Destination Fun! (AEG)

17 Mar

Destination Fun is AEG’s  official name for a series of games based around different modes of transportation. At this time there are games called Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

There is also Trains: Rising Sun, but that didn’t fit the reference. All three of these games are rather quick playing, and share at least some graphical / stylistic themes, but none of the games play anything alike. Let’s take a quick look at this series.



Trains is what happens when you add route building to deck building. In Trains, players are building routes, trying to connect to cities on the map. Once in those cities, players can build stations which help players score points at the end of the game.. This is done with a Dominion inspired (/copied) deck building mechanic. It’s so close, in fact, that if you already love Dominion, you don’t really need this one. However, I find the route building enough of a difference that this game made me get rid of my Dominion collection.

Trains has been expanded by a few extra maps and the Japanese focused Trains: Rising Sun (which can be placed by itself). I find the cards in Rising Sun a little meaner to other players, but if you mix the sets together, you’ll barely notice. I also really like the route cards added to the game in this set. It adds a little Ticket to Ride aspect to the game. I hope they release some more maps, and maybe a couple more small card expansions for this game.


pic2757112When Planes was announced, it caused a huge amount of buzz for several reasons. First off, airplanes are awesome (though I am terrified of flying). Next, the game is the second in the series after Trains, one of my favorite deck-building games of all time. Third, it was designed by David Short – who designed Ground Floor: one of my favorite heavy economic games around.

Maybe it had too much hype, but Planes severely let me down upon release. In essence, Planes is an abstract game, using the mechanics of Mancala as a base. Players pick one of the spaces on the board, and drop the cubes sitting there along the path of the terminal. If the last cube you drop ends on a plane by exact count, the cube boards the plane, and you get points or cards. Each player also holds a hand of double-ended cards. These cards can be used for actions, or flipped over, and scored as “achievements” throughout the game.

Planes is ok. That’s about the best I can give it. The mechanics are all good, there are interesting decisions to be made, and there are plenty of ways to score points – so it’s tense all the way to the end. I just didn’t have as much fun with it as I was hoping I would. I played it recently after a long hiatus, and I did enjoy it more than my first impression, but it wasn’t enough for me to keep it in my collection. A victim perhaps of over-hype and another, better, Mancala-inspired game (Five Tribes) released at almost the same time.



I love car games. So I was again extremely hyped when Automobiles was announced. I then saw it was designed by the same person as Planes and I hate to admit that I became almost instantly apprehensive. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed this time.

Automobiles is a pure racing game. The racing mechanics are done with am innovative cube-pulling system and “bag building” mechanic. Cubes on the gray scale control your speed around the track. The more colorful cubes are special actions such as pit crew tactics, and nitro etc. Brown cubes are wear. These don’t do anything buy bung up the bag. Managing wear is the #1 key to doing well in Automobiles. Second is making sure you are always able to draw useful cubes out of your bag.

While the racing is more abstracted than in some other games, I get more of a true racing feel in this than even in a game like Formula D. I’ll need to see more content over time before I would replace anything in my collection, but Automobiles is the real deal. I highly recommend trying this game out.

While it makes sense at some level for the series to end here, I hope it keeps going. I’d kind of like to know what they could do with ships or rockets, or dune buggies…there’s a lot of topics available.

I think most people will like Trains and Automobiles. Planes will definitely hit a happy spot for abstract gamers.

Bonus Transportation Game Review: Trambahn

While I mainly wanted to talk about the Destination Fun games, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least quickly mention the other two games I played on theme day. The first is Trambahn, the 2-player set collection game that took Origins 2015 by storm.


Trambahn is a riff / spiritual successor on the Reiner Knizia classic “Lost Cities.” Players are  trying to collect rows of cards in different colors in order to score points. What sets this apart from Lost Cities is the timing mechanic where both players facilitate when cards score, and what actually scores.. It’s a clever little game that probably would be more popular if it were more readily available.



Spike is a train game by R&R Games that combines elements from Transamerica, Empire Builder, Ticket to Ride, and Railroad Tycoon into an extremely quick playing pick up and deliver train game. The board is a little busy. And while it is color-blind friendly, I do feel like some of the different line patterns are a bit harder to discern than they should be. That being said, this is a really fun game. There’s enough depth to make this a solid next step after Ticket to Ride.

Next time, we grab our horned helmets and go pillaging! Games about Vikings next time.



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