Sunday, May 19, 2024

Get Your Pilot’s License With Scorpion Masqué’s ‘Sky Team’

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Sky Team is a co-operative board game designed by Luc Remond, and is exclusively for 2 players. Players play as a pilot, and a co-pilot and are at the controls of an airplane, and will need to work together to land the airplane safely in many different airports from around the world. Dice are rolled and assigned to slots in the game that will change how the airplane acts. If you work together and achieve the obstacles needed to land your airplane, then you will be rewarded with a safe landing to win the game. Sky Team is published by Le Scorpion Masqué and brought to the USA by Hachette Boardgames. The game takes 15-20 minutes to play, is recommended for 14+, although I think it could be played by younger folks as well. Hachette has been producing some great games, they announced Rauha, we reviewed Vivarium, and they have so many others you should check out. 

Sky Team Box Art

What’s in the Box?

– 1 Control Panel

– 1 Airplane Axis disc

– 8 dice

– 2 Player Aid screens

– 1 Altitude track

– 1 Approach track

– 17 tokens

– 3 markers

– 10 switches

– Additional content for the campaign

– 3 booklets

How’s It Play?

This is a cooperative game where 2 players play as the pilot and co-pilot of an airplane. You will be working together to land the airplane you both are flying by allocating your dice each round to certain actions, not knowing what results the other player has on their own dice. Each round, each player rolls 4 dice into their player screen and use them for actions for the round.

There are several scenarios that come with the game, but you will want to start with the beginning scenario as your not ready to land your airplane in the hardest airports around the world yet. 

Sky Team components

While playing you will have preroll tokens, to help you change the results on your dice, and a way to earn coffee to change a value up or down 1. Players take turns placing dice in locations until all 4 dice from each player is allocated. Player cannot talk to each other during each round.

During each turn there are 2 mandatory actions. The axis will change the angle of the airplane to turn or maneuver when needed. The airplane will move according to the difference of dice placed from each player. The engine dice will determine how many slots you will move your approach track, making it closer to the airport to land. Just make sure you avoid other airplanes out in the air when doing this.

Sky Team in action

The radio action will remove airplane tokens on the approach track. This is needed when moving the approach track down. The landing gear and flaps actions will start getting everything ready to land the plane. This is either done in a step by step fashion, or done when you place a value in the section and then switch over the switch in that location. These all need to be switched on when landing the airplane by the end of the rounds. They will also change how fast or slow the engines go making your engine action more dynamic. 

After each round, the altitude will decrease by one slot, and you will need to time it with your approach to land safely. Lastly, your brakes will need to be engaged and is done by adding dice to apply them causing your last engine action needing to be lower than your brakes, so that they engage and you can safely stop the airplane. If you do all these things, you will win the scenario.

The Verdict

This is one of the best cooperative games I’ve played. Both players are very involved in guiding the game, and trying to win. Each player has a role, and the pilot isn’t more important than the co-pilot role, they both need to do their job to have success in the game. There is no quarterbacking, no player that can run the game by themselves, so both players are equally important. Sky Team only limits the number of players in the game, so it’s a 2 player only game.

Sky Team altitude and approach track

The theme in this game is huge, and the mechanics and why you need to place dice in certain areas makes total sense. Each dice placed has a reason, and sometimes will change other aspects in the game, making other outcomes different. The landing gear and flaps are needed for slowing down the plane and getting it ready to land, but as you do these actions, it will make it so your plane slows down just because those things happened.

The axis of the airplane is very important, and in certain scenarios, you will need to turn your axis just like its needed in real life. But to land, the plane needs to have a neutral axis with the wings parallel to the ground. Also the brakes, and making sure your engines total sum at the very end is less than the brake number. Also, I really like how the radio mechanic is used, to talk to all other planes in the area, and clear them from your plane so you can land. This all adds to the theme.

Sky Team dice allocation

There are re-roll tokens, and concentration tokens the will help you change your dice values so that you can better achieve a clear landing. So even though your rolls will determine a lot of the game, there is some ways to help you change those results. But the game is all about using what you rolled, pairing them up on actions, or pairing them with your partner’s dice to get an effect that will change your airplane. Hopefully the change is just enough to for a safe landing.

Just keep in mind, before each round, there is a briefing period where you can talk with your partner. This is vital to give your thoughts on ask questions. Make a plane if its better to advance 0,1 or 2 spaces. The other way to communicate is by placing your dice in a certain spot to give the other player time to know what they will need when placing their own.

Sky Team cooperative 2 player only game

The subtle things in this game comes with time. Delaying and no placing a die is just as important at times as placing a die to tell your partner what you have and what they might need to have to pair with your own die.

Overall, the game lives up to the anticipation, and the excitement first seen at Gen Con, and I anticipate there to be equal or more excitement for the game at Essen. The game has strengths in so many areas, and the only weakness would be that it’s a 2 player only game, but I can imagine there could be a way to expand on this and add more players.

Sky Team will make it’s big debut at Essen Spiele 2023, where attendees will get an exclusive Dusseldorf Airport scenario. The game is set to release worldwide on October 18 at an MSRP of $29.99

Images via Hachette and Le Scorpion Masqué

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