How to Play Fallout Board Game: Rules and Tactics to Win

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Last updatedLast updated: July 09, 2021
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Fallout is a post-apocalyptic game published in 1997. The main character is a dweller of an underground fallout shelter looking for ways to fix their dwindling water supply and save his fellow natives. The widely successful game has since spawned several sequels and spin-offs that include a board game that we have featured in this article. In this guide, we have explained how to play Fallout board game as well as the main objective and the information you need to know before you can start playing.

Players can choose varied scenarios and characters such as super mutant, human or ghoul, making it one of the best zombie board games. The different scenarios are the Commonwealth, Capital Wasteland, the Pitt and Far Harbor. As players advance in the game, they gain cards which earn them equipment and special influence. As well as learning how to play Fallout board game, you will also find information on the recommended age of participants and the maximum number of players allowed.

General information

The Fallout Board Game set consists of the following gaming pieces:

  • 100 quest cards
  • 21 map tiles
  • 5 plastic figures
  • 5 character cards
  • 4 player boards with 8 connectors
  • 4 scenario sheets
  • 5 character special tokens
  • 54 caps tokens
  • 35 special tokens
  • 2 power tokens
  • 12 trait tokens
  • 10 faction tokens
  • 27 enemy tokens
  • 11 unique asset cards
  • 25 asset cards
  • 14 perk cards
  • 75 encounter cards
  • 23 agenda cards
  • 34 loot cards
  • 8 quest markers
  • 3 VATS dice
  • 12 pegs

Unlike games that have one main objective, Fallout board game features several quests, with each one having unique requirements and multiple objectives that also generate different results. Some of the objectives require additional quest action to complete them. We have provided a detailed explanation of the various objectives further in this guide.

How to Play Fallout Board Game: Rules and Tactics to WinMain objective

Players traverse a hidden landscape, fight vicious foes and amass the skills and influence of their survivor while balancing the warring camps as they try to complete their assigned quests.

Number of players

Fallout board game is designed to be played by 1 to 4 participants.

Recommended age

According to the creator, Fantasy Flight Games, Fallout is a role-playing game recommended for players from the age of 14 years.

Session lasts for

A single Fallout gaming session lasts for 2 to 3 hours.

The set-up

Select the scenario: Before you start the game, you must choose the scenario from the four different options that we mentioned at the beginning of this guide. Each of the scenarios varies from the others in featured quests, factions and board setups.

The Commonwealth is recommended as the first scenario for newbies since it serves as a great introduction to the Fallout Board game.

Choose your Character: Players choose from 5 different characters with special traits and unique bonuses before starting a new game. These are:

  • Super mutant: This creature resulted from radiation and the Forced Evolutionary Virus (FEV). The Super Mutant strength, charisma and the gain it makes whenever it’s exposed to radiation are among the perks of this character.
  • Ghoul: This vilified character starts out at a disadvantage due to low health and their rotting appearance from heavy exposure to radiation. Ironically, radiation also extends the perceptive ghoul’s lifetime by restoring its health.
  • Vault Dweller: This is a native character in this fantasy board game who ventures out to find a survival technology to transform their ecosystem to save his fellow survivors. He is considered the leader and has an edge over the other characters because of his Vault suit which grants it resilience and replenishment. He’s also endowed with good luck and charm.
  • Wastelander: This character starts out with special agile skills that help them evade attacks and a Tire iron that is handy in combat.
  • Brotherhood Outcast: This character boasts of intelligence and a T-45 powered armor which makes a great defense asset but weakens and replenishes over time.

Map construction: Separate the tiles according to their icons and shuffle the two piles separately to start building the map based on the scenario sheet you have selected. The map is constructed by placing the relevant faceup tiles in the designated locations and a random facedown tile in each specified location.

Group tokens: Create the tokens for caps, trait, special and enemy into their respective piles while randomizing and placing the enemy and special tokens facedown, and then sort the enemy tokens further according to type.

Sort encounter cards: The deck of 75 cards includes starting cards which feature a star and different images at the back. Separate these cards into two decks according to their back image, and then shuffle them before placing them facedown. Arrange the quest cards and the remaining encounter cards in a numerical order.

Other decks: Remove the agenda cards with a number greater than the number of players. Next, shuffle the remaining agenda deck, loot cards and asset deck separately and place them facedown. Once this is done, place the perk deck, unique asset cards and the VATS dice near the play area for easy reach by all the participants.

Shop creation: This is done by dealing four of the 25 asset cards in a line adjacent to the asset deck.

Choose a survivor: The first player is selected randomly and the agenda deck moved to their right side. This player chooses a survivor and the corresponding character card, figure and special token, and the other players follow suit in a clockwise direction.

Crossroads Camp: This is an unoccupied tile area where each player starts out by placing their chosen figure.

Player board:  There is a board with connectors for each player; the “0” hole is for the green peg, the hole on the left side of the XP track is for the gray peg and the red peg is placed in the “16” hole. Your starting special token goes into the slot with a corresponding letter, and then you draw another special token randomly and put it in its designated slot. If you already have the letter of the random token, draw another random special token. Next, each player draws an agenda card that should be secret and then 3 caps tokens.

Resolve effects: If the chosen scenario sheet has effects, resolve them. Take an enemy token randomly and put it faceup on the map in the space with a matching icon, and then place the two power tokens on the power track’s top space on the scenario sheet.

Gameplay

How to Play Fallout Board Game: Rules and Tactics to WinAccording to Fallout board game rules, the game advances to the left after the first player takes their first turn. Once all players have had their turn, the activated enemies attack and then the first player starts a new round. This carries on until one of the feuding camps gets to the end of the power track or a player amasses enough influence to win.

During a player’s turn, he or she is allowed a maximum of two actions before the next player takes their turn. These actions are:

Explore

The hidden map is represented by facedown tiles, and this action reveals the mystery a tile placed facedown adjacent to your space border holds by flipping it faceup. If the flipped tile reveals an enemy icon, draw a random enemy token and put it in that space facing upwards to replace the enemy icon.

Move

This advances your chosen figure on the map and the action earns you two movement points. Watch out for hazardous terrains and radiation. For instance, you could spend one point to move to a hazardous terrain and the second point to move to an adjacent space or one with radiation.

Encounter

How to Play Fallout Board Game: Rules and Tactics to WinThis action lets you hunt, investigate vaults and trade with settlement dwellers. Depending on your current position, you may resolve or draw an encounter card.

There are two encounter icons for Wasteland and Settlement at the beginning of Fallout board game. The former allows you to scavenge or hunt for useful loot while the latter is for trading in the shop track and searching the settlements.

Trading often occurs in settlement encounters where survivors within the same space buy and sell agendas, loot, assets, and Caps. The maximum number of goods you can exchange is dictated by the encounter card. Caps tokens worth “1” and “5” are the common currency used although companion cards utilized for recruitment indicate traits or tokens instead of cost.

Additionally, there are two encounter icons for vaults that are added for you when you complete certain quests.

Please note that you can only be allowed into each location once per turn and may only perform an encounter action if there is not an enemy in the same space.

Encounter icons have numbers corresponding to their level and may use the icons to represent the numbers.

In Fallout board game rules for resolving encounters, the player on your right side draws an encounter card and reads the text and numbered options aloud so you can choose the one you want to resolve. The player then prompts you to carry out the tests and requirements such as fighting enemies that are mandated by your chosen option. He then proceeds to read the text under Succeed or Fail depending on your performance, and you resolve the effects listed for the outcome.

Fight

How to Play Fallout Board Game: Rules and Tactics to WinThe action is self-explanatory, but what exactly does it involve?

Roll the dice: Roll all three VATS dice to fight an enemy. Move the red peg down a number of holes equivalent to the damage you suffer and the green peg up the track to reflect rads suffered. You are killed if the green peg is in a higher hole than the red peg or in the same hole. If this happens, place your figure on the Crossroads Camp tile where players start out, discard your decks but keep any added cards and move the red peg to the highest track number to recoup all HP. If killed, you can recover HP but not rads, and if you are killed after recovering it, you are eliminated from the Fallout Board game according to the rules.

Where to hit: You must hit an area where your enemy is vulnerable for it to count, and aim to equal or surpass their level to kill it and gain XP. These areas are indicated on the dice, with one area per die.

Inactive enemies: These are random enemies placed facedown to replace the enemies you kill and remove from the map. They may become active by flipping faceup if an enemy of their type is activated.

Weapons and armor: Equipped weapons have special tokens that allow you to reroll any number of dice before resolving final results for each of those tokens that matches yours. If your weapon has a ranged icon and an adjacent enemy’s doesn’t, you automatically earn an extra hit against that enemy. You may equip your apparel with armor displayed as a value on the icon.

Enemy abilities: These abilities are indicated by their token icons. Among these are Radiation which inflicts you with damage equal to its level; Aggressive which necessitates you to fight the enemy immediately; Armor that grants the enemy an extra hit to kill; Ranged for fighting from adjacent space when it activates, and Loot which earns you a loot card if you kill the enemy. Other abilities are provided by Exhaust cards. These abilities are activated when the card is exhausted and unexhausted. This is achieved by turning it at 90 degrees, and another 90 degrees to be in an upright position.

Quest

How to Play Fallout Board Game: Rules and Tactics to WinIt lets you complete an available quest assigned to you in the play area during setup or added for you in the course of the game. As mentioned earlier in our guide of Fallout board game rules, the requirements, objectives and results are unique to each quest. The quests represent the different ways you can help other survivors and become influential. This may involve particular actions a player must perform such as moving their figure to a specified space on the map.

If the objective features  icon, it requires a quest action to be achieved in addition to the requirements. Otherwise, achieving the requirements achieves the objection without further action.

A completed quest may have a number of effects, resolved left to right, that are listed on the card in a results bar under the objective:

  • Add #: Resolve this effect by retrieving the # card and drawing cards from the deck matching the back of the retrieved card. The number of drawn cards should be equal to the number of players. Shuffle the cards and place them on the corresponding deck.
  • Become X: Acquire the trait token corresponding with X.
  • Gain the X unique asset: Acquire X unique asset or draw a random unique asset.
  • # XP: It earns you # amount of XP shown
  • # Caps: You gain # number of Caps tokens
  • Shop #: Buy or sell X number of items from the shop.
  • Stage #: Find the # card and put it in the play area faceup with other quests.
  • Trash: Discard the card or leave the quest in the play area to be performed again.

Camp

This action allows you to unexhaust your cards, recover three HP, gain well rested trait and trade with other survivors in your space as long as there isn’t an adjacent enemy.

End of the Game

Completing quests throughout the game can grant you agenda cards. These secret cards track your accomplishments in the wasteland. Each agenda card is kept secret from the other survivors. Agenda cards track your quest accomplishments and give you automatic single influence. This influence may increase if you fulfill the card requirements and it varies according to the number of players. To win, you must gain 11 influence points for a single player, 10 points for 2, 9 points for 3 and 8 influence points for 4 participants. However, Fallout board game rules dictate that you may only have up to four agenda cards at a time.

Final thoughts

Fallout board game rules allow players to choose from four different scenarios but you can extend the replayability of this game with a New California expansion pack which features two additional scenarios that also allow five survivors to work together.

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