Holidays eh? What do you do? Go through the rigmarole of organising everything yourself? Or pay a bit more for someone else to sort it all out for you? Tour Operator places you in that role of fulfilling the travel dreams of as many demanding tourists as possible.
In Tour Operator, 2-4 players will battle it out for resources, but you don't really want to grab too much of any one resource as you need a good balance. Fuel, clean seats, clean rooms and customer pleasing coupons are the resources in question and these are mainly gathered through dice rolling. As you progress through the game you will be able to employ staff that give you temporary or permanent abilities, which let you clean extra rooms, change dice rolls and so on.
Tourist cards have quite a bit of information on them but it's all laid out in an easy to understand fashion. They have a starting happiness (angering a tourist loses you victory points), information about their requirements for flights, rooms, and entertainment and what they want in a destination. Matching their destination needs is a primary way of scoring points, but not the only way.
Using fuel you will fly your plane to destinations that will vary each game thanks to a modular 'board' made of cards. Your four hotel rooms can only hold one guest each, apart from the bunk room, so balancing short stay and longer stay guests is vital. Filling and cleaning the plane every turn is pointless if you don't have clean rooms waiting.
After you have scored your new tourists they check in and take in some entertainment, while any tourists still waiting in your office lose happiness.
That is a fairly loose description of the rounds but they are still being tweaked by the developers in terms of the final order of play. In fact, one of the things I've loved about chatting with the developers about the game is their openness to suggestions and critique. It's something I find more often than not with Kickstarter games, but always pleasantly surprising when it happens.
The biggest complaint I had with Tour Operator was a degree of fiddlyness, which is fairly typical of resource management games. It was a bit of a nitpick, as it's hard to see how the game could work without it. However, the publishers and developers are already working on ways of improving that.
This is a surprising mid-weight game that is hugely enjoyable to play. The artwork looks great and is bright and cheery, and the game is easy to learn. But don't be fooled, there is depth and decision here. This was already a great package but then I found out the price - €35 is, in my opinion, ridiculously low for the amount of components, let alone gameplay. Even better, if you fill in this form you will be given another €5 off the price!
If you are interested, Tour Operator is live on Kickstarter right now!