Monday, July 22, 2013

Now Boarding - The Board Game: A cooperative, real time airport rush for 3-4 players

Now Boarding - The Board Game

A cooperative, real time airport rush for 3-4 players

In Now Boarding, 3-4 players will control airport hubs (and eventually cities as well) and manage randomly drawn passengers, sending them to each other's hubs en route to their specific destinations. Time is of the essence as passengers' patience run low and the days draw to a close. Work together to service as many passengers as possible, and try not too let too many run out of patience and storm off in a rental car!

88 Passenger tiles (22 each in 4 player colors)
4 International Hub ("A") boards (1 each in 4 player colors)
12 City boards (3 each in 4 player colors, labeled B, C, and D)
4 Jet tiles
XX Upgrade tiles (Concessions, Commuter planes, Gates, New Planes)
Countdown timer

1. Give each player the International Hub, 3 Cities, and 22 Passengers in their chosen color. All Passengers should be sorted by Destination.
2. Each player places their International Hub "A" and City "B" boards in front of them, and shuffles their "A" and "B" Passenger tiles into a face down supply in the center of the table. City "C," City "D," and their associated Passenger tiles are set aside - they won't be used until later.
3. Give each player 1 Jet to place on the Gate on their International Hub board, and 1 Commuter Plane tile to place below their boards.
4. Set the countdown timer to 5 minutes. If you like, you may use more time per day as a handicap for new players, or less time for expert players.

Return any unused components to the box. You are now ready to begin.

Game Structure:
Now Boarding takes place over three days, and each day is comprised of a series of rounds. During each round players will play simultaneously, managing the Passengers in their airports and sending them to each other's hubs in order to take them to their destination cities. Each round follows this sequence:
Step 1: Departure
 - Draw new Passenger tiles
 - Load and depart planes
Step 2: Arrival
 - Receive planes
 - Score or age passengers
Step 3: Purchase
 - Spend scored passengers to purchase infrastructure

Players must sync up their play at each step of the round. 
No player may move to the next step until all players are ready to do so.
This is very important! Things get very confusing if any player gets ahead of the other players.
Let's look at each step of the round in detail...

Step 1: Departure
The first thing that happens during the Departures step is that each player draws new Passenger tiles from the supply in the center of the table. One Passenger is drawn for each airport, and is placed into that airport in its starting orientation, with the text on the tile aligned vertically (as it would be read normally).

If a Passenger is drawn for an airport that exactly matches their destination, that passenger is returned to the supply face down and another is drawn in its place.

After drawing, players simultaneously manage their Passengers by loading them onto planes in their Gates, or by loading them onto their Commuter tiles.
Jets: The starting Jets have Capacity = 2, meaning that 2 Passengers may be placed inside that plane.
* Orientation of Passengers is very important and must be maintained at all times!
* Passengers in an airport may only be placed into Jets that are currently in Gates at that airport. Passengers may not be placed into Jets on a Tarmac or Runway.

Commuters: Commuters have Capacity = 1, meaning that only 1 Passenger may be placed onto a Commuter at a time. Each player starts with 1 (2?) Commuters, and unlike Jets, the Commuters can only shuttle Passengers between a player's cities and hub. Commuters can never be used to send Passengers to another player!
* Remember, orientation of the Passengers is very important!
* Commuters do not use Gates, they are virtual shuttles that are constantly moving back and forth between airports. 
* Passengers from any airport may be placed into Commuters.
Also during Departures, Jets in a player's Gates or Tarmac may be sent to other players' International Hubs (with or without passengers in them). Players each start with 1 Jet which has Range = 1, meaning that it can fly to a neighboring player's Hub. Later in the game, Jets may be upgraded to Range = 2, meaning that they can fly to the Hub of a player 2 seats away.

To send a Jet to another player, place it onto their Runway. Remember, orientation of the Passengers is very important, so it's useful to place the Jet so that it is oriented properly for the receiving player.

Once all players have completed the Departure step then it is time to move on to Arrivals. Remember, all players must move to the next step at the same time! Note: when moving to the Arrivals step, no player should have any Jets in any of their Gates*.

* During Departures it is legal to move a jet, with or without passengers, from your gate onto your own Tarmac. You would do this if you want to add a passenger to that jet next turn before sending it to another player.

Step 2: Arrival
The first thing that happens in the Arrivals is that all players receive Jets on their runways. Move all Jets from all runways to the Tarmac. from the Tarmac, jets can be moved into Gates. Each Gate can hold 1 Jet, so if a player has more Jets on the runway than Gates, some will have to wait on the Tarmac.

Next, all Passengers in Commuters and Jets in Gates (NOT Jets on Tarmacs) deboard and are placed in the airport.
* Passengers deboarding a Jet are placed on the same airport where the Jet is located.
* Passengers deboarding a Commuter may be placed into any airport.
* After deboarding, there should be NO Passengers on any Commuters or in any Jets in Gates. There may be Passengers in Jets on Tarmacs. There should also be no Jets in Runways.

Now each Passenger will either score or age.
* If the Passenger is currently in the location printed on the tile, congratulations! You have successfully delivered that Passenger to its destination! Score that Passenger by placing it aside, face up, in a personal score pile. Note: Passengers on the Tarmac do NOT count as being in the airport, they never score!
* If the Passenger is in ANY OTHER LOCATION (including the Tarmac), instead of scoring, age that passenger by rotating it 90 degrees clockwise. passengers have colored edges (Green, Yellow, and Red). This indicates how much patience they have left. When a Passenger's patience runs thin, they get sick of waiting and storm off in search of other transport (a rental car, or another nearby airport). The color along the TOP of the Passenger tile is important - Green means the passenger is just fine. Yellow is a warning that the passenger's patience is wearing thin. Red means that the passenger is just about fed up... any time a passenger is rotated off of it's red side, place that passenger aside in a Lost pile - that passenger is lost and will never be scored this game!

When all players have scored or aged each of their passengers then it's time to move on to the Purchase step of the turn.

Remember to age all passengers in Jets (on Tarmacs) in addition to passengers in airports!

Step 3: Purchase
During the Purchase step, players may spend money printed on face up passengers in their score pile on upgrades and infrastructure. Passengers used to pay for these things are turned face down, but kept in the score pile for now. No change can be given, so when using a $2 and a $3 passenger to purchase a $4 item, $1 will be wasted.
The items and upgrades available to purchase and their prices are...
$3 Concession (Place at an airport. Each round 1 passenger at that airport does not age.)
$4 Commuter
$5 Gate (be able to deboard additional Jets)
$6 Upgrade Jet (turn the Jet to the back side)
$7 New Jet (see below for possible non-standard Jet)
$8 Upgrade a City into a Hub (comes with a Gate and a Runway - other players may send Jets there now)

Additional ideas for items to add:
$? Helicopter (Range = 1, Capacity = 1, Does not require a Gate)
$7 Jumbo Jet (Front: Range = 1, Capacity = 3 Back: Range = 1, Capacity = 4, Passengers do not age)
$4($2?) Commuter Train (Place between 2 adjacent airports. Capacity 2)

When all players are ready to move on, the next round begins with another Departure step.

Rounds continue like this until the countdown timer (started at the beginning of the first round of the day!) runs out. The timer running out signals the end of the day. After the current round is complete, the game will progress to day 2.

During the Purchase step at the end of the day, players MUST purchase until they can no longer afford anything. Then, all face down passengers from all score piles are shuffled back into the face down supply in the center of the table. Note that players with an extra $1 passenger face up may keep that passenger!

As time goes by and players service passengers, their regions grow and new airports open up nearby! Before the next day begins, each player places their City "B" board in front of them alongside City "A," and adds all of their "B" Passenger tiles to the face down supply. Mix the supply well!'

Reset the timer and Day 2 is ready to begin. NOTE: Now that players have 3 airports, they will each draw 3 new passengers during the Departure step - 1 for each airport!

Day 2 plays just like Day 1, though with more passengers and more destinations it will be a bit harder. Hopefully the players will have built up some infrastructure to help deal with all of the customers.

At the end of Day 2, each player adds another new City ("C"), and all of the "C" Passenger tiles, and the processes is repeated 1 last time.

At the end of Day 3, each player adds the total value of all passengers in their score pile - both face up and face down (so it doesn't matter if you've 'spent' them on upgrades). Add each player's total together and divide by the number of players to get a final score. Go ahead and round up. Refer to the chart below to see how well you did:
00-10: Keep trying!
11-18: Notable
19-24: Great
25-29: Epic
30-32: Legendary
33-41: Mythic
   42+: PERFECT

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