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User Rating Comment Status
oystein eker
Norway
Unspecified
sola
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10
Jun 2013
Not a Wallace fan, but this is great!
2013-06-13
Owned
John Dextraze
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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9.9
Oct 2012
Awesome theme and different pickup and delivery game. Loads of player interaction.
2013-02-10
Owned
Alan How
United Kingdom
Bromley
Kent
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9
Jul 2012
First two games (3 and 5 player) showed that the game works well at ends of the player range. The game plays exceptionally good. The decisions are easy to see but hard to make. O you expand Europe or move to longer distance? To some extent this depends on the passengers and so each game will be different. The aeroplane cards are beautiful and that system works well too. Cheaper or more expensive planes? Ones with more airport capacity or less?

Typical interesting and engaging Wallace game.
2012-07-29
Owned
Fausto Berutti
Italy
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9
Nov 2012
I love this game. Every single point is needed to achieve victory so you can't let go the other players. The die could be frustrating.
2012-11-04
Owned
J M Duran
United States
El Paso
Texas
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9
Aug 2012
Played it at Origins 3 times on the "Giant" board. Great game!
2012-08-29
Owned
Paul Nomikos
Canada
Kingston
Ontario
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9
Sep 2012
One of the better designs by Martin Wallace. The use of the die to determine first player is an amazing mechanic that brings a lot of tension about when you need to take an action and when your next turn maybe be. This game really needed this mechanism to have a true risk management feeling. Great use of the dice in general in this game! I read some complaints here in BGG and I had my reservations, but after I played the game I am very pleased with the use of dice. Simple mechanics, brilliant design, a lot of tension, it plays in 2 hours. If you like Martin Wallace games, go and buy this one.
2012-09-24
Javi Santos
Spain
sevilla
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9
Oct 2012
The kind of game I really like from Martin Wallace. Creating a net of airports to transport passengers, that's the point. Difficult to explain, but then the game flows quite well. At the same level of difficulty as Automobile.
It has some luck involved at the time of setting the airports, but this just adds some tension. Very enjoyable.
Really good.
2012-10-01
Want In Trade
Arsen Shogenov
Russia
Nalchik-Russia
Kabardino-Balkarian Republic
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9
Jun 2013
Одна из лучших (наряду с Брасом), если не лучшая игра данного автора. Здесь есть всё и расчет, и доля случайности, и азарт, и игровой темп, а даже некая атмосферность. В сравнении с другими играми Уоллеса, определяется целый ряд новаторских решений.
2014-04-02
Owned
Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
Virginia
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Plate of Shrimp.
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Here we are folks, the dream we all dream of.
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9
Nov 2012
I love it. It is a lighter, faster Wallace. And is a return to form to the old Warfrog days where you get a little luck thrown in from the dice.

The turns chop along, and I like the way that the white die breaks up the clinical nature of the game. In many of these kinds of games you know what everyone else has so you don't need to worry about someone taking "your" action, because when they build to take something you just take the limited resource that you already have the heads up on (ala knowing that you can get family growth in Agricola when you are the only one with space in your house, and waiting to use the action until someone builds). That isn't the case here as a player may get two turns in a row before you go and could scoop you. This means that the pressure is on with all your actions. In addition to that, because your turn can come back to you so quickly, you are compelled to look ahead at your turn instead of potentially tuning out. This keeps everyone involved and the the actions clipping ahead at a rapid pace.

Lots of fun to be had. It is super interactive, while still being cerebral.
2012-11-21
Owned
Paul Incao
United States
Upper Montclair
New Jersey
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8.7
Jan 2013


This game is a must buy for Wallace fans that don't mind a bit of randomness...

I really enjoyed Aeroplanes. I have played with 4 and 5 players. With 5, which I think is best...there is a lot more tension and competition for available planes, passengers and city location. There is also a lot more restocking of passengers and cycling through available planes each round. As is the case with many tactical games like this, players must keep their opponent seated to their left (clockwise) in check, cutting off opportunities as best as possible. A player that fails to do this and only focuses on his own points engine can ruin the gameplay experience for all participants.

This is my only concern with the game and fortunately not an issue with my game group. If I were to play this game with a mix of experienced and inexperienced gamers I might consider introducing a variant where the white dice result not only determines the start player of the next turn but also defines turn order rotation ... clockwise on odd results (1,3,5) and counter clockwise for an even results (2,4,6). This would minimize the effect of an experience player not kept in check by an inexperienced player seated to his/her right.
2012-12-07
Owned
Thad Hobson
United States
Burton
Michigan
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8.5
Jan 2013
Perhaps a little more luck involved than a typical Martin Wallace game, but that's OK because I think it is more of a family game than a hardcore gamer's game like some of his others. I see my family playing this game a lot.
2013-01-12
Owned
Alessandro Trovato
Italy
Rome
ITALY
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8.5
Feb 2013
First game was very tense and exciting.
2013-02-09
Owned
john bates
England
Staffordshire
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8.5
Nov 2012
Great game : 5 players
2012-11-04
Owned
Ronald Carlson
United States
Austin
Washington, California, Oregon, Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kansas, Colorado, Nevada, Hawaii, etc. :-)
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8.5
Oct 2013
G005
2013-10-31
Owned
Want To Play
Todd
United States
Phoenix
Arizona
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Fez.
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8.1
Dec 2012
Played the prototype at Gencon 2011 and loved it. Played the near-final prototype at Gencon 2012 and still love it -despite its length of play. Very disappointed with the component quality of Mayfair's production version in 2013.
2014-07-07
Owned
For Trade
Paul Lister
United Kingdom
London
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8
Sep 2012
Very provisional rating based on two three player games. I think the game will be very different 3 vs 4/5. Much tighter and vicious 4/5 and more likely to cut out of minor points for area majority.

Another challenging and ambitious game from Martin Wallace.

The rules are deceptive - the game looks simple but it's as deep as Wallace's weightier economic titles. The dice rolling adds deep risk/reward decisions rather than randomness - don't know who will be start player (the player after you might get two actions before your next)? Then calculate who could preempt you to a goal and either guarantee it or risk it. The route dice again add calculable and manageable risk/reward playoffs. The tempo you adopt is again a risk - grab the helper tiles and miss an immediate opportunity, go early to establish a route to grab passengers and risk having your airport built over. The games asks these questions every turn. The game has elements of Automobile (and AOI) without the math (income fixed for all players)- the victory conditions are simple and visible and the players thought goes into positioning and timing rather than needing to engage a calculator. Unlike AOI Brass where other players over building only happens occasionally it is guaranteed to happen here - this is going to be very unpopular with control lovers) I think the sweet spot is four with three there is little too much space and the Era two planes come out too slowly. The art work on the board is crap compared to Treefrog games which is a shame.

There is an interesting rhythm between the eras - at first it appears you should build up capacity and use it all each era - where as in fact you probably need to try and time it so that you have have two big capacity eras rather than three smaller ones. Totally depends on the other players and with the ability to over build earlier era airports watching your opponents is just as important as focusing on your own game. The passenger tile set up and draw makes the focus of each game slightly different. In my fifth game a lot of high VP passengers to the same areas came out and moving towards them and jocying for space at their European start points decided the game - in others it can be a European centric fight.

Possibly not got the mechanics/theme closeness of other Wallace titles. The art work on the board is crap compared to Treefrog games which is a shame - morover some poor grpahic design with areas not delineated and the city passenger areas having unclear boundaries.

I hope I can get this to table enough to explore it - its going to need multiple plays however i suspect it will polarize gamers with many not understanding/disliking the die rolling and losing airports in later eras.
2014-09-12
Owned
David Whitcher
United States
Manchester
Michigan
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8
Jun 2012
Played much iterations during testing. The final version is great, one of MW’s best.
2012-06-04
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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8
Nov 2012
After 5.67 plays ... let's just call it 6:
Still enjoying this game quite a bit, with the rules as written.

After 1.67 plays:
This is one of Wallace's economic designs, but not nearly as heavy as games like Brass or Age of Steam. Deep thinkers and planners are going to HATE the turn order mechanism, which is simply a die roll (with some players favored over others, depending on the number of players in the game -- since it's always a d6). They're also not going to like the almost complete randomness of the passenger distribution: some tiles are not allowed in Era 1, but otherwise it's totally random and you do not use all the tiles; at MOST, you'll only see 72/96, and likely a lot fewer). So you may be pretty annoyed if you spend a lot of effort building out to North America, but never see a North American passenger! They may also dislike all the die-rolling required when placing airports on the board.

However, I had quite a lot of fun with it! Whereas the first group I played with thought the turn order die roll was annoying -- made it impossible to make certain plans -- the next group (full game) absolutely loved that mechanism! With all the randomness of the passenger tiles, I'm not sure that turn order stuff is really a big deal; you're going to have to play somewhat tactically anyway. I didn't time the games, but they seemed to move along fairly quickly. Like the rondel games, each turn is you're only taking one tiny little action. You have to have some idea about what you want to do over the next several turns; then, when it's your turn, you just do the next little part of your plan (although finding the right passenger on the board does sometimes take a little time)!

The biggest potential problem I see at the moment is a tactic I stumbled upon in game 2: profit points are based only on relative rank; there's no other impact from going negative. So if you build passenger capacity (and airport presence) in Era 2 and go WAY negative, you pay that penalty only once. Then, in Era 3, you're free to acquire passengers as you see fit, while everyone else is building up their economy again (buying planes in their first several actions). This would work especially well if you concentrate on Europe, and use the extra passenger Advantage tiles. Of course, if other people start using this tactic as well, it may not work quite as nicely as it did for me.

Finally, it MIGHT be nice to remove and reveal 24 passengers tiles from the game during game setup. Or maybe remove some number (24 + the number of passengers still on the board) at the end of Era 1? Or maybe, Age of Steam style, pull several passengers for each city at the start of the game, placed in a line next to the board in the order they will resupply that particular city? Then, you'd at least have some idea of whether or not any of the big-VP passengers would never be showing up (although that last option is, I think, too much information).

--- Game Summary ---
The board shows a map of Europe, with cities connected by white (mostly) lines. There are 6 major cities, each with spaces for 3 airports (at the start of the game, in reverse turn order, players will place their home base in a different one each), and several smaller ones with spaces for 2. There are 24 spaces (4 for each of the 6 major cities) on the top edge, which are filled with random passenger tiles (1-3 people per tile, which also shows desired destination). The lower half of the board shows cities in Asia, Africa, and links to N. and S. America (2 airport spaces each), connected to each other by purple and/or black lines. A deck of airplane cards (sorted in numerical order, divided into 3 eras) is placed to the side, with the top 12 (or so) planes placed in a row. Give the First Player Die to a randomly chosen player.

Era Begins
At the start of each Era, place 8 coins and a marker in the Subsidy Box and give each player $12/$22/$32 in Era 1/2/3. In Era 1, this may be modified by Home location. The player holding the First Player Die goes first.

On your turn, take ONE action:
- take a coin from Subsidy. If coins gone and you take the marker, the Era (or game, after Era 3) ends: score and do upkeep.
- buy a plane: cost = price on card + number of planes skipped over. Comes with a number of airport tiles as shown on the card (1 or 2). Worth 0 or 1 VP at end of game. Also shows passenger capacity (1-6).
- place airport tile(s): may place tile into free space one connection away from your Home or previously placed airport. Extended Range planes are needed for some marked routes; also, they allow you to skip one link. First white-link connection (Europe only) has no risk; 2-length connection (extended-range planes only) requires you to roll sum 10+ on 3d6. All purple and black links have risk (need 12+ for purple, 14+ for black). Rolls are modified by +2 if there's already an airport there. You must roll for all connections used (some require multiple rolls). If you roll low, may spend money and/or advantage tiles to make up the difference. Failure immediately ends your turn. The dice 1-face is actually a 0-engine failure: take an engine failure counter. If you get 4+ of these counters, your airport is removed from game; discard engine failure counters; turn ends immediately. May only have 1 airport/player/city. If no empty spaces, may build over opponent's airport with higher-Era airport.
- claim a passenger tile: must have your airports in both starting- and destination- locations, as well as a plane with available capacity: place passenger on that plane.
- buy advantage tile(s): pay $1. Then, either choose one of the available tiles (2 available in Era 1; 2 more in Era 2; all 5 in Era 3) or roll 3d6 and take any 2 (the advantage tiles are numbered 2-6; Engine Failure rolls are wild). These provide a variety of bonuses:
... Daring Pilot: +3 on risk rolls when outside Europe (use after rolling; may use multiple/turn)
... Engine Maintenance: discard engine failure counters at START of your turn
... Increased Production: when you buy a plane, place an extra airport on it (may use max 1/turn)
... Night Flight: claim an extra European passenger (may use multiple/turn)
... Radio Beacons: when making risk rolls, may ust to ignore result and re-roll all 3 dice (may use multiple/turn)

After all players have had their turn, roll the First Player Die and pass the die clockwise that many players; receiving player is First for the next round.

At End of Era:
1. For every plane with empty capacity, place those little gray chits (let's call them "capacity chits") on the plane.
2. Calculate each player's profit = (sum of all passenger tile numbers) - (sum of all capacity chits on face-up planes). So, empty spots from planes in previous eras do not count against your calculation again. Award VP to the top 3 players according to the Era chart.
3. Players place all delivered passengers, as well as their full planes, into their score pile. The remaining planes (the ones with any chits still on them) are flipped over, placing the capacity chits and any unused airport tiles on the card backs. Note that the backs of the extended-range planes are so marked.
4. Majorities (# airports) in Europe, Australasia, and Africa: 1st and 2nd most get VP (escalating each Era)

Then, if it's not end of Era 3:
- remove 2 lowest-numbered planes on display from the game.
- if present, move 1 non-European passenger from each city to the Passenger Overflow area; next Era, you only need an airport in their destination city to take these passenger tiles.
- refill passenger tiles by drawing from the bag
- the player who ended the Era rolls the die and passes it accordingly (recipient will be first in next Era)

End of Game Scoring
After Era 3, all your planes and passengers score VP shown on their face (add to points on VP track). Highest sum wins; money is the tiebreaker.

2012-11-09
Owned
Sarinee Achavanuntakul
Thailand
Bangkok
Select a State
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8
Dec 2012
Pretty cool Martin Wallace game. About the same 'weight' as Tinner's Trail. Some people in my group complain about die rolls, but to me they add an acceptable (and realistic) element of unpredictability of dangers of early air travel. Certainly plays more chaotic than a typical Wallace game though, so it won't be everyone's cup of tea.
2012-12-02
Owned
Mike Mayer
United States
Arcadia
California
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8
Sep 2012
One play with slightly bungled rules. Quite fun lighter Wallace game. I like the speed and the random elements mixed in with the not-too-straining tactics and strategy. Nice interaction. Some take-that, but not too bad. Drawback, the graphic design is more suited for a heavier gamer game and so gives the wrong impression of what kind of game to expect.
2012-09-02
Bradley Hays
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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8
Jan 2013
Wow! I just finished my first game (5 players) and I've gotta say, I LOVED it! But now I understand where a lot of the comments about this come from. Not everyone is going to like this.

First of all, I'm a huge Wallace fan. This is definitely a Wallace game -- that is, I find some very interesting decisions to be made. It does have a huge luck factor, unlike most of his games. But for me, that was a large dose of the fun. No, you can't plan on something and guarantee that you're going to get it. That's where I found the dice roll for turn order to be ingenious. At first, I just said, "What the heck?" But then I began to see why it was there.

Frequently, I found myself in competition with someone over a passenger. Let's say that my opponent is set up to make a big passenger delivery. Perhaps I'm also set up, city-wise, but maybe I need to buy another plane in order to carry the passengers, or maybe I already have the plane but I need to build an airport into a city in order to get the passenger. With a little luck, I may be able to buy what I need or build and, when the turn order is rolled, I might get to go again before my opponent and snag away the passenger. But do I take the chance? Is he/she even looking to get the passenger? Many times I went for the more sure play, but I had to watch for this constantly. Someone might try to do the same thing against me. Yeah, you can totally get hosed. There is a lot of possible screwage in this game. But everybody's going to get some of it sometime. You can't count on getting the turn order to do what you wanna do before the other guy.

Second, sure, your airports can get built over. You definitely have to try to deliver passengers when you can, and watch for the right time to build over someone else to protect yourself, or to lock in those era 3 airports that can't be built over.

Third, the dice rolling for expanding your airport network is definitely risk-taking. You need some luck at the right time to win this game. You can attempt to mitigate it some with the advantage tiles, but you never know what's going to happen. I bought some tiles, thinking I would need them and then I got lucky on my roll. But I had to spend some actions to get those tiles. Meanwhile someone could have leapfrogged ahead of me to build where I wanted to first and beat me to the punch. I like this push-your-luck element. It is unlike any Wallace game I've played and yet it felt like another worthy addition to the canon.

So, I can easily understand why some may not like this game much, even hate it. I am completely surprised by it myself, but in a good way. It's not short. I don't think I would even call it that light, because there are a lot of things to think about and the decisions can bog down for some people. Don't take it too seriously or you'll be disappointed. The best laid plans...and all that. You've got to play this one loose and hopefully.

One caveat: we found the rules to be pretty unclear on a number of points, particularly the way airports are put out. It took one full game just for us to be sure we understood everything correctly, making some mistakes along the way, and this, after looking up a number of rules here on the Geek.

BUT, I can't wait to play it again. Another great Wallace game, IMO.
2014-08-27
Owned
Joerg Schaefer
Germany
Frankfurt
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8
Oct 2012
Considering Wallace's usual creations, Aeroplanes is an almost simple economic game of being one step ahead. On their turn, players choose a single action out of five different options. Nothing too overwhelming. The only confusing aspect is the implemented concept of profitability which is somewhat counter-intuitive in its results on VPs. There is some randomness in the drawn passenger tiles which could hamper players if they build up in expectation for certain destinations to come out but nobody is forced to build proactive. I don't mind the often criticized die roll for turn order which is ok considering the limited effects of a single turn.
Aeroplanes hits my soft spot in terms of theme (too few good airline games) and lightness which is why I rank it up there with his heavier economic games although it will have a lower appeal to the BGG crowd. Mayfair could have done a bit more work on the player aid cards which differ in wording from the rules and even have mistakes on them.
2012-10-30
Owned
Ken Dilloo
United States
Bothell
Washington
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8
Nov 2013
Need to get in more plays, but I think this one is terribly under rated. Yes, the SP die roll is amazingly annoying, but the game itself is great. A tier below stuff like Brass and Automobile, but certainly not far off. My friend actually said he prefered this to Automobile, but I think that is a minor blasphemy.
2013-11-16
Owned
Dallas Hoag
United States
Salamanca
New York
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8
Aug 2012
Horrible rule book, great game once u wade through it. Needs an FAQ
2012-08-17
Owned
Joel Eddy
United States
Coeur d'Alene
ID
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8
Aug 2012
It's rad. Some will hate it. Others will love it. Some people will put blinders on and think they've solved it after one play. Here's a hint for those people. Take a subsidy on your first turn. The game defies a script. You can keep your scripted openings and endings. I'll take a "game" over that any day of the week.

I'm leaving this as an 8, but I really should mark it a 6 for the pile of shit components.
2012-08-27
Owned
Carl-Gustaf Samuelsson
Sweden
Borås
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8
Sep 2012
Not as good as Age of Steam and Brass, but good. The luck factor of the dice is well mitigated by special tokens and bonds. The most negative is the area domination aspect, ehich may make me tired of it after a while, as I find this mechanic frustrating. But I love the theme.
2013-04-14
Owned
Mik Svellov
Denmark
Copenhagen N
EU
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8
Sep 2012
Lots of errors in the rules and on the player aids, but once you have worked out what they meant to say, you are rewarded with a highly unusual game, which doesn't really play like any other game I have tried.

It can be very frustrating to see the turn-order go to the wrong person AGAIN, but it means that you have to stay on your toes and not postpone actions that are vital for your succes. Interesting game!
2012-09-30
Owned
Christopher Boat
United States
Ankeny
Iowa
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8
Oct 2012
There's a lot to like here. Balancing actions between transporting passengers and establishing new airports can be tricky. Wallace has a knack for bringing out the theme in a game without sacrificing good mechanics.

I don't mind the dice in the game at all, even though a poorly timed engine failure can ruin a lot of plans. The one thing I don't enjoy so much is the 1st player mechanic. It slows down the game and causes too much randomness.

Overall: This one is a winner. Some small tweaks could perfect the formula and it's not Wallace's best, but still very satisfying.
2012-11-02
Owned
Bill J
United States
Batavia
Ohio
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8
Sep 2012
Heavier economic game with multiple ways to score. Gamers who like optimal, long term strategies may be frustrated with this one. But then again, this is the dangerous, chaotic, and risky world of early aircraft...not the predictable and orderly world of rail development. The random elements will force players to find a way to win in that moment, not preordained before turn 1. Very deep game that is underrated.
2012-09-24
Owned
Andrew Staines
United Kingdom
Grimsby
Lincolnshire
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8
Mar 2015
Typical Martin Wallace in that it's either a massive hit or a big miss

Fortunately this one is an out and out success in my opinion. Why it is still ranked so lowly on here when a few acres of snow is ranked so highly is beyond me

I have only played once so far and only with 3 - I think it was brilliant and can see that it should scale well with each number but will definitely work best with 4

Rerated May 2013 - it's good but not as good as I initially thought and doesn't scale well to 5 at all. I've moved it down to 8
2013-06-03
Owned
Christopher Hill
United States
Wilmington
North Carolina
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8
Oct 2012
This is a lighter Martin Wallace game, but don't let it fool you. It has some decent opponent screwage and more randomness than typical for MW.
2012-11-26
Owned
Kirk Lim
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Unspecified
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8
Nov 2012
no card
2012-11-11
Owned
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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That one not so much
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Ohh that tickles
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8
Oct 2012
Whilst not super heavy, it’s heavier than most of the games Martin Wallace has made in the last couple of years and it’s all the better for it. I dominated Europe in my first play and found it was not quite enough. I did not pay enough attention to which planes were worth VPs and did not ship enough passengers outside of Europe.
2012-10-18
Owned
Will Miner
United States
Germantown
Tennessee
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8
Dec 2012
Love planes
2014-05-25
Owned
Christopher Bass
United States
East Syracuse
New York
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8
Nov 2012
Another game from Martin Wallace that definitely feels like a M.W. design. Good interaction and competition with other players. 2-3 hour game.
2014-06-03
Owned
Ian Scrivins
United Kingdom
Brighton
Sussex
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8
Nov 2012
Something of a return to form for Martin Wallace, whose recent games have been either aimed at the mainstream (Ankh-Morpork, Doctor Who) or just plain disappointing (A Few Acres). There's the usual historical theme, but plenty of ways to score either by building airports or carrying passengers between destinations. Similar in many ways to Automobile, with much more variety in the range of actions. Some luck in the die rolling, especially for turn order, but it feels manageable during route building. I suspect having a mainstream publisher is a factor here, but if only MW could produce more games like this and less of the underdeveloped Treefrog efforts, I'd have more of his games in my collection.
2012-11-11
james carignan
United States
GRAFTON
Massachusetts
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8
Dec 2012
Fun medium weight Wallace game
2012-12-31
Owned
R M
Canada
Athabasca
Alberta
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8
Jan 2014
Liked playing it the first time.
2014-01-29
Owned
Jensi the Kid Samoa Wellenreiter Mondrakete
Germany
Frankfurt/Main
Hessen
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8
May 2013
Die Art, wie der Startspielerwürfels gehandelt wird und die Kolonialisierung der Langstrecken über drei weitere Würfel haben etwas Anarchisches und geben dem Spiel eine verspielte, lächelnde Note. Nichts für Kontrollfreaks, aber alles für große, fliegende Kinder, die dem Himmel in einer Boeing näher kommen wollen. Hier bin ich Passagier.
2014-11-22
Owned
Jeff Pratt
United States
Anacortes
Washington
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Just admit it already, Small World is not a fantasy wargame...it's a Mancala variant!
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8
Oct 2013
I love the art and theme on this one, but like most Wallace designs the spartan board makes the game look way more dull, complicated and intimidating than it actually is. On your turn you either build an airport, buy a plane or ship a passenger. Whomever does this most efficiently, wins. As far as pick up and deliver games go, it doesn't get much simpler than that.

There is a lot of criticism out there about the use of dice in this game. Personally, I think all of the dice related actions are perfectly thematic. Flying across Europe in a 1919 airplane was certainly a dicey enough affair. From a game play perspective, those dice provide uncertainty and non-scripted gameplay. They flat out work here, so I think anyone who complains about them just doesn't like the game as a whole. The dice are just a convenient place to hang the dislike.

(Personally, I'd go after the cardboard components. They are crap. Mayfair, you should be ashamed of yourselves.)
2015-04-20
Owned
Kentaro Sugiyama
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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8
Sep 2013
(09/17/2013) Comment based on first play.

This is yet another solid, accessible, and fun game from Martin Wallace, that is a fine blend of Jet Set, Automobile, Brass, Struggle of Empires, and Railroad Tycoon. Claiming routes and then delivering passengers is similar in feel to the game mechanism in Jet Set. The theme of the dawn of commercial aviation is captured in a similar fashion to Automobile, with the march of technology depicted on cards as a string of developing airplane types.

Each successive airplane type has varying cost, passenger capacity, range, and number of airplane terminals. There is a random assortment of passenger tokens scattered throughout the six major cities in Europe. Each token represents a number of passengers, as well as the destination. Players slowly develop networks from their home city, placing terminals in other parts of Europe, as well as extending into Africa and Asia. A passenger token can be delivered, as long as a player has terminals at both the departure and destination cities, and the player has an airplane with sufficient capacity (passenger groups cannot be split up). This feels like the "pick up and deliver" mechanism present in Wallace's other train games, notably Railroad Tycoon and Age of Steam.

However, as players build their networks outside of Europe, of if they wish to skip a city, then establishing a remote terminal becomes a risky proposition, where they must "test" the route connection by rolling a certain number on three dice--10+, 12+, or 14+, abstractly representing the difficulties and risk posed by the distance and terrain (imagine trying to fly across the Atlantic for the first time, or flying over the Himalayas). Interestingly enough, any "1"s that are rolled, represented as skulls, represent engine failures, which seemed to be common back in the day. Four engine failures means a loss of a turn. Players can establish as many terminals as they wish (and have) in a single action, but with a certain level of "push your luck" built-in, depending on the relative remoteness.

The game is straightforward in terms of the menu of possible actions: 1) Buy a new airplane, with new terminal(s) and capacity; 2) Establish terminal(s) and "testing" the connections; 3) Claim a passenger token; 4) Buy an "advantage" token(s); or 5) Take a bond (money) as a subsidy. Advantage tokens can help with the testing dice rolls, either by adding bonuses or allowing re-rolls, clear out engine failures, claim an additional terminal when buying new airplanes, or allowing the claim of an additional passenger token. Because there is a sufficient amount of randomness in terminal placement and turn order, these are essential tools of risk management in helping a player expand their network and fulfilling their total passenger capacity.

Each player takes an action in a clockwise fashion. However, at the beginning of every turn, a die is rolled to determine the first player for that turn. Although this can be seen as a random element, it quickly became apparent that there had to be a level of uncertainty in turn order. Because of the cramped space in Europe, it is possible that two or three players that have terminals in a major city may be in equal contention to claim one or two passenger tokens. Since it takes two actions to establish a connection and then claim the passenger token, if some deterministic turn-order mechanism was in place, a player could conceivably manipulate the turn-order (just like in Brass, for example), and either block another player's claim or claim the token themselves. Because of the random nature of the turn order, it becomes incumbent on the player to make such a claim as quickly as possible. It also forces a player to be a flexible as possible and have back-up plans.

There are three "eras" in this game, but the number of turns within each era is variable and dependent upon how the money is spent amongst the players. As with other Wallace games, a new era opens up seemingly more sophisticated airplanes, as well as the more "modern" terminals associated with them, and opens up the variety and power of the advantage tiles. Similar to Brass, one's Era II terminals can "cover" another player's Era I terminals, and Era III terminals can obsolete Era I and II.

Each era starts with a "pool" of 8x one-Pound bond subsidies. This pool acts as the game clock to determine when each era ends. If players start running out of money, they can take a subsidy of 1 Pound. When all eight bonds are taken, the era is over, followed by VP scoring for the most presence in the three areas: Europe, Africa, and Asia, with scoring similar to Struggle of Empires. VP is also awarded for profitability, which is the total number of passengers delivered minus any unused capacity. There are also extra VP awarded for delivering specific passenger tokens to remote locations, such as North America or Australia.

This is simply a fun game, racing to make route connections as quickly as possible, deliver as many passengers as possible, without buying too much capacity, in order to generate a positive profitability and hence VP. It is also a balancing act of getting enough advantage tokens for risk management, to get through the bad rolls (sort of like the tools in Stone Age). The game mechanisms are familiar and simple, with quickly resolved actions, so there is very little downtime. Still, our first game took two hours, but it was quite enjoyable. Wallace's design poses delightful and delicious decisions at every turn, with plenty of interaction. It is classic "pick up and deliver" train game that doesn't feel like a train game; it feels like one is truly developing a network back at the dawn of commercial aviation, replete with risks, frustrations, and rewards of expanding the frontier. This is a solid "8", with room to grow.

(01/24/2015) It's been 15 months and I cannot get it to the table. Some people are put off by the random turn order mechanism, but they don't appreciate why it is there. It's still an "8" in my book.
2015-01-25
Owned
Stephane Brochu
Canada
Outremont
Quebec
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8
Oct 2013
A nice mid-level game from Wallace. Some very nice long term decisions to take as you continuously juggle with the need to get more airport on the map with being able to fill your planes. Make sure to get some advantage tiles, especially Increased Production as it allows you to take an extra airport, which is essential.
Very very good, and fairly easy to explain.
2013-10-17
Owned
Paul Shabatowski
Canada
Stittsville
Ontario
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8
Jun 2015
Finally got to play it. Very fine game but with a poor end of game sequence and poor quality components. However, it does not take away from it being fun.
2015-06-26
Owned
Want To Play
King of All Simians — Not a Mere Diplomat
United States
Wilmington
Select State
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7.75
Dec 2012
I like the little push-your-luck aspects that long-distance flight introduces, and the typically tight mechanic-to-theme bindings. It's not top-tier MW, but very few games are. It's fun.
2012-12-18
Owned
Dimitris Vasiadis
Greece
Vari
Attiki GREECE
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7.7
Jan 2014
A simulation of the aviation industry, much like automobile is a simulation of the auto industry in almost the same era. The game has some very nice balances that work well, however it has a spatial element that is very fussy when trying to pick which passenger suits you. I would rather the passengers had a quantitative difficulty of obtaining, and your chances of getting them would increase with each airport. That way less luck would be involved and the players wouldn't have to worry about having an airstrip in the exact correct location.
2014-01-20
Tong Chi Wai
Hong Kong
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7.6
Oct 2012
The plane cards are great in artwork, but the layout of the board needs improvement. The game is fun.
2012-10-04
Derek
United States
Brazil
Indiana
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7.6
Aug 2014
Fun game. Not going to play quickly.
2014-08-19
Owned
Michael Schwerdtfeger
United States
Redondo Beach
California
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7.5
Oct 2012
I liked it, but not entirely sure of how much is going on. Rating may go up with another play or two.

I like it a fair bit, but not with 3. The game is too frustrating with 3 - not enough room so someone tends to get whacked on, but more importantly, planes and passengers don't cycle through enough.
2013-08-07
Owned
For Trade
Michel Condoroussis
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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7.5
Sep 2012
This is a Euro where you build airports and buy planes in order to fly passengers around the world. We all made some mistakes and I will surely have to play again, which is often the case for Martin Wallace games. There is also a slight push your luck aspect to the game as you must roll dice to see if you can establish new routes. At the end, we all enjoyed it, but would surely have done a lot of things differently. I will bring it back next meeting.
2012-09-02
Owned
For Trade
Claude Sirois
Canada
Quebec City
Quebec
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7.5
Nov 2013
(5p)

Great gift from my Secret Santa 2012!! Heel erg bedankt, mijn vriend! :-)

Last Game 12/10/2013
2015-01-16
Owned

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