Vom Boden in die Luft
Streckenlizenzen und Aktien
1990 Abacus published a game that was called Airlines, designed by Alan R. Moon. The game originally was supposed to have a railway topic, but was lifted up a few kilometers and turned into a game on airlines. 21 years later Abacus has picked up the game again and – with the same topic – transferred it to Europe.
The first changes begin with the number of players which has been reduced to 5, who now can rival for flight permits and profits. Die ersten Änderungen beginnen schon bei der Spielerzahl, nur mehr bis zu 5 Spieler können um die Fluglizenzen und Profite rivalisieren. For this you use a board depicting a map of Europe including a share value track as well as 112 share cards for 16 airlines. The airlines have been given names alluding to game companies, a loving and painstaking funny detail for insiders, I especially like FF Flys for the green airline and White Winds for the white one, a reverence to Alan R. Moons own publishing company of early days.
Then there are 112 airplanes, share cards for Air Abacus, victory point chips, money, playing aids, markers for bonus connections and general markers.
Each player begins the game with 8 cards on hand, 2 shares, 8 Mio Euros and victory points according to his seat in relation to the stating player. Victory points, by the way, are kept secret during the game. Depending on the number of players the components for 1 to 3 airlines are removed, Air Abacus is always in the game, but does not own airplanes or markers for home airport or share value track.
At the start of the game each player chooses 2 shares of 2 different airlines from his hand and places them face down, then they are turned up simultaneously. These cards represent the starting shares of each player, 5 share cards from the draw pile are displayed openly and form the share market.
Then you play in rounds, each player has exactly one action in his turn and can choose from four different actions:
- Buy one or two connection licenses and take up one share
- Display shares from your hand and receive dividends
- Trade shares for Air Abacus shares
- Take money
Licenses for connections between cities are marked by circles, the number in the circle denotes the price, which has to be paid for with money. Then you place an airplane of an airline of your choice and advance the marker of the chosen airline on the share value track by the number of steps equal to the price of the license. You need not own a share in an airline to buy a license for it. Such new connections must either start at the home airport of an airline or be connected to the existing grid of the airline. Each airline can only own one license for a given connection and you must always buy the cheapest license available for a connection. After you buy a license you take a share either from the draw pile or from the open market.
To display shares you can either lay down any number of shares of the same airline or one share each of two different airlines. You receive 2 Mio dividend for each share displayed.
If you want to acquire Air Abacus shares you discard any shares from your hand or your display, 1 share gives you 1 Air Abacus share, 3 shares get you 2 Air Abacus ones. Air Abacus shares have a fixed value for each scoring and are not available from the share market.
If you take money, you receive 8 Mio Euros from the bank. Should the bank run out of money and not have enough the bank is considered to be bust. All players with assets of more than 8 Mio cash must hand the excess over to the bank, the cards in the open share market are removed and replaced by new ones.
When a scoring card appears in the open market or is drawn from the pile it is handed to the player whose turn it would be next and a scoring happens. Each player takes a share from the market, surplus cards are discarded. Then shares in the displays of the players – not in their hands - are scored, in order of number of shares per player for a given airline. In case of a tie the victory points for the positions are added and shared equally among the players in the tie. Finally, you score victory points for Air Abacus shares you won. After the third scoring you win with most victory points.
What has changed as regards to Airlines? The permit cards featured in the original game have been abolished – you can, when available, buy a license any time. The number of players has been reduced to five, which makes the game a bit more clear. The flair and feeling of the game remains intact, the retrolook is nice, components and graphics again very attractive.
The fun in playing, too, has remained the same – Airlines Europe is an attractive family game allowing quite an amount of tactics: You should not declare majorities to early and take care to acquire shares of Air Abacus, if you do not hold such shares you will not have a lot of chances to win the game. Those Air Abacus share are a nice way to get rid of useless share, for instance, when an airline has been blocked early, and to make some profit out of them yet. And the tension is kept up by the uncertainty of when the next scoring will happen. Anyway, a positive recommendation for a family game.
Dagmar de Cassan
Players : 2-5
Age : 10+
Duration : 60+
Designer : Alan R. Moon
Artist : Christian Fiore
Price : ca. 40 Euro
Publisher : Abacusspiele 2011
Web : www.abacusspiele.de
Genre : Placement and acquisition game
Users : For families
Version : de
Rules : de en fr jp pl
In-game text : no
Revised edition of both Union Pacific and Airlines * condensed and modernized compared to the predecessors * still an excellent family game
Union Pacific, Airlines, other grid optimizing games
Rio Grande, Filosofia, Hoppy Japan, G3 Poland
My rating : 5
Statement Dagmar de Cassan:
A felicitous new edition of a nearly classic game, and – in this streamlined version, too - an excellent family game with some tactics and an interesting chance element due to the unpredictable occuring of scoring.