I am lucky enough to have worked in the games industry over the years and have made many awesome friends along the way, some of which are pretty famous in the industry. A few years ago now I was working for Cubicle Seven Entertainment as their demonstration wrangler and working on bits and pieces for the company. While working for Cubicle I was introduced to one of the nicest guys in the whole of the industry, someone who I am proud and pleased to call my friend. Chris Birch is one of those guys who just seems to be able to do no wrong when it comes to gaming, and with an impressive gaming pedigree to his name, as well as a multi award winning games company in the form of Modiphius Entertainment; he certainly is in high demand. I managed to catch up with Chris recently and had a chat with him about a game that is sure to make people sit up and pay attention very soon, Fallout: Wasteland Warfare!
TTGUK: Hi Chris, firstly thanks for taking time out of your extremely busy schedule to spare us at Tabletop Games UK a few moments. It must be a real whirlwind for you all right now with the upcoming release of Star Trek Adventures and of course the middle of the games convention circuit with GenCon being just around the corner. A few months ago Modiphius Entertainment announced that it was going to be bringing a miniature game based around Fallout! This is of course something that fans have been waiting for a long, long time to see, a game based around the popular franchise and one that is every eagerly anticipated. How did you get involved with the Fallout universe?
CB: I’ve loved the Fallout universe since it first appeared – I loved post apocalypse stuff since I was a kid enjoying the ‘barbarian stumbling through he ruins of starships’ type epic science fantasy novels I’d hoover up from my granddads bookstore. Devouring Metamorphosis Alpha and Gamma World the two TSR post-apocalyptic RPG’s laid some serious foundations for my love the genre.
I’d actually had been talking to Bethesda on and off for a few years from back when I was doing video games clothing and so when I realised I could pitch a tabletop game with our new company Modiphius it all clicked in to place. The miniatures game was a natural fit and I’ve really wanted to bring something special to the tabletop that’s more than your usual wargame.
TTGUK: The press release mentions that Fallout: Wasteland Warfare will feature a narrative play system. Will this allow for characters to gain experience and learn new stuff like in the console game? It would be so cool if you could increase your characters Perks and Skill trees?
CB: Well you can play just straight forward points (or Caps!) based battles or dive in to the story. You’ll be able to improve your main hero’s leadership abilities, your perks and settlement bonuses. As you grow your force and expand the settlement it will allow you to field more units, better weapons and armour – even suits of power armour. There will be a lot of choices to make so even a Super Mutant force could be quite different to another Super Mutant force. We’re not zoomed into such a degree that you’ll be working through skill trees – this isn’t a video about about a girl and her dog but a miniatures game that encompasses lots of characters and units so I think we’re at just the right scale where decisions you’d made matter to your hero, but you’ve also got the scope of controlling several units or characters.
Beyond this you can expect Wasteland Encounters which have some interesting narrative mechanics, Quests and scenarios that encourage narrative play (as well as straight battles) and much more. The thing is you can strip this all back and get your hands dirty with a big fight if that’s what you want.
TTGUK: The renders on the Modiphius Entertainment site look amazing and look like they have been directly lifted from the game itself. Did Bethesda give you a lot of help with defining the way things look?
CB: We had the 3d models from the game as inspiration and guides however they’re actually not detailed enough for 32mm scale production – so these just show the serious talent we’ve been able to pull together to work on the game and generate these gorgeous sculpts. I’ve seen the first 3d prints and they’re looking equally good. We took all the inspiration from the games content and Bethesda have to approve every single sculpt and image – but I can actually say out of about 50 so far – bar two sculpts every one has gone straight through – it helps when the team love the universe so much.
TTGUK: Will the game just feature Fallout 4 or will we get a look at other parts of the universe such as Nu Vegas or Fallout 3?
CB: We’re already sculpting things from Fallout 3 and we intend to reach back to the earlier games when we have a chance – but there’s literally SO much material in Fallout 4 then 3 to keep us busy for now.
TTGUK: We have already seen some photos of some the iconic creatures and characters from the game and without giving away too much right now could we perhaps get a sneak idea of what else is in store other?
CB: Well you can expect a lot of the familiar characters – for example the Survivors faction box comes with Sturges, Ronnie, Mama Murphy, Preston Garvey and four survivors to kickstart your own little settlement. That’s obviously got a Minutemen flavour and one of the first expansions is the Minutemen set which you can add to this – 4 Minutemen male and female troops to help defend the settlement as you expand. Mama Murphy is going to be interesting as she gives you access to more stims and we’e even got her foresight in the rules.
Each of the faction boxes and expansion boxes is literally a game expansion in its own right. Sure you’re getting more figures with their unit cards but you’re also getting a range of cards to give you a lot more options in gameplay. More search items, more weapon cards, more AI cards which are flavoured around the box you purchased, extra quest and wasteland encounter cards and perhaps more settlement bonuses and leadership and perk cards (depending on the sets). The goal we’re aiming for is to make sure each box opens a lot of new flavour to the game and new experiences whether you’re playing PvP, solo or co-op.
Faction boxes are typically where you kick off after the starter set and you’ll have three choices at launch – Survivors, Super Mutants and Brotherhood of Steel (with the Institute and Raiders coming after Christmas. These have between 7-9 figures (depending on size) with their own scenic bases which really add to the value – they look great. Lots of cards as mentioned above.
Expansions are what add more units to your force and typically come with 3-5 figures – this might be a unit of 5 Minutemen or a T60 Knight and 2 Knight Patrol which could add to the ones in the faction box or create a new unit. These will come with extra cards again. Finally you’ll have the Characters boxes and Encounter boxes. Character boxes are typically 3 iconic characters from the universe with their gear, plus more leadership and hero based cards, whilst Encounter boxes might be a Deathclaw, or some Feral Ghouls and their cards (in particular AI cards that let you have these as wasteland encounters).
TTGUK: There are plans for buildings and ruins that will be used in the game, will these be card or resin?
CB: A mix actually – we’re working with Battlesystems to produce the classic Red Rocket gas station in their awesome clip together terrain system and we’re adding an actual resin rocket, gas pumps and Nuka Cola machine to round it out. We’ll be doing more sets like this and there will be other resin sets like the rusted cars, Vault Tec Containers, Vault machinery and consoles, and much more – even a Vertibird!
TTGUK: I love the idea of tournament play for Fallout: Wasteland Warfare and can’t wait to see this in action. Will the Modiphius Slivershields play a big part in bringing these to the public?
CB: Yes the Silvershields will be involved in helping to demo this and we’ll be recruiting a lot of new members to help get involved – we’re actually approaching this from a view of creating narrative plot events where you can take part in the first new major scenario release in a tournament style structure, but for those who just want to pitch their best Brotherhood of Steel against all comers there will be competitive play too.
TTGUK: I can see a lot of people wanting to become a Silvershield very soon and help take the good word of Fallout: Wasteland Warfare out to the gaming world. How does one go about becoming a Silvershield?
CB: If you’re interested drop us a line through firstname.lastname@example.org
TTGUK: Will the game be released as a boxed set?
CB: Yes there’s a two player starter box set with a mix of Super Mutants, Nora the sole survivor and Dogmeat plus a T60 power armour and some settlers. This is going to give you a taste of the game, some flavour of the narrative elements and introductory scenarios to teach the rules and get you playing your first battles. You’ll get all the cards, counters and dice you need to play, with each new expansion giving you more cards and figures.
TTGUK: The miniatures are amazing looking who do we have to thank for the awesome sculpts?
CB: We actually have a team of 16 sculptors working across this who’ve done an incredible job – they’re also working on Star Trek and John Carter of Mars so it’s been a crazy few months!
TTGUK: The Deathclaw looks really amazing too but will it be a true 32mm scale, if so that will be pretty huge?
CB: Yes it’s true to the scale and its pretty imposing – it’s not as big as you think though so you can still get a few of them 😉
TTGUK: I know it’s pretty early days at the moment but any idea on when we can get our hands on Fallout: Wasteland Warfare?
CB: We’re aiming for a pre-order in mid August at www.modiphius.com
TTGUK: Finally a question that I am asking all our interviewees. Who would win between Kirk and Picard?
CB: pfft! Spock of course!
I would like to thank Chris Birch for all his help and support with this interview and if you enjoyed this please like and comment on the article. If this was of interest why not check out my interview with Sam Webb about the upcoming Star Trek Adventures RPG. And keep up to the moment with all the news about Fallout:Wasteland Warfare by checking out the Development Blog
Keep rolling them dice,
All images copyright Modiphius Entertainment 2017 used for promotional use only, all rights reserved.