The melding of digital and tabletop isn’t a new phenomenon, as anyone who has played Scene-It or one of the many VHS-based “interactive board games” will recall. As tablets become more common though, the experiences have started to mature.
We’ve seen the blend of these two mediums in titles like Harebrained Schemes’ Kickstarted Golem Arcana. Now, 2K Games, Firaxis, and Fantasy Flight are taking advantage of the concept for XCOM: The Board Game.
In addition to the board, cards, and pieces representing UFOs, Interceptors, and XCOM troops, the game is managed in part on a tablet (or via an online tool). The free app is responsible for executing the alien invasion and responding to your actions. The idea is to create an feeling similar to the critically lauded XCOM: Enemy Unknown without exactly duplicating it.
It also enables a team of players to tackle the game at three different difficulty levels. The concept takes the cooperative nature of games like Arkham Horror, which use a system of card draws and “programmed” enemy movement, in a new direction.
Each player will take on a unique role: commander, chief scientist, central officer, and squad leader. Each takes on a specialist role, responsible for part of the team’s operations.
Fantasy Flight will release the game at retail during the holiday season this year. For an in-depth look at the game, check out a preview in the September 2014 issue.