After one play, I like this.
- Getting Air Abacus (“Union Pacific”) shares take you a whole turn instead of just being a free option.
- The choice between trading shares for AA at 1:1 or 3:2 is good.
- Being able to trade in stock on the table for AA, helps players who suddenly find themselves shut out.
- Money to buy routes instead of matching cards is better.
- Handing out a free stock (from the display) for each of the first two scorings means that the player who just missed a turn gets first pick, a clever attempt at balancing. And also ensuring the board is swept at least twice.
I dislike the point scoring track. In UP, first place would be X and 2nd would be X/2, but here you see scoring like 4:2:1, then when it improves 5:3:2 then 6:4:2:1. So a company that “spent” 18 dollars earns the leader something like 5. If I put a single stock of a company down, I may get a few VP in the first scoring (as before) … but now if I get cut out and fall to 3rd for the second scoring, I’ll get a few VP. Points for the majority shareholder grow slowly, and new positions grow quickly.
In short, the design removed the scoring ‘bomb’ from every stock other than AA. It may be that the point of the new game is to slap down 1 of every stock, fight over a company or two, and win AA.
Does the scoring change override the small improvements? Maybe.