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Author Topic: X-Com: The Boardgame  (Read 1136 times)

Offline Battle Brush Sigur

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X-Com: The Boardgame
« on: August 29, 2017, 01:06:05 AM »

So for my birthday I went out and bought me a boardgame!



Yeah, that's the one with the App. Which is why I originally wasn't too keen on this. I don't like electronics interfering with boardgames or miniature wargames. I don't believe in 'dead systems' or 'dead games', because it's a concept bred by companies who make people think that "official support", "rules editions" and such are important things. Which they are not at all. Publish the rules, that's it. Anyway, with an app or a server accompanying a game a game truly can be killed as the app doesn't get updated for newer operating systems or formats, servers are shut down (hi, EA! Say, why do you shut down servers for video games after a year just because you publish a new version of that game?) and so on. This is do not like.

All that being said - I still got it. :p It's something new and I wanted to try it. Of course I'm a big X-Com fan. More so of the older games (and Xenonauts of course), but they did a really good job with the new (2012-ish) X-Com. Haven't played the sequel much, because it interested me way less. No idea why they went away from the original and introduced busywork reeking of all the UFO games we got between 2003 and 2008-ish. Those were OK, but also had unnecessary stuff like the whole Laputa-flying-around-thing and so on. I'm OK with building bases, hiring and managing staff, choosing and training soldiers, and then sending them into missions against Sectoids and Crab people.

Anyway, the board game consists of a real-time phase (during which a count-down runs down) in which one of the players reads out infos about alien attacks, crises and so on and a phase in which players take turns trying to manage all the stuff that got piled on them in the real-time phase. In that phase players have all the time they want. It's a game for 1-4 players, it's fully cooperative as the antagonist (the alien invasion) is 'played' by the app. Last time I played something like this was either Atmosfear (original VHS vesions as well as an early 2000s DVD one) or The Legend of Zagor. :p



If you're not familiar with the X-Com universe, here's a very quick summary: Aliens invade Earth, an internationally funded secret organization, X-Com, is hastily installed to deal with the alien menace. Apart from funds each nation is contributing their best soldiers and equipment. Of course that's no match for the Aliens, so X-Com have to salvage Alien technology (and corpses), research it and turn it into equipment to use against the Aliens. And to find out what the Aliens are after, why they came here, what their plans are and how to get rid of the invasion fleet.




The first two computer games (UFO:Enemy Unknown / X-Com:Ufo Defense and X-Com:Terror from the Deep) are absolute classics due to their dual nature of grand strategy and economic planning and heart-stoppingly atmospheric turn-based tactical ground missions against the aliens. These games regularly feature in top5 lists of the best PC games of all times. Because they are. They've been remade and cloned countless times, but the only official remake was released in 2012. They did a good job with that, even though quite a lot was changed. FFG being FFG they bought the license and turned the thing into a boardgame.


Anyway, so now I got the X-Com board game with the app. And we played it in the evening too. Here's a quick run-down of the whole thing. Each player has one of four roles:
.) Central Officer, who does satellite things, orbital defence, intel, has some cool tricks to help and coordinate the moves the others do and reads what the app says). In our game this was my brother.
.) Commander, taking care of finances and apart from that mainly defends the airspace against UFOs.
.) Chief Scientist, who allocates scientists to projects, does alien autopsies and chooses which projects are being researched on
.) Squad Leader, who's job is allocating the right soldiers to ground missions and base defence and carry out the missions.



During the real-time phase it's pretty frantic, and each player has to make decisions at a call. Which is a really, really good way to get rid of players talking about every single decision and certain people, maybe the logically more gifted, take over the game and play for others. Which is a problem with many cooperative games. So for example the app says "Chief Scientist, allocate one of the three research project and scientists". The Chief Scientist then has say 7 seconds to decide what to research (out of their hand of research project cards) and allocate between 1 and 3 scientists to the project. Problem is that each scientists allocated to one of the up to three different research projects costs 1 budget point overseen by the Commander. So I, as the Chief Scientist, first ask the Commender what my science budget is this round. In general there is quite a lot of haggling for budget from each of the players. :D It's a pretty fun game with plenty of replay value from what I can tell. Not the least due to different difficulties and invasion scenarios.

Oh, and it comes with miniatures. 12 X-Com soldiers models, 8 fighter jets and something like 15-ish UFOs. Sounds like something that's achievable to get painted, right? So I started doing that today.



Got the jet fighters painted and started painting the X-Com soldiers (as 3 different teams of 4, each in different colours). The sculpts aren't great, but that's never stopped me from painting them. :p



Offline supervike

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Re: X-Com: The Boardgame
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2017, 01:32:21 AM »
I absolutely adore XCOM, and played a ton of it this summer (XBOX)  There is an expansion pack due soon and I am really looking foward to.

This boardgame interests me greatly.  Thank you for the mini review.  I need to check it out .
Main Blog



Minis Painted =10  Minis out=16 Minis in=4

Offline Battle Brush Sigur

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Re: X-Com: The Boardgame
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2017, 09:19:50 PM »
@supervike: Thanks for the comment! The boardgame seems to be good fun (despite all the app nonsense ;) ). I hope we give it another go this weekend.


Some new WIP shots of the X-Com soldiers:



As said above, the sculpts aren't spectacular (especially on details), but serviceable, and on top of this these are 'just boardgame figures' and 'just for myself', so time is tight to get those finished.

Here's a view of the backs. The soldiers already have the obligatory country badges on the back of the necks (featuring soldiers from the US, Germany, Argentinia, Austria, Finnland, the Republic of Congo, Israel, Brasil, South Korea, France, Canada and Japan).



Of each of the 4 soldier classes you get three figures in the game, so three full teams of 4 soldiers makes sense. In the 2012 game (and its sequel) they give players quite a lot of options to play around with outfits, and especially so with colours so making them look different makes even more sense. In terms of gameplay of course there's no differences. :)

Offline Battle Brush Sigur

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Re: X-Com: The Boardgame
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2017, 03:27:03 PM »
Done and done. Thanks for FFG's big boxes the minis even fit nicely in there.







Due to other commitments (mostly in the shape of the 8th Polish Lancers, 1810, in 25mm) I had no time to varnish the minis for tonight's game. But I'm a daredevil and a dreadnought and I hope that the primer does its job well. :p

Offline beefcake

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Re: X-Com: The Boardgame
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2017, 08:58:44 PM »
Very nice write up and painting. How do the minis scale up to 28mms?

Offline Battle Brush Sigur

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Re: X-Com: The Boardgame
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2017, 01:50:19 PM »
@Beefcake: Thanks, and that's a very good question. The soldiers are pretty much 28mm in size, on par with a 28mm Space Marine for instance. Wasn't able to figure out what the hell scale the jetfighters would be. :D something between 3mm and 5mm, and with some good will they might pass for 6mm sci-fi games.

Offline Driscoles

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Re: X-Com: The Boardgame
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2017, 03:06:08 PM »
I was playing this game recently and it was great fun!
, ,

Offline Battle Brush Sigur

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Re: X-Com: The Boardgame
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2017, 04:40:51 PM »
Yeah, good fun, isn't it?

At first I was a bit put off due to the app, but it works rather nicely. Especially the fact how everybody's busy all the time with their own stuff, so there rarely is much of the usual problem of co-op gaming (the people who tell others how to do things best).

Offline Battle Brush Sigur

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Re: X-Com: The Boardgame
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2017, 02:36:19 AM »
Tiny little update - bought the expansion. :p I guess that means I have to paint the three MEC troopers now. :p

We also played a game with the expansion already. It's basically the stuff added with Enemy Within. So why in the heck did they give the expansion the worst possible title? Bloody "X-Com Evolution"? I hate that and the person who's responsible for this troll name. :D

Anyway, it plays rather well. The added MELD on the missions is an annoying risk-reward thing. ;) And boy, are EXALT irritating and make stuff hard. They work great and just as they should.


Good addition, that.

Offline Cherno

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Re: X-Com: The Boardgame
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2017, 01:21:10 PM »
Maybe there was already a boardgame that had Enemy Within in it's title so they had to change it. Then again, German language market localization often yields stupid things like Thor: Ragnarok becoming Thor: Tag der Entscheidung  ::)

Offline Sir_Theo

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Re: X-Com: The Boardgame
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2017, 01:28:06 PM »
How does the expansion change the game? I've only played it once and I wasn't a fan really (it wasn't bad just not really for me, although our group has a huge alpha player who makes coop  games a bit of a drag- also why I dont get on with Dead of winter!) I love Xcom though and have since playing UFO enemy unknown on my Amiga.

Offline Battle Brush Sigur

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Re: X-Com: The Boardgame
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2017, 06:11:01 PM »
@Cherno: Oh yes, that's a constant problem. It gets really ridiculous when they use different (dumber) titles, but still in English.

@Sir_Theo: Argh, all that "Alpha" bullshit. :D But I see your point. And this is something x-com gets around pretty well by introducing the real-time component. People are busy doing their stuff, so they don't have time intervening in other players' to-do lists. The expansion basically adds: New missions and scenarios, new enemies, , new technology cards, one new thing to do for each role, MEC troopers for the squad commander (can't be bought; the science guy has to remove artifacts and I think place scientists to build up to one each turn, but the MECs are good at everything :p ). Exalt are added in a pretty clever and nasty way. There are exalt markers, game tells you to place say two. You take two markers, turn them around and it's either a symbol of a continent, orbit, science, mission or base defence. Any location where one of more exalt markers are present and you attempt a task you roll a d6 instead of the d8 for the alien danger test. So they make your life miserable. :p On each mission you can now harvest MELD if you manage to get two out of the three tasks done within the turn the mission is laid out. MELD gives you a bonus depending on the mission (helps researching science projects, allows you to remove exalt markers, etc.). Good additions, but they certainly don't make the game any easier. On our test game on Normal we managed to win the thing one turn before we'd gotten destroyed. Oh, and there are damage effects to the base now. When ever X-Com base takes damage you don't just carry out bad things whenever you pass a red marking, but also on the yellow steps you now draw special cards. Yay. :P Overall I'm not the biggest fan of the game. It's perfectly OK though. As far as x-com on PC goes - have you played Xenonauts yet? Really, really nice stuff. :)

Offline Battle Brush Sigur

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Re: X-Com: The Boardgame
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2018, 04:37:44 PM »
Heyhey, after we had another game of XCom last week I decided to give the figures from the expansion (the immensely stupidly named XCom: Evolution) a lick of paint.






It's three MEC troopers, and they're rather big. Well, I hope you like them. :)

 

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