Pan Am

Today we are going to take off into the world of aviation and start your own airline with Pan Am: The Board Game, a game that has a magical way of bringing people together, combining strategy and fun. Pan Am is a game that is soaring in popularity among board game enthusiasts and aviation buffs alike. So, buckle up as we take off on a journey through this engaging board game that pays homage to the triumph of the golden age of air travel.

Pan Am from Funko Games is a strategy game for 2-4 players, aged 12+. It has a playing time of around 60 minutes. It is a strategy game where players must build their fledgling airline into a booming business that spans the globe. Expand routes by sending engineers to claim new airports, planes, and destinations for your airline, all while using any income to buy Pan Am stock to help build your company.

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
Pan Am

Pan Am: The Board Game is a delightful throwback to an era when air travel was a glamorous affair. The game’s theme revolves around the iconic airline, but now defunct, Pan Am (Pan American Airways), which ruled the skies from its founding in 1927 through the late 1960s, before ceasing operations in 1991. Players take on the roles of rival airlines competing against the mighty Pan Am, aiming to expand their air travel empires. As players expand their routes across the globe, they spend any income from operating their airline to purchase Pan Am stock. Players have two objectives:

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

Pan Am is played over seven rounds, taking around 60 minutes to play, 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 lots of components in this game that are an aesthetically pleasing throwback to the past, with a design that captures the essence of the 70s. From the classic Pan Am logo adorning the box to the miniature travel posters on the Destination cards, the attention to detail is meticulous. The board itself unfolds into a world map crisscrossed with airline routes, inviting players to chart their course to victory.

Before play can begin, there is a fair amount of setting up to do. This is completed in two parts – board setup and player setup.

Let’s start with the board setup: place the game board in the centre of the table and place the two hangers next to the planes on the right hand side of the board (they go on the table, not 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.

Now move on to the player setup: each player takes 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 draws 2 Destination cards, 1 Directive card and takes £12 in money. Destination cards are placed face up so visible to all players but the Directive card should be kept hidden from opponents.

While is sounds like a lot to do before you can even start playing, it doesn’t take as long as it sounds – probably around 5 minutes. But it is worth it.

Before playing, I recommend having a read or two through the hefty 16 page instruction booklet. And you will need to keep it on hand while playing, especially for the first few games. Play can now begin, and players can now take to the skies.

The player that most recently took to the skies becomes the starting player and is given the First Player Marker.

Pan Am is a worker placement game. Each player has a limited number of engineers, which they assign to various tasks like buying planes, claiming routes, or building airports. The aim is to generate profit, used to purchase stock in Pan Am, with the ultimate goal of owning the most stock by the game’s end.

The game has a unique concept: Landing Rights. To claim a route, players must have a plane of the right size and landing rights in the cities at each end of the route. This adds a layer of complexity and strategy, as players must balance their resources and outmanoeuvre their opponents.

Playing the game is quite involved (make sure the instructions are handy for those inevitable disputes). It is played over seven rounds and each round has four phases: Event Phase, Engineer Phase, Resolution Phase and Pan Am Phase. These phases help you try and build your airline and gain routes.

Pan Am

Overall, once getting the hang of the complexities of the game, we have loved playing Pan Am – it is a strategy game that is lots of fun to play, great for players trying to outsmart their rivals. If you have ever played Ticket to Ride and enjoyed it, Pan Am is much more involved, more strategic with a lot more to do and so much better.

Initially, the game instructions, at 16 pages, can seem quite dauting, but once you start playing and learning the intricacies of the game, they aren’t and it all becomes clear. Although it will probably take 2 or 3 plays of the game to completely grasp the concept. If you stick with it, the game gets better and becomes an excellent game, although you probably do need to be a fan of  strategy games.

The game is centred around players building airlines, to expand their global reach and to earn much needed money to buy stock with the ultimate aim of owning as much Pan Am stock as you can. It is a game where players need to spend wisely to accumulate cash to buy stocks, but one of also taking risks to get ahead of their rivals. It takes around an hour to play and it never gets dull, there is always something to be doing with assigning engineers, bidding, buying and selling of stocks, claiming those all-important landing rights etc.

You will need a large space to play in. The game board is quite large, opening out into six panels and the nostalgic artwork is excellent. The cards, board and playing pieces all have a vintage look that makes the game look great and very appealing.

I think this is an excellent strategy game, and the more times that I play the more I am enjoying it. Although it won’t be a game for everyone – if strategy isn’t your thing you might not enjoy that much as there is a lot going on. While it has an age rating of 12+, I would say it is probably better suited for older teenagers and adults. Players need patience and a good attention span.

If you like your board games that bit more involved where strategy plays a bit part and where you have to think and do something rather than just moving around a board, then I can recommend Pan Am, it is lots of entertaining fun with a good length of playing time.

Rating: 5/5

RRP: £33

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

5 stars

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

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