A Digitally Enhanced ExperienceThe most notable aspect of XCOM: The Board Game is the way that it incorporates a free digital companion app into the core of its gameplay. The companion is easy to access, available both as an online tool or a downloadable app, I use it on either my phone, or for more ease on my tablet.
The app's primary function is to 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 heightens the game's tension as it forces you to respond in real-time. Then, after you move quickly to coordinate your response, you engage the enemy in the untimed resolution phase and feed the results to the app. Based upon these results, the app launches the invasion's next strikes.
Additionally, the app teaches you the rules, controls the information that your satellites provide you, and tracks the progress of your resistance efforts, even as it allows you to enjoy the game at any of three levels of difficulty: Easy, Normal, or Hard. which in reality is like the video game,, Ouch.... punishing... and oh my lord! levels of difficulty
The use of this app does more than simply streamline your play experience and track your turns in real-time; it also permits a uniquely dynamic turn structure. While the variety of game phases remains the same from round to round, the order in which you and your friends must play through them may change, as may the number of a given phase. As a result, while you'll want to know where UFOs appear before you deploy your Interceptors, the alien invaders may be able to disrupt your satellite intel and force you to deploy your Interceptors on patrol with limited or no knowledge of the UFOs current whereabouts. Similarly, you may be forced to think about the costs of resolving the world’s crises before you know how many troops you’ll need to commit to your base defense.
The effect of the app is to immerse you deep into the dramatic tension at the core of XCOM: The Board Game, and it ensures that the game presents a challenging and cooperative (or solo) experience like no other. Just like the XCOM department heads that you represent, you'll need to keep cool heads in order to prevail.
Where Others Have Failed, You Must SucceedIn XCOM: The Board Game, the alien invasion has begun. Early encounters have only served to prove that the world’s militaries are hopelessly outgunned. Panic leads to riots, and governments struggle to maintain any control. Human civilization is on the brink of collapse…
As the department heads of XCOM, you and your friends must succeed where the world’s militaries have failed. You lead the elite members of an international military organization, which is funded by a secret coalition. It is your job to destroy UFOs, research alien technology, uncover the alien invasion plan, and find some way to turn back the alien invaders. You must do this all while preventing the collapse of the governments that secretly fund your organization, and you must do it quickly. You do not have the luxury of time.
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.
CommanderThe Commander is responsible for managing XCOM’s budget and must be foresightful enough to know when best to access the organization’s emergency funding and how best to allocate it.
Additionally, the Commander makes the tough decisions about where to assign XCOM’s limited number of Interceptors to global defense. Wherever you commit your Interceptors, you have a chance of destroying UFOs and slowing the spread of panic. Wherever you don’t commit your Interceptors, fear and anxiety are bound to run rampant.
Chief ScientistIf you and XCOM are to have any chance of successfully repelling the alien invaders, you’ll need better technology. The Chief Scientist’s responsibilities include studying advanced technology, learning how to harness it, manufacturing better weapons and armor, and equipping the rest of the organization with the tools they need to survive, all familiar for fans of the game.
Of course, only a limited number of scientists possess the necessary training and intellect to quickly dissect, analyze, and replicate alien technology. Part of your job as Chief Scientist, then, is not only to decide how best to direct the organization’s research efforts but also to prioritize between them, allocating more scientists to the projects you decide will best benefit the war effort.
Central OfficerThe Central Officer serves as the communications relay between XCOM and the outside world. This means you manage the organization’s satellite network, and it is your job to ensure that the organization remains alert to potential threats, communicates and coordinates its efforts effectively between branches, and scrambles as many alien transmissions as possible.
Succeed, and you’ll reduce the number of UFOs in orbit. Fail, and you’ll suffer communications blackouts that will force you to act blindly in the midst of a extraterrestrial invasion, the likes of which Earth has never known.
Additionally, the Central Officer communicates all of the information provided by the game’s digital app to the players. The clock is always running, so it’s vital that you share all relevant information quickly and clearly. This is one of the hardest role, making sure everyone knows what they need to know, and more importantly WHEN they need to know it.
Squad LeaderIn the end, XCOM needs boots on the ground to confront the alien invaders, and it’s the Squad Leader’s job to ensure that the right troops are tackling the right missions.
As the invasion escalates, you must assemble strike teams to meet the aliens in battle. Simultaneously, you must assign soldiers to defend the XCOM base, and you’ll need to strike an effective balance. If your base falls, so do you. So does the earth.
Still, you need to succeed at missions to win. Each mission you complete brings you closer to uncovering a means of launching one final, fatal blow against the alien invaders.
To Confront an Unknown Enemy, You Must Enhance Your Troops.While you and your friends immerse yourselves into your roles as XCOM department heads, the alien invasion continues to escalate. XCOM: The Board Game incorporates the use of a free digital companion app, which you can either download or access online. By coordinating alien activities in real-time, this companion app heightens the game’s dramatic tension and its immersive qualities.
Each round, the app tracks the time you have allotted to respond to each task, forcing you to think quickly, even as you must carefully measure the strategic implications of your decisions. However, the app does far more than track time. Its design is integrated deep into gameplay, and it permits both a mutable alien invasion plan and a dynamic turn structure.
Each invasion plan establishes a larger pattern for the aliens’ tactical use of three different game elements: UFOs, crises, and the enemies assigned to assault XCOM headquarters.
- Each round, UFOs appear in orbit, hovering over the world’s continents. UFOs that your Interceptors don’t eliminate spread fear through the continents that they menace, and if two continents fall into panic, your organization loses funding, your efforts are undermined, you fail to safeguard humanity, and you lose the game.
- One of the Commander’s responsibilities is to choose which crises XCOM forces respond to throughout the game. However, it is the app’s artificial alien intelligence that determines how many crises you’ll be forced to resolve. Each crisis is represented by a card in the crisis deck and will either set back your efforts or accelerate the alien invasion and spreading panic.
- Even as you and your friends work to push back against the alien invaders, the aliens are sending troops to find and destroy the XCOM base. They recognize that your elite troops and scientific advances present the only real threat to their invasion. Depending upon the invasion plan, the app will dedicate more of the alien invaders to the destruction of your base. If they succeed, you lose.
A Desperate War Requires You to Make Difficult Decisions.While humanity stands upon the verge of collapse, you have no room for failure.
Once you formulate your response to the alien invasion, you must engage the enemy in an untimed resolution phase. Here, the push-your-luck dice rolling system in XCOM: The Board Game reflects the peril of your situation. Whether you’re resolving your base defense, attacking UFOs, or pulling all-nighters in the lab to upgrade your tech, you’ll need to succeed at a number of dice rolls.
Your dice pool is generally equal to the number of resources you’ve committed to the task. For example, you get one die for each Interceptor you’ve committed to combat the UFOs with which it’s engaged, or one die for each scientist working on the research you’re attempting to complete. Similarly, you get one die for each soldier assigned to your base’s defense; however, you roll an extra die for each soldier who has received officer training and an extra die for each soldier whose skills match those indicated by the icons on the alien you’re aiming to defeat.
- Each success rolled by the satellites assigned to orbital defense destroys one UFO in orbit.
- Each success rolled by the Interceptors assigned to global defense destroys one UFO with which it’s engaged.
- Each success rolled by the soldiers assigned to base defense damages an enemy, and if the enemy suffers an amount of damage equal to its health, it is killed.
- Each success rolled by the scientists assigned to a research task adds one success token to the task. To complete their research, the scientists need to earn the number of success tokens indicated by the task.
- Each success rolled by the soldiers assigned to the current mission adds a success token to the mission. To complete a mission, the soldiers need to complete three tasks, each of which requires the soldiers to earn a specific number of success tokens.
Each task has a threat level that starts at “1,” and even as you roll your pool of blue XCOM dice, you roll a single red enemy die. So long as the result of the enemy die is higher than the task’s current threat level, you can choose to reroll all the dice in your pool, both the XCOM dice and the enemy die. In this way, you can continue to mount your desperate defense of humanity, even as the aliens intensify their efforts.
The stakes of XCOM: The Board Game are as high as they come. The very existence of human civilization hangs in the balance. There’s no room for error, but you’ll need the wisdom to pick your battles. And, sometimes, you’ll need the courage to cut your losses.
The Fate of Humanity Is in Your Hands.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.
Ok so the big thing here is the app..... people may not like the idea of it, but I LOVE it, it works well with theme, and works well from a software point of view, there is a huge amount to juggle, but it guides you through it so well, and when you have got the hang of tutorial mode it goes real time and becomes manic and creates with more than 2 players that sort of hectic atmosphere you would expect in a command room, orders being yelled, fast reactions, panic at times, all sorts.... keeping XCOM afloat financially is hard as everyone wasn't a piece of the pie, but you have to decide who gets what.... there are so many different things to take into account when you are playing it really gets you into the role, into the theme of the game.... and again the app helps by providing the atmosphere and great music you know from the game too.
If you are a fan of the computer game.... and you can grab some like minded friends..... you will love this!
If you think this game is for you... head on over to your local game store and grab a copy.
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