Quick Look: Rainbow Airlines
Designer: Benny Sperling
Artists: Knowbys Cabin
Publisher: Lagniappe Games
Year Published: 2021
No. of Players: 1-6
Playing Time: 10-40 minutes
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
From the Publisher:
You and your fellow travelers have hit a snag. The airport has straight up canceled all of the flights, all of them! Here you are stuck on beautiful Hawaii with no way to get back to that boring job.
But wait, there’s hope! An airline has just opened its doors and if you and your fellow travelers can prove your mettle at building planes and getting travelers on board, you may just get back home!
Each turn you’ll be pulling and rolling dice to try to fix 3 planes. Since you’ve been hired by Rainbow Airlines to make this happen, they want their planes to be extra colorful! Make each plane piece a different color for bonus points! Then try to secure passengers who will get on board your carefully* constructed planes! Each plane has a preferred destination, which is up to you if that’s where you manage to send it to!
Out do your opponents and win big in this puzzly roll and write that brings color and fun to your table! Players draft dice using color and number of the dice drafted to assign to the plane, destination or passengers. Each game brings challenges to the players for them to consider!
I am a sucker for a fun, quick, roll and write. I have also been happy with the ones that I have supported by Lagniappe Games. This one has to do with airplanes and coloring! So, I was hooked and ready to play.
Rules & Setup:
The set up is simple. Print one scorecard, which features three airplanes each, per player, and grab six standard D6, of different colors, and a writing utensil. For this game, you can grab colored pencils or markers if you wish to color in your airplane as you go. When I played this game, I did not have this available, but my pen worked fine. Put the dice in the bag, and you are ready to go.
The rules are kind of a mess, as is the how-to video. However, if you read the rules and watch the video, you can figure the game out. It is not an overly complicated game, but it is an enjoyable one.
Theme and Mechanics:
I really enjoyed the theme of the game. Completing my airplane, filling with passengers, and assigning it destinations worked well with the dice rolling and drafting mechanic.
The first player draws two dice from the bag and rolls them. The player has the option of playing one or two of the dice. The catch being, both dice have to be used on the same plane. For instance, if you roll a red 3 and a green 4, you could color in cabin and right wing of one plane, color in the cabin and mark off 4 passengers of the same plane, or mark off the destination 7 on the third plane.
Let’s look at this a little closer. If you do not choose to color in the cabin, you cannot seat people in the airplane. This can be a BIG hindrance later for you. You need to complete your airplane, and this requires a die result of 1 through 6, and hopefully of each color. Toward the end of the game, you do not want to be trying to roll a 3 to start seating your passengers! Any roll in which you cannot use the results, is a lost turn. This could give your opponents a chance to really get ahead of you.
The object is to complete your plane, fill it with as many passengers as you can, give it one or two destinations, then mark it for takeoff. The more complete you make each plane, the more points you score. However, your opponents are doing the same thing. You have to balance your greed, though. As soon as someone marks their third plane for takeoff, the game ends. Any planes not marked for takeoff only score ½ their respective points. Points are one for each different color, two for every passenger onboard, negative one for each repeated color, and points for destinations. Add all three planes together, and the player with the highest score is the winner!
Artwork and Components:
The artwork and graphic design for Rainbow Airlines enhances the game. Each scoresheet depicts a trio of airplanes with a barcode on the side making it look like a plane ticket.
I played it as a two-player game at a restaurant during lunch. We ordered our food, then played this before our food came out. Well, almost. The end game took a few rounds to finally achieve. The solo rules sound like it would be a great solo game. I can see where a three-player game would probably be the sweet spot for this game. It moves quickly from player to player, but with 5 or 6, your downtime could be a bit distracting. Having the different colored dice makes this a colorful game. I wish that I had had my colored pencils to play it that day at lunch.
There needs to be a rule, or at least a mentioning, about when a roll cannot be used. Late in the game, your dice roll could actually yield two results you cannot utilize. Nothing in the rules stipulates what happens. We assumed you just lost your turn and selected one die to be returned to the bag. Also, can you choose to not use a die on your turn?
This game can drag towards the end as one or more players is just waiting on the last number required to complete their last plane and schedule it for takeoff. I needed a stupid three. It took me about five or six rounds to finally roll it.
I have found the games from Benny Sperling and Lagniappe Games to be very fun and entertaining. Each one offers a different approach to a simple roll-and-write. Rainbow Airlines continues this trend. I printed this one to play with a friend while at a restaurant. We had a makeshift draw bag and a set of dice I lifted from a different roll-and-write. My friend and I played this game while waiting on our food, and its small footprint fit our table perfectly. I look forward to playing this again, only this time, I plan to play with colored pencils or markers.
Players Who Like:
Roll-and-writes, print-and-plays, coloring, airplanes
Find out more at BGG.
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Adam Collins – Reviewer
Adam Collins plays many games. Too many games if you ask his wife. Not enough games if you ask his kids. Adam also designs games for his publishing company Bearded Board Games. He also runs a podcast, Eat Lunch and Board Game, where he reviews games on their merits include their ability to be played over a lunch hour. He also interviews other people involved in various facets of the board gaming community: designers, podcasters, authors, cross stitch designers. He grew up playing games, revived the passion ten years ago, and hasn’t turned back.