Yesterday I played three games of Airlines Europe, with two, three and four players — that’s pretty good considering I’m going to review the game. Rarely I get such a spread of player counts (Black Friday, three times with five players every time, for example).
It’s seven years since I last played Union Pacific, so comparisons are hazy. I did kind of enjoy the game back then, but eventually it was one of those games I just didn’t play. I remember finding the board play fairly pointles and thinking about playing the game without the board.
That’s still a problem with Airlines Europe. The board play is a bit boring, as you can practically always find the connection you need, especially later in the game. Brian Bankler suggested a variant where choosing the take money action lets you drop a neutral plane somewhere on the board. Sounds like a good idea. Perhaps four-player game should have the yellow company in play, built that way.
Anyway, it’s decent fun, the key element in the game still works (drawing shares gets you prepared to do well, but advances the scorings; playing shares makes you actually do better, but doesn’t advance the scoring). The game plays in 60 minutes or under, I think our three-player game took 60 minutes with a bunch of child-related diversions, while the four-player game took just 45 minutes or so when everybody had already played at least once.
Fun game, but probably not a keeper. I’ll have to try to get it on the table with my gamer friends, but I’ll probably put this up in the auction later this summer. For something similar in weight and style, I’d rather play Samarkand.
After Airlines Europe, we played another game of Agricola with Farmers of the Moor. I like the expansion a lot. I also browsed through the minor improvements decks, I should probably give those a go. I think the 14 card hands are a bit much in a game that’s already chock full of things to do, but the minor improvements might be fun.