On Tour: On the Road… Again?
You’re living the dream! You are in a band and about to go on tour! It’s your job to schedule the band’s stops over the 100-day tour, visiting as many states/countries as possible.
In 2019, Allplay (formerly Board Game Tables) released On Tour, a simultaneous roll-and-write game about going on tour with your band. Up to eight people can play in as little as 20 minutes. It was such a hit that it has spawned a standalone sequel, On Tour: Paris & New York. We’ll take a look at both of these games and see – will the band’s sophomore adventure live up to the first, or was On Tour a one hit wonder? Let’s start off with On Tour.
Each player gets their own dry erase board and marker. Make sure everyone is playing on the same board and shuffle the matching deck of cards. Roll both dice (reroll doubles during setup) and put those two digits together to make two numbers. Below, the one and four make both 14 and 41.
Then, draw two cards from the shuffled deck. All players write the lower number in a space in an area on the first card and the higher number in a space in an area on the second card. Circle both numbers. Repeat this process a second time. By the end, each player should have the same four numbers on their boards.
Each turn, flip the top three cards from the deck face up. Then, roll both dice. Each player must connect the two digits on the dice to make numbers as in setup, and write these two numbers on their board. Players must write these numbers in one of the regions on the displayed cards (different card for each number). If a player writes a number in the exact state or country featured on the card, they circle it.
When all three cards are for the same region, or the dice are doubles, each player draws a star (wild) in any state/country in the available card regions.
If a player cannot write a number for any reason they must mark an X somewhere on their board.
Continue until a player only has one or two empty spots left for numbers. At this point, stop flipping cards. Instead, just place the die rolls wherever they fit.
Once player boards are full, it’s time to go on tour!
Each player connects their longest route that grows from smallest to largest number. Routes can travel through multiple cities with the same number, and wilds can count as any number. Cities may only be used once, and routes cannot cross each other or be used multiple times.
Add the number of cities visited with a bonus for circled numbers visited on the tour. Whoever has the most points wins!
Paris & New York
In 2022, AllPlay developed the standalone Paris & New York expansion for On Tour. These two new maps offer more than new places to play. They also introduce new mechanics to the established formula.
I Love Paris!
In Paris, players will have to cross (and re-cross) the river Seine. To do this, if a player ends their route at a jazz club near a ferry dock, they can resume it from any other ferry dock. This allows for jumps all the way across the map!
Ferry docks cannot be reused, but players gain points for each dock “jump” they make. For example, if a player starts at dock “A” and goes to dock “B”, they would get one point. However, if the player jumps from dock “A” to dock “I”, they would get eight points! Using the ferry routes strategically is critical to winning.
Although routes cannot cross each other (as with the original On Tour), ferry routes can criss cross without issue, as long as a player never revisits a dock.
At the end of the game, these ferry routes score in addition to the player’s touring route.
New York, New York!
New York offers different changes in the form of soloists and a borough visit bonus.
New York is the most complex On Tour, allowing players to create ferry paths from any neighborhood to any other neighborhood as long as it isn’t landlocked and it is in a different borough. However, they can only do this when one of the three cards is a ferry card, or if all three cards show the borough the player wants to connect.
In addition, instead of circling neighborhoods when they appear on cards, most cards feature a soloist. If a player draws a number in a neighborhood with a soloist showing on a card, they draw that symbol in, along with the number. If these symbols are in the player’s final tour schedule, they accumulate for a set bonus at the end.
Finally, players get a bonus if they manage to tour all five boroughs.
On Tour is unusual in the way the mechanics provide options while still being fairly limited. Unlike many roll-and-writes that are nearly a blank canvas to start, the initial number placements give players an idea of what they’re looking to do. These limitations actually help to decrease the chance of analysis paralysis.
This is a game that benefits from the social experience of play, even without player interaction. Simultaneous cheers or groans when players roll the right (or wrong) numbers encourage a feeling of camaraderie, even though you’re trying to beat everyone else. Since you can’t impact the other players, there’s no harm in stating out loud what you want and cheering for the dice to roll in your favor. In fact, I recommend it.
On Tour doesn’t have a lot of personal strategic investment because so much of it is left to chance. This means certain gamers won’t like this style. However, it’s a great way for everyone to play together in a family, and legitimately give younger gamers a chance to win.
It’s also a nice game for younger gamers to work on their sequencing and counting. Even if they can’t handle the writing part, they can “help” count city values during scoring.
On Tour isn’t breaking new ground, but I love how approachable it is. This is a great game for a casual audience, and supporting eight players out of the box is terrific.
I preferred Europe over the US map in the original game – it just felt a little more interesting and exotic.
But really, it was the Paris & New York standalone expansion that shone for me. I see the original On Tour as a very entry-level game; Paris & New York introduces some gamer-y strategy without adding significantly to the complexity.
In On Tour, players tend to create clusters of numbers, minimizing the differences between values. This creates a need to find ways to connect these clusters to make longer routes. In Paris, the ferries allow players to much more easily (and almost for free) connect clusters completely across the board.
I love the idea of sailing the Seine in the middle of the night, lit only by lanterns with some accordion or harp in the background (I’ve watched a few Disney movies, ok?). But really, the strategy is in maximizing the value of these ferry boats. A-I followed by J-B is a stunning 14 points, which is easily enough to make a difference.
I <3 New York
I think gamers will feel most at home on the New York map. This map adds set collection to the route building, and the ferry mechanics add even more flexibility than on the Paris map (although they don’t award points). As with many games where balancing rewards occurs, New York certainly offers the most opportunities for analysis paralysis, but nothing overwhelming for the seasoned gamer.
On Tour: New York offers a great balance of gameplay depth, high player count, and short play time with the same simultaneous play as the other maps. It’s my go-to for sure.
Both versions of On Tour offer great, sturdy components with boards that don’t require a table, markers included in the box, and big, chunky cards and dice that everyone can see.
On Tour is a smooth roll-and-write for up to eight players that nearly anyone in the family can play. On Tour is great for a large family gathering with casual gamers. Then, you can break out Paris & New York when your gaming friends are over. It’s the same great game with an added twist. We’ll have Paris & New York on our gaming shelf, but be ready with On Tour during our holiday gatherings.
You can do the same by picking up On Tour or On Tour: Paris & New York directly from AllPlay or on Amazon, today!
AllPlay provided The Family Gamers with copies of On Tour and On Tour: Paris & New York for this review.
This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
On Tour: On the Road... Again?
Age Range: 7+ (10+ for Paris & New York)
Number of Players: 1-8
Playtime: 20 minutes