E.T., Go Home…with Extreme Prejudice


“XCOM: The Board Game”

designed by Eric M. Lang, published by Fantasy Flight Games

Take command of the XCOM and defend the Earth from marauding aliens! Based on the video game of the same name, each player takes on a different role of the elite XCOM organization: from planning scientific research to deploying air defense fighters to ordering ground troops to making sure all this stuff comes under budget. All of this is done in a real-time decision making phase controlled by a free, downloadable app that is required to play the game. After this, nerve-jangling, tension-filled decision making phase, the game slows down into a resolution phase where you can watch all your smart, lightning-quick decisions be undone by crappy dice rolling.

A totally different experience from the video game, whose heart is basically a tactical turn-based shooter with a larger resource management overlay. This game definitely focuses more on the resource management and quick decision-making with the tactical fighting basically abstracted, but still a nerve-wracking blast overall.

One Line Verdict: Join this particular fight, unless you really hate randomness. In that case, watch the world be destroyed from a distance.


A Game That Blows Itself Up



designed by Kane Klenko, published by Renegade Game Studios

Work together to defuse the bombs that threaten your ship! In this cooperative dice-drafting game, cards represent bombs. You defuse them by placing the dice drawn from a common pool in whatever combination the cards requires: maybe a certain color or a certain number placed in a certain order. But be careful, you are working with your fellow players and you all draft from a common pool: don’t leave a player without a dice they can use or they will pay a penalty. Oh, and did I mention this was real-time with a 10-minute time limit? Frenzied action as players shout out what they need, what they can work with and what definitely doesn’t help them. Unfortunately, you will usually end up in the last case.

Basic, intuitive rules drive the action and the tension ramps up pretty quickly. A fun app also adds great thematic atmosphere to the whole affair.

One Line Verdict: Fans of real-time cooperative games should beam up to this one. Others watch the ship explode from a safe distance.