Fantasy Flight – XCOM: The Board Game – Role Strategy (Squad Leader)

January 21, 2016


As previously discussed there are four roles in the game. Each role plays a little differently from the others and so below I present some strategies for how to execute your role as Squad Leader more efficiently and intelligently. Given the nature of the game, how well you play your role can determine the outcome of the game.

Role Overview

The Squad Leader – The Squad Leader is responsible for leading the XCOM forces on missions and defending the base.

The squad leader basically determines which troops to send out (as limited by the commander’s budget) and where to send them. They need to be sure not to send too many troops to a location (thus wasting money) but at the same time need to be sure they aren’t sending so few that they can’t defeat the enemies they’re up against. Soldiers are expensive to replace and its particularly painful when the solider you’re losing is an elite. This role probably supports the chief scientist more than any other role in the form of salvaged equipment. Like in the electronic game defeating enemies gives you alien gear that can be sent over the science team for study. In this game, the salvage works as a sort of research credit. When I was playing the science role I was always happy to see salvaged gear come my way since it made researching easier.

Soldier types

In the game each soldier has two symbols associated with it. One of the two symbols is specialized. For this reason we can group the soldiers into two teams which we will call Team A and Team B as shown below.

Team A Team B

As you can see by grouping the soldiers this way, if you grab Team A or Team B you will automatically have every symbol represented at least once. If you need more than 1 of a particular symbol, you can augment the team by grabbing the relevant member from the other team.

But which is better? Team A or Team B?

This depends on what kind of aliens you are facing. Below we show which team is the better option based on the types of aliens you are facing. The primary reason to use this team method is that it will help cut down on your decision making time. However, it will not eliminate it completely.

Name Best
Thin Man A
Muton A
Chryssalid A
Sectopod A
Sectoid B
Floater B
Cyberdisc B
Ethereal B
Outsider Neither
The full details of the table above can be found here.

As you can see neither team is really better than the other in all cases. So if you have a mixture of aliens you’ll want to look at what you have more of and then go with the associated team.

Dice vs Successes Required

I’ve been crunching the numbers on this and it’s part of why this article has been delayed for so long. The trend that I am seeing is that you want to roll as many dice as successes you need before the alien die resets. So, if for example during base defense you have 3 aliens and they each need two successes to beat. Then you want to have six dice per alien, in order to safely eliminate the threat. This is why abilities that allow you to get automatic successes against aliens are so useful. If in that same scenario you can get two automatic successes. Then you only need to be rolling four dice per alien which is a lot more manageable, especially if you have some elites.

If you’re just considering a single task, these can generally be completed with just one or two soldiers. Just be careful not to go too light on your squads.


The commander can train one normal soldier each turn making them elite. This is extremely beneficial as elite soldiers get to roll an extra die on all tasks they attempt. This is in addition to any other extra dice they get from specialization and/or technology.

During the early game, it works best to fully diversify your elites, though you can only have a maximum of four. Later in the game if you find that you never send a particular unit into the field (perhaps due to certain technology) you can double up elsewhere.

Try to keep in mind the soldier you want trained each turn, so you don’t accidentally send them into the field.


When deciding whether to pursue a mission or not, look at what needs to be completed and try to plan things such that you can beat it in a single attempt. Also, try to avoid sending a soldier that will only be useful for a single task. You may end up not needing them and make the mission needlessly expensive. You should know well before the next timed phase if you can realistically tackle the mission or not. You should let the commander know either way if you want to attempt the mission, that way money can be allocated to accommodate this.

Skyranger and other Technology

In addition to planning your attacks (base defense and missions) you need to pay attention to other things you can do. The skyranger for example allows you to eliminate a crisis. This can be a godsend to the commander as they often have to choose between bad and worse. You may not have enough soldiers to do everything so carefully balance which activities are most important.

In the end this role is mostly reactionary. The only real planning you get to do is the mission and more times then not you’ll find that you have to pass on it in order to properly deal with the other things being thrown at you. So, just be sure to have some kind of game plan each turn and you’ll be able to respond quickly and effectively to the threats.


Fantasy Flight – XCOM: The Board Game – Review
Fantasy Flight – XCOM: The Board Game – Role Strategy (Commander)
Fantasy Flight – XCOM: The Board Game – Accessory (Commander Balance Sheet)
Fantasy Flight – XCOM: The Board Game – Role Strategy (Chief Scientist)
Fantasy Flight – XCOM: The Board Game – Role Strategy (Central Officer)
Fantasy Flight – XCOM: The Board Game – Role Strategy (Squad Leader)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: