W. Eric Martin
U.S. publisher Fantasy Flight Games loves to unveil surprises prior to Gen Con, the largest board game convention in the U.S., and it's unleashed a doozy in the form of Fallout, a "post-nuclear adventure board game" based on the popular video game series from Bethesda Game Studios, specifically Fallout 3 and Fallout 4 and their downloadable expansions. Here's a short description of this design from Andrew Fischer and Nathan Hajek:
Fallout is a post-nuclear adventure board game for one to four players. Based on the hit video game series by Bethesda, each Fallout scenario is inspired by a familiar story from the franchise. Survivors begin the game on the edge of an unexplored landscape, uncertain of what awaits them in this unfamiliar world. With just one objective to guide them from the very beginning, each player must explore the hidden map, fight ferocious enemies, and build the skills of their survivor as they attempt to complete challenging quests and balance feuding factions within the game.
As they advance their survivors' stories, players come across new quests and individual targets, leading them to gain influence. Who comes out ahead depends on how keenly and aggressively each player ventures through the game; however, if a single faction is pushed to power too quickly, the wasteland will be taken for their own, and the survivors conquered along with it.
The game announcement from FFG has more details on the set-up and how gameplay unfolds in this 120-180 minute game. You start the game with a single Influence card and will likely acquire more during play, with these Influence cards providing points based on how you meet the goals listed on them or how well one in-game faction does against the other one. Each scenario has two factions, representing the opposing poles of "Security" and "Freedom", and while you're mostly functioning on your own, you probably want to align yourself with other players and one of these factions to have a larger impact on the game.
Each scenario has distinctive landmarks — e.g., The Capital Wasteland, The Pitt, The Commonwealth, and Far Harbor — but otherwise the map is variable, with players exploring the terrain and (ideally) avoiding radiation to uncover equipment and do whatever it is they want to do to gain influence.
FFG lists a release date of Q4 2017 for Fallout, but perhaps the game will be on a few demo tables at Gen Con to give attendees a first-hand taste of how the game plays out.
(Note that this is the second Fallout title due for release this year as in April 2017 UK publisher Modiphius Entertainment announced the Nov. 2017 release of Fallout: Wasteland Warfare, a minis-heavy design from James Sheahan. Modiphius has confirmed that title as being available for demos during Gen Con 50, so perhaps we'll have head-to-head Fallout fever to see which games best survives the fire and fury of fans.)