Factions Gameplay 103: Dice! Beautiful Dice!

By James Hewitt
Photography by Fatima Martin


It’s RedEye here…

…hey, no, wait. It’s James again. Sorry, I’m easily confused. 

If you’ve been following along with the series so far, you’ll have read all about the basics of playing Fallout: Factions, and learned about the various Actions that a model can make when it’s Activated. (If you haven’t… maybe go and check those links out first. Context is gonna help!) As promised, this post is going to talk about dice. 

When we were designing Factions, we wanted to go back to basics. Wasteland Warfare uses a set of custom dice with bespoke icons, lending a real sense of narrative to the game. By contrast, Factions uses regular, plain old ten-sided dice, marked 1 to 10. This gives fewer options for narrative detail, but it makes things fast, streamlined and efficient, and that’s what we’re after here. 

The main way you use dice in Factions is when you make a S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Test. This is named for the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. profile (hopefully no stranger to Fallout fans!) which every model has, listing a value for their Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. 

Whenever the rules call for a S.P.E.C.I.A.L. test, they will tell you how many dice to roll, and which of the model’s characteristics to use. Each die that scores equal to or lower than the named characteristic is a Hit, while each die that scores higher is a Dud, and is removed. The rules will tell you how the Hits should be resolved. 

Let’s say I’m playing as Joe & the Diamondbacks, an Operators crew. I want my Scavver, Eddie, to open fire with his Handmade Rifle. The rules tell me to make an Attack Test (4P), so that’s four dice, testing against Eddie’s Perception of 4. 

So I roll four dice, scoring a 1, a 4, a 7 and an 8, for a total of two Hits. (Depending on the target’s Endurance, this will deal them Harm, or - if I’m lucky - an Injury.) [1]

Okay, so far, so simple. But there are two extra wrinkles that make things F-U-N fun! [2]

Fortune Smiles!

Although the dice in Factions are regular D10s, the game requires them in two different colours, representing standard dice… and Luck dice. 

Before you roll, you’ll check your model’s Luck value, and swap out that many dice for Luck dice. In the example above, Eddie has Luck 2, so I’d end up rolling two standard dice and two Luck Dice. 

For each Luck Die that scores a Hit, you grab another Standard Die and roll it, adding it to your result. When you’re making an attack and at least one Luck Die scores a Hit, you also trigger your weapon’s Critical Effect - you might give the target Fatigue or additional Harm, or do something even more dramatic! 

Bonus Dice!

Depending on the test you’re making, you might be able to add a number of Bonus Dice before you roll. These extra dice (standard dice, not Luck dice) can come from a variety of sources…

  • When you’re making an attack test, each point of Harm the target already has gives you a bonus die. 
  • When you’re making an Open Fire action and the target is completely out in the open, you get a bonus die. 
  • Also, on an Open Fire action, you can get nearby models to give Supporting Fire - they take Fatigue, and you get a Bonus Die for each. 
  • When you’re Brawling, you get a Bonus Die if you moved into engagement in the same turn, and you get more Bonus Dice if you’re outnumbering your target. 

…and so on. 

Luck Dice and Bonus Dice are force multipliers, rewarding clever combo plays and allowing models to punch above their weight. 

In short, the dice system is like everything else in Factions - it’s deceptively simple, and easy to learn, but it offers a lot of strategic depth for experienced players. I personally can’t wait to hear about all the sneaky tricks and cunning synergies that players come up with to maximize their odds of success!

That’s another post done. In the next blog, I’m going to step back from the nuts and bolts of game mechanics, and look at how the game works to tell your crew’s story. Make sure you don’t miss it - head to the hub page and sign up to the newsletter! 

1. These are the dice from the Nuka-World starter set, and they’ve got an adorable little Cappy in place of the 1. He’s always a Hit!
2. If you haven’t watched the Welcome to Nuka-World trailer, go and do yourself a favour.
Fallout: factions