Settlements and narrative play

Is there much of a benefit to growing a settlement when doing narrative play? I understand that it gives you a chance to build your force and has story elements and quests. It seems like you are pretty handicapped in the item/boost department though. If you play someone who is not doing settlements they can put whatever they want on their models (within the point limit of course) where as you are stuck with base equipment from the AI cards and maybe 1 or two pieces of gear you’ve scrounged. Also against a player not doing a settlement they are going to get 3-4 boost cards while you are stuck managing your available slots between items and boosts. I love building a crew in games it’s one of my favorite parts of skirmish battles but I’m failing to see the benefits of it in this game. Maybe once I get a few more games in all will become clear. What does everyone else think?

I was working under the impress that all players either run settlements or no one does. That way things are balanced.


Exactly. Settlement play is like a campaign; everyone should be participating. They just mentioned in the book that you won’t get on Santa’s naughty list if you play against someone who isn’t in on it, you’ll just have less options than them.

The one thing you can get as an advantage are Boost cards. Settlement mode has ways of getting free Boosts to bring to a game, which you won’t have available if you’re just building a random narrative list.

If you’re concerned about a balance of options and your whole group doesn’t want to do settlement mode, you could also restrict those players not using settlements to battle mode lists. That way they also have (slightly) restricted options for both units and equipment.


Actually, at the top of p18 of the Camaign book, in the intro text for Settlements, it says ‘A player using the Settlement rules can still play against a player who is not, as both players still field forces of the same Caps value.’

So, if you enjoy managing a settlement, go right ahead. Just be aware and accept that your choices are more limited than opponents who do not.

Hi Kobywan,

Using Settlement mode is primarily about adding the extra experience of scavenging and surviving in the Wasteland. As you and YogoZuno mentioned, it adds an extra challenge as your options are more limited, but it adds the extra survival story/context to your experience, gives more meaning to collecting caps and Items during battles, and allows you to use the Explore cards (which can have benefits a player not using the Settlement system does not have access to).

If you are playing using the Settlement system, you can choose to play any game not using your Settlement - you won’t earn any caps towards your Settlement for that game but you also won’t have the restrictions either so can equip your force any way you want.


I think it’s a pretty good mechanic for my play style. My son and I are doing a co-op campaign and it’s about surviving with what is available at the time. His Sole Survivor and my Paladin won’t get power armor or laser rifles until they actually find them in the campaign (on the battlefield or scavenging)