Factions Gameplay 101: Basic Gameplay

By James Hewitt
Photography by Fatima Martin


Hey folks - James here, lead designer on Fallout: Factions. I’ve been asked to put together a few blogs to explain how the game works, so strap yourselves in for a rules ramble. Before you read on, I’d recommend checking out our overview of Fallout: Factions, and maybe checking out how it’s different from Wasteland Warfare. Go ahead, I can wait. I’ve got some Operators that are crying out for another coat of paint.  

All done? Okay, let’s go! 

In Factions, each player controls a crew of around ten models. [1]  Each model is a named individual, with their own entry on your roster sheet. If you’re familiar with tabletop roleplaying games, think of your roster as your crew’s character sheet; you’ll bring it to each game, updating it over time as models gain upgrades and perks, modify their weapons, and suffer debilitating injuries. 

Because you keep your crew between games, setting up to play is super simple. You pick a scenario (more on them in a future blog), set up your crews, and start the first round. 

In a round, players take turns Activating a model from their crew. This model can then make one or two Actions, which will allow it to do things like move, attack, search the wasteland, or patch up its wounds. 

After a model completes an Action, it takes one Fatigue. Fatigue is tracked by placing a token next to the model, and once a model has two Fatigue, it’s Exhausted, and it can’t make any more Actions. This presents you with a choice - you can Activate your model once in the round, and make both of its Actions, or you can Activate it twice, and use one Action each time. [2]

Let’s take a moment to talk about tokens. From the start of the design process, we wanted to keep things simple. Wasteland Warfare is an incredibly detailed game, with a vast library of tokens for all sorts of conditions and game effects, and we wanted to do something different here. In Factions, a model will only ever have a maximum of two tokens next to it: a Fatigue token and a Harm token. The graphics team did great work with these, giving them both a slightly concave edge so that they sit flush with their model’s base. This does two things: first, it makes the token look more like it’s attached to the base, which keeps things looking neat and reduces clutter. Second, it means you’re never in doubt as to which tokens belong to which models, even during a crowded melee. 

Now, here’s the interesting part. When it comes around to your turn, instead of Activating a model, you can Pass. This means you don’t get to Activate any more models this round. If all of your models are Exhausted, this is mandatory, but you might choose to do it early… because the first player to Pass gets the all-important Initiative Token, meaning they’ll take the first turn in the next round. This can be a crucial decision, and I’ve often found myself agonizing over whether I should risk a late-round Action that might be useful, or playing it safe and Passing so I can get the drop on my opponent in the next round. 

Okay, that’s enough for this post! If you want to know more, I’m writing a whole series of blogs, covering all of the basics about Fallout: Factions. Now head to the hub page, where you can find links to all of the blogs we’ve already published, and sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss the new ones!

1. Sometimes more, especially when you’ve got a few games under your belt… and sometimes fewer, when you’ve taken a bit of a beating and several of your models are out of commission. Not that I’ve ever experienced this personally. 
2. And that’s just the basics. As you’ll soon see, there are other ways models can take Fatigue, both voluntary and involuntary. The Action economy in Factions grants players a plethora of interesting decisions! 
Fallout: factions