I need a bit more time painting Drazhar before I can call him done so I figured why not take a look at something for Fallout Wasteland Warfare that I’ve been curious about for a while and quite a few people who play the game who aren’t aware of it. Caught in the Crossfire is an interesting product even for those who don’t play Fallout as it has an appealing price point and has a pretty good amount of content as well. I think other manufacturers could release products like this and experience financial success and keep their player base happy too but I’ll let you be the judge of that.
What is Caught in the Crossfire? – Caught in the Crossfire is a PDF you can purchase for about $7 US (or a few quid for those across the pond!) and it contains 30+ pages of scenarios and information on using terrain in Fallout Wasteland Warfare. For most games, that is clearly a great value but for Fallout, perhaps it isn’t. Modiphius, the makers of Fallout, have released around 30 free scenarios available on their website, so it is valid to ask, why should I bother buying this? Caught in the Crossfire has a linked campaign consisting of 10 scenarios which is certainly worth $7. It also has three extra scenarios that Modiphius created video battle reports for. All of these scenarios look to have plenty of narrative potential and have some interesting setup and rules, but more on that later! It is worth noting that while the PDF is a great price, it is your only option for getting this material. There is no printed copy available from Modiphius. While I can’t hold that against this supplement, I think it would be great if Modiphius did release a scenario book or even an updated hardcover rulebook with all of the scenarios they’ve released in one place. Considering the game’s age, it is surprising they haven’t done such a thing and almost feels as if they’re leaving money on the table there.
While the value proposition is high, the only potential catch is that Caught in the Crossfire is really best for players with a decent collection of miniatures and terrain. You don’t need tons of minis to play necessarily but players are encouraged to adjust their forces between scenarios as they would like. So this means you don’t want to try and play with only 4-5 minis for your chosen faction. Fortunately, you can use any two factions you want for this campaign so there is plenty of flexibility there. You will need plenty of terrain however. In fact, some scenarios call for specific pieces of terrain like the Red Rocket gas station as shown below. Terrain like this not only costs money and potentially time if you print it and paint it yourself, but they require some storage space too.
What’s interesting about this supplement is that Modiphius added recommendations for which terrain would be a good fit for each scenario. This is a great idea on the surface as previously, Modiphius often only gave vague suggestions for what terrain might look like in a given scenario. While letting the players come up with their own boards is great, it can be nice to have some idea of what you should be shooting for at the same time. Unfortunately, while the scenario above gives some pretty specific recommendations, as you start flipping through the scenarios, you realize that a lot of them recommend the same 4-5 kits of scatter terrain from Modiphius that it isn’t quite as helpful as it initially seems. So while I give Modiphius credit for adding this to their scenarios and I hope they’ll do this more in the future, I think what might be even better is a picture of a sample board. Games Workshop does this quite often in MESBG and it is really inspirational as you can easily visualize what your board could look like with enough money and work put in. I don’t see any reason why Modiphius couldn’t and shouldn’t try to use this strategy too.
Speaking of scenarios, I saw quite a few in here that look pretty darn fun and creative. For example, one scenario has players trying to defend a cargo ship full of loot while trying to kill their opponents, possibly even by sinking their opponent’s ship! Look at that setup below and you can’t tell me that doesn’t look fun!
While the Caught in the Crossfire linked scenarios in the campaign are not quite as wild and characterful as the one above, there is still plenty to like. One scenario has players scrambling to activate the right switches to get out of some train tunnels before their opponents can. Another has them fighting on a military base where the defenses are still active and are a threat to both players. On the whole, the scenarios have a fair amount of characterful special rules and as a result, the scenarios don’t look like they will be beginner friendly. You would tend to think that a linked campaign with ten scenarios isn’t for brand new players anyway, but its worth mentioning that this product definitely seems targeted towards more experienced Fallout players.
The one weakness I see with the campaign is that while there are rewards for the winner and loser, there isn’t a great way handle injuries and death. While adding those rule systems would mean more stuff to track, I can’t help but feel that if you’re going to play a campaign of this kind of length, having injuries and consequences for death should be there in some form or another. Not to spoil too much but your faction and characters will be able to get and keep some items as a reward for winning and losing so they will certainly grow over the course of the campaign but if there is no fear of losing anyone, that might take a bit of tension out of the scenarios. It also seems to lack a bit of logic. How could two sides fight ten times and potentially nobody dies? This can be houseruled (maybe something like if a characters gets killed by an excess of 2 or more wounds, they can’t come back next game and you have to bring someone else for the same point value). This may not bother some people and honestly, I will have to try the campaign to know how I really feel. Ultimately, because this campaign will take quite a bit of hobby work to play through, many players may choose to just pick out whichever scenarios sound fun or fit their collections and skip the rest and I see absolutely no reason why you couldn’t do that either. The overarching narrative across the ten scenarios isn’t so strong that you couldn’t get enjoyment out of these scenarios by just picking and choosing the most interesting ones.
The final section of the book includes both tips on how to set terrain out for narrative and battle mode and also some ideas for potential setups. I was hoping there would be some special rules in this section like extra radiation damage if you’re playing a scenario in the Glowing Sea but alas, it is really just ideas for terrain you could make if you wanted to. I didn’t buy this supplement for this content which is probably just as well because I don’t think it offers a ton of value. For example, not too long ago, I wrote an article talking about potential terrain ideas that I thought up with some examples of products on the market that can help bring them to life. So your mileage may vary on this section. If nothing else, it doesn’t take up much of the 34 pages so even if you don’t like the terrain guide, you won’t feel like you were cheated out of scenario content or anything like that.
Caught in the Crossfire is a strong release for seasoned Fallout players. While it is a bit buried on Modiphius’s website, it is well worth hunting down. I have other scenarios I’m closer to being able to play but once I get my terrain collection built up more, you can bet that I’ll be trying some of these scenarios, if not giving the full campaign a shot one day. While Modiphius has already put out a ton of content for Fallout, it is nice to see them releasing products like this which give players more stuff to chew on. It makes the game feel well-supported which is what we all want from our chosen wargames.