Pan Am – The Board Game Review

2-4 Players | Age 12+ | 60 Minutes Playing Time

Pan Am

Pan Am (Pan American Airways), the world’s first truly global airline, sadly went out of business in 1991. But now you can build your own fledgling airline and turn it into a globe-spanning success in Pan Am the board game from Funko Games.

Pan Am the board game is a strategy game for 2-4 players, aged 12+ with a playing time of around 60 minutes. The idea of the game is that players must build and expand their routes by sending their engineers to claim new airports, planes, and destinations for their airline, all while using their income to buy Pan Am stock to help build their company. It’s a race to see who can acquire the most stock by the end of seven rounds. If you have ever played one of my favourite games, Ticket to Ride, I think this is much more challenging and fun. The trains have gone and have been replaced by aeroplanes on global routes and a variety of destinations.

In the box:

  • Game Board
  • Hangars (x2)
  • Engineers (x20 in 4 different colours)
  • Airports (x20 in 4 different colours)
  • 52 Aeroplanes (x20 Trimotors, x16 Clippers, x12 Cruisers and x4 Jets)
  • Player Mats (x4)
  • Income Trackers (x4)
  • Event Cards (x28)
  • Destination Cards (x50)
  • Directive Cards (x40)
  • Stock Cards (x40 One Stock, x20 Five Stock)
  • Pan Am Die
  • Pan Am Route Markers (x40)
  • $1 Money (x50)
  • $5 Money (x25)
  • Cruiser and Jet Tiles
  • First Player Marker
  • Stock Marker and Base

In Pan Am, the strategy board game, players must oversee a fledgling airline that is just starting out and struggling to get off the ground and take to the skies. Players have seven rounds to expand routes across the globe and spend any income from operating their airline to buy Pan Am stock. Players have two objectives:

  • Claim routes by sending engineers to acquire airports, planes and destinations.
  • Use any income earned from operating and selling routes to buy stock.

The game is played over seven rounds, spanning the era of Pan Am’s beginnings to the retirement of founder Juan Trippe in 1968. The player who has amassed most stock at the end of the game is the winner.

There are a lot of pieces in this game and some setting up is required before you can play. After sitting down with a cup of tea, setting up the game to play is completed in two parts – board setup and player setup. I would also suggest reading the 16 page instruction manual first as the game is quite involved.

To set up the board: Unfold the game board (it is made up of 6 squares) and place the board in the centre of the table (you will need a large space as the board measures approx. 76x51cm). Situate the two Hangars on the table next to the images of planes on the right side on the board. Create a deck of seven Event Cards (they are labelled Round 1, Round 2 etc.), select one at random from each round and place the seven cards face down on the current event space on the board (the unused cards go back into the box). Shuffle the Destination cards and place them face down on the Destinations space on the board and place four cards from the top of the deck face up in the spaces below the deck. Shuffle the Directive Cards and place them face down in the Directives area at the bottom of the board. Place the Pan Am route markers, money, stocks, and the Pan Am die next to the board. Set aside the Stock Marker for now (the first Event card will set the stock price later). Place the Cruiser and Jet tiles in the spaces at the top right corner of the board.

To set up the players: each player is given a Player Mat and the following game pieces in a matching colour:

  • PLANES: Place two Trimotor Planes and one Clipper Plane in your fleet on your Player Mat. Place the rest of the planes in their respective hangers.
  • INCOME TRACKERS: Place the cube on the 0 spot for income on your Player Mat.
  • FIVE AIRPORTS: Place these next to the Airports area in the top left corner of the game board.
  • ENGINEERS: The number of Engineers you have depends on the number of players in the game (2 players = 5 each, 3 players = 4 each and 4 players = 3 each). Return unused engineers to the box.

Each player must then draw 2x Destination cards, 1x Directive card and be given $12 in money (2x $5 and 2x$1). The Destination cards are placed face up so visible to all players, but the Directive card should be kept hidden from opponents.

I know that the board and player set up sounds like it will take a long time but in reality it only takes around 5 minutes or so. With the set up complete, grab your drinks, snacks and take to the skies as play can now commence.

Pan Am has an interesting and unique way of deciding who the starting player is – it is not the youngest or even the oldest but is the player who was most recently flew on an aeroplane. With that decided they are given the First Player Marker.

Now that you are ready to play, have read the instructions and have them at hand (you will need them). The game is played out over seven rounds with each round consisting of four phases: Event Phase, Engineer Phase, Resolution Phase and Pan Am Phase. These phases help you try and build your airline and gain routes.

You can now start to build your airline, acquire new planes and gain new routes and destinations and hopefully earn enough income to buy those shares in Pan Am and become the winner by amassing the most.

Overall, I have loved playing Pan Am the board game. It is quite an involved strategy game with lots always going on, but one that is lots of fun. I love playing Ticket to Ride but this is so much better.

On first play it can seem a daunting, possibly even complicated game to play, but it isn’t really. It does take a few plays to get the hang of the game properly but by keeping the instructions handy nobody should have any real problems – it is a perfect game for teenagers and adults.

As the aim of the game is ultimately to earn as much money as you can to buy stock in Pan Am it is a game of taking risks whilst trying to spend wisely to accumulate cash.

With game play of around an hour (once you are not relying on the instructions so much) it has a decent length of game play, especially for game nights with friends and family, but it never gets dull as there is always something to be doing with assigning engineers, bidding, buying and selling of stocks, claiming landing rights etc. After all, building a business is hard work.

I have already mentioned that the game board is quite large and it features a vintage looking map. The artwork on the cards is excellent, again with a vintage-style look.

I think this is an excellent strategy game, probably more so for older teenagers and adults. It does have a lot going on, so you do have to be paying attention to the gameplay and what you and your opponents are doing. But the more I play it, the more I love it.

Pan Am isn’t a quick game to play and I feel that it is one of those games that you must be in the mood for to play it, but it is very entertaining and enjoyable.

If you love a good strategy game then I think that you will love Pan Am, I think its brilliant.

Rating: 5/5

RRP: £25

For more information, visit Available to buy from Amazon here.

DISCLOSURE: All thoughts and opinions are our own. This review uses an affiliate link which we may receive a small commission from if you purchase through the link.


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