Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Author: Stephen Glenn

Publisher: Kosmos 2003

Awards: none



Up, up and away !

And here Kosmos goes again, adding just another 2-player-game to their rather successful series of small but ambitious games. This time the players take on the conquering the skies with their balloons, and the game will be won by the player who is most successful in navigating his balloons to get 3 of the 5 different cups which may be won in the ballon races.

In the game their exist balloon cards showing balloons of 5 different colours, and each of the balloon cards has a value between "1" and "13". For each of these colours also a Victor's Cup exist which has a number between "3" and "7" printed on it, and this number shows how many tokens of that specific colour a player must collect before he may claim this specific cup as a winner.

A player can collect such tokens by successful navigating his balloons to the 4 different landing areas in the game. These landing areas are either on the plains or in the mountains, and each of them has a value ranking from 1 to 4. At the beginning of the game, a corresponding number of randomly drawn tokens will be placed at each of the landing areas, and furthermore each player receives a hand of 8 randomly drawn balloon cards to start the game with.

During his turn, a player now may chose one of his hand cards and place them next to one of the landing areas. He may chose to place the card either on his own side or the side of his opponent. A number of cards corresponding to the value of the landing area (i.e. 1 to 4) may be placed on BOTH sides of the landing area, but there is one further restriction which the players must meet for placing their cards: The number of tokens on the landing area also corresponds to the value of the landing area, and the colours of these tokens prescribe the colours of the cards which may be placed next to the landing area. If, for example, 2 blue tokens, one red token and one yellow token are on the value "4" landing area, correspondingly 2 blue cards, one red card and one yellow card may be placed on each side of the landing area. Once all allowed cards where placed next to the landing area, the landing area will be evaluated.

Both players now have to add up the values of all their cards on their side of the landing area. If the landing area was in plains, the player with the lowest total will win the evaluation, and if the landing area was in the mountains, the player with the highest total will win. The winning player will receive the tokens from that landing area. Next, the landing area will be turned over (changing mountains to plains and vice versa), all cards will be removed and new randomly drawn tokens will be placed there. Thus, the landing area is once more available.

If a player has enough tokens of a colour, he may claim the corresponding cup as a victor. The player who first wins three of the five cups has won the game!

Ballon Cup is a rather entertaining strategy game of good playing value. Players have to plan a lot before they can decide where to place their next ballon card, since the clever placement of a card can greatly assist chances to win a fair number of tokens. The game is rather strategic and requires players to keep thinking which cards may still be out, but it is good fun once the rules have been mastered well...

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany