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Magnificent Flying Machines & The Great Air Race

Medusa Games' Magnificent Flying Machines originally flew over the horizon into view in 2018. With Andree Schneider's artwork's atmospheric evocation of the Edwardian era of early aviation, Magnificent Flying Machines was in all but name and official IP a gamified recreation of the 1965 British comedy film Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines. That same year, Warner Brothers released a similar Edwardian era race movie The Great Race. The two movies bookend rather well and so it seems somehow appropriate for Richard Denning to design a Great Air Race expansion for his Magnificent Flying Machines game.

For sure, of course, Magnificent Flying Machines is already a race game. The 2-6 players are in a race across country, taking off, ascending above the 'weather', looping the loop, landing to deliver and pick up passengers and cargo, and so picking up points en route. You're rolling custom six-sided dice to determine whether or not you successfully pull off your various maneouvres but you can mitigate the luck of the dice through your use of equipment and cards that give you icons that can contribute to missing dice requirements. Cards can alternatively be used for their text, either to help you or to throw a spanner in the carburettors of other players; for tho' Magnificent Flying Machines is a fun family game it encourages 'take that' player interaction.

The Great Air Race is an expansion for the original game, so you'll need the base game to play it. It adds more new terrain and weather conditions into the mix so further expands the variety and replayability of the original game. Some players have criticised the rules for Magnificent Flying Machines as overlong and overly complicated for a family game. That really hasn't been an issue for us, thanks in no small part to the game's concise player aids. However, we we were anxious to check that the expansion doesn't make the game materially harder to learn and play. We were pleased to conclude that you can add the expansion without worrying that it reduces the game's accessibility because the expansion's add-ons offer small incremental variations rather than completely novel rules.

We've especially appreciated how the expansion introduces cards that help players recreate the aviation races that actually took place in Europe and the United States in the early part of the 20th Century. And if playing the game evokes fond memories too of those classic 1960s ensemble-cast comedy romps then so much the better!

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