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FLASHBACK: CLOUD 9

(Sometimes games that have gone out of print return to entertain a new set of game players. Sometimes, these games are “serious” simulations. But, more often than not, they are simply enjoyable games, easy for all ages to enjoy. This is what has happened with Cloud 9, a “lighter than air” diversion that has been given new life with a new edition from Out of the Box Games – featured this issue. But what was the deal with the original edition? Here is how we saw the original Cloud 9 back in the Fall 1999 issue of GA REPORT.)

Reviewed by Herb Levy

CLOUD 9 (F.X. Schmid USA, Inc., out of print)

 

Players float through the clouds scooping up “magic crystals” in Cloud 9, a family oriented game which combines strategy with some testing of your nerves!Cloud9old

Cloud 9 is a two to six player game from Aaron Weissblum. The game comes boxed with 12 wooden figures (2 each in six colors), a wooden balloon piece, four wooden “cloud dice”, mounted board, rules folder and 80 cards. For ages 10 and up (but suitable for even younger ages), a session of Cloud 9 takes than less than 45 minutes to play.

To begin, each player takes his two matching color pieces and places on on the scoring track (found on the board perimeter) and one on the balloon picture on the board. The balloon counter is placed on the bottom cloud (Cloud 1). The deck of cards is shuffled and players are dealt a starting hand of six with the remainder placed aside.

Beginning on Cloud 1, the balloon, with each player turn, will attempt to rise a level until it reaches Cloud 9. ON his turn, a player must roll two or more of the special “cloud dice” (as noted on the cloud occupied). These six sided dice have two blank faces; the other faces show a red, blue, green or yellow cloud. The combination rolled is the set of cards needed for the balloon to rise to the next cloud but before that player attempts to meet the requirements, ALL of the other players must declare whether they are jumping off the balloon or staying on in the hopes of rising to the next level.Cloud9cards

The 80 cards consist of three different types. The most plentiful are cards which show one of the four colors of the game (red, blue, green and yellow). Umbrella cards act like wild cards, meeting ALL requirements for an upward move. (This card is extremely valuable as it can take the place of up to FOUR cards!) The “Pass the Barn” card shifts the onus onto another player, forcing him to meet the requirements to move the balloon onwards and upward – or face the consequences if he fails!

If jumping off, the player nets the number of crystals listed on the cloud. (Crystal amounts start at one and quickly escalate to 25 if you make it all the way to Cloud 9.) If the requirements are met, those players remaining on the balloon continue to travel upward. But if the requirements are NOT met, that particular balloon ride is over and ALL players still on the balloon receive NOTHING for their trouble! Once a balloon ride ends, the balloon counter returns to Cloud 1, all players again occupy the balloon, and all players receive ONE (and only one) card from the deck as a “reinforcement” for their hand.

Limited hand replenishment to only one card per balloon ride is a nice balancing touch. So is the rule allowing the player in last place on the scoring track to draw two cards immediately once any player reaches (or passes) the 11, 22 or 33 scoring mark. But the optional rules adding bluffing and using 3, 4, or 5 of a kind to “Pass the Barn” or substitute for another card or force a player off the balloon seem forced and unnecessary. The first player to reach (or pass) 45 wins!

Cloud 9 is as light a game as the helium used to fill these balloons. But it has plenty of charm and is a great vehicle for play between parents and children. – – Herb Levy

Copyright 1999, all rights reserved.


 

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