The Golden Age Of Dice Rolling
I’m not going to lie—Airships did not look like a winner when I first saw it. But once I figured out that it was designed by Andreas Seyfarth of Puerto Rico fame, I decided to give it a go. And I’m glad I did; underneath the remarkably average visuals is a unique game that combines raw luck with different paths to victory.
Your play area has 6 spaces for improvement cards (an Engine, a Pilot, and Engineer, etc.). Each turn you announce a card that you would like to roll for, and then roll the appropriate number of dice. White dice only go up to 3 (1-1-2-2-3-3), red dice to 5 (2-3-3-4-4-5), and black dice to 8 (4-4-6-6-8-8). The more cards you have (and the better cards you have), the better your chances of getting victory points.
Granted, the overall concept is a bit abstract; you’re kind of building your own airship while also buying other airships. But the game itself is easily understood, and ramps up well. And by the end it’s a race to the finish to grab the biggest points building the iconic Hindenburg.
- Decisions: 3.5/5. Because Airships is a dice-rolling game, your decisions ultimately aren’t as important as your luck (or lack thereof). Thankfully this game gives you a number of ways of boosting your rolls, and even gives you the option to take another turn if you have the tokens to spend.
- Artwork: 3/5. To be honest, the artwork in this game is kind of lackluster. It’s not bad—it’s certainly light-years beyond Glenn’s Gallery—but it’s just not that engaging.
- Replayability: 4.5/5. Because the cards come up in a random order, it’s not possible to rely on any one particular strategy (or set of card combos) to win. Plus, the airship cards (worth the most points) are different each game as well, which can deeply affect the path you choose.
- Awesomeness: 4/5. I like this one. It’s possible to lose by overextending, and it’s also possible to lose by being too conservative and never taking chances. That for me creates excitement, and keeps me coming back for more.
TOTAL SCORE: 15/20
Bottom line: I like Airships. As much as I may complain about my rolls, I have to admit that the custom dice combined with the multiple opportunities for bonuses forces me to think about this one more than other dice games where you roll first and add later. If you can overlook the bland visuals, you are in for a real treat (unless you think I’m just full of hydrogen).