Обзор игры Lets Make a Bus Route

Pros, Mehs, and Cons


  • The theme is so … wholesome. It’s an incredibly pleasant game about driving people around Kyoto on your bus. What’s not to like? Literally, nothing. It’s bright and colorful and whimsical and I really appreciate that after playing a bunch of gritty and dark and sad games. It’s a nice contrast, honestly.
  • An interesting spin on the * and write genre. I like the central shared board, a lot. It makes the players’ moves seem less isolated, which is a problem I’ve had with games like Avenue. It also presents the full game state in one place.
  • The routing aspect of the game makes it easy to fix mistakes. It’s very easy to work backwards and eventually figure out what you missed or picked up, which I appreciate.
  • Plays pretty quickly, if your players aren’t vulnerable to AP. A game takes about 30 minutes.
  • Seems like the kind of game that would be rad for expansion content. I’d love to try bus routes in different towns or do a Ticket to Ride-style thing where different maps had slightly different rules or passenger types. I feel like there’s enough buzz around the game that I’d love to see something like that happen, and I’m not the only one?


  • It can be hard to write on the central board as the game gets more crowded. For some reason people aren’t inclined to just … take the central board and put it back once they’re done with it, but I’m not really sure why that is. I’ve been encouraging it more.
  • Box is kind of a weird size. I found a place for it, but it was a tight fit there, for a bit.
  • The player elimination bit earns an eye-roll from me. I get why it’s there, but we generally just tell the player to backtrack until they can make a different move. It’s annoying, but we’re not in the business of knocking players out of games if we can avoid it.


  • There can be some significant downtime between turns. Since you need to know all the routes before you can move (because of how Traffic works), you’ll often see players waiting until its their turn to do any planning, which slows the game down nontrivially. There’s not much you can do about this (it’s kind of baked into the design), but it’s a bit unfortunate as it means that some players (especially at higher player counts) are going to be sitting for a while between turns.
  • It’s very difficult to play this if you have an altered color perception. I played with a friend who has deuteranopia (red-green color vision deficiency) and essentially he’d have to retrace his path every turn if there was traffic, as it was difficult to tell. Also, the Bus Route cards are the same design in multiple different colors (no shapes or textures to suggest a different color), so if you perceive colors differently you’re likely to confuse cards unless another player is working with you. If a second edition gets made, it would be really nice to have some sort of subtle effect on the cards / player boards to show which cards correspond to what routes to help players that might be otherwise unable to see it.
  • Availability in the states is pretty low. I’ve mentioned a few times that I have a slight antipreference for reviewing games that are difficult / impossible to buy, but I’ve been pushing back on that idea a bit in the hopes that talking more about these games will lead to more demand and people hopefully making it easier to purchase them. I’m not 100% sure where I fall within that debate, but it’s worth mentioning that this is not a particularly easy game to get your hands on if you don’t live in Japan (and even then, I have no iea how easy this game is to get).

Overall: 8.75 / 10

Overall, Let’s Make A Bus Route is superb! The color perception friendliness bit is disappointing, but hopefully there are steps made to make it more inclusive for the next edition. Beyond that, I really do enjoy the game and have played it a lot, lately. Most of my coworkers have asked to play it again, since the theme is light and upbeat and fun, and I’ve been more than happy to oblige them. It’s nice to see more innovation happening in the * and write space, with games like this, Boomerang, and more coming out to challenge the idea that you can only play games like these with dice. I wish it were a bit easier to transport so I could take it with me more frequently, sure, but I expect this to be a popular game in my circles for a long time, yet. If you get a chance to check this one out and you enjoy bright colors, fun challenges, and light themes, Let’s Make a Bus Route is an excellent choice for your next game!

If you enjoyed this review and would like to support What’s Eric Playing? in the future, please check out my Patreon. Thanks for reading!


  • The game is shorter than you expect. Plan accordingly. You’ll place > 26 segments on the board (assuming you hit at least one green light), sure, but that’s not as many as you might think. Plenty of players get surprised when the game’s two cards away from ending and they’ll be unable to complete one of their goals. Don’t let those players be you. Remember to mark off cards you’ve used on your player board, as well, so that you’re not miscalculating.
  • Don’t get too into avoiding Penalties and Traffic. Sometimes the best move you can make is expensive. Sometimes you’re going to take the most traffic. At its worst, it’s -5 points. If by taking the most traffic you can drop off an extra Tourist, that might be cancelled out. Always be mindful of your options.
  • I focus on achieving the Bonuses while trying to get through my route. If you try to just do your route, you’ll likely finish too early and then have to try and scrounge for points on a super-busy board. That’s not particularly ideal, especially since you’ll likely end up taking more penalties in the process.
  • The edges of the board are very rich but fairly dangerous. There is a much higher penalty potential, there, but if you can make it work there are double-spaces which will give you two different passengers. If you can swing the ones that count towards both bonus categories then you’re cooking with gas.
  • Sometimes it’s fine to ignore the Bonus cards. If your bonuses are 3 Shrines and 3 Pagodas, you should really only do one of those; the opportunity cost of both is stupidly high.
  • There’s not really a way to usefully mess with other players; I wouldn’t recommend trying to find one. Even if you know their route, you might be able to place some traffic in their way, but going out of your way to do so is just … such a profound waste of your time. You’re better off just focusing on scoring as many points as possible.
  • Don’t forget to visit one University. Otherwise, all those students you spent time collecting will be worth 0 points. That’s … an extremely unfortunate outcome, and I’ve seen it.
  • Remember that you can accidentally render certain scoring categories useless. If you hit three stations or Shrines / Pagodas too early, you’re going to be unable to take more Commuters / Tourists. This might also mean that you cannot score the Bonus Categories anymore, if you’re not careful. Remember to plan ahead or you’ll get stuck.


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