Aviation / Flight Board Games

Sky Team Game Review

Just buy it

Justin had the chance to play a prototype version of Sky Team last year from Le Scorpion Masqué. Find out what he thinks about the finished product in his review!

Disclosure: Meeple Mountain received a free copy of this product in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. This review is not intended to be an endorsement.

My new friend Joëlle was nudging us along, but she had a tense look.

It was October 2022; we were playing a prototype of an upcoming game called Sky Team at the Le Scorpion Masqué booth at SPIEL in Essen, Germany. The setup was simple—we were working together to try and land a plane.

“We have seven rounds to land the plane,” Joëlle said through a mask while trying to shout over hundreds of other gamers walking around the expo hall. “This is the easy mode, so we should be OK.”

She said we should be OK, but her eyes didn’t seem to believe it. Besides, if any number of things went wrong, we would crash the plane and lose the game.

But we didn’t mess it up; in fact, we won on the very last action of the game. Between the teach, the handholding, and the final tug on the plane’s brakes, we finished our marketing meeting and the Sky Team demo in about 25 minutes.

I was impressed. A two-player dice placement co-op game that makes it feel like I’m really landing a plane and some nice little thematic touches to bring the experience home in a package that would retail for about 25 euros? I knew right then, and there that Sky Team was destined for glory.

What I didn’t know at the time: how much other stuff would be in the box.

Roll the Dice, Then Stop Talking

Sky Team is a two-player-only experience; there is no solo mode.

Over seven rounds in the first scenario, players must land a plane represented by a dashboard that shows the plane’s axis controls, speed, a radio function that works with a tower and other planes in your flight path, and a few other dials and gauges. Using dice rolled separately from your partner and in secret, each phase requires players to discuss their plans before NOT talking while placing dice to activate the plane’s functions.

A game only ends successfully when the players land the plane as the altimeter hits zero while activating the plane’s brakes, flaps, and landing gear. You’ve also got to land a perfectly-level plane and remove all of the aircraft in your flight path. If any of these items goes awry, the game immediately ends in a loss.

Everything in Sky Team is triggered by placing dice in appropriate spots on the dashboard. Each player—a pilot, using blue controls and blue dice, and a co-pilot, with orange controls and orange dice—is responsible for items on their half of the dashboard. Using placement spots that often require a specific rolled number, many turns in Sky Team feel automatic—at least once during the game’s seven rounds, the co-pilot will have to unlock the switch on, say, the 2/3 space to activate the flaps for that space.

Other times, there’s drama. The plane’s axis tilts based on the two dice that eventually find their way to the axis spaces, one for the pilot and one for the co-pilot. If both players play a die of the same value, the plane’s axis doesn’t change.

If the pilot places a 5 and the co-pilot places a 4, the plane tilts a certain number of clicks toward the higher number, represented by a disc that shows the plane’s tilt; go too far in one direction, and the plane goes into a spin and crashes, ending the game. Managing this is fun, because…well, the players can’t talk once the dice placement portion of the round begins.


OK, OK, you’re right…this part of the game’s approach to theme is insane. I can’t even defend it. It didn’t sound like anyone else from Le Scorpion Masqué could defend it either. And because the theme doesn’t feel pasted on, you’ve gotta lean into the fact that this piece of logic feels like a massive miss.

But if you can get past this single item, man, Sky Team…what a game!

The Box Says “High Drama”

The front of the Sky Team box has a couple notes in the bottom left-hand corner:

“2 Player Co-Op.” “Immersive.” “High Drama.”

Every game of Sky Team is built around winning or losing late; I’ve come away with wins in the initial scenario (landing at YUL, the airport in Montreal) with relative ease, but it was always thrilling and high-five-worthy by the end. There’s real tension in every turn, but rounds 5-7 really ramp things up as players race to clear all of their switches and all of the planes in the way. There’s a “Concentration” area of the dashboard where players can bury dice of any value to activate coffee tokens. Coffee is used to modify a die result +/- 1 and can stack when a player uses multiple coffees at once.

The flexibility with the coffee, and the intuitive nature of placing dice in the required axis and engine spaces each round, make for a good time. If Sky Team was only the Montreal mission, I would still recommend playing it, but you’d play it 3-4 times and be done with it after seeing how that played out.

But the final version of Sky Team has a shocking amount of content in the box to change things up a bit. There’s a log book in the box with 20 extra missions, with plenty of extra components included to keep things spicy. Extra airports, extra planes, and some icons that appear to dictate the axis during a flight, not just when the plane lands.

For players that want Sky Team to have enough content to offer something fresh for months, Le Scorpion Masqué has you covered. Designer Luc Remond—whose only other credit I recognize is SPLITO—and the development team for this game has clearly stuck the landing with Sky Team. The balancing feels perfect, I love how simple the dashboard is for both gamers and non-hobbyists alike, and everything makes sense.

Well, everything except the decision to not let players talk during the round. I get it—if I know what my co-pilot has behind her screen, most of the drama gets stripped away. It just doesn’t make thematic sense that I’m working with another pilot to land a plane in potentially dangerous situations, all while NOT talking about how we can adjust the speed needed to smoothly hit that tarmac at Heathrow.

One other complaint came to light when exploring the extra modules—Sky Team may come off to some players as an exercise in luck, not strategy, particularly when managing additional dials and gauges with limited actions.

A small example. My wife and I tried the OSL mission, where players have to land in Oslo while also managing a fuel gauge (kerosene, in the game’s terminology). We didn’t need a lot extra to go right, but we did need a few of our dice rolls to work out, and as you move through the additional missions there are less chances to dump a die in the Concentration area to provide the +/-1 to die rolls. It was a constant struggle, and one that didn’t always feel fair.

The game wasn’t significantly harder during that scenario, with only one additional function to manage. But, it did force my wife to ask a question: do all of these extra missions just push the game into “we got REALLY lucky with our rolls” territory? Or are there enough chances to plan/mitigate around poor luck? Thematically, does it feel off that it’s basically a crapshoot to land an airplane at some of these airports with lives at stake?

I haven’t tried all of the extra missions, but the consideration of randomness in these scenarios did cross my mind. This isn’t meant to be a complaint, but it is an observation worth considering for those looking for a game firmly on the side of strategy…Sky Team isn’t that, and that is particularly true with the bonus content in my short time with the game, but it does embrace the need for planning when working with a partner on the harder missions.

Otherwise, Sky Team might be the tightest design I’ve played this year. Nothing is wasted. The components are excellent. You can play the initial scenario, and maybe a few others in the box, in 15 minutes or less. (Shorter playtimes are easy to achieve if you keep crashing the plane!!) I had my wife up and running in five minutes; the teach is really quick. The replayability is off the charts, and the value proposition is excellent.

Le Scorpion Masqué continues to amaze. Decrypto is getting a five-year anniversary update later this year, Turing Machine was excellent, and Zero to 100 was a fun party game. With Dead Cells coming soon, and the continued excellence of the Zombie Evolution games (Kidz, Teenz, and Flashback), Le Scorpion Masqué has had an incredible run. Sky Team only adds to the trophy collection!

  • Perfect - Will play every chance I get.

Sky Team details

About the author

Justin Bell

Love my family, love games, love food, love naps. If you're in Chicago, let's meet up and roll some dice!

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