XCOM Board game

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.

box-XCOM-rightThe 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.

#XCOM #TableTopGames

To coin a phrase

In the next 48 hours the Kickstarter by Campaign Coins will complete, I have been super excited about this project since I caught wind of it in June. The stretch goal shave been nice and have included a number of bonus coins, a fate bag and a variety of options of finishings for your coins.

Admittedly I’ve yet to run a full Fate campaign yet but I hadn’t yet decided what to use as fate tokens and these give a nice touch to the whole thing. I have opted to buy 3 sets of coins and quite like the Antique Silver finish, but I’m not sure if I will get that for all 3 sets or keep one in Antique Bronze.

The bonus is that they can also be used to determine Fate too, a set of 12 coins has four blank, four plus and four minus coins, so all you need to do is pluck them from a bag randomly and you have your result. Using coins also alters the probability slightly versus using fudge (fate) dice as outline by Paul Stefko here.

At some point I would also like to get a Deck of Fate, I really like the idea of using different mechanics other than rolling dice for games. It certainly goes a little way towards making things more entertaining, especially having more than one method.

#Blaugust #Kickstarter #Tabletop

Week 31 – Board games


Having owned the game for over a year on the weekend I finally got around to playing Carcassonne. It’s not that I’d be putting it off or anything but invariably other games would be selected over it, usually something familiar.
So armed with determination Dok and myself sat down and poured over the rules for 20 minutes.

Thankfully the game is very straight forward and with minimal consultation of the rule book we managed to fit in 2 games in reasonable amount of time.

If you’ve not played it, the game is a simple tile placing game that requires players draw and place tiles to create a countryside filled with Towns, road, fields and cloisters. They have to be placed abutting an existing tile (all starting with one in the centre) and when they are place the player may choose to a meeple (the small character pieces) this can earn them points either straightway or once a criteria is met or at the end of the game.

I have to say i was expecting something more complex and now I have played it I look forward to playing at home or in my monthly workplace group.

Android: Netrunner

netrunnerSo the second game we played was Android: Netrunner, this is our second time of playing the game and it was as gruelling as the first. The game needs a handy crib sheet of the rules or it just needs the rulebook to be in some sort of order.

Once you get passed the continual rule-lookups the game is quite fun and enjoyable to play and the mechanics are fun enough for both players. One player takes on the role of a corporation the other a runner who is attempting to hack into the corporation’s computer network to steal agendas.

The corporation protects it’s network using ICE cards the runner can use program to break through the protection to get to the server behind, but will it yield point scoring agendas or could it be a trap?

The video below is a group version of all the tutorial videos that Fantasy Flight Games released, it’s worth watching before playing, or if you just want to see what it’s all about.

#Blaugust #Carcassonne #NetRunner

Roll 2d10 and call me in the morning

Busting the post Christmas blue with some help from strategically placed holidays on DokChaos’s part we cracked open some new board games that were gifts and some that we’ve not got around to playing yet. On the table were Last Night on Earth, Castle Panic! and Once upon a time.

Last night on Earth

LastNightOnEarthWe finally got around to playing Last Night on Earth, which I had picked up from Hula Gaming while we were attending the Cardiff Comic Con last August. A popular game I had been wanting to pick up for quite sometime.

Of course it’s as fun and frustrating as you’d imagine with much zombie antics all around, of the matches we played I think the heroes only one once.

One minor annoyance with the game is that the rules don’t read very well. As new players we often had to refer back to the rules only to have to dance between pages as some of the rules are detached and needed some tracking down. This often broke the flow of the game play at least for us new players.

Castle Panic

castlepanicWe played a few games of Castle Panic, which is fun co-op game that once you have the rules nailed down you can play a game in about 40 minutes. Tower defence in it’s most basic format, orcs are attacking you and your team-mates are defending the castle and it’s walls.
The game needs a little strategy as you generally have to be planning 2 or 3 moves ahead.

Happily we managed to win both round that we played, so I believe that next time we’ll modify the rules to make it a little more challenging.
That said the rules are lightweight and certainly easier to reference when needed. Maybe having some of them printed on the board allows for less lookups.

Gaming group

In February I shall be running a monthly table top club in work. I have about 10 to 12 persons for the first meet up.
I plan on on taking a good mixture of games to introduce new players to games, after trying Castle Panic again I think it could be a good intro for some players. I hope to try some Fluxx, Munchkin, Settlers of Catan and other I decide on.

I’ll let you know how we get on.

Forever Forbidden

For my birthday I had a copy of Forbidden Desert, which is a sequel to GameWrights co-operative game Forbidden Island. The mechanics of the game are similar enough that anyone who has played the previous game should be able to jump into this title without too much trouble.


The basics of the game are that you are a group of adventurers who have crashed in the desert and need to find a way to escape, to do so you need to acquire 4 parts of an airship and get to the launch pad tile. However you don’t know the locations of these parts and have to look for clues that guide you to the title position, this is a rather cool feature as it’ s varied how the positioning works. Lastly to hamper your efforts there is a sandstorm raging that is heaping sand onto titles and your water canteen is running dry.

I have to admit that when the game arrived there were a number of faults with the tiles, but a few emails to gamewright and the UK based company resulted in some speedy replacements arriving.

Now due to a slight misunderstanding of one of the major rules we mistakenly lost the first 3 games by a massive margin. However the following day with the rules reviewed and understood, we lost another 2 matches.

To say that this game is difficult maybe unfair, perhaps it was the numbers of players (3) or the fact that when the game said to drink we all had a swing of an alcoholic beverage.

I can say that at the time of writing this we have yet to escape the desert with the flying machine, perhaps drinking alcohol isn’t wise in scorching temperatures.