Express Route

Express Route box
Express Route box

Have you ever been mad that your holiday gift packages were late and thought you could do better? Well, here’s your chance! Prove it by joining Express Route Delivery Service and Deliver The Future, Together!

Express Route is a cooperative pick up and deliver game for 1-4 players designed by Pat Marino and published by The Op.


Set up the game board with the airplane and the three truck meeples in the locations indicated. Make piles of incoming calls (high and low priority), a deck of events, and upgrade cards. Don’t forget to place the lock tokens in their spots on the main board and vehicle boards.

Express Route in play

Each player picks a role within the company, then takes their player board and three silver batteries. Place five packages (priorities 1-5) at their starting destinations. Finally, shuffle the delivery requirement tokens and place two of them in the open slots above the package delivery tracker.


Alternatively, the rulebook gives specific scenarios that modify the game’s setup. This can involve adjusting the event deck, the available specialist roles, and the delivery requirements. The first scenario actually removes the delivery requirements and recommends four roles that actually make it easier than the normal setup in the rulebook.

After regular OR Scenario setup, follow the setup instructions for each player’s specialist role.


Each turn, the active player uses their particular roles and player board upgrades to move the shared vehicle fleet to pick up and deliver eight packages before the demand level gets too high. Every package has origination and destination locations, and players must work together to move these packages around the country.

A turn has three phases:

Add Packages

First, add a number of packages to their starting locations on the board from the active caller section (determined by the current demand level on the board). When each package is placed on the map, move the demand pawn up on the tracker equal to the demand value shown on the destination side of the package.

If demand gets too high, you lose.
A high-priority package.

Draw a Card

Then, draw an Event card, which will cause some sort of thematic difficulty for the turn.

Breaking News - Event Deck

Players Move

Lastly, players have actions equal to the number of batteries they have. The available actions are:

  • Move a fleet vehicle based on its range on the active player’s board
  • Load a package onto a vehicle
  • Unload a package from a vehicle.

When a package is delivered to its proper destination, reduce the demand level on the tracker by the package’s number.

Part of the game’s tension is that at the start, you can only use each action of a vehicle once. You can only repeat actions for the same vehicle if you’ve performed upgrades to unlock purple batteries.

Perform upgrades by spending delivered packages. Each upgrade card has a specific type of package required to unlock it. You can upgrade your batteries, the range of your vehicles, capacity for more packages, and even allow for more flexibility with the active caller area and the demand tracker.


Players continue to take turns until they win by delivering eight packages, the event deck runs out, or a player’s turn ends with the demand tracker at 40 or higher.


Express Route - box open and rulebook showing.

Immersive Theme

As soon as you open the box and pull out the rulebook you can feel the thematic immersion. The rulebook is called the “New Employee Handbook” and it even has an introductory letter printed on the inside cover as if you were being welcomed as a new hire.

The artwork is consistent throughout with a retro 1950s flair. Even the wooden meeples depicting the airplane and trucks are a wonderful combination of the 50s and high-end technology.

Speaking of technology, every single package card in the game has a QR code that you can scan to see exactly what you just delivered.

Challenging Gameplay

Cooperative games tend to be either quite easy or nearly impossible. Express Route doesn’t feel impossible, but it’s very tough. I’ve played it with some different groups of people (both in terms of numbers of players and ages) and we’ve lost more than we’ve won.

Trying to balance the delivery of required packages with an ever-increasing demand tracker and a dwindling event deck is tough. Express Route is a giant puzzle with limited turns. Its cooperative nature can lead to the common pitfall of quarterbacking, with one player taking over and trying to direct everyone’s turns.

Express Route also has a solo mode where you can control anywhere from one to four specialists. Treat each specialist as a separate turn.

We definitely enjoyed Express Route in a group of adults, but our kids struggled to hang. The game says that it’s for players 10 and up, but unless you have a precocious child interested in shipping packages (or who simply loves logic puzzles) this isn’t for players that young. But this can be a family game if your family enjoys strategic puzzles and doesn’t mind the ratcheting tension.

If you’ve got a game group that might be into this kind of difficult puzzle, you can get it directly from The Op, find it on Amazon, or pick it up at your local game store.

The Op provided The Family Gamers with a promotional copy of Express Route for this review.

This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.

Express Route
  • 8/10
    Art - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Mechanics - 7/10
  • 6/10
    Family Fun - 6/10


Age Range: 10+ (we recommend 14+)
Number of Players: 1-4
Playtime: 60+ minutes