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Balloon Cup» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Looking at the game and the playing variations rss

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Martin B
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Seattle
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I first purchased Balloon Cup because it was one of the suggestions here on BGG for good two player games. I've played it around ten times now with four different people and would like to give my thoughts about this game. Other two player portable games I have played are Lost Cities, which I don't like, Hive, like, and Mr. Jack Pocket, like.

I've played both the published rules and the designer variant of Balloon Cup.

Balloon cup is a small portable game, consisting of some tiles, some cards, some cubes and a small bag to hold the cubes in. The theme focuses on flying your hot air balloon over plains and mountains by playing cards from your hand. On the plains you want to play low cards and in the mountains you want to play high cards.

Game overview

Four tiles are placed on the table between you and your opponent and you each start with eight cards. The tiles are numbered from one to four and each has the same number of cubes as the tile number, randomly chosen from the bag. There are also five trophy cards that you win by getting the number of cubes on the trophy. You win the cubes by having the lowest cards in the plains and the highest cards in the mountains. First player to win three trophies is the winner.

Playing by the rules in the box.

The rules that come in the box allow for a much less strategic game. The only real question that comes up is where to place your middle cards. If your fast you can fill up both sides and get some quick cubes. It's more a game of priority, trying to get the cubes you need, instead of overall strategic planning.

I also find that when we play with the original rules the game gets much more cutthroat. We are always just trying to stop the other side and not trying to build our own side so much. It seems to be more important to play the bad cards before the good, though it has the same effect.

This variation does go by a quick quicker since you tend to spend less time thinking about your move beforehand. What to play where is much more visually apparent.

Playing by the original designer rules.

The designer rules say you have to complete your side before you can play on your opponents side. So, for example, on the three tile you have to play all three cards on your own side before you can place one on your opponents side of the three tiles. This really adds a lot of strategic depth. If you have some cards in the middle you have to think whether it is worth it to play maybe an eight on your side of the plains so you can try to sneak a nine on your opponents. Maybe your opponent has a lower card and has just not played it yet, waiting for you to commit to your side. When you play a card becomes much more important.

I cannot stress how much better, deeper and richer this makes the game. It almost adds a bluffing element where experienced players play each other as much as they are playing the game. Now when I teach this game I only teach this variant.

Final Thoughts

I really like this game and love the portability and simpleness. It has an almost constant place in my bag for a game I can bring out and play while out. It takes little time to set up and not much space. When I have thirty to forty minutes it is always one of the games I suggest.

I give this game: 8/10
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Kris Ardianto
Indonesia
DKI Jakarta - Jakarta Utara
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i guess with he standard rules lies the fun element of cutthroat and excellent interaction between players. I never play the variant but it seem it would less confrontation since every player will get down busy to their side first. But, maybe i have to try this variant. Quite strategic if you wan to play it slow and easy.
Nice review man... thumbsup
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Fraser
Australia
Melbourne
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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Ooh a little higher, now a bit to the left, a little more, a little more, just a bit more. Oooh yes, that's the spot!
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Daughter the Elder (when she was about nine) and I tried the designer variant once and found it to be way too friendly cool

We went back to the published rules which we prefer.
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Kevin B. Smith
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My wife and I tried it a few times each way. The published rules didn't impress either of us, as it was too cutthroat AND lacking in tough decisions. I like the the designer's rules, because they give you excruciating decisions, and force you to play the "least bad" card fairly often. Those aspects frustrate my wife.

So we are trying a middle ground hybrid: You can only play on the other side of a tile after *that color* of that tile is full on your side. So far, it seems to be a nice compromise.

We got married in a hot air balloon, so the theme has special meaning to us, and changes it from a so-so game we probably wouldn't play much (if at all) to one that we enjoy bringing out regularly.
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MMB
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We also liked the designer's rules over the published rules.
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Eugene
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peakhope wrote:
So we are trying a middle ground hybrid: You can only play on the other side of a tile after *that color* of that tile is full on your side.

I don't quite understand. The tiles don't have colors, only numbers, correct?
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David Short
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garygarison wrote:
peakhope wrote:
So we are trying a middle ground hybrid: You can only play on the other side of a tile after *that color* of that tile is full on your side.

I don't quite understand. The tiles don't have colors, only numbers, correct?


What he means is, on a 3 Hop Tile with 1 Yellow cube and 2 Red cubes on it, I can't play any cards on my opponent's side until I've played all required cards of that color on my side. So, if I had played 2 red cards onto my side of the Tile, then I could then play a red card to my opponent's side, but it'd still be illegal to play a yellow card to my opponent's side.
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Eugene
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Balloon Cup » Forums » Reviews
Re: Looking at the game and the playing variations
Ah, thanks.
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