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Publisher Fantasy Flight Games and designer Eric Lang have figured out how to put pain in a box and it’s glorious! This last week I picked up XCOM The Board Game and had the opportunity to make TechRaptor’s first board game review video!  In this video, I talk about how difficult this game is and why that’s a great thing. I drone on about the app and how it takes the co-op gaming experience to the next level. The way I see it this game can be great for board game enthusiasts and video gamers alike, with or without  prior XCOM experience.

Leading in to writing this review I gathered up three of my friends for an evening of global defense. Of the four of us, three had played the video games, and one had only heard of them before. The tutorial playthrough taught us two things: one, this would be a very difficult game. And two, a computer is a terrible way to control the app.

We finally got into the groove of things when we switched to a tablet and plugged it into some speakers. Several intense and exciting rounds later we faced a dwindling XCOM budget and at least 4 UFO’s on each continent. As the game over screen came up we steeled ourselves and dove back in for another round.

Our most recent playthrough of XCOM The Board Game ended with the hail-mary final mission. It was down to one last roll of the dice that could have ended with 2 dead soldiers. We knew that if we didn’t win, we wouldn’t last through the next round. Our squad leader pulled through with a clutch roll and we claimed victory over the Aliens.

Check out the full XCOM The Board Game review below. Subscribe to our youtube channel for more. And let us know what you thought of the game and/or the video itself, we’re always looking to improve and make things better for our viewers!


The app for XCOM The Board Game, which also contains the full rule book can be downloaded for free from Fantasy Flight, iTunes, Amazon, and the Google Play store.

XCOM The Board game can be purchased via Amazon here.

The copy of XCOM The Board game used for the review was purchased by the reviewer.




Fast paced, punishing, and engrossing. What more could you want from a board game?

Richard Quiner

Filmmaker and Fan of all things geek. Science Fiction to Fantasy, Comics to video games. I decided to use my skill set to create videos and share what I love. I also work as a freelance video editor and visual effects artist.

  • Nice work on the video! If I hadn’t already bought XCOM this would have pushed me over the edge to buying it.

  • Kind of ironic that it relies on an app. Julian Gollop* has always said that his videogames are basically computerized tabletop games.

    Not that either is a bad thing. I loved XCOM, and while I’m not much of a tabletop gamer (hell, short of the – very – occasional chess and Monopoly, I’m not a tabletop gamer at all) the review has definitly piqued my interest. It sounds good.

    *Yes, okay: XCOM wasn’t actually one of his. But you know what I mean.

  • tridus

    The app is nice for this game because it effectively plays as the aliens, so you’re never quite sure just what they’re going to throw at you in a given turn. That especially happens if the UFOs in orbit get out of hand because they “scramble communications” and your turns are suddenly out of order.

    It’d be very hard to do that without the app, but it’s really seamless with it. They did a great job.

  • tridus

    I’ve yet to win successfully, but after playing one night I got a phone call the next night from my friends who wanted to play again, and we almost won.

    Given how hard it is, when we do beat it, it’ll be very rewarding.

  • I was initially turned off by the thought of using the app as I like my tabletop games specifically for the physicality of the components. In practice though it really adds to the game and I can’t think of a way that the game could keep the level of excitement that it manages without the inclusion of the app.

    The implementation of the app could have gone very badly and I’m afraid that because it was used to such great success here we may just see a swath of other board games attempting, and failing, to recreate its success.