After the success of X-COM: Enemy Unknown, does the board game live up to the same intense experience as the strategy video game? That is what we are here to find out. X-COM: The Board Game is a unique board game that heavily borrows from Enemy Unkown. Let’s take a deep dive and see if the board game provides the same immersion of planet Earth’s bravest men and women.

XCOM: The Board Game, Standard Packaging
  • A co-operative board game of global defense for 1-4 players based on the award-winning video game, XCOM: enemy unknown
  • A free and innovative digital app coordinates the escalating alien invasion, teaches you the game, and serves as your rules reference
  • Players assume four distinct roles, each of which is vital to XCOM's success: commander, chief scientist, central officer, and squad leader
  • A push-your-luck dice mechanic partners with the use of the app to heighten the game's tension and drama
  • Includes sixteen sculpted XCOM soldiers, eight interceptors, and twenty-four UFOs

 Before the Board Game 

X-COM has been a huge favorite among strategy fans since its release in the 90s. But, after for a while, especially in the 2000s, X-COM was forgotten. But in 2012, after the title was acquired by 2K Games and developed by Firaxis (Civilization series), X-COM made a comeback with a reboot called X-COM: Enemy Unknown. It has better quality-of-life gameplay that streamlined the original game’s mechanics without ruining the original elements. The game includes permanent death to your operators, micromanagement and tough choices, making it one of the most impactful games in the 2010s.

Thanks to its success, the people behind the game sought to target the board game demographic with the same game title. There is little to no difference between the video game and board game versions. In fact, even if you are not a board game fan, you will still come to like this if you have experienced the video game already and vice-versa. Using tactics and praying to the RNGods for blessings, X-COM: The Board Game is one of the most thrilling board titles that is based on a video game.

 Difficulty 

XCOM: The Board Game, Standard Packaging
  • A co-operative board game of global defense for 1-4 players based on the award-winning video game, XCOM: enemy unknown
  • A free and innovative digital app coordinates the escalating alien invasion, teaches you the game, and serves as your rules reference
  • Players assume four distinct roles, each of which is vital to XCOM's success: commander, chief scientist, central officer, and squad leader
  • A push-your-luck dice mechanic partners with the use of the app to heighten the game's tension and drama
  • Includes sixteen sculpted XCOM soldiers, eight interceptors, and twenty-four UFOs

The game may range from simple point and click to extremely tough strategy. And, by “extremely tough”, I do mean very difficult. If you are new or just want to enjoy the game without the toughness, I suggest going with the easiest difficulty (even though the easy difficulty is already tough on its own).

 How to Play 

According to the rules, In XCOM: The Board Game, things start off with players choosing between four different roles: the chief scientist, the commander, the central officer, or the squad leader. Each role has a very specific set of actions and abilities, so each player is going to be focused on their own jobs throughout the game. The chief scientist will use the XCOM app to let everyone know what their tasks are and how much time they have to complete them.

The game is separated in two phases: timed phase and resolution phase.

For timed phase, every player has 10 to 20 seconds to do their task including budget handling, drawing cards, adding soldiers and aircraft on the board and lots more. The most crucial part of this is to do all the most important and correct choices within those few seconds.

For resolution phase, each player must roll the dice and see if the strategy and decisions they made in timed phase will matter and if it is strong enough to fight against the aliens. This is where the main RNG takes place.If 2 continents are at the highest panic level at the end of the round, all players lose. Alternatively, if the aliens have destroyed your base, all of you will lose. It’s quite difficult especially if you are not familiar with the game yet.

XCOM: The Board Game, Standard Packaging

 Features 

This game also includes an app for assistance. This is where you will find more of the rules and tutorials about the board game. It even has its own timer and the official music from the video game.

Every person in the game has a role, making it very teamwork-heavy. If one person fails to carry out his task, that makes a huge impact in the endgame. Cooperation is key to the survival of both the XCOM organization and the human race.It includes special effect cards into the mix, adding a bit of risk vs reward system to its already-unforgiving RNG mechanics.

XCOM: The Board Game, Standard Packaging

 Overall 

XCOM: The Board Game, Standard Packaging
  • A co-operative board game of global defense for 1-4 players based on the award-winning video game, XCOM: enemy unknown
  • A free and innovative digital app coordinates the escalating alien invasion, teaches you the game, and serves as your rules reference
  • Players assume four distinct roles, each of which is vital to XCOM's success: commander, chief scientist, central officer, and squad leader
  • A push-your-luck dice mechanic partners with the use of the app to heighten the game's tension and drama
  • Includes sixteen sculpted XCOM soldiers, eight interceptors, and twenty-four UFOs

XCOM: The Board Game is true to the source material and a worthy board game for both fans of the series and the tabletop fanatics. It is a very difficult game but so is the video game title too, so if you are into a challenge, this is worth picking up.

XCOM: The Board Game, Standard Packaging
  • A co-operative board game of global defense for 1-4 players based on the award-winning video game, XCOM: enemy unknown
  • A free and innovative digital app coordinates the escalating alien invasion, teaches you the game, and serves as your rules reference
  • Players assume four distinct roles, each of which is vital to XCOM's success: commander, chief scientist, central officer, and squad leader
  • A push-your-luck dice mechanic partners with the use of the app to heighten the game's tension and drama
  • Includes sixteen sculpted XCOM soldiers, eight interceptors, and twenty-four UFOs

FAQ

Is XCOM’s style the same as the video game?

The essential parts, yes, but the gameplay is vastly different from the digital game.

Is XCOM Enemy Unkown RNG-based?

Yes, XCOM got its reputation for its notorious RNG system that decide the fate of your troops and of the whole world.

Why is XCOM on both board game and video game hard?

That is because the game demands strict teamwork and precise planning, all while praying to the RNGods that the numbers are in your favor.

Is the board game worth buying?

It’s a fresh take from the video game and is quite an experience. I’d say yes, it’s definitely worth buying.

Is there a board game for XCOM 2?

Not yet but there are only rumors for an XCOM 2 board game – even if the video game came out way back in 2016.