XCOM: The Board Game combines tabletop play with digital enhancements

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.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.