starter Set
Fallout Wasteland Warfare is a turn-based strategy game that’s reminiscent of Fallout and Fallout 2, where isometric combat is replaced with a physical board and miniatures that perfectly recreate the post-apocalyptic universe that you know and love. It’s not uncommon for popular board game genres to get a popular IP slapped onto them and sold to the masses, but Fallout Wasteland Warfare aptly dodges this pitfall by designing itself from the ground up to fit within the Fallout universe, rather than to try and fit the Fallout universe into a cookie cutter board game. And therein lies the key to its success.
Fallout Wasteland Warfare is a perfectly competent strategy game with rules that are easy enough to learn, but detailed enough to remain interesting after more than a few hours of play. But what really sets it apart from other games of its genre is its faithful recreation of the Fallout games you know and love, from the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stat system to the cheeky vault boy branding. As a longtime fan of the series, the game does a great job of lovingly recreating the world I’ve become so enamored with over the years.
The starter set comes with 13 miniatures, including 6 playable characters and 7 murderous enemies. You’ll also find custom dice, a deck of cards, and two maps upon which to put any miniatures or terrain, though terrain is sadly not included in this starter set. While the box contains enough to play a couple combat encounters you’ll find this starter set to be just that: the bare minimum to get started with this game, but not enough to play more than 2 or 3 sessions before getting pretty repetitive. Building a collection of miniatures and terrain to fully enjoy all that the radioactive wasteland has to offer will cost you a pretty penny.
Combat is usually slow and methodical where every move the players make can carry enormous consequences, whether it’s the armor and weapons they’re using, their positioning behind terrain or within environmental hazards, or their skills and stats. And because looting and meeting quirky characters are so central to the Fallout experience, random encounters and item scavenging opportunities will pop up to give some much needed narrative context for one’s actions.
But the star of the show with Fallout Wasteland Warfare is Settlement Mode, an optional rule set that allows players to build and upgrade a base over time which gives them access to new perks and equipment, and allows for progression over time so longer campaigns can be coordinated. This mode really sets the game apart from others like it, and helps fulfill the fantasy of surviving and thriving within the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Fallout.
Fallout Wasteland Warfare: Roleplaying Game
Though it’s advertised as a standalone RPG, Fallout Wasteland Warfare: Roleplaying Game is incredibly bare bones without the larger miniature game as its companion. As the name implies, this RPG focuses very heavily on warfare and treats roleplaying as an afterthought. Less than 15 pages of the book are dedicated to the world of Fallout itself, and practically zero of the game’s mechanics are geared towards anything other than aiming down the barrel of a gun. There are, for example, no rules for social encounters or mechanics for non-combat situations, which are some of my favorite parts of the Fallout franchise.
The rules aren’t outright impossible to enact without the help of a board and miniatures, but it’s certainly degrees more difficult to do so. For example, the rules for distance and movement during combat utilize the same ruler mechanics of the miniature game. Vague alternative rules are given as a replacement, but these rules are pretty unclear and sandwiched between two separate diagrams that refer you to the “optional” miniature rules. The book is packed with things like this that make it pretty hard to imagine playing without miniatures. Most of the art depicts images from the miniatures game, as well, which taken alongside the rules that seem designed for miniatures, makes the whole endeavor feel very much like an add-on.
Not to mention that the RPG is incredibly brief. The vast majority of RPG core rulebooks span hundreds of pages, but Fallout Wasteland Warfare RPG is a lean 136 pages, and that’s including a 28-page adventure module. The lion’s share of those rules are dedicated to describing combat mechanics, and the rest of what you’d expect to find in an RPG, like character creation for example, are crammed into incredibly short sections.
That said, the combat-heavy stage that Fallout Wasteland Warfare RPG sets is quite robust, with interesting mechanics like crafting, chase scenes, and being able to play as a robot. They give you a lot of fodder to work with for creating your own campaigns, although you’ll have to do a lot of heavy lifting if you want to draw outside the lines. The introductory campaign mission, “Parzival and the Wasteland Knights” has a lot of great Fallout charm and is packed with interesting encounters, even if it amounts to little more than a by-the-numbers dungeon crawl.