For weeks now, I have been playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown/Enemy Within, thanks to the Steam Summer Sale. It was something which I had been planning to try out, given how this ticked all the boxes for some of my close friends. I’ve been researching my UFOs, interrogating and dissecting the enemy, all whilst living with the fear that the next abduction or UFO could spell the end for at least one of my team of highly trained, colour coordinated operatives…
Now Fantasy Flight Games are teaming up with Fireaxis to bring XCOM: Enemy Unknown to life as a board game.
That’s right. A board game. And it should be available in…oh, about a week.
XCOM: The Board Game is a cooperative board game of global defense for one to four players.
Placed in command of the elite military organization known as XCOM, you and your friends must find some means to turn back an escalating alien invasion. As UFOs appear in orbit and worldwide panic threatens to undermine national governments, the game’s free companion app and its push-your-luck dice rolling mechanics immerse you deep in the tension and uncertainty of a desperate war against an unknown foe.
You are humanity’s last hope…
You can take on the the game flying solo – Player One Ready? – or, and here is the really interesting thing, you can play with up to 4 people – each person taking control of a specific department.
Each game of XCOM: The Board Game requires the cooperation of XCOM’s four department heads: Commander, Chief Scientist, Central Officer, and Squad Leader. Whether you play the game solo, with one friend, or with three, you must always include all four roles. Each department head manages a specific set of responsibilities, and each is vital to the world’s defense.
To explain the purpose of these department heads in simple terms – the Commander handles the budget (Mr Moneybags) and assigns the Interceptors; the Chief Scientist controls the research, and thus the direction in which scientific advancements are made; the Central Officer handles alien detection and activity (and so handles the app and satellites); the Squad Leader handles the deployment of squads (soldiers can be assigned to missions or to defend the base, and it is your job to decide which to prioritize). This creates an opportunity for internal politics with each Head either working with the others in a coordinated effort or working with their own personal goal in mind…and thus the potential for arguments and conflicted interests adds an extra dynamic to an already enjoyable game.
Another dimension added to the game is the inclusion of the ‘free companion app’, which I previously mentioned being critical to the Central Officer. It will coordinate the escalating alien invasion, randomly selecting from one of five different invasion plans. Each invasion plan represents a general outline that the alien commanders will use to coordinate the arrival of new UFOs, plan strikes against your base, and respond to your successes or failures as it seeks to conquer Earth. The app manages all of these tasks and heighten’s the game’s tension as it forces you to respond in real-time. Additionally, it comes with a tutorial mode with three different settings to allow players to get to grips with how the game works.
With its distinctive player roles and free companion app, XCOM: The Board Game evokes all the fear, desperation, and heroism that lie at the heart of the popular and acclaimed XCOM computer games. All the while, it immerses you in a wholly unique play experience.
Destroy UFOs. Research alien technology. Defend your base. Uncover the alien invasion plan. Should you fail, humanity is doomed.
This sounds like an awesome game, and I can’t wait to try it.