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Are you the first to fly? A First in Flight Review

First in Flight from Got Genuis Games is a deck building race like game, in which you are attempting to be the first to fly to 40 or furthest. At its heart, first in Flight takes action selection around a board (a rondel?) across multiple rounds that allow you to research, fix, and seek sponsorship for your lofty ambitions.

Your deck is your engine or wind power. The whole game is focused on giving you the tools to fly further. You're able to research new technologies and friends who want to support your projects, either spending money or time.

Yellow cards bring friends who give you once per year abilities before becoming exhausted.

Green research cards give you one-off ability per flight before they become exhausted, whilst blue cards act as permanent ongoing effects. This is where we had our first rulebook struggle it says green cards are once per flight and are then exhausted, but later the rulebook says you unexhaust cards at the end of the round, which suggests that if you fly multiple times a round the green cards are actually once per flight per round.

How you fly is a push your luck style mechanism, with you flipping cards from your flight deck until you either decide to descend and hopefully land or until your flight machine breaks and you crash. 4 crash symbols, and the flight is all over! Even if you go to descend, the flight isn't over just yet, and you may find your descent just as perilous. And if you crash, you'll be forced to take a recovery action.

Each flight you're aiming to set a new flight record, and each flight gives you the opportunity to reveal design flaws, which you can later repair, although they will be replaced by basic design flaws. Importantly, if you've not repaired your design flaws before your next flight, they'll get shuffled back into your flight deck. And once you reach 15, you'll become famous, and your character will upgrade.

At the end of each round, whoever has flown furthest will receive additional sponsorship money that you'll want for new development cards.

That's pretty much it! After 4 rounds or if a player reaches 40.

First in flight draws you in with its art. However, it ends up a bit messy, we found during our games that cards were ending up in the wrong piles. But that's the very nature of deckbuilders where cards all have the same back, although spaces on a side board for the different decks could have resolved this?

We also found the icongraphy at times a little bit lacking, in the sense that it wasn't always clear on the cost that was required. Once we had that figured out, the movement around the board regarding time spent is so appealing as a balancing mechanism. Whoever is behind on the track, its their turn, so taking an action that potentially takes you further away from it being your turn again is at times a difficult decision, especially at two players. Although, the time mechanism can ruin your early game if you have a bad first flight or two, at two players it felt like such a tight balance between actions and time, that we largely chose to pay for everything with coins rather than concede spaces.

But ultimately, is the whole game down to luck? Yes, the development cards give you an ability to better control the cards in your flight deck, but in a mechanism that is push your luck, actually, there isn’t a strategic option here. You could look to mitigate and control your flight deck, but actually, does it all just come down to luck of the draw? And over our games, that final flight is make or break, which could be largely down to the shuffling gods.

We also found that we had surplus amounts of money throughout the game, and maybe that means we should have focused our attentions elsewhere? However, in one game where I had a character who gave me additional money every round and gained money for the second furthest flight across 4 rounds, we took the money action once. Our other games were similar, with money being worthless. It feels like an option to spend before that final flight could be a nice final touch? Almost like last-minute preparations.

As you know, I rate games on a

- Buy or play

- Wait for sale or play if you like game XYZ

- Avoid

For me, First in Flight just falls short of "Buy or play." It's a game I enjoy, but I'm not sure I love it. With a collection of games that I operate a one in one out system, the comparison for First in Flight was for me after us. After us takes resource management where it feels like every decision matters, with deck building into this race, that's incredibly tense and fast. First in flight feels slower paced and generous on the resources, where that last flight is everything. And for me, bad draws and bad luck can scupper that. Despite the mitigation, you could have it a bad draw, or two could decide the fate of that final flight. However, despite that, First in Flight doesn’t overstay its welcome, and the theme is oh so appealing, that I'd happily come back and play it again.

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of First in Flight for review, I wasn't paid forthis review and all thoughts remain my own.

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Spaghetti and Meeples
Spaghetti and Meeples
Mar 25

SO much money, it feels like an afterthought in the game more than a resource to manage

Mar 25
Replying to

There was too much money! Or at least no way to spend it fast enough.

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