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A Preview by
- 2-4 Players
- 45-75 minutes
- 8+ Ages
What is Tour Operator
As the name suggests Tour Operator has you as the head of a travel agency. As such you will need to manage your resources including fuel for planes and your staffing all the while looking after the needs of the tourists. Get them where they want, with what they want, when they want and into the accommodation they will be happy with.
Inside the box you will find quite a lot or beautiful artwork in a gentle nice fun style making it feel very welcoming,
- 4 Plane/ Office boards,
- 4 Hotel Boards,
- 30 Tourist cards,
- 28 Employee cards,
- 25 City Cards,
- 4 Aeroplanes,
- 200 tokens,
- 5 Dice, Rules booklet.
These are the components in the preview copy and the starting list of the current Kickstarter. They are very likely to change as goals are reached and components get upgraded.
How does it work?
In a game of Tour Operator you are trying to send tourists on holiday. A game is played over a series of rounds based on the number of players. 2 player games last 7 rounds, 3 players will be 6 rounds while 4 player lasts 5 rounds. At the end of the correct number of rounds the highest scoring Travel Agency wins. Each of the rounds is broken down into a number of phases which consist of,
- New Tourists appear – Players draft up to 4 new tourists for their Travel Agency.
- Gain & use resources – Each player will roll the 5 custom dice to gain resources.
- Previous Tourists check out – Any Tourists that have reached the end of their stay leave the hotel.
- Tourists fly & Scoring – Any tourists on planes can now be flown to their destinations and Victory Points scored.
- Tourist Check-in – You will need to locate the Tourists into the preferred rooms If a Tourist cannot be put into a room they gain you minus victory points.
- Activities & unhappy travellers – Tourists already on holiday take part in activities scoring you bonus points while those sat in your Office spaces become more dissatisfied. If they become angry they leave and you gain minus victory points.
Sounds fairly simple?
The basic rules for Tour Operator are very straightforward and easy to pick up. All the Icons used come across very clearly and easy to understand. This includes the bonus points and accommodation needs icons. Each Tourist has different preferences based on Activities they want to take part in like shopping, discoing or Beach. The room they want to stay in is shown along with the duration of their holiday duration time. Staff you can recruit will have bonus abilities to assist you either as a one off or an ongoing effect. Travel around the locations is based on your fuel each location costs one fuel.
You might be thinking cute graphics, 8+ age requirement, easy rules and easy teaching would be a recipe for a super lightweight game with no strategy? Wrong answer! You will be pleasantly surprised to discover that Tour Operator is (in my opinion) a mid weight title in terms of strategy. There is no hidden info, Dice rolling can be mitigated with the use of Staff abilities, Staff recruitment is based on the draw 3 choose 1 method which will allow you to make useful decisions as opposed to the “get what your given” method. Your strategy for playing starts with deciding which tourists to place on your plane. How much fuel do you have? Where can you reach? Do you want to use all the fuel available? Once you have made those choices you will then look at your competition. What’s that? Looks like Stella needs to visit Tokyo to place all her Tourists? I will fly there instead I can still score some bonus and she will have a Tourist without a room and minus points. Yes you have a little element of take that as well.
Who is it for?
Tour Operator is an entry level mid weight game with more strategic play available if you want to expend the added brainpower. Equally as good as a straight up race for points as a deeper thinky game. Suitable for Family play due to its easy to understand rules and accessible use of graphics. With a play time of up to 75 minutes it just about fits into the meet-up category. I do not think it has the depth or involved play for regular game group but will definitely be one that comes out from time to time.
Before giving my thoughts I will be honest and say that the game designer Nestor is a designer I have spoken to many times during the development of Tour Operator. Mostly about my opinions over artwork choices. This has not affected my thoughts or review but is for openness and clarity.
I liked Tour Operator quite a lot. It is accessible and easy to both teach and learn. The ability to plan ahead or just play on the fly. Minimal luck with good mitigation means that this is suitable for almost everyone apart from ‘dudes on a map’ exclusive players. Tour Operator felt well balanced and while there is the chance of a hugely bad / good roll your Staff recruitment choices will help you stay in the game.
Tour Operator is live on Kickstarter now with a short campaign finishing on April 28th. Go check it out for yourself and the option for 5Euro discount coupon for the first week as an added incentive makes this a much better value campaign than many others.
I Was provided a copy of Tour Operator for review through the Board Game Exposure Group. This game will now be passed onto another reviewer. I have tried to make this review as impartial as possible. No recompense was provided or sought for this review from the publisher. All images used are from Kickstarter page due to prototype components being received for preview.