Get On Board puts you in charge of making the most efficient Bus Route in either New York (2 to 3 players) or London (4 to 5 players) in just 12 rounds. If you have played Flip & Write games in the past, you will understand the basic concept of everyone working off the same cards that are revealed but what will be new to you is everyone is working on the same central board.
This way you are competing for space and trying to reach objectives before your opponents which sets the game apart from others in this genre.
Place the central board in the middle of the table on the correct side (New York for 2 to 3 players & London for 4 to 5 players) and give all players 32 route markers and a departure pawn of a single colour plus a player sheet and writing utensil.
Shuffle the common objective cards and place 2 on the board with the yellow side facing up, give all players 1 personal objective card, and shuffle the bus tickets and hand 2 to each player so they can choose their starting location on the board by using one of the two numbers on the tickets.
Once everyone has chosen their starting location and placed their departure pawn all the bus tickets are shuffled together to make a face-down draw pile of 12 cards. You are now ready to start making your bus route.
Let’s Make A Bus Route
The starting player (indicated by the player that has the Inspector pawn) flips one ticket and everyone marks off the number shown on the top of their player sheet. This is where the game differs again from other flip and writes because every player’s sheet will provide a different result for the same number.
Then in turn order, each player will place their route markers on the map starting from their departure pawn according to the size and shape indicated. This can vary from a single marker, a double straight, triple straight, double with a 90 degrees bend, or triple with two 90 degrees bends. You must always place your next marker from the end position of your previous go and you can never double back on the same road.
If at any time you go across the same road as another player’s marker (or the black roads on the New York map) you must cross off a traffic jam indicator on your player sheet which provides a negative score at the end of the game. Green lights on the map provide a free extra marker placement if you end your go on them. You can never go across the same junction you have used previously and if you ever do the rule book says you automatically lose the game.
The player sheet provides a cheat option of allowing you to modify the shape of your current route (but not the length) but this comes with more negative points at the end of the game. There are 4 different types of passengers you can collect during your travels all of which score in slightly different ways. The simplest is the orange lady who just provides a score for each lady collected.
Others require you to drop them off at certain locations and they also have a limit as to how many you can carry before dropping them off. Other scoring options are the special locations on the board marked with a star and the common objectives (such as collecting 5 orange ladies).
At the end of the round, you check to see if any players achieved either of the common objectives. If so, you flip the common objective card that was achieved to the blue side which provides fewer points.
Finally, you pass the Inspector pawn to the next player who becomes the starting player for the next round. They flip the next ticket and play continues. Once all 12 cards have been played scores are calculated and the winner is the player with the highest score.
So, Is It Any Good?
Get On Board is a very good game. It is quick, plays really well at all player counts, is very easy to teach, has great components and there is just enough player interaction without being too confrontational. I was worried about the player markers when I opened the box as I thought they were too small and might easily be moved by accident if someone knocks on the table, but this was not the case.
I would have preferred some slightly different player colours. The yellow, blue and purple are fine and stand out on the map but the dark green and burgundy are dull in comparison and can be confused for each other in poor light. The maps are well laid out and all of the symbols are easy to read.
Only one complaint would be the fact you can only play on the side of the board for the number of players you have. This means that without some more players you may never be able to map your best route for London.