I have to admit that after seeing that a XCOM game was coming I was a little dubious as I didn’t know how it would transfer across mediums. I was even more concerned when I spotted that Fantasy Flight Games were releasing it.
It’s a cooperative game for 1 to 4 players, where as games like Forbidden Island and Castle Panic use a mechanic designed into the game to simulate opposition the XCOM board game uses a companion App to control it. This means that players need a PC, mobile phone or tablet in order to play.
The app brings timed deadlines into play with the players have to respond to the threat in real-time making decisions toughers and more fluid than usual in a co-op game. However the actual combat takes place without on the time limit.
The app also can be used to learn the game and teach the rules, which given how cumbersome FFG rules usual are, this can’t be a bad thing.
Destroy UFOs. Research alien technology. Defend your base. Uncover the alien invasion plan. Should you fail, humanity is doomed.
The players take on the roles of 4 department heads at XCOM, these are the Commander, Chief Scientist, Central Officer and Squad Leader, each with their own unique skills, no matter how many are playing these roles are always in play.
The game looks to use many of the features that the video game employed, so for example if a UFO is tracked but your interceptors fail to take it down, fear will spread in the continents. If it turns to panic then your funding will start to drop undermining and hindering your efforts, 2 continents go into panic and XCOM forces lose the game.
The game employs a push your luck dice mechanic that aims to get the players taking risks in order to succeed, the number of dice used is dependant on the task and modifiers you have.
Each dice only has 2 success indicators and you are unlikely to achieve success without a follow up roll, each roll carries a higher risk of failure.
From what I’ve seen the game looks rather nice, there have been some concerned raised about the longevity of a game needing an application in order to run, but I’d rather get the game and play it now than worry about the 5 years time what-ifs.
If you want to have a look at the game and app, Drive Thru Review posted these two videos from GenCon.