FFG: XCOM: The Board Game Unboxing

XCOM the Board Game Box


Let’s take a ride on the Sci-Fi side – it’s XCOM The Board Game. Join us as we take a look at the contents of this unique board game from Fantasy Flight Games!

Hello BoLS Readers! AdamHarry back with more board game love. I got to peel the wrapper off of the XCOM board game and was pleasantly surprised! If you’re unfamiliar with the XCOM franchise you’ve been missing out. For those of you who aren’t – here’s a quick primer: Aliens are invading. You’re in charge of XCOM – a shadowy military organization who’s sole goal is the defense of humanity. Backed by world governments you’re given the best humanity has to offer to stop these invaders…but will it be enough?

This particular version is based off of the PC game XCOM: Enemy Unknown – in fact most of the graphics and art assets are right out of the game and this is a good thing! And with XCOM 2 on the horizon, what better time to take a look at this hidden gem from Fantasy Flight Games:

XCOM: The Board Game


Paris has fallen. New York is a pile of rubble spilling into the Atlantic. Alien attacks against Nanjing and Changzhou prompt widespread panic throughout the streets of Shanghai. Defense satellites detect UFOs in orbit over Mexico, Russia, and Brazil. Military responses have proven ineffectual. Fear and anxiety lead to widespread riots. Human civilization stands upon the brink of collapse…

You are humanity’s last hope.

xcomboardgame plastic and dice


In XCOM: The Board Game, you and up to three friends assume the roles of the leaders of the elite, international organization known as XCOM. It is your job to defend humanity, quell the rising panic, and turn back the escalating alien invasion coordinated by the game’s innovative, free digital companion app.

Where the world’s militaries have failed to stand against the alien invaders, you must succeed. To do so, you must make strategic use of the resources available to you. You must launch Interceptors to shoot down alien UFOs, assign soldiers to key missions, research alien technology, and use that technology to defend your base, all while you try to keep the world from collapsing just long enough that you can coordinate one final mission to repel the invaders for good.

Destroy UFOs. Research alien technology. Defend your base. Uncover the alien invasion plan. Should you fail, humanity is doomed.

  • 1 Game board
  • 12 XCOM soldiers
  • 8 Interceptors
  • 24 UFOs
  • 5 Custom dice
  • More than 200 cards and tokens

Note: Requires the use of a free digital companion app which is available for download or access as an online tool.


Overall I’m pretty happy with this as a product. At first, I was a little shocked by the lack of tokens and extras that FFG is known for with it’s board games. I really was confused when there weren’t more tokens to punch out! Then I realized this game requires a digital companion app (which you can check out here)…that was a bit of a shock. But after poking around with the rules and the free how-to online it started to click.

Everything in the box is the same high quality that we’ve come to expect from Fantasy Flight Games. The figure are soft plastic and look like they were straight out of the PC game. The game play really focuses on team play with the different roles assigned to each player. The interaction with the digital app is also interesting because there is a timed component to part of the turn. This adds a level of stress to the planning and player interaction. It really does feel like you’re fighting the clock sometimes and impending doom is right around the corner. If you’ve played the PC games, I’m sure you’re familiar with this feeling.

Resources are limited, time is against you, and the Alien Invaders are NOT friendly. So yeah – I’d say in encapsulates the core of the XCOM experience pretty well. If you’re looking for an entertaining way to save humanity from an alien threat you’re going to want to check this one out! If higher stress games that require co-operation with others isn’t you’re cup-o-tea you may want to pass on this board game. But then you would miss out on the sweet taste of victory when your team comes together and you defeat the aliens!


The Truth is out there.

  • They should really call it Program and not just “App”. App is very much associated with smartphones and tablets, and to me it sounds like the usual “only on iOS (and Android if you’re lucky”, so I as owner of a Windows tablet was immediately turned down.
    Turns out this “app” is just a program that runs off the Unity browser plugin and works perfectly on any PC.

    • I dunno, when I hear program, I think TV show, when I hear App I think software. Also windows has an App Store 😉

      • Yeah, and most of the “Apps” in there are crap because they only run fullscreen and have terrible design with no menu bars to speak of and huge buttons. (at least in windows 8)

    • V10_Rob

      ‘App’ also suggests ‘subject to disappearance/withdrawal of support without notice’. Making it explicit that the software is downloadable to keep and works on any device is important.

      • How so? Most apps people use are downloadable

        • V10_Rob

          That why phones with Flappy Bird installed were going for several hundred dollars on eBay?


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  • Vomkrieg

    I played this solo a while back. If you really want a full on, heart racing, panick fest. Play it alone. Here is my write up.