If you haven’t heard of the computer game series XCOM, or the original Amiga series UFO, then you need to discover this wonderful gem of tense combat against a superior alien threat. The premise is that the Earth is being subject to an alien invasion and XCOM, a secret multinational response force, is all that really stands in their way. As the commander, it’s your job to lead your troops against the foe, protect cities, research new gear and technologies, build bases and more. There have been a few attempts at translating this to the tabletop and I thought Ray’s Figure 11 would offer a good vessel to do this. Notably, there is a very good board game version you should check out.
The main difficulty I had with designing the XCOM add-on to Fig 11 wasn’t with writing the rules but finding models to represent the various alien species the players will face. Oddly there were a few companies offering very good 15mm scale models that fitted my needs extremely well, and all for a very good price – I’ll let you discover them through the following links (http://khurasanminiatures.tripod.com, http://www.rebelminis.com, http://clearhorizonminiatures.com/shop). I worked out that whilst I didn’t have any 15mm terrain, it would be significantly cheaper and easier to create than 28mm scale, especially when I want to build a UFO interior! The style of interior I’m going for is based off of GameCraft Miniature‘s product line, thankfully easy to replicate given the price.
So far I have all the models painted and ready to go, just some last detailing and patching up (they’re metal and I don’t have a proper transport for them), and I’m about 2/3 of the way to finishing the UFO interior. It’s modular and made of card making it, again, very cheap – albeit time-consuming. With a rough idea of alien stats worked out and written up, I should be ready for a play test at the next RAFWA.
How this add-on will play out, hopefully and depending on the size of the group, is that the players are the strike team sent to fight the alien threat. Me as the GM will act as everyone else, from the evil aliens to the base support staff, since for our group it’s all about shooting stuff and throwing dice! However, how I decide how the base staff will act will depend on the team’s level of success. If I, as the scientist, tell them they need to capture a certain species and they don’t, not only will the scientist get annoyed, but so will the Commander and the team will fall behind the curve in getting new equipment whilst the aliens get stronger.
I fully intend for the player characters to really suffer, either physically or mentally, so the tension of the game should make up for the loss in some decision-making. We’ll see though. For now, have a peak at models!