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User Rating Comment Status
Max Jamelli
United States
Chambersburg
Pennsylvania
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10
Apr 2009*
This is the game that started me into the real world of boardgaming, hence I'll never remove it from the top spot on my top ten.

It's a very fun game that I consider a hybrid of a war game and euro-econ game. The point of the game is to attain market share (e-e) but along the way you find yourself in takeover battles with your opponents, hinging on die rolls and accompanied by modifiers (wargame).

I'll concede that there is a good amount of luck in this game, but there are also ways to circumvent bad luck which I've included in my strategy guide.
2008-06-03*
Owned
George Van Wallendael
United States
Valrico
Florida
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10
Jun 2009*
Own multiple copies of this game. Wargame disguised as an economic game. I love this game and will never pass up a chance to play it.
2009-06-14
Owned
Tom Lehmann
United States
Palo Alto
California
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9.5
Nov 2009*
A very good game for 4-5 that balances steady economic growth versus risky expansion and "fare wars" to clip your competitors' wings. Some players may find this game too chaotic, but you actually have a lot of tools (loans, jumbos, foreigns, fare wars, etc.) to help you manage the luck of the chit pulls. Use the tools, Luke!

Avoid the basic rules. We play a minor house rule -- strikes never last more than one turn -- to decrease player frustration (you can occasionally get trapped in strike hell when you have loans outstanding).
2015-05-26
Stewart Tame
United States
Ypsilanti
Michigan
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9
May 2005*
Very fun game. The theme works well, and it's structured so that conflict with other players must occur in order to win--no sitting back and waiting for the money to roll in. It can be a little on the long side sometimes though.
2005-05-15*
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Matt Regashus
United States
Wisconsin
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9
Aug 2005*
The game that really got me interested in modern board gaming. Somehow it manages to be an economic game, a wargame, and a German game all at once. Had the chance to play it with the designer Evan Davis a few years ago - a great guy.
2005-08-11*
Owned
Andrew Nick
Canada
LANGLEY
British Columbia
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9
Feb 2006*
Finally got to play this, and it's TERRIFIC! Not like Rail Baron at all, but will appeal to casual gamers, more so even because of the reasonable time frame to play a game. Advanced rules add spice, but do not overburden a very good basic game.
2006-02-21*
Owned
Todd Walker
United States
Culver City
CA
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9
May 2006*
Fun game that seems to get a bad rap in my gaming group. Yes, there are a few random events that can really hurt, but that's part of the game. I don't mind having to make choices to protect against large negative outcomes. It seems that others are uncomfortable with assessing an expected impact (i.e. risk of event occuring x effect of risk). Like I said, it's part of the game.

ELEGANCE 1
PACE 1
CONSISTENCY 2
REPLAY 2

MODIFIERS
DEPTH AND BREADTH .5
THEME .5
PRODUCTION QUALITY 0
LEARNING THE ROPES .5

TOTAL 7.5
2006-05-08*
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Francis Kan
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Unspecified
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9
Jul 2009*
A competitive game with nice game theme and not complicated rules. Best play with 5 players.
At Sunny's home
2009-12-23
Owned
Nate Sandall
United States
Portland
Oregon
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9
Dec 2008*
Great game to play with 5-6 players, not bad with fewer. Different strategies, but if the dice hate you you'll just have to live with it. Play with the optional disasters including the oil shocks as this is the one sure thing to prevent a runaway leader situation. Finishable in 2-3 hours unlike many other empire building wargames.
2008-03-25*
Owned
Alan Clift
United States
Eaton
Unspecified
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9
Aug 2008*
Has been a 6 player favorite for years. Plays fast, and interesting to watch even when it's not your turn. Of course receiving income on others turns helps hold the interest.
2013-02-12
Owned
Bruce Bernard
United States
Fairview
Pennsylvania
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9
Aug 2009*
Play copy
2009-08-23
Owned
Bruce Bernard
United States
Fairview
Pennsylvania
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9
Aug 2009*
Shrink Wrap
2009-08-23
Owned
Andrew Jacob Johnson
United States
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9
Jan 2013
PROS
-The whole game can change in a single turn.

FWIW
-Can last anywhere from 45 minutes to over 3 hours.

CONS
-Most fun with most players.
2010-10-29
Owned
Michael Knapp
United States
Valrico
Florida
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9
Jun 2015
A great economic "war game" which is easy to learn and fun to play. Only reason it gets a 9 and not a 10 is because in rare instances a player can be hit hard economically early and be marginalized in game play.
2015-06-07
Owned
Mike Pranno
United States
Chardon
Ohio
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8.5
Oct 2010
Highly addicting to people that love randomness in their games. The basic and advanced game have completely different flavors, so try them both.
2004-11-16*
Owned
Fillard Spring-Rhyne
United States
Portland
Oregon
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8.5
Apr 2009*
This game is a kick -- lots of raw amusement value.

It's also fun to strategize and figure out the "terrain". For example, controlling the Dallas-Fort Worth hub gives you an exceptionally high return on your investment and is a great place to spend your early money -- but only if you're strapped for cash. If you have a lot of money, there are better things to do with it.

One downside is the strong random element. One time I had what really felt like a secure holding... and then an opponent declared fare war and just mowed me down. I consulted a probability chart I'd made and saw that the chances of such a decimation were about 20 to 1 against. But it's not uncommon to have 20 fare wars in a single game, so I guess that's how the cookie crumbles. Huh.

Since this is basically a war game, it has little to no appeal for my non-gamer friends.
2009-04-04
Owned
Stephan Valkyser
Germany
Wesseling
NRW
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8.3
Nov 2011
Great game. Unfortunately, games in my group have deteriorated into "waiting games", where nobody is risking fare wars anymore and everybody is racing to buy jumbos as soon as possible. When everybody is trying the same (apparently best) strategy, the game gets a little boring.
2012-01-09
Owned
Stephane Dorais
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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8
Aug 2010
Fun. It's almost a wargame.
2010-08-11
Owned
Marc Guenette
Canada
Laval
Quebec
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8
Mar 2003*
I've had great fun playing this game... There is strategy involved, but the luck factor can be frustrating... Don't need to use the advanced game
2003-03-10*
Owned
Jason Russ
United States
Marshall
North Carolina
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8
Jun 2003*
I may be one of the few people who like Air Baron better than Union Pacific. I think of them in the same way, although they are really not all that similar. Anyway, AB has some nice conflict between the players and I like the very open-ended play.
2003-06-14*
Owned
Mark Mahaffey
United States
Columbia
South Carolina
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8
Jul 2007*
Great gateway game.
2007-07-08*
Owned
Chris Nelson
United States
Portland
Oregon
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8
Aug 2003*
like it, but Gods forbid you get an oil shortage in the first two turns...
2003-08-08*
jefF, There are some who call me... DuneKitteh
United States
Wood Dale
Illinois
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Dune Kitty really does love you, despite any asshattery.
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Useless rollover, booya! Dune Kitty says, "deal with it."
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8
Sep 2003*
Bought hoping it would be more like an airline version of Rail Baron. Once I got over that it wasn't, got to like the game itself as its own entity.
2003-09-19*
Owned
Alex Η
Greece
Athens
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8
Jan 2004*
I like this game. Now this is obvious from my rating but why? It's probably the random drawing of the chits that does it for me. I guess I like nicely designed random mechanisms in game. But more importantly I like the fact that you get to build something. You get to expand your company and in the end put all the others out of business!!
Plus, the satisfaction of getting the monopoly in a big area like New York or Chicago is increadible!
2004-01-09*
Owned
Gene McMahon
United States
Houston
Unspecified
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8
Feb 2004*
Players run an airline and try to gain control of hubs.
2004-02-29*
Owned
Jason Richards
United States
Old Town
Maine
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8
Oct 2004*
I like this one a lot. At first you think it's going to be a marathon experience a la Rail Baron, but board position can change lightning quick, and games don't drag at all.
2004-10-10*
Owned
Joe Saul-Sehy
United States
Texarkana
Texas
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8
Jan 2011
An older game with maybe too much chrome and an endgame that wears on you like Monopoly. All that said, the chrome is so cool and we love the theme so much it's easy to get to the table once a year.
2011-08-27
Owned
J. H.

Silver Spring
Maryland
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8
Dec 2005*
Although I'm not much of wargamer (chits make me itch, and I'd rather read about history then relive and replay it), this pseudo wargame is great in my book. With a random draw-a-chit from a cup, with the airplane hub theme pasted on, it looks like a great economics game, but when you declare "fare wars", you realize deep down you're not undercuting your airline competitors with great bargains to the customer, but distributing machine guns to your ticket agents and pointing them in the directions of the annoying "discount airline" competitor.
2005-12-11*
Owned
Abraham Drucker
United States
San Francisco
California
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8
Jun 2009*
My first 'real' game ever played. I won. It took a long time to get back on track, but this is what sent me in the board game direction. This was also my induction into Skiffy. You may already be a member.
2010-07-19
Owned
Joe Steadman
United States
El Paso
Texas
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8
Mar 2006*
Remove the oil counter and the game is MUCH more fun.
2006-03-06*
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Brian Bankler
United States
San Antonio
Texas
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"Ma! They done killed Rando!"
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8
Mar 2013
High luck, but quick. I've been playing this quite a bit with my 9yo son (mainly 2-4 players), and it's good. He's not quite at the level to play well enough to win often, but he wins sometimes.

Rating -- Suggest
2012-06-05
Owned
Robert Neff
United States
Culver City
California
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8
May 2006*
I do agree that this plays out with a "wargame feel". Once a player gets total control of a few hubs (and with some payouts), things can be leveraged into a winning possitions. Sort of like taking land/space/zones in a wargame . . . the one with the most is able to take more "land" (airport connections) from weaker neighbors.
It takes a few turns before the mechanics work for new players.

I played a game where a player "almost won" but did not finish the task (let another turn go) so the others "pulled him back" so the game went on & on . . . but it was fun throughout.
2006-05-04*
Owned
Greg Nichols
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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8
Feb 2007*
Just plain fun. Cute plastic planes to push around. There are some game balance issues which revolve around the number of players and the board layout. But overall, this is a fun wargame disguised as an airline business game.
2007-02-06*
Owned
Brian White
United States
Clayton
Missouri
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8
Nov 2009*
Some eurogamers I've played with complain that this game has too much luck. But I really like that aspect of it. Its a game of managing and manipulating luck. Sure, each profit draw is random, but you know the odds exactly, as its your moves that determined what profit counters are in the cup in the first place. I've seen lots of different strategies win. And I've seen great games where someone came within a dollar of being able to afford to take over the last airport in fare wars in order to get the market share to win, only to get bankrupted by an oil fare hike on the next draw. This game makes for great stories.
2007-12-17*
Owned
Kenneth Bailey
United States
Ypsilanti
Michigan
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8
Dec 2007*
I'm an aviation nut, so of course I had to get this one. It's a pretty fun game and has a pretty good mechanic for income generation. With the addition of taking airports, it sometimes has the feel of a war game. The only problem is if you don't have an income draw for a while.
2007-12-10*
Owned
CR Holmes
Canada
lazo
British Columbia
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8
Feb 2008*
played this lots to the point friends counters are almost unreadable would like to get my hands on my own copy
2008-02-04*
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Chris Leger
United States
Edgewood
New Mexico
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8
Feb 2008*
Good game, although a bit bloodthirsty to be played with 2 people. The game has grown on me after playing with more people.
2008-02-17*
Owned
Forest Cole
United States
Houston
Texas
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8
Apr 2008*
This is a great blend of war and economic game. I think the theme is well worked here. This should be good for getting family and friends to play.
2012-01-01
Owned
It's not OCD until you sleeve your UNO cards.
United States
Vancouver
Washington
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The die is cast.
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You say OCD like it's a bad thing.
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8
Jun 2008*
A war game disguised as an ecomomics game. You have to be comfortable with dice rolls determining your fate, but over time things average out.

Buy those Jumbo jets and international routes. Don't start those fare wars until you've got the money to ride it out.
2008-06-07*
Owned
John Dextraze
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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8
Feb 2011
Initial impression. Needs more evaluation. I expect my rating to be higher with more plays.
2009-01-10*
Owned
Stephane Brochu
Canada
Outremont
Quebec
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8
Apr 2011
Great game, just wished i had pulled it off my shelves and onto the table sooner!
The early game, with the purchasing of spokes can feel a little boring, but that's just the setting up. once the takeovers start, the game can get quite tense. It's all about knowing when to start Fare Wars (if at all) and manipulating the odds in your favor.
Great game that's probably not know.
2011-04-30
Owned
J. Alan Hatcher
United States
Hendersonville
Tennessee
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8
Jun 2011
I've only played it once, but it was a lot of fun. Most of us were new players so we weren't very cut-throat and one aggressive player built up a base that was almost impossible to dislodge.
2011-06-02
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Paul Powell
United States
Portland
Oregon
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8
Jan 2012
I always love playing Air Baron. I don't normally win, but I always have a great time!
2012-01-31
Owned
Frederic Dubois
Canada
Calgary
AB
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8
May 2015
The theme of Air Baron is to create a modern day airline. It reminded me of a game called Aerobiz for the Sega Genesis that I my friends and I use to play. It was a great video game, so I was immediately attracted to AB.

Although AB has an economic theme, game play is akin to a war game, because game play largely revolves around aggressively taking control of your neighbour's routes, which is done through rolling dice with modifiers. Game play can bog down when a player loses due to some bad dice rolls.

Profit is earned from holding routes, but the routes which earn are determined by random draws. However, careful planning can minimize the luck involved.

I like AB, but I enjoy games with random chance and luck. AB is an old school Ameritrash game where many of the mechanics of the game is determined by random chance. Although there are ways to minimize the effect of luck, AB has a Risk like feel to the game.
2015-05-14
Owned
Wesley Williams
United States
Melrose (Rensselaer County)
New York
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7.75
Apr 2013
Really nice economic game with a splash of conflict - not too dicey or capricious. In our most recent play, 5 experienced gamers continually ganged up on the leader to create what seemed like to be perpetual parity. We did not consider the value of income and using cash on hand to supplement our market share. This also effected our build strategy and game actions, so the game went on too long and we called it after 3.5 hours.
2013-04-24
Owned
Arthur Soma
United States
Pickerington
Ohio
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7.5
Oct 2004*
Avalon Hill rocks!
2004-10-13*
Owned
Tim Moore
United States
Wesley Chapel
FL
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7.5
Nov 2004*
Another classic game we take off the shelf occasionally. Lots of fun to play with interesting theme and game mechanics. Perhaps a bit long, but once everyone has played it, it moves more quickly.
2013-08-28
Owned
Jean-Paul Meuldijk
Netherlands
Capelle aan den IJssel
Zuid - Holland
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7.5
Jan 2005*
Not yet played. Rules and board make a promise of being a good game.
2005-01-10*
Owned
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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7.5
Aug 2005*
Although this game has something that I usually consider a fatal flaw -- namely, a high degree of randomness in a relatively long game -- I enjoyed it. The "fare wars" mechanic is very fun and allows for some wrenching decisions that force you to balance risk and reward with a strategic assessment of the overall game position.
2005-08-20*
Owned
Seth Howard
United States
Portland
Oregon
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7.5
Jan 2006*
Rating after one play. Really enjoyed, rating would probably increase after more plays. Does have that wargame feel to it.
2006-01-21*
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