XCom: The Board Game Needs You, Commander

XCom: The Board Game Needs You, Commander

This digitally enhanced little tabletop devil comes with a free app to REND YOUR SOUL.

Hello, Commander. Time is short: the Council needs you, your Chief Scientist, Central Officer and Squad Leader to get it together, because last mission ended ... well, let's just say that Sectoids skinning our soldiers alive and turning them into decorative hats is not what we had in mind when we gave you this job. The technical masterminds at Fantasy Flight have put together a tabletop board game simulation to help you in your ongoing mission. Use it wisely!

This shiny new piece of alien-killing technology can be played solo, or with a group of up to four players, each of whom takes on one of the four roles. As Commander, you manage the budget and assign interceptors to global defence. The Chief Scientist - cue scenes of Dr Vahlen whooping with glee and screaming "BITE ME, SHEN!" - gets to research and build new tech. The Central Officer controls satellite communications, and has the unenviable task of trying to reduce UFO incursions by scrambling enemy communications. Central also gets to control the digital app, of which more later. Finally the Squad Leader assembles strike teams to meet the enemy in battle, as well as defend the human base.

The objective of the game is to uncover the aliens' invasion plan and defeat it, before the aliens find and eliminate your base. This is where the free digital app comes in. It selects one of five possible plans to execute, and then sends enemy forces your way to carry out that plan. Maybe it means UFOs will start popping up over South America. Maybe it will start generating crises to lower morale, or reduce your funding. It might even start sending troops out searching for your base. There are three game modes to choose from, not counting tutorial: Easy, Normal, and Hard. You'd better know what you're up against before choosing Hard.

The app's most important function is timekeeping, standing there with stopwatch in hand, watching you sweat. This is all real time gaming, and that means you'd better think quickly as well as tactically. Lord help you if your Central Officer is a bit useless, as without someone sharing all this information swiftly and clearly you'll soon find Mutons carving up a human buffet in your base.

XCom: The Board Game is intended for ages 14+, and should take a couple hours to play; recommended retail is $59.95. You may well see copies at Gencon this year, possibly being carried out in triumph by a bloodstained Matt Lees, but it's more likely you'll see this by Christmas.

Source: Fantasy Flight

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As someone who's playing XCOM on twitch and youtube...

The timer idea is brilliant, though I have concerns about requiring a "companion app" In my circle of friends, I'm one of two with a smartphone, and none of us have tablets. Personally, if you need a tablet, of sorts... You're starting to veer away from a tabletop game at that point. It's required, not just helpful.

BeerTent:
As someone who's playing XCOM on twitch and youtube...

The timer idea is brilliant, though I have concerns about requiring a "companion app" In my circle of friends, I'm one of two with a smartphone, and none of us have tablets. Personally, if you need a tablet, of sorts... You're starting to veer away from a tabletop game at that point. It's required, not just helpful.

Yeah, that's what put me off too. How far has this shit come when you can't even play a goddamn board game without needing a fucking smartphone!?

Sounds intense, I like it! I like that everyone has their own roles to play, instead of just variations of the same role. Although, I have to wonder what the app does that couldn't have been accomplished by another player? Maybe they were worried about his/her safety after a crushing defeat of the other players...

This actually looks pretty awesome! If only I had 3 friends who liked board games AND XCOM to give me an excuse to pick this up. Looks fun!

Makes me wonder wonder how well it will capture that feeling of being forced to use three rookies on your first terror mission because they are literally the LAST three who are uninjured.

Ohhhhhhh boy.

I wonder if my local board game cafe will carry it. Heaven knows they have every other video-game licensed board game in history (I didn't even know Starcraft had a board game!) so I may be able to give this one a spin.

Valkrex:
This actually looks pretty awesome! If only I had 3 friends who liked board games AND XCOM to give me an excuse to pick this up. Looks fun!

If you buy it, they will come.

My money...take it! Take it NOW!

REQUIRES a smartphone?
That kinda defeats the point of it being a board game.

Atmos Duality:
REQUIRES a smartphone?
That kinda defeats the point of it being a board game.

I am sure there are going to be PC-based versions of the app as well. You may or may not have noticed the laptops in the attached graphics.

Defective_Detective:

Atmos Duality:
REQUIRES a smartphone?
That kinda defeats the point of it being a board game.

I am sure there are going to be PC-based versions of the app as well. You may or may not have noticed the laptops in the attached graphics.

Well that would help a bit, but if a board game isn't self-contained, that kind of defeats the point of making it more primitive in the first place.

Gotta mirror everyone else's sentiments about the Smartphone requirement. As one chap on the Facebook Comments said (especially prudent since X-COM is also on iPad and Android last time I looked)

Having a mandatory app to play the game just begs the question "why don't I just play the video game instead?".

Otherwise this would have been a Day One purchase. Guess I'm stuck with Level 7: Invasion instead.

Using the app is a cool idea and I like real time elements in games, like in Space Alert for example. And I'm not even that worried about not being able to play 10 or 20 years from now because the app might not be supported anymore. However, what I am worried about is not being able to play the game right now.

I don't have a smartphone or a tablet, and I don't like the idea of having to carry my heavy laptop around with me just for this. So basically, I can't play it at all, and when it comes to my criteria for buying games, being able to play is pretty high on the list. I wonder why they couldn't go with a sountrack and a deck of cards like in Space Alert.

I'm interested in playing the game, because it sounds like something I would enjoy a lot, but I probably won't buy it myself.

I don't like the real time aspect. To me, xcom is the ultimate turn-based game. Also not a big fan of the app thing, as when I play boardgames I like the full "analog" experience.
Otherwise I would be pretty excited about it.

Full disclosure: I am developing a boardgame inspired in xcom myself, so take any criticism I make with a grain of salt (that said, Fantasy Flight game can only mean good news, because it raises the awareness of the theme in a way my publisher couldn't, so it is all good).

This shiny new piece of alien-killing technology can be played solo

awsome for me!.....*cries*

Really looking forward to this. I like the idea of digital integration. It really opens up possibilities for the future and must give devs some interesting new ideas to work with.

Either that or it'll be like Atmosfear, the VHS/DVD board game, and it'll be awful. Only the fates can decide!

well I WAS excited about an Xcom board game, since a few ppl I work with and I do a board game night. Requiring an electronic device to accompany the game kinda kills it though.

Wish they would have made it board game only.

I get the idea behind the app... so that the AI is secret and random it allows for more playability. But yeah, needing an electronic device to play a board game does kinda suck...

Just to clarify though if you look at FFG's site, it isn't just smartphones, it is smartphones and tables. In addition to being a web app.

Demagogue:
I get the idea behind the app... so that the AI is secret and random it allows for more playability. But yeah, needing an electronic device to play a board game does kinda suck...

Just to clarify though if you look at FFG's site, it isn't just smartphones, it is smartphones and tables. In addition to being a web app.

Good to know, so as long as one has a PC/Laptop of some sort, they will be fine.

I totally am getting this.

I'm a big fan of a number of the games published by them (Civilization board game in particular), so yeah, I'm quite excited by this.

The blurb on the FFG website does say it is doing a PC/Laptop version of the app so should be ok without a tablet.

It's a great idea, but I don't own a tablet and I don't want to buy one. Also, is the app Apple products only, or is there an Android version as well?

Edit: seems there is also a PC version which is cool.

I would at this point recommend a game that is very very like XCOM called Target:Earth. I have had a lot of fun with that game, and you can probably get that one cheaper than you will able to get XCOM, and be "cooler" for have the non-licensed game.

What's with all the nose turning at the idea of an app. I think it's a great way to bring a real time aspect into the game, that's way more thematic than an hour glass. Also there have been games that bring electronics into play, in this case CD soundtracks, like Space Alert and Escape: The Curse of the Temple.

 

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