Game: Airlines Europe
Publisher: Abacus Spiele
Designer: Alan R. Moon
There is no doubt that Airlines Europe is a lesser known title when compared to Alan Moon’s best known game Ticket to Ride. I don’t think it is helped by the fact it falls into the category of a stock market game and is often compared to Union Pacific which for many in the gaming community is a bad thing. Luckily for me, I happened across a copy of Airlines Europe in a Facebook trade before I’d heard any negative comparisons, and was happy to pick up something with good designer credentials.
In Airlines Europe there is a map of Europe, with most major towns highlighted as hubs and connected by routes. The board is surrounded by a scoretrack and different coloured markers are placed in their starting spots. Unlike most games, the players do not own the scoremarkers, they instead represent the value of shares in the different coloured airlines. Throughout the game players choose which airlines to take shares in, as well as expanding different airlines, depending on which airlines you want to score more highly. There are 3 scoring rounds in the game that come up at slightly unpredictable points in the deck and each airline scores based upon how successfully it has expanded. If you have shares in the scoring airline then you have the opportunity to score points. If you have the most shares you get the most points, although there are often points for second and third place too.