This review is a couple of months in the making. Usually, I like to play a game a couple of times before I render a verdict on it and write an article. However, I absolutely love the Fallout video games, so I wanted to play it quite a bit, and with different people, to make sure I made a fair assessment.
When the game first arrived in December, I was incredibly excited to play it. We were actually in the middle of our Advent Gaming Challenge where we play a game corresponding to a certain theme each day, and I stretched the themes to make sure Fallout fit into them, and we played it for four or five days in a row (I’m sure the play group absolutely loved me for that).
The objective of the game is to achieve influence based on the number of players (For example, three players is 9 influence). You earn influence by completing objectives on cards that are earned while exploring the wasteland and by going through the story deck which changes based on which of the four different campaigns with different map setups and objectives are chosen.
Players choose a character familiar to Fallout fans; ghoul, super mutant, wastelander, vault dweller or brotherhood outcast, and set off into the wasteland with their starting gear and a few caps. The goal is to avoid or fight enemies, do encounters, and complete the campaign story line while helping your faction win the campaign.
The game introduces a story deck that allows the players to partake in a main story line, as well as side quests, with some hidden surprises along the way (I don’t want to spoil anything). The main story cards will give you an objective, and then make you add or stage new cards based on the outcome of the objective. The story deck, and encounter cards really are the best thing about this game, even if you are not a Fallout fan, the idea of choosing whether your character is good or evil based on their actions is very innovative.
Each round the players take two actions, and then the enemies on the board get to move or attack based on their position and if their symbol is on the influence card drawn by the first player. The enemies are fought using dice that show locations of the body, or using the VATS system for Fallout players. If you roll the location printed on the enemy tile, it deals one damage to the enemy. If you roll enough damage equal to the level of the enemy, then it dies. The amount of damage the enemy does back to you is the amount of pips on the dice times the level of the enemy. Once an enemy is defeated you gain experience based on the level, and respawn the enemy on the nearest spawn point for that type in an inactive position.
There are a lot of little rules that need to be followed while playing Fallout, we found that the first couple of times we played the game, we missed a few of them that were pretty much game changers. Much like with every Fantasy Flight game, I must reiterate that you read both rulebooks very well before playing your first game.
What Fallout Does Right:
- The theme of this game is absolutely spot on. From the second you lay the tiles down, to the moment you are getting your face ripped off by a death claw, you feel like you are playing fallout.
- The story deck is an absolute stroke of genius. We will be seeing more games that take this sort of approach in the future I am sure of it.
What Fallout Could Have Done Better:
- The game has almost zero player interaction. It really feels like you are playing a solo game with other people at the table with the ability to trade between your solo games.
- The fight mechanic, as innovative as it is, is far too difficult. If you are fighting a level two creature that needs two hits on arms, there is a good chance, even with armour, you are taking at least 4-6 damage, 25% of your life, and that is a relatively easy fight. Good thing dying doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal.
- As much as I love the story deck, we did run into a problem a few times where the main story was over, and we didn’t have enough influence to win. After the main story is over, there isn’t always an easy way to gain influence cards unless you have pulled the right combination of cards through exploring, and made the right decisions.
Overall, I would suggest picking this game up if you are a Fallout fanboy such as myself. The story deck mechanic is also another great reason to pick it up, or if you enjoy solo games. I would stay away from the game if you do not fall into any of those categories though, as the game can be very long, and has a decently difficult learning curve.
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