As I mentioned in one of my last updates, I need a bit of variety in what I am painting so I picked up the Fallout Wasteland Warfare Starter and I wanted to do an unboxing since I have a lot of thoughts about it. I should mention that this is not a review and I have not played the game yet so there things like the rules that I can’t speak to the quality of. Instead, I’ll talk about the components, the value of the starter set, and the effect it has had on me wanting to play the game.
The Box – The Starter Set is pretty much your standard board game box size and it does come packed with plenty of goodies. The art of the box is nice and fits Fallout though I would have liked to see the minis themselves on the cover instead of digital artwork but that’s not a big deal and I probably won’t keep the box in the long run anyway.
Getting Acclimated – One of the first things you see when opening this is the Getting Acclimated book which is a thin paperback. It contains a very basic overview of the rules with some really simple tutorial missions not unlike the kind of tutorials you would see in a video game. They are so basic that they don’t really even require terrain which is nice. These would be very helpful and welcome for any board gamer I imagine but if you’ve played a wargame of any kind before, you probably won’t need or use this book. It is worth mentioning that Modiphius wisely thought to make this product for board gamers as much as wargamers to try and bring new people into wargaming and Fallout Wasteland Warfare so you will see more things like this which are typical of board games in the Starter Set.
Rules of Play – This is the actual rulebook which is a bound, softcover book. While it is nearly 60 pages long, I would say somewhere between 45-50 pages are actual rules. I’ve flipped through it and the rules don’t appear to be anymore complicated than other skirmish wargames I’ve seen. There are some great pictures of miniatures as well as seen below. All in all, the rulebook looks promising and should be a pretty good basis for the game. You can actually look at the rules at Modiphius’s website if you’re interested curious as well which is a nice touch. The one surprising thing is that there isn’t a hardcover version of the rules available from Modiphius (unless I’m mistaken) which seems like something many people would want as the durability of a paperback book is not great. Fortunately, the PDF from their website is available if needed.
Tokens – While there is one more book to discuss, I think it is worth mentioning something else that relates to the rules first. This game comes with a surprisingly large amount of tokens not unlike a board game.
It is certainly unusual to see so many for a wargame but they look great and should help keep track of different effects like damage and radiation for your miniatures so I like this overall. As a way of comparison, Games Workshop could create something handy like this for MESBG for example, but never have to my knowledge. You can also see that you get various rulers out of the box because instead of making you memorize X gun has a 12″ inch range and the other is 6″ inches, they color code the rules for you instead. I view this as a plus overall and appreciate the amount of cardboard included in the box though I do wonder how long it will take to learn what all of these tokens mean exactly. I have a little concern around how many symbols there are to track too but we’ll see how it all works when I get around to playing it.
Dice – In a similar vein, you also get unique dice to use in the game with their own Fallout themed symbols. The dice look nice and while I could see it being nice to have a second set one day, there isn’t too much to say here.
Campaign Handbook – Once again sticking with a trend that started in board games and is popular in wargames now as well, the Starter set comes with yet another book. The Campaign Handbook is a softcover book that contains a lot of what wargamers want in any system. A campaign of linked scenarios and stand-alone scenarios! There are 20 scenarios in total which is higher than most games out of the box. There are five scenarios that are tutorial missions, five designed with the AI system in mind, five scenarios that are linked into a campaign, and five stand-alone scenarios as well. There’s a little bit of everything in here and should keep you busy for some time. Modiphius has created scenarios for each release after the Starter Set and made them available on their website so there are tons of scenarios out there you can play in Fallout Wasteland Warfare which is a big plus about this game.
The Campaign Handbook also has rules for how to use Event, Item, and several other types cards included in the box. These are particularly useful in Settlement Mode which lets you build an imaginary settlement and reap the benefits from the various buildings you construct as you slowly build up a force. This almost reminds me of the systems in a game like Shadows of Brimstone and is something I also look forward to trying one day. It seems like you could start with a low model count and slowly build yourself up to a thriving settlement and squad of residents. Also included are the rules for the AI system which is obviously what drew me to Fallout considering I’m a solo gamer. The Campaign Handbook is the content that most people want in a wargame and I’m impressed by what is included here.
Character Cards – As you can tell from the picture above, every mini has a card that shows their stats on it. I like this as they give you the pertinent info for playing right there and you don’t have to make copies of information like Games Workshop makes you do with MESBG (yes, there are cards that GW released but those were really hard to get upon release). You also get an AI card which helps you determine what actions that character should take in a given scenario which is a nice way of driving that system.
Other Cards – There are also a bunch of mini cards included in the box of various kinds. Weapons and items are a no-brainer and can be given to characters as appropriate. There are also Perks cards just like you earn in Fallout. Additionally, there are Creature, Events, and People you can meet while playing the game. These all look thematic in the card design. I don’t have a full understanding of how these work since I haven’t read up on the rules but I’m excited to get to that part and see how they flavor a game.
Box Tray – Many of the items in the Starter Set come in a plastic tray including the miniatures. While the tray is nice for keeping dice and tokens in one place, I don’t think that the tray is good for storing painted miniatures as they fit so tightly that paint will almost definitely wear off as you put them in and take them out. This is the big reason why I doubt that I will keep this box (or tray) in the long term. Investing in a foam case would be a better use of space for me personally.
Miniatures – In the box, you get the following miniatures:
- 1x Aviator Head Super Mutant
- 1x Super Mutant Brute
- 1 x Standard Super Mutant
- 2 x Super Mutant Hounds
- 1x Nora (the Sole Survivor)
- 1x Dogmeat
- 1x Enslaved Tech Survivor
- 2x Settlers (one male, one female)
- 1x Brotherhood of Steel Aspirant in T-60 Power Armor
- 1x Deathclaw
So here is the big question, how are the miniatures? Well, they’re not bad and are better than some board game miniatures out there for sure. They are one piece miniatures in plastic which means no assembly. The bases have sculpted details too so you don’t need any textured paint which is nice. There are some mold lines which are fairly faint but some are in inconvenient spots which is a bit of an annoyance.
I’ve already painted a couple of these miniatures so I can speak to how that has gone. The miniatures take paint well and I didn’t prime or wash mine but they still accepted paint pretty well. I do recommend washing them just to be safe and I will not be doing that for the rest of the minis I paint up.
The details are a bit soft on these and it is hard to paint the eyes on them without it looking cartoonish. I have decided to omit the eyes for that reason on the minis I’ve painted thus far which is something I usually don’t do. It can also be a bit challenging to paint because you need to plan out how you want to paint the base and do that first (as you’ll probably want to do a bit of drybrushing down there which is messy). I have found there are some details on the miniatures where I don’t know exactly what the sculptor intended but that happens with board game quality miniatures so not a huge surprise. All in all, the miniatures are good but not outstanding. Certainly nowhere near the quality you can expect from Games Workshop. I am very curious to see how the resin miniatures stack up to these as they have better detail and hopefully they are a bit more fun to paint. The plastic sculpts in the Starter Set are by no means terrible but there are some things that could be better at the same time.
Closing Thoughts – So is this Starter Set worth buying and how good of a value is it? If you’re interested in wargaming in Fallout, it represents a great value. You can get this box for about $50-60 online and for all of the cards, tokens, and miniatures you get, it feels like a steal. The fact that you can play a number of scenarios out of the box for $60 is great. At the same time, there are scenarios where you will want a larger collection which makes you want to run out and buy some resin minis which was smart of Modiphius. While there are some odd inconsistencies in the Starter Set versus the rest of the Fallout Wasteland Warfare line (the fact that you get PVC minis in the set and the rest of the line is resin for example), this is the best way to get into this game and it is not a huge cost investment to get going. The only thing this box lacks is terrain which is certainly a big omission but for the price, it is not realistic to expect terrain to be included. I bought the Starter Set feeling cautiously optimistic about this game and after unboxing it and starting to paint, I’m more excited to start Fallout Wasteland Warfare than before which is definitely the goal of any Starter Set.