Factions Gameplay 105: Advanced Strategies

By James Hewitt
Photography by Fatima Martin


It’s James again, back with more Fallout: Factions insights! By now, you should know the drill - but in case you don’t, you can check all of the previous Factions blogs at the hub page. This particular blog will definitely make more sense if you’ve read them first! 

Okay, today I want to talk about a few things that you probably won’t use in your first game. The rulebook starts by introducing the basic rules for the game, and recommending that you play a game with them before you introduce the advanced rules. All the same, I wanted to talk about them here, so you know what you’ve got to look forward to. 


Remember, kids: if you find a suspicious-looking pharmaceutical product in a moldering desk drawer, leave it well alone! Unless, that is, you’re a Raider… in which you’re not gonna listen to me anyway. 

Before you set up for a game of Factions, both players have the opportunity to spend some of their hard-won caps on a supply of Chems for the battle ahead. The game features seven common chems, each with its own caps cost, and you can purchase up to three doses of each. (There are also a few rare chems, but they can be a surprise for later!) 

Chems are recorded on your crew roster, and vitally, you don’t need to worry about who’s carrying them. During the game’s development, we decided that we wanted as little tracking as possible in this game, so we’ve gone with the Law of Quantum Narrative Convenience [1] which states: it doesn’t matter who’s carrying a Chem until it needs to be used by someone, at which point the Chem was clearly being carried by the person who now needs to use it

When you want to give one of your models a little boost - a bit more Endurance when they get attacked, a couple more Bonus Dice on a test, a cheeky bit of Fatigue recovery - you can use one of the Chems you purchased, updating your roster to show that it’s been used up. 

In addition, Chems act as a handicap system. When a crew comes up against a more powerful opponent, they get some bonus caps to spend on Chems before the game, to level the playing field and ensure a fun, more-or-less fair game. 


At the start of each game, you get a single Ploy token. [2] This is a vital resource, capable of turning the tide of a game if it’s used well… and equally capable of being utterly squandered.

Just like Chems, a Ploy token can be spent once per game to trigger a Ploy. Unlike Chems, you don’t have to choose which Ploy you’ll use in advance. There are three Ploys that are available to all crews: 

  • Teamwork lets you take two turns in a row. 
  • Second Wind lets you Activate, and make an Action with, an Exhausted model. 
  • Lucky Break lets you re-roll any number of Duds in a S.P.E.C.I.A.L. test. 

Also, each Faction has its own set of Ploys, which crews from that Faction can choose from. One of the Disciples ploys, for example, is Thrill Kill!, which you can trigger when an enemy model is Incapacitated to let all of your models within 3” recover one Fatigue. Some Scenarios also offer unique Ploys to one or both players, giving them characterful options that are narratively appropriate to the conflict that’s taking place. 

Scouting Points

As I mentioned in the previous blog, you can spend your Story Actions to gain Scouting Points in a given Location. 

Later on, if your crew is playing a game in that Location, you can spend Scouting Points in a few different ways: 

  • You can spend Scouting Points to increase the odds of being able to choose which Scenario you will play. 
  • After all models have bet set up, you can spend Scouting Points to move one or more of your models up to 3”. 
  • When you make a Rummage Action, you can spend Scouting Points to re-roll the dice. 

Chems, Ploys and Scouting Points all increase your options, and give you a wealth of interesting decisions to make both before and during a game. As with everything else in Factions, we deliberately kept the systems simple, but made sure they gave players a lot to think about. 

There’s just one more gameplay overview blog to go - so make sure you come back and join me for a chat about how Scenarios work! If you haven’t already, head to the hub and sign up for the newsletter, so you can be among the first to read it…

1. This is entirely made up, don’t @ me.
2. >More, if your crew has advanced in Tier, or if you’re facing a significantly more powerful crew.
Fallout: factions