Monday 3 August 2015

BOYL 15 - Fallout vs Rogue Trader

Well BOYL/Oldhammer Day has been and gone for another year and what a fantastic event it was for everybody who took part. Honestly the come-down from this event is starting to feel like that empty week that follows the Christmas period when you realise that the festivities are over for another 365 days. Oh least I have loads of great gaming memories (and far too many new models) to remind me of the fun that was had.

As most of you will probably know I hosted one of the games for this year's event, namely a Rogue Trader game that was based around the popular post-apocalyptic franchise FALLOUT. It took me nearly a year to put this game together and to organise so needless to say on the day itself I was a little nervous about how it was going to go, especially as none of us had met in person before. I needn't have worried as all the players that took part were absolutely great sports and really contributed to making it a fun time for each other. My girlfriend also took part and supported me throughout so a big thanks to her (particular for facilitating the continuous flow of cider that she kept supplying from the Ansell's bar!)

Further thanks must go to the Ansell's and Weazil (Gaj)  from the Oldhammer forum who sorted me out a nice room with an excellent 7 x 7 table to facilitate the game (I presently decorated this with Nuka Cola posters and Mentat boxes to set the theme of the universe). I also need to express my gratitude to my participants who really pulled out the stops and brought additional post apocalyptic scenery to augment my own, this was really useful and helped further immerse the players in the Fallout-esque setting.

The game itself was set in the Foundry Wasteland located just south of California and I prepared each of the players a bespoke PIP-BOY briefing pack outlining their forces, goals, stats and individual mission in the Wastes

The table came with a high level of natural relief and this was then broken up into a number of areas. In the distance you can see a deserted Enclave Base that seems to have some heavy turret weapons that dominate the area while there are also a number of valleys containing smaller camps and natural foliage. An oozing pool of sludge glows ominously on the far hill.

The main feature of the table is the large set of ruins to the North of this image, this is the outskirts of a ruined pre-war town that seems to have become host to a pack of blood-thirsty raiders.

A close up of the town reveals some excellent scatter terrain provided by the players and an glowing metallic monolith in the centre of the ruins...possibly a pre-war computer.
Overall it took me three hours to set up the table but I think the effect was worth it in the end and by the time the scenery was down I really felt like it had been lifted directly from one of the Fallout games.

Promptly at 1300 each of the players turned up and was issued with their player packs and a quick intro by myself covering any house rules, etc. I also issued each of the players with three NUKA-COLA bottle caps that they could use to purchase dice re-rolls during play...not game-changing by any stretch of the imagination but enough to add an interesting twist...

The Nuka-Cola Caps in question could buy players one re-roll each
As I knew the secret objectives of each of the factions I set up each players miniatures in order to ensure that they were in a position to get the most fun from the game. I also set up a few wasteland creatures (i.e. giant wolves) around the table and some raiders in the ruins in order to provide a bit of fodder for the players.

The factions and missions were as follows:

Brotherhood of Steel
My girlfriend - Athena
Mission: Reach the computer in the ruins and download the hard drive

James Holloway
Mission: Eliminate all factions hostile to the NCR

Crimson Caravan (with awesome converted Brahmin - 2 heads!)
Mission: Reach and exploit the deserted Enclave base

Super Mutants
Mission: Eliminate the Brotherhood of Steel

Children of the Cathedral
Scalene (and son)
Mission: Incapacitate as many humans as possible for dipping in the FEV Vats to rebuild the Master's Army

Wasteland Survivors
Mission: Escape off the opposite board edge in order to reach the NCR

The Brotherhood of Steel take up a commanding position on the hill where they are able to cover the nearby wastelanders and approaching mutants

The game started off well and the assorted faction commanders quickly set about moving off to achieve their goals. Each player eyed their peers warily to see if they constituted a threat and try to ascertain their intentions. This really is a perk of giving each player their own individual briefings and goals as it means the rest of the participants are on edge not wishing to provoke neutral parties whilst conversely not allowing themselves to be set up for a later ambush.

The NCR Ranger patrol approaches the fence-line and chooses to ignore the nearby Crimson Caravan, perceiving the traders as little threat and potentially law-abiding tax payers within the Republic.
The Wasteland Survivors really highlighted this point when they took over the Enclave base and seized control of the automated heavy turrets. Although they initially shot no one they were quick to point out they had the firepower to kill almost all targets if they wanted to...thus the most poorly equipped faction quickly rose to dominate the table....

Wasteland peasants quickly identify the computers within the Enclave base and attempt to activate them by randomly poking buttons. This was represented by the models having to take INTELLIGENCE Tests, which is pretty rough when your base intelligence is 6!
However peace is a fickle thing and if there's one thing all Fallout fans appreciate it is this:


And so within a few short turns the Brotherhood and Mutants were taking potshots at each other whilst the Children of the Cathedral pushed into the town to harvest the poorly equipped raiders for the FEV Vats.

Having decided the Caravaners are no threat the NCR pushes forward to take up solid firing positions in the scrubland surrounding the river banks.
For the majority of the battle the caravan played a clever tactic of staying in place when there were potential hostiles nearby and then sprinting for their objective when the other factions had engaged each other. In fact the Caravaners didn't fire a shot during the game...

The fanatics of the Cathedral creep forward into the ruins using whatever cover they can this case a SHRUBBERY!!
Soon the battlefield started to become a real warzone as the brotherhood fought a four way battle against the NCR, the Mutants and the previously peaceful wastelanders! T-45d Power Armour is good protection, but it is not invulnerable and with no stimpacks to hand the Steel Knights started to incur heavy casualties.

However all of the combatants paused from the bloodshed for a moment as a heavy thumping sound started to fill the air, looking to the skies their hearts skipped a beat as the familiar shape of an Enclave Vertibird appeared over the horizon.

All factions tremble in fear as an Enclave Verti-Assault Squad jump from their airborne transport and prepare their weapons for combat....

...for about thirty seconds...all factions then cease their hostilities to focus on the newcomers and wipe them off the table. With the Enclave dead the parties then promptly return to killing each other.
The first faction to nearly achieve their mission were the Wasteland Wanderers as they approached the opposite table edge in glee. However their commander and two of his lackeys chose to ignore the pool of fluorescent FEV goop and the associated warning signs... quickly mutating into super mutants and providing JB with some welcome reinforcements.

Clearly having not seen the original Robocop these Wasteland Wanderers are unaware that swimming in toxic waste is generally considered a bad thing...however the point is quickly learned as they sprout horns and become mutants!
Whilst this was a bit of a shock for JellyRover it is fair to say he subsequently watched with a degree of paternal pride as his former Warlord proceeded to run down the hill and eat everyone...

The last remaining Steel Knight is interrupted whilst trying to download the terminal's hard drive to his PIP-BOY...oh well one centaur shouldn't be a problem...
Eventually the majority of factions met up in the ruined town for something of a show down resulting in numerous bitter fire-fights and close assaults.

...Unless of course a host of robed cultists arrive and join in the melee...Ouch!

It's probably around this point that the brother of the Cathedral above begins to realise that worshipping Super Mutants may not have been such a great idea after all. Oh well, you live and learn...or not.

Here the Ranger Commander proves that the .357 Magnum is probably the most powerful handgun in the world....

The remaining cultists decided that they had harvested enough victims for one day and quickly retreated off the battlefield to dip their prey in the Vats. This left the NCR and the muties to fight it out in the ruins. The mutants were powerful opponents however they weren't facing some crappy NCR conscripts but rather the elite Rangers of the Republic and so the remnants of the Master's mutated brethren were gunned down in short order and left to die in the sands of the Foundry Wasteland.

Finally the caravaners reach their goal...the pre-war tech of the Enclave is theirs for the taking.
The NCR survivors cheer, it seems that they have survived where all others have perished. They take a few moments to pop a Mentat and swig a Nuka Cola before resuming their patrol.

Meanwhile the remaining Wastelanders creep off the table and the Caravaners arrive at the Enclave base! The merchants may not have fired a shot during the battle but they have also incurred no casualties either...a truly epic achievement!!

Overall this was an absolutely fantastic game of Rogue Trader and I really think everyone who took part had a great time. There were loads of laughs and a lot of banter which really reminded me of how gaming used to be back in the day. Even when things went badly for a player (watching your leader mutate into a monster is never good) everyone took it in their stride and laughed it off!! The quote of the day has to be from JB 'Look, just leave my Super Mutant alone!'

I know some people think Rogue Trader can be a bit of a clunky system at times and I sort of agree, but this game went fluidly and I think it really highlighted the benefit of having a GM. where discrepancy arose I either tried to sort it out with an impartial decision or the toss of a coin and this proved more than sufficient for the task at hand.

I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the game and once again want to say thanks to all the guys and girls who took part and made it happen! Cheers!

I look forward to seeing you all next year!!

Nice former owner! (This is how I felt at the conclusion of the game!)



  1. Looks like a good game :)


    1. It was a great game mate! Top fun from start to finish!
      It really showed that RT rules are still usable for skirmish actions!

  2. Great stuff, the scenery and minis are awesome. Looks like it was loads of fun, I really should pay a little more attention to the scifi tables next year!

    1. Cheers mate! Hopefully I'll be running another sci-fi game next year!

  3. In all honesty, the time you invested in that game really showed and paid. Your attention to details like those nuka caps, the mentat box or even the posters on the wall were just part of what made that one work so well. You put the capital letters in GMing.
    I've had an absolute blast and loads of fun with everyone and frankly this completely felt like playing the videogame. I could almost hear the Mark Morgan soundtrack.
    Massive thanks to you and all those who took part !

    1. Thanks JB! If you guys had half as much fun playing the game as I did running it then I will consider it a success! I'm glad you liked the little extra bits like the caps, I think that they worked well!

      Again I couldn't have done any of it without you guys so my thanks go out to all of you!

      As an aside I got home and downloaded that sound track on your recommendation.... I am now listening to it whilst painting a load more Enclave troops! It is fantastic!!

    2. Just wanted to echo JB's comments - things like the Nuka-Cola caps and how fantastic the table looked really set the tone for the game. We seemed a particularly cheerful bunch anyway, but I think you can generally be confident in getting an enthused and sporting player at BOYL given the great atmosphere of the event.

      It was also a great showcase for a GM'd game, having your own objectives which are unknown to the other players makes it a totally different experience from your standard wargame. I was really impressed how well you'd tailored the difficulty of the objective to the tech level of each force (I can say that now that the BoS knight with the Gatling laser is no longer in my path! :) ). Having it work so well as it did on the day for 6 different factions needs a bit of luck as well, but you earn that luck.

      My blog is over here by the way, if you want to link my name above (Grumdril) -

      Thanks again for all your work, it really made our Saturday.

    3. Cheers mate! I had a great time and you were a great sport too! I'm glad you found the little touches added to the experience! It took me a while to balance the forces in line with the missions but I think it worked pout well in the end!

      I have added your link above and have also become a follower of your blog! Top Stuff

  4. I'll join everyone else in thanking you for running the game -- the briefings, the caps and everything else really helped get into the spirit of the scenario. The work you put into setup helped make the game so impressive.

    I think one of the most telling points for me was that as people were playing Rick Priestley and Nigel Stillman wandered in but were largely ignored because of how engrossed we all were in the game itself.

    1. Cheers James! Thanks for the additional scatter bits too! I loved the pool of toxic goop!!

      Wow....that is stunning praise indeed!! I knew they were at the event but I think I was so wrapped up in GM'ing that I didn't notice them in our alcove!!

  5. I think my leader do more damage as a mutant beast then as his former self!

    Can only echo the praise from all about the game, wonderful stuff and a lot of good moments to remember.

    Thanks again.

    1. Cheers mate! I have to say he was an impressive mutant!!

  6. Amazing work, glad to hear it came off well.

  7. Wow, that looks ubercool! Great, great work!! As Asslessman says, it certainly paid off!!

    1. Cheers Suber! It was great using the Rogue Trader rules for something a little bit different! They really fitted Fallout well!
      It would be great if we could play a game one day mate...maybe BOYL next year.

  8. This was the game I was gutted to miss having committed to all sorts of other very entertaining stuff - hats off to you for such a tour de force of GM'ing and attention to detail. I still hope to run Orc's Drift in a similar way with multiple players so I can deliver briefings too the different players and keep them in the dark as to their perceived foes' and erstwhile allies' intentions are.

    I was already a big fan of the computer game but now you've got me and Ollie hankering after some Fallout gaming of our own - I hope we can come close to replicating what you put on this year!

  9. Mate it would have been great to have you on board, we really had a blast!
    I'm a strong believer that GM'ing needs to be done with a real attention to detail if the players are going to get the most from a game!

    Fallout is a great setting for a skirmish game and provided a really nice change to my ubiquitous 40k. In fact I think in some ways I preferred it!!!

    As it happens I was talking to Ollie about meeting up for a game so if you fancy a Fallout outing we could combine efforts !

  10. This looked like a great game, even if I am more familiar with fallout than rogue trader! Would love to be involved in something like this next year, so I'll keep tabs on your plans and try and learn a bit about 40k in preparation. Great to meet you over the weekend.

    1. Hello mate!!
      They're both great universes to be fair!! I've grown up with both of them!

      If I manage to put together something for BOYL 16 you'd be more than welcome to participate! I've already got a few ideas running around my head!

  11. Nice report. It all looks great :)

  12. Im a huge fan of fallout especially the third instalment. It looks as though you definitely out the work in and the result was a great game enjoyed by all.
    The figures look great and authentic to new Vegas. Awesome stuff.

    1. I have to say Fallout is one of my favourite franchises and has been for years!
      I am amazed with how close to the computer game we managed to make the battle... It is thanks to all the hard work of those dedicated players who took the time and effort to make it work!!