In First in Flight, you take on the role of a famous early aviator - the Wright Brothers, for instance - competing with your rivals to construct the best flying machine. It's part Magic the Gathering with the deck building and the tapping of cards to activate their powers. It's part Tokaido with the turn-taking protocols. It's part blackjack with each test flight as you seek to maximize your distance before landing - or crashing.
Full disclosure: I have significant rooting interest in the success of this particular board game. It's a creation of my high school friend, previously referred to here as, you guessed it, Game Designer. We were also investors in the Kickstarter funding campaign.
So far, I've played twice: once with the boys (Mock, Blue Liner and Young Buck) and once with my wife. We all thoroughly enjoyed it. The rules are a little more complicated than our usual games but once you get used to them, it's all fairly intuitive. Lots of little wrinkles to remember.
As far as determining the game winner, everything leads to a final flight. Whoever gets the furthest wins. All of the deck building and test flying up to that point is really just jockeying for position. I like a game where everyone's in it to the end and with First in Flight, no one is far enough ahead or behind to make the final flight meaningless. Our results: Blue Liner and Young Buck tied in the first game. I eeked out the smallest of victories in the game with my wife, easing the pain of the thorough trouncing she had dealt out in Ticket to Ride.
The history is well-researched and the artwork is beautiful. One can play solo. I haven't tried that yet but I expect I will. It was a much quicker game with only two players. We skipped adding a third dummy player as the rules suggest - seemed too complicated for us beginners.
BoardGameGeek's rating is 7.8/10, not bad at all. Complexity is 2.21/5. The box recommends the game for 12 and up. BGG says 10+. 1-4 players, the more the better.