While at Gencon 50 in August, we got to sit down with Chris Birch, the founder and Publisher of Modiphius. We had a wide ranging conversation about various games his company is publishing and developing. Yesterday we published our review of Star Trek Adventures, their Star Trek RPG, and our interview with him regarding where we stand with Star Trek now that the core book has been release. From there we moved onto their latest licensing game venture, Fallout: Wasteland Warfare a tactical tabletop wargame.
This interview is lightly edited for grammar and readability. Also, one of the answers was out of date. We updated it with current information and placed that in brackets.
Nerd Union: Where are we at on the production cycle on Fallout: Wasteland Warfare?
Chris Birch: Well, we’re 70 sculpts in. We’re doing test production, which is what you can see here at the moment, and we are sort of in the final stages of play testing, balancing the units and point values. And we start pre-order in about 3 weeks [this interview was conducted at Gencon 50, on August 21, 2017. Pre-order is currently live on modiphius.com]. It will ship to preorder customers [in March 2018].
NU: How do you feel this tabletop game differs from other tabletop board games?
CB: Well, it’s a classic war game you know. You can play anywhere from 3 and 30 figures. Typical games can be like 10-15 miniatures, and you can just play for caps, unless you capture an objective. But you’ve got a story side to it as well. So, you can play solo against the wasteland. Things can bite back. You can go searching through Nuka-Cola machines, or consoles to try and find gear and caps. You’ll discover roving enemies, or sort of dangers of the wasteland, and radiation storms, that kind of thing. Yet, there are story based scenarios that gradually evolve the storyline, and you get more and more caps which you can invest in your settlement, or your character or your leader, your perks. So you might want to invest in a weapon workbench cause if you find cool weapon on the battlefield you can use it for the game, but then it breaks cause you haven’t got the means to keep it repaired. So, you gradually evolve your crew, get to buy more crew, you know put more into your settlement so it gets you more perks, or benefits, in the game. And in the story you’ll gradually evolve, and it has consequences as well. So, that’s really good. I love solo playing games. I was a solo war gamer as a kid, so I really wanted to make sure that you could have a really fun experience. And you can play co-op as well. So we can team up against the game, pool our spare Super Mutants and play a Brotherhood of Steel base against Super Mutants. One of the big expansions will let you actually build your base, and try different base defense strategies against your friends or against the game.
NU: Okay, so solo play versus multi-play, I assume you’re going to have a close player relationship like you do with your previous games. Is there going to be a tournament structure?
CB: Yes. Now, as I said before you can play player vs player very easily. That’s the core of the game, but we built a lot of this narrative side onto it. So, our goal is to support the community in helping to do tournament structure. We’re going to have evolving points values. We’re going to put the points values in the base set, but the community will be able to give us feedback on on whether thats really a 27 points unit and not a 22. So, we will listen to the community and slowly evolve the points. So there will be a tournaments structure, but there’s also going to be a campaign events structure where the point isn’t about trying to beat everyone, but basically this is the launch of this new campaign, so everyone gets it for taking part, and then, you know, there’s going to be this exclusive figure that’s first available there, and, you know, you’ll be the first people to try this narrative missions set. So, it’s sort of a story based event.
NU: Will that story sort of effect everyone elses’ story later on once it’s completed?
CB: Well, you know it might be because we like doing living campaigns for the role playing games, so it might be how we see how people finish that game, and maybe that will affect the next mission. I like doing stuff like that, yes.
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NU: What were some of the struggles of adapting a video game RPG game into a tabletop experience?
CB: Of course the video game does everything for you, and makes playing the game very simple, so we just want the tabletop game to feel like that experience. So, you know, it’s been quite tricky and we’ve gone through some redesigns to make the process of playing, the dice, the unit stance, the gameplay act like the game acts. So, it is always a tricky balance