Miniatures + James Sheahan, Fallout: Wasteland Warfare Designer, Short Q&A

After a decently long stretch of time, the Info-blog is finally being updated again. How often will these updates come? Nobody knows. But for now, let’s just roll with the punches.

First of all, who likes miniatures?
There’s plenty of Power Armour on the Horizon for you, as well as our favourite Synth Detective, Mirelurks and their Queen, Vault Dwellers, Reilly’s Rangers, a sundered XVB02 Vertibird and more.

Once you’ve torn your eyes away from those, why not have a read through some questions I put to Fallout: Wasteland Warfare designer, James Sheahan. Questions were drawn and based on community questions, notably from the Fallout: Wasteland Warfare community.

Without further ado;

Q – Talking with members of the Fallout: Wasteland Warfare community on facebook, you spoke about how The Settlement Deck, “adds lots of equipment, weapons, mods, chems, power armor, boosts, quests, perks, leaders and explore cards to your game.” Would you like to expand upon that?
You’ve also said that The Settlement Deck doesn’t necessarily need to be used in conjunction with the Settlement Systems rules for it to be a part of the game, saying, “Whether using the Settlement system or not, the Settlement Deck means there’s more to discover out there in the Wasteland.”
Can you comment on how The Settlement Deck will interact with the Settlement Systems rules and how players can expect this to shape their game?

A. The Settlement Deck is a deck of 119 cards which is an expansion that adds variety and new content to any game. It’s named the Settlement Deck because it’s especially useful for players that want to play using Settlement mode (as it adds to the types of cards that players will potentially draw during Settlement mode); however, it’s an expansion deck useful to all players.

If you are playing without using the Settlement system, you’re free to use almost anything in your force so the Settlement Deck expands your options as well as the items you may find during games.

If you are playing using the Settlement system, your force is limited to the basics plus some of what you gather between battles (depending on the structures in your Settlement) and the Settlement Deck means there is more variety to what you may draw. However, it’s important to note that players don’t need the Settlement Deck to use Settlement mode.

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Q – When working on designing the game, you’ve obviously made an effort to retain the feeling of each unique faction that lives in The Wasteland. You’ve said in the past that, “there are actually few limits on what you can combine. The Wasteland is full of exceptions to the stereotypes – Super Mutants like Strong who fight for the Survivors, Coursers and synths that have abandoned the Institute, etc. – plus there are plenty of temporary alliances as the enemy of my enemy is my friend (at least for now), and many forced alliances (slavery, blackmail, etc.). So, you can build these in your game too.”
How did the variety of forces at play, and how they can interact with each other in the game, shape your approach to designing the rules?

A. When designing Fallout: Wasteland Warfare, I was always conscious to ensure enough granularity was included so there were enough tools (behind-the-scenes) with which to build the various units, weapons, equipment, effects, etc. in the Fallout world with enough significant difference. So, from the start, I set out to create a modular game where you could combine different models with different weapons, equipment, abilities, etc. but also with modularity within these items too such as the different ranges, dice, damage, effects of weapons, or the different attributes, skills, abilities, etc. of the Units.

This tool box would then allow construction of all the different characters, creatures, equipment, etc. and each faction could have its identity too. A good example is the Unit skills which can each be attached to any attribute so being able to survive a few hits in battle isn’t only ever due to being really muscular but can be because they are agile, and being great at searching can be due to perception, or intelligence, or even luck.

Q – Staying on the topic of factions and how they all interact for just a moment longer, you’ve mentioned that, “Neutral Units like Robots count as the Leader’s faction.” How exactly will this be balanced in the game and how would it impact the games Battle Mode, which you’ve defined as “the tournament version of the rules which has specific guidelines and limits on force building.”

A. In regular play, you can mix almost any faction with any faction because of those things I mentioned before where players have their own in-game reasons for exceptions. The only real disadvantage for not having the same faction throughout your force is that those that are not the same faction as your Leader do not gain the benefits from the Leader.

Battle Mode is different though and the Development Team have created the Battle Mode force building system and lists which are specific about what can and can not be used/combined in a force, both in terms of the balance of models as well as which factions.

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Q – At one point during another community interaction, you mentioned that, “we may also make special versions of some characters with special Unit cards too, like the Sole Survivor Loner I mentioned who’s still a Survivor but has different stats/skills/abilities.” If the plans to make special versions goes ahead, can we expect other special variants of existing characters, and do you think other characters will be given this treatment?

A. Fallout is an interesting world to capture as (without spoiling any of the video games) some characters evolve or change during the games, and Sole Survivor is different for every player as you choose how to develop them as you play. Having alternative Unit versions of some characters allows us to explore some of these.

Expansions include cards that allow a player to use the models they contain, but rather than provide the same Unit cards that a player may already have, these usually come with alternative versions of the Unit cards (plus the weaponry/equipment/AI may vary too). This gives a player that buys an expansion even more variety (plus there are various other cards with every expansion too).

For example, the Heroes of Sanctuary Hills in Wave 1 includes a different model of Sole Survivor (male) and Dogmeat (with goggles) compared to their models in the two-player starter set. This set comes with Sole Survivor Loner and Dogmeat Scout Unit cards which are slightly different to their cards in the two-player set.

This is the same for non-characters too; for example, the Hammer expansion in Wave 1 contains a Super Mutant Hound model and comes with a Unit card called Mutant Hound Fiend which is an alternative version of the Mutant Hound. Of course, you don’t have to use the Unit card that came with a specific model so you could use all your Mutant Hound models with a single Mutant Hound Unit card or Mutant Hound Fiend Unit card, or split them any way you wish.

At present, there are only alternative versions for this reason (except Sole Survivor and Sole Survivor Day One which both come in the two-player set). We’ve talked about maybe doing alternative versions of some characters in the future (just as cards) but it’s just in the ‘things to think about’ column at the moment.

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Q – The love for Fallout runs deep with fans like myself and many millions of others. So jumping off from the last point about special versions of characters, should we look forward to seeing The Vault Dweller, The Chosen One, The Lone Wanderer and maybe even The Warrior from Fallout Tactics? Possibly even The Initiate from Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel? Do you think it will be viable from a game design point of view to have so many variants of a character that effectively fulfils the same role on the tabletop?

A. Alternative versions are an interesting balance as they need to be different enough to each other to feel/act/play differently but not so different that they lose their common values. As a result, I think all characters (units) have limits to the maximum amount of variants they should have. The player’s hero in the Fallout games probably has the most scope for versions as we can all develop our character very differently during the video games. Of course, adding the modular equipment, perks, etc. to a Unit can also create further variations so players can create many specific feels even if not present as a single Unit card.

Q – On the subject of Exploding Vehicles in the game. You have said that exploding cars rules, “didn’t make it into the main rule book due to space limitations” and that players shouldn’t worry because, “you won’t need to buy anything to get those rules.” However, Chris Birch has said, that the exploding vehicles rules will, “…come with the scenic cars and scenic set on cards but will also be in the Deluxe rulebook…”
Can you confirm whether or not players will have access to these rules, or will a purchase of the Deluxe Rulebook be required?

A. All the above are true, Chris is right that the rules will come on a card with the car model, plus they will be included in the deluxe rulebook as that will have more room. However, Chris was just mentioning the physical versions and the exploding car rules will also be available online for anyone for free.

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Q – Finally, in another community interaction, you mentioned a long standing rule of wargaming. That rule being, “you can house-rule using anything with anything if your opponent agrees.” A friend and I have a homebrew rule that says if a model in power armour jumps off a Significant Edge, any units within Orange Range suffers Push Back of Orange Range.
So is there any sort of mechanic or rule that you would have liked to put into the game, but weren’t able to?

A. I think it’s great that players make rules that suit their needs – everyone’s wants are slightly different and it’s their time and their entertainment, so they should get what suits them – it’s meant to be about having fun. I should point out, just in case, that house rules aren’t usable in official campaigns/organised play run by Modiphius or Vault Dwellers.

I have been fortunate that there isn’t really anything that did not make it into the game that I wanted to be there. Some elements got streamlined along the way which was good and part of the process. If you saw my original unit card sketches that I made to explain my design to Chris, you’d be surprised how similar they are to the final card layouts. Even the rule for potentially getting one last dying action if a Ready model is removed made it in.

[End.]

And there you have it. The first actual update to the Fallout: Wasteland Warfare info-blog since October 3rd 2017.
That’s all for know, thanks for reading.

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