Back in June, a man on the internet asked , "Why isn't there an XCOM tabletop game?" There is, as it turns out. But now there's a new kid on the XCOM board game block, and while I haven't played its predecessor and thus can't make any hard-and-fast judgments about which one is better, Fantasy Flight's upcoming XCOM: The Board Game sounds awfully promising.
Unlike its videogame progenitor, the focus in XCOM: The Board Game is entirely strategic. From one to four players step into the the roles of XCOM Commander, Chief Scientist, Central Officer and Squad Leader, each of which is responsible for a particular section of top-level decision making: The Commander controls the budget and decides where to launch interceptors, for instance, while the Squad Leader assembles strike teams and assigns soldiers to defend the base.
Gameplay is driven by a free companion app that coordinates the alien invasion, controls the flow of information to players and tracks the progress of the game. It also throws in an element of randomization by changing up the order of game phases between turns, forcing players to deal with entirely unforeseen circumstances. It also allows the game to be played solo, although obviously it'll be a whole lot more fun with friends.
A closer look at XCOM: The Board Game is up now at Fantasy Flight Games . Look for it to arrive near the end of this year.