XCOM: The Board Game
Release Date: OUT NOW!
One- four players | £ 39.99 Designer: Eric M Lang Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
For over 21 years the
XCOM videogame has been pulverising puny earthlings with its brutal alien assaults. Notoriously one of the toughest gaming series ever created, it tasks players with commanding a global defence paramilitary organisation during an extensive ET assault.
This boardgame’s based on 2012’ s successful reimagining of the franchise and keeps all of those systems intact – especially the difficulty. Each player is assigned a role ( Central Officer, Chief Scientist, Squad Leader or Commander) and takes sole responsibility for a small part of the XCOM team: shooting down UFOs, researching tech, defending the base or the most heroic of tasks, maintaining the budget.
It’s all very similar to 2007’ s popular disease- control boardgame Pandemic, but with two twists: a well- crafted XCOM theme that will please fans, and a mandatory companion app for mobiles or tablets that controls the alien threat. This latter twist is the weak link. With so much to juggle, even when responsibilities are split four ways, the app could have helped track the game; instead it features a convoluted tutorial, then doles out random- order attacks and times your responses for the full games. Take too long to react to threats and you’re further penalised in the next phase.
With four well- drilled players XCOM eventually becomes a deep, relentless experience, but the barrier to entry is painfully high. Matthew Pellett