X-Com: Actual Play

Got a couple of more plays in of the X-com board game today and it is growing on me with every play. I played through another tutorial game with a couple of new players and then we went on normal. We won both games, but they were exceptionally close and felt really tense, just what I want from a great co-op game.

The app really does make the game sing, providing a pace to the game and also messing with you as things start to go wrong. I don’t want to spoil too much about what happens, but the game state at the end of each round is sent back to the app which then spews out new problems based on those results. It made for some really interesting, and at times misleading, information being relayed by the comms officer player.

I’ve now seen the game from 3 different roles, Science, Comms and Commander and each one feels really different and lets you experience the game from a different perspective. I’ve found the Commander to be the most stressful role so far as you need to keep track of all the other players spending, as you balance the budget, and then be quick to give Yes or No answers to resource considerations. Science is probably the most relaxed role and I think most groups will find that certain players will naturally fit into one of the roles.

The game really is an excellent example of what the future could hold for board games: a blend of the digital and the analogue, the traditional and the progressive that gives me hope for what comes next.

Iain McAllister

Tabletop games reviewer and podcaster based in Dalkeith, Scotland.

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