Interview With Chris Birch: Fallout Wasteland Warfare In Depth

Hello everyone. Before we go on, I want to extend my thanks to the members of the Unofficial Fallout Wasteland Warfare Facebook page who have made this info-blog a resounding success. My thanks go out to you. Moving on!

Chris Birch, Founder of Modiphius Entertainment, took some time out of his insanely busy schedule to answer some questions for you. Without further ado;

FWWC – Speaking to Gamer-feed, you said that you were the person to instigate development of Fallout Wasteland Warfare, and that it has been in development since October of 2016. Tell us about your design process and how you took it from Concept, to pitch, to where you are now.

Chris Birch – The original pitch was about bring out some of the key elements ofFallout on the tabletop like the S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats, Perks, Caps, settlements, and quests. Of course the goal isn’t just to recreate the video game – you might as well just play that, the goal instead is to give you some different flavours of Fallout but to keep the action flowing – we’re no longer just playing one character, we’ve got maybe 4, 8, 25 figures on the table to control so you can’t have that level of detail. We’ve gone through several versions for various reasons, and already with the latest design stripped out some complexities. Now we’re in a wider playtest with people giving it a good going over to see if the system really works as well as we think. That process should help us make more refinements to make the system really sing.

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FWWC – The initial release statement for Fallout Wasteland Warfare made mention of the scenery that has been planned for the game, including “…the Red Rocket to Sanctuary Hills, Nuka- Cola vending machines and wrecked vehicles.” What can we expect from these resin scenery pieces in regards to size and functionality? The Red Rocket is on the large size after all.

Chris Birch – The Red Rocket will be a multi-part cardboard and resin scenic set – you can clip together the pre-printed walls and internal rooms, with the added resin pieces of the gas pumps, the rocket itself, and a nuke cola machine and rusted car for decor. The goal is that all the sets will be a mix of resin and card to get the best impact for the price. The resin pieces will all be scaled to the miniatures.

FWWC – On the subject of scenery, you’ve also mentioned that there will be “clip together pre-coloured card buildings that can be played right out of the box.” Are we talking about something similar to the pre-coloured card buildings found in the Infinity scenery packs? Or something a bit more substantial, like Necromunda styled pieces of Card that connect to form a more solid structure.

Chris Birch – More substantial they feature hard hard pre-printed with textures on both sides and solid clips – you can build a variety of shapes with them and when you mix them with the resin pieces they really look great.Brotherhood of Steel knight vs protectron

FWWC – Moving along to the subject of the miniatures. They are 32mm in scale with scenic bases included by default. Is it reasonable to assume that the choice of scale, alongside free scenic bases, was a choice that was made to help protect against the use of proxy miniatures? Or was this a wholly independent choice made for the games benefit?

Chris Birch – Actually since Star Trek we’ve planned all our minis in 32mm scale – including John Carter of Mars as well – and it’s pretty much the scale used by most big minis lines now (whether you say 28mm heroic which is also 32mm in reality). We’re keeping our Achtung! Cthulhu line at 28mm so that it’s compatible with other 28mm WW2 wargame lines.

FWWC – We know that each player will use 3 – 30 miniatures in their Crew for Fallout Wasteland Warfare. What players don’t know, is how these miniatures will function. Obviously, you can’t go in depth given that the game is still being play tested, but what can you tell us about unit activation? Is each unit independent or do they activate as groups? How is activation being handled in the current test build?

Chris Birch – In the standard game you activate leaders or characters, or you activate a unit which could be from 3 to 8 figures. Activation is somewhat new in this system and I think people will appreciate how it gives them new options for tactics.

Brotherhood, Survivor, Dogmeat

FWWC – The game was expected to make use of dice and that has been confirmed, but what can you tell us about how this is reflected on the tabletop. Does the game, as it currently exists, make use of D6? Or will it have a more functional system that uses D8 and up?

Chris Birch – We have previously mentioned in an article that the game makes use of d12’s and d20’s. The d12’s have been chosen for game design reasons to better facilitate the rolls we want in the game.

FWWC – The official Modiphius Facebook page confirmed the existence of a Two Player Starter box. The quote reads, “High quality resin, followed by a 2 player starter box in preassembled plastic”. What can players expect to see from this starter set in its current form. It goes without saying that there will be a minimum of 6 miniatures.

Chris Birch – The single player starter sets will be around 8-9 minis with the dice, cards, counters and rulebook to get playing. The Two player set will have two factions of around 7-9 figures each plus all the same rules contents of the single player starter, maybe with some extras that’s still being determined but the goal is a great price and value.

FWWC – The AI Deck is a very interesting inclusion in the game as it opens up single player and cooperative play. It gets even more interesting when you say that each deck will make use of “themed tactical responses and events based on specific factions or creatures”. As the game currently exists, how is this reflected in gameplay? Let’s say I encounter a group of Super Mutants with my Brotherhood of Steel Knight and 2 Scribes. How would the AI Deck be expected to thematically respond?

Chris Birch – Well both have different behaviours – the Super Mutants are going to be much more aggressive and attack you head on, whilst the Super Mutant Player would see the BoS using more ranged fire and cover to their advantage. There’s more beyond that but that will give you an idea.

FWWC – The three Factions that will be playable at launch will be The Survivors, The Brotherhood of Steel and The Super Mutants. It goes without saying that the latter two factions will be the most popular of the three, so how will you be balancing the game to ensure that all the factions are viable forces in the game?

Chris Birch – Yes of course – that’s one of the trickiest parts and we’ll be spending a lot of time make sure all the main factions are statted up and work well against each other.

Super Mutant

FWWC – On the subject of Factions. You have said that there will be expansions and that they will add more factions to the game, The Institute, The Raiders and The Minutemen. How will these expansions be offered to customers? Will players be required to buy separate rules books and stat books to make use of new factions?

Chris Birch – Outside of the main factions smaller factions will likely appear as expansion sets – typically 5 figure sets for example along with their unit cards and AI cards. If any extra rules are needed they will be included in the set or expanded on with free pdf downloads. The deluxe rulebook planned for 2018 will cover anything not in the starter set rulebooks or added in expansions

FWWC – We already know that the matter of pricing is still being discussed and sorted out. But with only 3 miniatures required, and a total of 30 allowed per player on the table at any one given time,do you plan on offering blisters of 3 miniatures? Boosters of around 10 Miniatures? Army boxes that contain everything you need? As I’m sure you know, the more choices the better.

Chris Birch – Whilst the starter sets will give you a small variety of up to 9 minis, yes you can expect to see expansions of 3 characters, 3-5 figure expansions and robot and creatures expansions of 1-5 minis depending on the size of the creatures.

FWWC – The overt focus on Fallout 4 content at launch has been met with fairly open dislike by some of the more hardcore Fallout fans. What would you say to those potential players of Fallout Wasteland Warfare? Some have taken your quote, “we have access to 1 and 2 as well but you’ll see a gradual roll out of factions, characters and expansions” to mean that Fallout 1 and 2 will appear in the game.

Chris Birch – We obviously have to start somewhere and the massive popularity of Fallout 4 gives us a good commercial base to launch the game and that will then allow us to fund more and more. The obvious expansion is then to Fallout 3 content before we look at options from 1 and 2.

FWWC – Fallout 4 sold millions of copies in its first 24 Hours alone. So it makes sense that Fallout Wasteland Warfare will focus heavily on Fallout 4 related content in its early launch stages before moving on to older entries in the series. What part of the franchise, outside of Fallout 4, are you excited to see appear on the table top?

Chris Birch – Actually I think the Enclave story is great from Fallout 3 but I also played the PS2 Brotherhood of Steel game to death and exploring some of the original Brotherhood of Steel storylines will be very cool. Of course everything is subject to Bethesda approval but we’ve got plenty to keep ourselves busy with for now.

Super Mutant and Hound

FWWC – On the Official Modiphius Facebook page, the following statement was made. “You’ll be able to make your own leaders with the campaign pack coming later.” Is character creation reserved exclusively for leaders? Or could a faction be made of characters that were entirely player created?

Chris Birch – Good question and I couldn’t really say anything about this yet.

FWWC – You’ve mentioned that the games includes a character progression system that operates on Caps. These caps can be used to buy “equipment and weapon upgrades, consumables, settlement resources (which provide bonuses during your game) and more.” But you’ve also said that the caps can be used to give benefits to the Crew or the Crews Leader by purchasing Perks. How will these Perks influence the game at a fundamental level. Will they be passives, such as increased toughness or accuracy?

Chris Birch – We’re looking at the real in game Perks for inspiration but also what makes for interesting options on the battlefield. Does it let you do something interesting. I don’t really like things that just give you a +1.

FWWC – Speaking of V.A.T.S. Will it be featured in Fallout Wasteland Warfare?

Chris Birch – We have a critical hit system and effectively this is a result of the character models using V.A.T.S – we’re looking at other ways of including it but in reality that would make sense for a roleplaying game but for a game of up to 30 figures you have to have some level of abstraction.

FWWC – As more information comes to the fore, the community for the game continues to grow, with wargamers and hobbyists alike coming out of the woodwork to express their love of the franchise. Being one of those people yourself, what is the one thing that you would like to add to the game in the future?

Chris Birch – I want to continue to grow the solo play options. In my teens I often had to play wargames against myself and I know there’s many people out there who can’t get together with their gaming friends as much as they used to so solo options are much more important than a lot of people think.

FWWC – Well, that should do it for now. I think you’ve answered more than enough questions for one day, right? So, before you go, is there anything you would like to say to the Fallout Wasteland Warfare community?

Chris Birch – Make sure you answer the survey at http://www.modiphius.com/fallout-wasteland-warfare-survey – this is actually your chance to get your opinions noticed as every vote really does count. We really think it’s important to be steered by the community in what they want to see first, what matters etc and I know that with everyone’s help we’re going to rule the Fallout wasteland!

That’s all everyone, thanks for reading.

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