January 12, 2016

XCOM -- the board game?

This is something completely different: XCOM The Board Game. What's new: you download an app for your phone (or other iOS or Android device) which runs the game for you. Yikes!

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 03:47 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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Oh...Wow.  I thought how Firaxis handled the reboot was bad.  The board game sounds even worse.

Posted by: cxt217 at January 12, 2016 05:03 PM (w2841)

2 I've played it, and it's really good.   Up to four players, but I recommend at least 3.  It's a strategic scale game, not tactical. You and your friends play co-op defending the Earth vs. the aliens, which are run by the app.
The reason for the app is to introduce RTS to a boardgame. It's constantly mixing up the order of events, so you don't know what's coming next.  The events are timed, and once a new one starts, you have to stop responding to the prior one.  (It pretty much is impossible to keep working on the prior action)  So you can't sit around and debate strategy with your friends and make the perfect move-- you have to react, and do so quickly.  
At lower levels though, you can pause the game freely, with no penalty.  At higher levels, you can pause the game a bit... but it doesn't let you know how much--just that it reduces the amount of time at each level, and the more you pause at the start, the less time you've got at the end.   

You don't have enough resources to do everything.  Fortunately,  you do have an idea of the aliens' grand strategy, but only generally.  Do you buy ground troops or interceptors?  Space defense, or research?  Each player handles one aspect, and has to keep track of the budget.  Bad things happen when someone overspends....

Posted by: ubu at January 12, 2016 09:15 PM (GfCSm)

3 Your summary actually makes the game sound even worse to me.  Nothing like following Firaxis' habit of giving you the appearance of choice to add to the disincentives.

Posted by: cxt217 at January 12, 2016 09:50 PM (w2841)

4 I'm intrigued by the time limits. The biggest problem with co-op board games, IMHO, is that differing skill levels of players can lead to better-skilled players simply telling lesser-skilled players what to do. This happens in Pandemic all the time with my family.

An app giving private information, and strict time limits to Cousin Brandon doesn't have time to even explain all the options to Uncle Tim, means that Brandon has to make his own decisions without getting advise (by preference or otherwise) from Tim.

That said, I decided not to buy this game because the game will be useless someday when I don't own a device that can run the app.

Posted by: Boviate at January 13, 2016 02:01 PM (XRvFv)

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