Be a Mister Handy, the Lone Gunslinger in Fallout board game expansion New California

Last year’s Fallout: The Board Game was a pretty good solution to an age-old problem: Fallout didn’t have enough hexes. (We cited it as one of the year’s best board games for PC gamers.) It looks like Fantasy Flight Games was happy with it, too, since we’ve got an expansion on the way. New California will add two new scenarios and five new characters along with new map tiles and loot. The scenarios look to be inspired by the original Fallout games, with locations like the Brotherhood of Steel’s Lost Hills Bunker, the Cathedral, and the settlement of Arroyo. The Arroyo scenario is especially interesting, as it’s cooperative and has players working together, rather than competing to win. 

Perhaps the most interesting part of the expansion is the five new characters, doubling the character count from the base game. An Enclave deserter, complete with the Enclave power armor from the Fallout 2 box, gets extra XP from killing enemies. An NCR Ranger gets to start wherever they please on the map. A Caravan Merchant has bonus caps and can set up shop for other players. The Lone Gunslinger can’t have companions, but gets a powerful pistol.

Finally, you can be a Mister Handy, able to upgrade yourself with wasteland junk and also carry lots of things—because you have three arms.

Otherwise, the game is much the same, there’s just more of it. You still journey back and forth across a wasteland map trying to snag loot, finish quests, and complete branching storylines before anyone else does. There’s one small new twist, though: Several of the new scenario’s quest cards have unique variants, meaning they can branch out different ways each time you play. It’s a bit of variety for second and third runs through the same scenario. The expansion doesn’t change the player count, leaving that untouched at 1-4.

Now that we’ve covered most of Fallout’s settings, maybe we’ll get a New Vegas expansion for this thing next year.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.