X-Files: Everything is Connected
Game title: X-Files: Everything is Connected
Game description: X-Files: Everything is Connected is a social and creative game based on the hit series X-Files. Playing as Fox Mulder, you must convince the rest of your fellow FBI Agents that your latest conspiracy theory is worth looking into. As the FBI, you must make sure that regardless of Mulder, you vote with the majority-- no one likes an outlier!
X-Files: Everything is Connected is a social and creative based game that brings some new mechanics to the genre, and is a fun dive into the world of X-Files for fans of the show.
Brings novel mechanics to the genre
Has direct references to the show that are fun for fans
Encourages active participation, even off turn
Requires some skill in improvisation to be successful
Requires you to read your fellow players
What do Russian Dolls, a bloody nose, and an I Want to Believe poster have in common? That’s up to you, as famed rogue FBI agent Fox Mulder in X-Files: Everything is Connected, a game by Matt Fantastic and published by IDW.
In X-Files: EiC, players take turns playing as Fox Mulder who is tasked with drawing a conspiracy card, and weaving whatever strange tapestry they can to connect the conspiracy with the evidence cards (which are typically some sort of object) that are given to them by the other players. The better they do, they more likely they are to get the points for the round.
Here’s where X-Files flips the script on your typical judge-based party game. Not only is the single player the active player, but the rest of the group functions as the other FBI members judging whether Fox’s wild theories are remotely plausible via a simultaneous thumbs up/down voting system. And this was the mechanic that really intrigued me: if the majority of the other players vote thumbs up, Fox gets a point. However, regardless of the direction of the vote, all FBI members who voted with the majority also get a point. FBI members must make snap decisions to choose how they think the rest of the group will vote, because nothing is worse than being an outlier like Mulder!
X-Files brings a few things to the table that I really enjoyed. I liked that it works to bring some new mechanics to a genre of game that is a little bit saturated. The voting mechanics where the judges can gain points off their turn do a nice job of making the game engaging even when you’re not the active player. Also, the game does a great job of connecting itself directly to the X-Files outside of just its theme. The conspiracy cards and evidence cards are all premises and objects taken directly from the show. Fans of X-Files will have fun recognizing some classic episodes!
The game also includes an alternative play mode where the group offers evidence and the single player, Jose Chung, must tie them together in a coherent narrative.
The game does suffer a little bit from what many games with similar mechanics do– if your group is not comfortable improvising and creating sense from what is given to them, the game can become a little frustrating for those players. It certainly requires a certain comfort and skill in improvising and speaking off the cuff to get the full effect of them game. In addition, the game benefits from knowing who you’re playing with, as it’s much harder to read your fellow FBI agents– you don’t have the benefit of deliberation to get a sense of how people will vote.
Overall, X-Files provides a new take on your creative social games, that is certainly worth pulling out to play with good friends who are skilled at improvisation.