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Board Game Review: Planes, Trains and Automobiles The Game

This week sees my friends over in America celebrating Thanksgiving, which makes me think of the John Hughes 1987 film Planes, Trains and Automobiles. That is the one with Steve Martin and John Candy having a terrible time trying to return home.

Funko Games recently sent me the Planes, Trains and Automobiles The Game. It is more of a card game than a board game and while it is only a small box it is a lot of fun for two people.

Here is the official blurb about the game:

Overcome grounded planes, icy roads, and burning cars to reach Chicago in time for the holidays—but it won’t be easy. You’ll face laugh-out-loud dexterity
challenges and clever card play to win!

    • Relive hilarious moments from the film while creating some of your own!
    • Unique game style blends classic card play with engaging dexterity challenges.
    • Toss, slide, and spin the movie-inspired shower curtain ring!
    • Variable setup and challenges create a new experience each time you play.
    • Cooperative gameplay brings players together in the spirit of the holidays.

What this means in reality is you shuffle two challenge decks and set them up side by side. Place the Transit card of top of the Destination card so that only New York is visible. Then you draw two cards from the challenge deck and stick them together. This tells you the type of challenge you need to do and the amount of miles you need to get to complete it.

You then draw the required amount of journey cards, set them up as described and then follow the instructions for that particular round. You are successful if you move the Mileage Marker to the exact Goal Mileage. You then slide the Transit card along to reveal the next city on the Destination card.

You lose the challenge if either player runs out of Journey cards you the Mileage Marker moves past the Goal Mileage. You then flip over the Transit card to the delayed side. If the delayed side is already showing then you lose the game.

Four successes and you have made it home. Two failures and you are done.

What makes the game fun and very replayable are the challenges. The two Challenge Decks mean challenges will vary and the way you complete them re a lot of fun. Sometimes you just have a hand of cards and you both play one. You may have to put them into a 3 by 4 grid or drop them onto the included shower curtain ring, making sure they don’t touch the table. Sometimes the cards are face up, sometimes they are face down. You may have to memorize them or throw, spin or slide the shower curtain ring across the table to land on one. Some challenges you can discuss your cards, some you have to keep silent. That’s just a brief summary as there are numerous combinations and other rules depending on what you draw. This mix of skills – dexterity, memory, communication, and so on – is great fun and means everyone will find a challenge they are great at…and not so great at.

I mentioned the shower curtain ring which was a lovely addition and ties in to John Candy’s Del Griffith character. Each card also features artwork based on different moments from the film, which means the theme plays out throughout each game.

While the game itself is not something that initially makes you think of the film, as you play you both have moments of frustration with the other player or times when you are cheering each other on just like the Neal Page and Del Griffith. It is also a game perfect to take with you during a long journey as it is a small box that can be played in most places to pass the time.

It is not the greatest game in the world, but it is a lovely little two player game that is very quick to learn and only takes about 20 minutes to play. Plus it is nice and cheap. The perfect stocking filler or table gift.

For those of you in the US you can get it at Amazon or Funko. UK and Europe you can get it here.

For those of you celebrating Thanksgiving this week, may you have a wonderful time.

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