Dale Yu: Review of Get On Board New York and London

Get On Board New York and London

  • Designer: Saashi
  • Publisher: IELLO
  • Players: 2-5
  • Age: 8+
  • Time: 20-30 minutes
  • Played with review copy provided by Flat River Group (distributor)

“Ah, here’s the bus! Hurry, grab a seat, and get out of the rain! Just like every trip, you’re fascinated by all the other passengers on board: tourists, professionals, students… They’re all traveling together, though they each have different destinations. This bus line is truly special, but will it be able to transport everyone safe and sound?”

Get On Board: New York and London is a new reprint of an old favorite, Let’s Make a Bus Route.  In the game, you have twelve rounds in which to build the best bus line in town. Each round reveals a new card that shows each player the route shape they must complete. Place your bus accordingly on the central board. Take the passengers where they want to go by connecting them and their destination to your bus line, avoid traffic, and gain as many victory points as possible!


Each player gets their own sheet where they will mark their progress –  to track the passengers they have picked up and dropped off, the traffic they’ve caused, and how many times they have used the cards. The board is placed on the table on the side for the player count, either London (4-5p) or New York (2-3p).   Each player gets a personal objective, and 2 common objectives are dealt to the board.   There is a deck of 12 cards which will direct the flow of the game; this deck is shuffled. Each player gets one card to determine their starting position, and then the deck is reshuffled.

Each round, a card is flipped, and the players will extend their route on the board in the pattern shown on the card.  You must continue your route from the current end point of your line.  In general, you have to follow the pattern shown on the card, and you are allowed to rotate/mirror it. If the player wants to deviate from the pattern, they may (a limited amount of times) alter parts of the prescribed path for a requisite loss of points as noted in the red area at the top of the player sheet.    if you end your movement at a green light, you get to place one additional segment.  Players should also mark off the ticket used in this round as it will help them keep track of what is left in the deck.

As the game progresses, you may not cross your own path or pass through a location you’ve entered previously.  In fact, if you do this, you’ll be eliminated from the game!  If another bus has already traversed the path you want to drive, you may still place your markers there, but you’ll cause 1 traffic for each segment.  At the end of the game, you will lose points based on how much traffic you made.

Now, as you are traveling through the city, you want to pick up passengers and deliver them.  Check to see if your route passes passenger icons or destinations. There are a few different types of passengers: seniors, students, business men and tourists.  Each has their own set of rules and scoring criteria – helpfully found on your player sheet.

  • Seniors – get on your bus and ride around; they score based on how many you pick up
  • Students – ride the bus and you will eventually score the product of the number of students and the number of universities you have stopped at
  • Businessmen and Tourists – they stay on your bus until you reach specific destinations: tourist sites and work sites, respectively.  Once your route goes through a scoring trigger, you must score any of the corresponding riders which you have. 

There are also some special city highlights, one for each type on the board, marked with stars.  If you reach any of these, you score for the number of riders of the matching type you have at that moment.  

Before the round ends, all players should see if they meet the criteria of the bonus cards.  The first person to do it will score 10 points, all players that do it on a later turn will score 6 points.  Continue this for twelve rounds so that you have used all the cards in the deck.  The game then moves to final scoring.

You total your scores up for the four different passenger types.  You also deduct any points from the red Turn Zone at the top (which you used to alter the patterns on the cards).  The scores for the two common objectives should already be written down, and players should check on their personal goal – scoring 10 points if their route traverses all three intersections noted on their goal card.  Finally, calculate the traffic penalty – and subtract that from your total.  The player with the most points wins.  There is no tiebreaker.

Thoughts from Opinionated Gamers

Dale: So, I like this one, and I find it a bit more accessible than the original.  I find that laying the physical pieces down on the board to be more enjoyable, and it looks a lot nicer on the table.  In the game, you have so many things to consider – which direction to plot your route, which passengers to pick up, which special locations to visit and when, is it worth it to end at a green light to get the bonus movement, how much energy do you need to invest into the race for the public goals or your private goal?

As you would expect, it’s simply impossible to do everything that you want – so you’ll be forced to choose between options.  Most everything will score you points, but you’ll need to figure out what scores you the most points; and this is fairly challenging given the way that each facet scores differently.  I personally like to try to shape my route to hit the three destinations on my personal goal card, and then I try to make the best of everything else as it happens.  If I try to pre-plan my general route around the board, I also know what order I might be hitting the special sightseeing spots in; and this could help me prioritize which types of passengers I want to pick up.  Using the power to modify the cards is quite useful, and sometimes necessary, but you’ll have to weigh the cost with each decision as it can get quite costly in points if you do it too much!

As JN once said: “Choosing how and if to combine my secret objective with the public objectives. When should I cash in my tourists and workers? How much traffic is it OK to cause? Is it worth varying my route from the planned direction?  I enjoy the shared act of creating the bus routes on the central board and how colorful it is. It plays a little differently at the various player counts, as in a 2 player game no traffic is within reach, and in a 3 player game, you can’t believe that the box presents 5 players as an option. It’s whimsical, and I like that.

I don’t love the game; there’s something I can’t put my finger on that’s missing for me.  It may be that the dial is slightly closer to the tactical end of the spectrum than my sweet spot, and I’d like a little more strategy, but the game is not far off my target.“

The art style is old-timey, bringing the 50s to mind.  The overall tone of the art is bright and cheery, and I think that this style will attract people to the game.   There are definitely moments when the game won’t be kind – you might be blocked by your opponents or maybe you manage to eliminate yourself due to bad planning; but overall, the game delivers a nice challenge in a short game time.  As there are only 12 quick rounds, once everyone knows the rules, a 20 minute game is definitely a possibility making this a great filler, or closer to game night.

Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it!
  • I like it. Dale Y, James Nathan
  • Neutral.
  • Not for me…

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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