Miami Dice, Episode 157 - XCom the Board Game -

Miami Dice, Episode 157 – XCom the Board Game

The Dice Tower
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Tom Vasel and Sam Healey take a look at X-com, the Board Game from Fantasy Flight Games

00:00 – Introduction
02:08 – Game overview
11:08 – Final thoughts

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  1. I own this game, and have tried to have friend play it multiple times. The tutorial is confusing, and I do end up having to basically tell people what to do in the game.

  2. Ananda Gupta was the lead designer on XCom Enemy Within.  Really love the new series on PC.

  3. I was waiting for Tom to component drop his ipad. Disapointed.

  4. The app is the future of gaming. It's bound to happen, so there's no point complaining. I'd like to see app or messenger based games of the Love Letter / Coup weight, so if for example, you're on a train with your friends, you can all play a game together on your phones. 

  5. Would've liked to get Zee's opinion on this one since he seems to be a fan of the cooperative genre.

  6. Never has having my butt handed to me been so much fun.  Ran another session just see if we learned anything from the first run.  Nope, died, but later, so there is hope for us.

  7. For me, the dice completely ruined the game. Being able to lose the game in the first round due to some bad luck with the die just completely turned me off to it. Thankfully my flgs let me return it.

  8. Ehh, not for me. I can see the appeal for these real time games but for me and my play style it doesn't work. I like to talk and enjoy my time too much to be that focused on the game. Besides these games are trying to create a tense and stressful atmosphere which is the opposite feeling I want when playing games. 

    This one in particular looks brutal. I was personally hoping for it to be more "Omega Protocol" ish, with turn based fighting like the game. But hey, this seems decent for those that are into this style. 

  9. If you guys are looking for a tactical board game that feels like old good X-COM, check out "Galaxy Defenders". It's much closer than "Level 7: Omega Protocol" IMO.

  10. my group would hate this game, made me anxious just listening to you while the timer was going. You gave me a great feel for how the game feels to play tho so thanks Tom.

  11. If you need a computer to play a board game, why not just play the computer game?

  12. I've got no real issue with the concept of boardgames and apps integrating when it is in a unique and interesting way, but this (and pretty much every other example so far) leaves me completely cold. I agree with the points on tutorials (it could have stopped my copy of Robinson Crusoe gathering dust on the shelf for six months before we finally cracked the Z-Man instructions).
    This however just seems to me like an average game with an awful timed aspect.
    Golem Arcana seems like a miniatures game that would be way better as a full strategic computer game.
    Alchemists is probably the only one that seems to have found a legitimate reason for integrating an app rather than just shoeing one in as a gimmick. The game itself doesn't really grab me ( a bit too abstract and dry for my taste), but at least it achieved something with an app that only an app could have achieved.
    I feel an app should complement a boardgame, not dominate it. And no matter how slick and cool this one looked, it ultimately came across to me as little more than a glorified egg timer/arrow spinner combo. Those mechanisms are not improved at all by being animated and having background music in my opinion.

  13. Nice review…so, the big issue is: What should be the name of ZEE's and TOM's show? hmmm…Miami Lice?

  14. I liked the idea of a cooperative XCOM board game.
    The fact that you need a tablet or similar kills it for me though, completely ruins what a board game experience is to me.
    If they make a tactical combat XCOM game without the need for an application then I'll be all over it.

  15. 1/3 chance of success is same as Arkham/Eldritch horror but it feels much more random since you tend to roll less. dice. On the other hand, you do get to reroll a bunch of times. By the way, wewon the first time playing this game. But we were literally one step away from Earth getting taken over by Aliens.

  16. How ya gonna play this game 20 years from now?

  17. How does this compare to Space Alerts for anyone who has played both?

  18. Using an app and a timer element, not for me or my game group. I will stick with the old ways of playing board games.

  19. For anyone complaining about the computer part honestly need to try it before complaining about it. Having played this I was skeptical at first but the app works so well for the game. It isn't a gimmick the game needs the app to function it honestly could not be done without using the app. You play this not the video game because you want to play a board game with people. It is the same argument of playing any board game over a video game. This is a board game and feels like a board game the app is just a component. 

  20. We won the Tutorial the first time we played it, three players and one playing two characters. 

  21. Am I the only one that expected an iPad during the component drop?

  22. WE like slapped the tutorial around.  Hope we did not play it incorrectly.

  23. Good review. I agree with the main points: the game is a lot of fun, the app works well (in fact if you tried to play this same game using a timer and decks of cards it probably wouldn't be nearly as fun, the app enhances the experience) and it does a solid job emulating the global strategic overview portion of XCom (which was actually the part of the game I liked back in the day more than the tactical missions). 

    One thing Tom left out of the review was showing off the Science Officer's Tech cards and the other asset cards for the various roles. Not that I expected him to describe them all in detail of course but those asset cards and tech are EXTREMELY important in this game, it's probably impossible to win the game without making good use of your assets and tech and without the science officer watching for useful tech to research. Given how important that stuff is to winning the game it feels like it should be mentioned as something you need to be aware of while you play. 

    Oh yeah, and watching Tom try to review the game while actually doing a timed phase was kind of funny, I swear he sounded a little panicked by the end. No wonder he hasn't beaten the game yet, just reviewing it was stressful! 🙂 

  24. The timed phase is in the wrong stage of the game.  20 seconds to draw 2 cards and keep 1 is hardly building tension.  The dice rolling phase should be the timed phase.  20 seconds to stop the aliens invading the base.  It just doesn't feel like Xcom, its not a bad game it is just not very good.  The app isn't an issue, it is just like having a DM or ruler keeper.

  25. Beyond my issue with hybridizing board games with electronic devices in terms of the general desire to unplug, there really are some major concerns. It strikes me that when a game is dependent upon an app, it is effectively only playable as long as the company supports it. Can they guarantee that 10 or 20 years down the road that I will definitely still be able to get this app? To say nothing about other concerns, such as the desire to play board games when the power goes out (which absolutely does happen). If by chance my tablet wasn't charged, I can't play? Perhaps this last point can be seen as somewhat extreme, but a board game should be self-contained. These concerns shouldn't exist at all.

    But see, all of this goes to a larger point in gaming: Board games aren't meant to have the kind of longevity they once did. It's here, you play it for a couple of years (if even that long) and then move on to buy the next product. Say what you will about the game, but can you really see any of the games today having the lifespan of a Monopoly? 112 years later, who will even know what XCOM was? To say nothing of the ability to use it's app. The current bubble of board gaming is absolutely a problem. There are hundreds if not thousands of games released every year, and how few, if any, have the staying power to last a century?

    Now you can argue that not every game has to be about that, but I don't really care to feel like I am somehow under the thumb of the publisher because they care more about the short term than in ensuring the value of their game over the long term. I am absolutely sticking to games that don't require me to use an app. Otherwise, I might as well just give up board gaming and devote all of my time to video games once again.

  26. This game looks like a nightmare to me.  First you need a tablet or phone to play the app.  Right there I'm out.  I'm playing a board game to get AWAY from technology.  Otherwise I would be playing a computer game which I do every other day of the week except board game night.  And only one person gets to use the tablet at a time.  So everybody gets to stare at the back of a tablet as one person gets to see all the cool graphics, whizzing timers, and techno wizardry.  I also hate that I need something else outside the box to play the game in the box.  When you order a steak at a restaurant, they generally come with steak knives.  

    Second, TIMERS!!! OMG I hate timers in games.  Its 2015 people, why are we still using timers to create tension in games. Whats next, roll and move? The X com computer game didn't have any timers in it.  It was a turn based game!  How is it the computer game makes a better board game than the board game?
    The only game I like with a timer is RoboRalley and it only comes into effect so the last player doesn't take all damn night to pick his moves.  That is a timer done right.

  27. no iPad included in the component drop huh  😉

  28. I've talked about my concerns with apps and games before (immersion, compatibility, support, and control problems), but the thing I thought about right away here was: where's the potty break button?

    About the app itself, this looks to have great immersion, and addresses compatibility with the browser option. Support only time will tell, but the fact that control over the game is stripped away from you really galls me–I don't see any meaningful way to tweak the gameplay for house rules and custom scenarios, since everything is so dictated by the app. I just don't like the idea of playing a game that takes so much control away from me and my friends as players and owners of the product. And as I've said before, once an app is REQUIRED to play a game, you don't really own the board game, you're leasing it for as long as they support it.

  29. My concerns with the app are not so much, how do I play this game in 20 years, but does it allow for customization? I love messing with rules for my board games. If I think a rule doesn't lend itself to making the game fun in our group, we just change it. Can you still do that in a game like this?

  30. I don't really mind apps in games but the thing is, I haven't seen a good game with apps.
    I like games with elegant and streamlined rules and those games don't need apps in the first place.

  31. I'm a huge fan of video games, and even I am a little unnerved about the idea of having to use an app to play a board game.

  32. The tutorial has been dubbed the "Kobyashi Maru" scenario by my group–the no-win scenario. We've won the game twice on Easy. Haven't tried it on Normal yet.

  33. I'm okay with apps for board games, those can be really handy and help mitigate clunkyness, structure gameflow better, keep in timeframes, etc.
    BUT as long, as you don't NEED an app to play the game. It should be optional. If a board game has mandatory app usage, I have 3 issues with it. First – it isn't a board game anymore, by definition. It's some sort of abomination. Second – many people play board games to escape from technology overload in modern society, and this is just a in their faces. And lastly… If I need to have an app in order to play a game, why not go all the way and just make entire game an app? Why do I even need cardboard and pieces if I already have game logic programmed in my pad? It looks like programmer went "ok, I'm tired for today, don't feel like finishing this one. Let's make players move pieces and roll dices by themselves and pretend it's all cool and gimmicky and not just lazy and stupid"
    It looks like interesting game and all, but man.. If you are making a board game, make it a friggin BOARD GAME!
    Fix it. Add those damn stacks of cards if you must, or whatever. It's been used for years and it works. People can handle it, and if they don't want to that's fine, they have a cool app! But if a game has those mechanics in it, those should be in the box.

  34. The amount of BS that you have to endure in the videogame remake, on the higher difficulty settings, is beyond anything. The game feels extremely cheap because of it. The original X-com felt a lot more fair in comparison, even if you sometimes just ended up with an unlucky dice roll, and it offered a lot more freedom in how you played, too. Glad you guys are fans of the old X-com. The new one is fun enough if you play it casually on the lower difficulty settings, but it doesn't hold a candle to the classic one.

  35. Id love to see a play through of this can you play this on a live stream

  36. I certainly liked the idea of a cooperative xcom board game, even more so since each player represents a crucial part of xcom. But Im also really disappointed that this game, not only requires you to have an iPhone or iPad of some kind prior to buying it in order for you to play it, but also the time factor turns me off to this game almost entirely.

    While I guess I can't nock it till I try it, the video game was all about TAKING YOUR TIME so that you could make the correct decisions and see if it works out. If there was any pressure, it was never from a lack of time, more specifically: doing things within a certain time frame while under pressure. 

    The other thing that Im disappointed in is the reliance on an electronic device for a table top game. Call me old fashion if you want, but if I wanted to play a table top game, everything I need to play it should already be in the box. While I will admit that technology can add to the experience of a game (the video game is proof of that), and while it certainly does here, I can't help but feel that there could have been better ways they could have done this.

    Unless I get a free trial of some kind, and thoroughly enjoy it, I think I'll stick to the video game.

  37. we played the tutorial (lost) then played 1 game on easy and won pretty easily. I hope it gets harder.

  38. As anyone who had been rendered unable to play a game they liked because the company turned off the servers knows, you are at the mercy of the company as far as continued functionality of the electronic components. Who knows when the app will break due to an upgrade of the various OSes and the company will no longer feel like providing a new version of the app. At that point the game become worthless cardboard.

  39. loosing at the tutorial is very XCOM-ish
    I can very well imagine it beeing unbeatable just to screw with the players xD

  40. Realtime combat in Xcom? I don’t think so.

  41. Nice gameplay, but i would prefer it be themed with counterterrorrist against a global terrorist group with situations and stuff.

  42. Played this game for the first time yesterday, just me and one other guy. We spent a lot of time understanding the nuts and bolts of the game mechanics through the tutorial game, and after a round or two, we took off from there. And we won!

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