CLOUD 9

EXCERPTS FROM THE FALL 1999 GA REPORT

Reviewed by Herb Levy

CLOUD 9 (F.X. Schmid USA; about $20)

 

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!

Cloud 9 is a two to six player game from Aaron Weissblum….To begin, each player takes his two matching color pieces and places one on the scoring track… and one on the balloon picture on the board…The deck of cards is shuffled and players are dealt a starting hand of six…

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”…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 of staying on in hopes of rising to the next level.

The 80 cards consists 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….The “Pass the Barn” card shifts the onus onto another player, forcing him to meet the requirements…

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!…

Limiting 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 immeidately 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


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