Tin Goose is a game about the early years of commercial air travel. Beginning as a regional operation with just an airmail route and a "tin goose" (the Ford Trimotor), players build an airline empire through the 1930s and 40s. As the game progresses, planes improve, being safer and more fuel efficient while having a longer range. Companies become more organized and shed their early inefficiencies. The stakes of a disaster â€?crashes, strikes, and oil shocks â€?get higher.
A deck of 96 cards includes all of the planes and events that enter the game. Of these, only about 36 are played in any given session, and all of those exist in players' hands at the outset. The result is a game of "calamities" with more planning and less luck: A skillful player seeing high bids on the safest planes may guess several bidders are holding crash cards.