The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Airlines Europe

After one play, I like this.

I like:

  • 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.

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Written by taogaming

May 22, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Posted in Reviews

4 Responses

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  1. A few notes. First, I had no idea you could trade stock on the table for AA, that’s very interesting and I would have done that once at the end of the game. Second, in my one play (3 player) the best strategy did seem to be to get invested in many stocks, as the values of the 2nd and 3rd’s were better than the 1st. That said, 3 railroads got pushed aggressively to high levels, and first in those was extremely valuable. Third, AA was roughly as important as UP is, but due to the mechanism for getting cards, it was a lot harder to choose when and how aggressively to go after it.

    All in all, I thought it was clearly better than UP, and I think I rated UP an 8. Unlike you, I liked the scoring track, with my only concern being that the low count tracks may be a little too good at the start of the game. My only criticism was that I thought the board was a bit too friendly. Basically, I never paid attention to it. I’d say, for example “I want to spend 9 on green” and I could always find a way to do what I wanted. There are just so many routes available that paying attention to the map took up no more than 5% of my thoughts while playing, and that seemed too little to justify having a map.

    Lou W

    May 22, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    • Oh yes, the board is too friendly. When playing with less than five you could add a rule that whenever you take money (or maybe take money or AA) you could sabotage (place a neutral plane on a route). That would tighten the board right up.

      taogaming

      May 22, 2011 at 9:23 pm

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